Alright! That was a little bit of a rough week! I hope everyone is feeling well, I know that I am. This last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Nebraska Masonic Youth Leadership Conference, otherwise known as MYLC, as a DeMolay advisor. I had a ton of fun. September was really the month for Leadership, as I also was able to present at the Nebraska Grand Lodge Leadership Conference. I am sure you were expecting a big post about the importance of leadership, and believe me, that is in the works. However, this week I wanted to share everything that we did at MYLC. I had a few kids that this was not only their first big Masonic trip, but also their first overnight stay (far) away from home, and they were a little freaked out. I know that it can be just as scary to send your kiddo off for the weekend without really knowing what it is they will be up to.

Our journey (eventually, after a turnaround for a misplaced cell phone), began with me driving a car full of teenagers at 6am. Luckily, most of them slept through the 3 hour journey across state, and didn’t wake until around the halfway point. Once we arrived, we were given matching t-shirts, and randomly assigned groups. Everyone then convened in the main ballroom, where we were introduced to the state officers for DeMolay, Rainbow, and Job’s, as well as our emcee for the weekend, Amanda Hammett (more on her later). We all then got to know each other quite well via a group photo.

Nebraska only holds their youth leadership conference every three years, and this year we easily more than doubled the attendance!

After a quick ice breaker and a run down of what our day would look like, our keynote speaker, Josh Shipp did his thing. If you ever get a chance to hear Josh speak, do it. I don’t care if you’re a teenager, a grownup, Masonic, or not, that man has a lot of really awesome things to day, and has an excellent way of saying them. I actually had one of our members turn to me and say, “This is so much better than a keynote speaker!” Josh talked about two major points as far as leadership is concerned; don’t be average, and be human. I will be writing more about what Josh had to say next week, so be on the look out for that.

After Josh was done speaking, we had a quick lunch, and then broke up into our respective groups. My group first met back up with Amanda, who talked with us about leadership and failure. She reminded us of something that I think is excellent for youth to be reminded of; everyone fails, and failure is okay, and not the end of the world. Amanda alluded to the fact that she had failed big time, but wouldn’t tell us exactly how until the next day.

Pondering had about our own failures, we headed off to the just for fun part of the day, a Frisbee show put on by Flying Houndz. I’m pretty sure this video will give you a better idea than I can:

Needless to say, it was pretty cool. Our next stop was our service project. We stopped by the local food pantry and sorted canned goods for a bit, before heading to the store to buy some more.Within our groups we broke off into smaller teams of about 5 or so. Each team had about $65 dollars to spend (remember, when you donate to Masonic youth, this is the kind of things you are funding!), and 10 items that we had to buy, the rest we could buy any non-perishable items we pleased. Of course, its more fun with a little competition, so our goal was not only to spend the most money without going over, but also to buy the most amount of items. While my team did not win (we ended up with 129 items, mostly canned goods), I will say that I am very proud of my kiddos, as they decided to vow to not spend any of it on ramen. They felt that buying ramen would be the easy way out as far as winning was concerned, and that no one really wants to eat ramen in the first place, and that the food pantry probably already had pallets of it anyway. They literally decided to sacrifice the win in order to obtain higher value foods (mostly canned veggies and muffin mixes). Can’t say no to that, and I applaud them wholeheartedly for that decision.


I had been up for about 14 hours at this point, and it was barely 6pm. I was starting to drag, but a nice dinner and my 3rd cup of coffee for the day did the trick. After dinner, we had a beautiful short presentation called the “Nebraska Family Masonic Portrait”. T tells me that they have done it in years past, but I do not think that changes the impact at all. Basically, the head officer for each Masonic organization in Nebraska, or at least someone in the Grand Line, took time out of their weekend, to come and represent their organization for the youth. Although it was short, the results were really quite stunning.


We were then given a show by a great magician (of which I ended up with no pictures of, somehow), and then it was time for  the tradition for any Masonic Youth conference (leadership, or not), the dance.  It was more or less just like any junior high or highschool dance you’ve ever been to, the girls acting a little boy crazy, and the boys awkwardly standing on the sidelines, not really sure they want to dance with any girls. I suppose this is where I should mention that in my state, girls out number the boys as far as Masonic youth at least 3:1, maybe even 4:1. I talked my guys into staying for 45 minutes, then they could do as they pleased, and was surprised when they agreed. Their time was up shortly after the tradition of Masonic youth dances in Nebraska (at least, I don’t think it happens anywhere else), the Dashboard Light skit. I wish I had video of this, but for some reason I decided pictures would suffice (they don’t). Somehow, at some point in time, a tradition was started where the DJ plays the song Dashboard Light, by Meatloaf. Not the most wholesome song, but I recognize a lot of the kids probably don’t “get” it. During the song, the youth act out this fairly elaborate skit that goes along with the song. I was first introduced to it at the Master’s Ball, where I got drug into doing it with T and his old DeMolay friends. Not sure how it started (I asked, apparently it started sometime in the 80’s). Anyway, the rest of the dance was filled with sweet moves, as seen below:

After some much-needed sleep, our next morning gave us Curt Tomacevicz, an Olympian on the 2 and 4 man USA bobsled team. He spoke to us about fear, and how we can keep it from running our lives and keep us from being leaders. It also resulted in this awesome selfie (excuse the shaggy hair)


After getting to hold an Olympic gold medal (!), Amanda came to speak with us again, more about failure and success. She lost everything due to a simple error, but was able to find so much more than she had in the first place through talking with youth. She was truly wonderful and very easy to approach.

There was one more point of business to attend to, shown here by our state officers:

With our send off song finished, we hugged our new friends goodbye, and loaded back up into the Expedition to head home. I had a wonderful time, and learned a good deal; not only about leadership, but also about our youth members. I know that many of them felt the same. Too bad it’s another three years until the next one!

Hopefully that helps put some of your minds at ease as far as sending your kiddos off on Masonic youth trips. As I said before, next week I will be covering more in-depth on the content of the two conferences; and a goat.

Naviagting Masonic Emblems Part II

Since our Master’s Ball is this weekend (more on that next week!), I am in a bit of a time crunch, so, I decided to go ahead with the second part of the Masonic emblem series this week. You can read part one here.

The crescent and scimitar

Probably the second most well-known Masonic emblem, after the square and compass, is that of the Shriners. Luckily for us, the Shriners are much more forthcoming as to the meaning of their emblem than anyone else seems to be.  The crescent and scimitar are most often seen displayed on the fez, the hat that a Shriner wears.  The scimitar (the sword) stands for the backbone of the fraternity, which are its members. The two claws that make up the crescent represent the Shriners fraternity and its philanthropy. The sphinx’s head stands for the governing body of the Shriners, the head of the organization. The five-pointed star inside of the crescent represents the thousands of children that the Shriners help through their philanthropy (most notably their hospitals) each year. Occasionally you will also see the phrase “Robur et Furor” on the emblem, which means “Strength and Fury”.

The Eastern Star

Perhaps the most misunderstood Masonic emblem is that of the Order of the Eastern Star. Each point of the star represents a different star point. The blue point with the sword and veil represent Adah, whose lesson is obedience to duty. The yellow point with the sheaf of wheat is for Ruth, whose lesson is adherence to religious principles. The white, with the crown and scepter represents Esther, whose lesson is the virtue of loyalty. The green point with the broken column is for Martha, who teaches us the virtue of endurance in a trial. Finally the red point with the cup is for Electa, who teaches ous the lesson of endurance of persecution. The altar with the book in the middle is exactly what you think it is, it represents the volume of sacred law that sits in the East. The word FATAL is the secret phrase used in OES. Please note: OES was created in the 1850’s, long before the inverted pentagram was associated with satanic ritual around the 1960’s.

The crest of the Order of DeMolay

DeMolay, the organization for young men, is also straightforward with their emblem. The crown  is symbolic of the Crown of Youth, and reminds a member of his obligations and the seven principles of his order. Each of the ten rubies along the sides of the emblem represent the Founder of the organization, and the nine original members. There used to be a mixture of pearls and rubies, with pearls representing living members, and rubies, deceased ones. The helmet on top represents the concept of chivalry, a reoccurring theme within DeMolay. The crescent in the center serves as a reminder to never reveal the secrets of the Order, nor the secrets of a friend. The five-armed white cross symbolizes the purities of ones intentions, and to always remember the motto, “No DeMolay shall fail as a citizen, as a leader, and as a man.” The crossed swords in the background are symbols of justice, fortitude, and mercy, and also symbolize the warfare DeMolays face against arrogance, despotism, and intolerance. The stars around the crescent serve as a symbol of hope, and  remind members of their obligations and duties that one brother owes to another.

The rainbow

Surprisingly, the International Order of Rainbow for Girl’s emblem is the hardest one to find out any information on, much more than any of the Masonic “secrets”. However, from what I can gather, the red, white, and blue stripe represents the flag of the United States; although Rainbow is an international organization, it was created here in the States. The hands below represent friendship. Each of the colors represent a different lesson taught in the organization. Red, love; orange, religion; yellow, nature; green, immortality; blue, fidelity; indigo, patriotism; violent, service.  BFCL stands for bible, flag, constitution, and lambskin, the four symbols of the order. The R in the middle simply stands for rainbow.

Job’s Daughter’s emblem

The emblem for Job’s Daughters is very quite simple. The three women in the triangle represent the daughter’s of Job, and each one holds a symbol important to the organization. The dove stands for peace and purity, the urn of incense represents prayer, and the horn of plenty represents the hope of reward for a job well done. The words “Iyob Filiae” literally means Job’s Daughters in Greek.

These are only the emblems for the most common Masonic organizations. There are many others out there, so occasionally you may come across an emblem that is unknown to you. A little research goes a long way in this case.

As always, have a wonderful week!

Masonic Youth

Masonry is truly designed to be a family affair. The men, obviously, have their countless organizations, the women have a few, and, not to leave anyone out, there are those for the youth as well.

There are three youth organizations, with some offshoots of each for the younger kids, all with their own individual structure and opportunities. All three focus on leadership and community service.

Rainbow for Girls

Started in 1922 as a counterpart to DeMolay, Rainbow for Girls, or Rainbow, is open to all girls, aged 11 to 20/21. One of the major differences here is that members do not need to be related to a Master Mason to be able to join. This is very nice, because once a girl ages out of Rainbow, she is eligible for membership in Eastern Star, among other organizations. The age out rule is a little bit different- a girl is a member until she turns 20, unless she marries before the age of 20, and is often given the opportunity to continue membership until the age of 21.

Rainbow groups are reffered to as “assemblies”. There are many officers, as you might expect, the Worthy Advisor (a girl, not an adult), is considered the president of the organization, and plans meetings and activities for the group. There are of course, also state officers, referred to as “Grandofficer title“, usually the Grand Worthy Advisor attends all state conferences, including Grand Lodge. There is also a Supreme, international council. All state/international council officers are chosen by election. The ties to DeMolay can be seen very easily, as the seven core virtues are very similar to DeMolay’s, the difference being that in Rainbow they are taught as colors, and referred to as “bow stations”. The stations are as follows:

  • Love (red) In all its forms
  • Religion (orange) The Importance of religion in all its forms (based on love and forgiveness)
  • Nature (yellow) Its Importance in your daily life
  • Immortality (green) The understanding of death is a part of life
  • Fidelity (blue) Emphasis on being honest and reliable
  • Patriotism (indigo) Encouraging citizenship to your country
  • Service (violet) Service to others which bind all the colors together

As with all Masonic youth organizations, there are adult advisors, a “Mother Advisor”, as well as an advisor board helps guide the girls. For the most part, however, the youth run the organization, the Worthy Advisor doing as she sees fit, with the Mother Advisor helping along the way (as is the case with all Masonic youth organizations). Due to the way that it is set up, there is also opportunity for adults that are interested to be involved.

Rainbow Pledge

Not associated with every chapter of Rainbow, there is often a small group of “Rainbow Pledges”, that are too young to join the organization. Pledges are usually 8-10, and can be involved in every fun activity, outing, and charity work, but usually are not involved in business meetings, or ritual work.

Job’s Daughters

Started in the Big O in 1920, Job’s Daughters is a youth organization for girls 10 to 20. The big difference between Rainbow and Job’s is that in order to become a member of Job’s Daughters (referred to often as Jobies), you must be able to prove a relationship to a Master Mason. Quite often, however, girls that can fulfill this requirement will become members of both organizations. Obviously, due to the relationship requirement, all members are eligible for membership in OES and the like. Job’s has a similar age out rule as Rainbow, the difference being that some jurisdictions may allow girls to continue to be involved up until the age of 25.

Job’s Daughters groups are referred to as “bethels”. Again, there are many officer positions available through elections within the bethel, with the “Bethel Queen” acting as president. State officers work a little bit differently in Job’s (so correct me if I got this terribly wrong). There are two state officers that are youth, the Grand Bethel Honoured Queen, and Miss Jurisdiction Job’s Daughter (i.e. Miss Nebraska Job’s Daughter).  The Grand Bethel Honoured Queen is chosen via a drawing, after fulfilling certain requirements, and Miss Jurisdiction (often referred to as Miss Congeniality), is chosen via a pageant. Both of these officers are considered equal co-leaders, and will attend state conferences together. Again, there are also international officers, the Supreme Bethel Honoured Queen, and Miss International Job’s Daughter, respectively.

Virtues taught to Jobies  include a greater reverence for God and the Holy Scriptures (JD is a more Christian based organization than rainbow, but does not require members to be such), , loyalty to one’s country and that country’s flag; and respect for parents, guardians, and elders.

Again, there is a council of adults advising the girls, referred to as the Bethel Guardian Council.

Job’s Daughter to Be/JD2B

Similar to Rainbow Pledges, Jobies to Be get to do all the fun stuff while not attending the business meetings and ritual work. This program is open to 8 and 9 year olds.

Order of the Triangles/Constellation of Junior Stars

There’s not much to be found about either of these groups. I do know that they are for girls ages 10 to 21, and both are only in New York state.


Yes, I am guilty of saving my favorite for last. Started in 1919 in Kansas City, The International Order of DeMolay is open to all boys aged 12 to 21, who profess a belief in a higher power, and strive to be a good person. It is the world’s largest youth fraternity, and the premier youth organization. It serves as a feeder program for masonry, as many of its members go on to become masons. A relationship to a Master Mason is not required.

Local DeMolay groups are called “chapters”. Again, numerous officer positions are available, the “Master Councilor” is elected, and acts as president for all meetings. Often (this also is true for Rainbow, not sure about Job’s), members will start at the bottom and work their way up, similar to the officer line in Blue lodge or an OES chapter. State officers vary from state to state, but will usually at least include a State (or Jurisdictional) Master Councilor, a State Senior Councilor (Vice President), and a State Junior Councilor (Vice, Vice President).  There may be many more state officers in your state or jurisdiction, this is at the discretion of the executive officer (head of state advisory board).

In addition to this, each chapter may have a “Sweetheart”, who serves as a female ambassador to DeMolay, and is usually there to remind the boys how to act in front of girls politely. She is not an officer of the chapter, but will often go on outings with them. She is usually a member of a local Bethel or Assembly, but this is not a requirement. The only requirement is that she is between the ages of 14 and 21.

DeMolay has seven cardinal virtues, you can see the similarities between theirs and Rainbow’s:

  • Filial love (love between a parent and child)
  • Reverence for sacred things
  • Courtesy
  • Comradeship
  • Fidelity
  • Cleanness
  • Patriotism

Each chapter of DeMolay must be sponsored by a local masonic body (our Shrine sponsors the Big O chapter). Again, there is an adult board of advisors to lead the youth (just turned in my application), members of the advisory board are usually referred to as Dad Last Name.

Squires of the Round Table/Order of Knighthood

DeMolay is a little bit different, in that for those that are too young to join DeMolay, there is actually a full on organization for. The Squiresof the Round Table is for DeMolay pledges, ages 10 to 12, their groups are called “Manors”, and they have elected officers, the “Master Squire” acting as president.

Once a DeMolay is 17, he is also eligible for a separate organization within DeMolay, called the Order of Knighthood, for boys 17 to 21. They too, have separate rituals and officers, but act to serve DeMolay. Their groups are called “priories”, and their president is referred to as “Illustrious Knight Commander”. The full name of the order is the Chivalric Knights of the Holy Order of the Fellow Soldiers of Jacques DeMolay.

I highly encourage you to support your local masonic youth in any way that you can, whether it be donating money, time, or being an advisor. If you enjoy masonry and have children, I would encourage them to join any and all of the organizations available to them. All of these programs feed into masonry and its appendant bodies, and we would never hope to have the membership today that we do without their existence.