Day 1 of LeadCon 2019 is in the books!
What a night it was! We welcomed DeMolays from across the Great State of New York to the Masonic Care Community for them to learn, to bond, and to improve their DeMolay knowledge. Sure it's 2:30AM and I should be in bed but I wanted to make sure I shared with all of you - our DeMolay Brothers, our Advisors, and our amazing supporters -what a great first night this was.
As young men arrived, the Masonic Care Community rolled out the red carpet. DeMolays were able to enjoy the world class fitness facility and play basketball and socialize before the welcoming pizza party.
The Pizza Party was amazing! Thanks to the incredible generosity of Jacques DeMolay Lodge UD young men had the best pizza that Utica, NY has to offer as well as much soda (pop for you westerners) they could enjoy. For those of us old guys we had bottled water as well. Thank you to "Dad" Larson and "Dad" Alvarado for serving.
Frequent readers of my writing know I *really* love the 4th Preceptor. We had it in full display tonight as young men from Mohawk Valley talked with young men from Washington talked to young men from Trinity talked to young men from Knickerbocker. It was for me a master class in RPG and strategy game theory (Like how you play the game, not the advanced modeling). We also had a discussion about the fine art of cross checking in Lacrosse.
We kicked off our opening session with State Master Councilor Austin Altman and "Dad" Schneider. I loved how our State Master Councilor talked about being open to new ideas, learning from other people and how attending LeadCons (and LTCs!) helped to shape him as a DeMolay leader. "Dad" Schneider, who we owe a huge debt of gratitude to for all of his work on the weekend talked about the expectations for all of our participants. I *loved* the way that he did this. He talked about how well the young men did it at convention and how he expects it to be done in the future. We then had a brief chat about zero tolerance and the brotherhood contract.
We are a youth driven organization and one of the ideas of the SEC this year was for us to have an ice cream social. So what do you do? You have an ice cream social! Chocolate, Vanilla, toppings, M&Ms you name it. Thank you to "Dad" Dais, "Dad" Brandt, "Dad" Schneider and I know I am missing someone so please correct me for serving the ice cream.
Our first formal class kicked off and that was ritual. I'm pretty excited about the team we've assembled to lead ritual in the Empire State. Co-teaching was "Dad" Craig Riha, "Dad" Tom Perry, and "Dad" Phillip Hurkala. They talked not only about the history of the ritual and why we do it, but also went trough pedagogical learning tricks. Our goal is every LeadCon attendee will make some progress towards learning ritual this weekend. Some of our guys are learning opening parts, some obligations, and still others the preceptors. I couldn't ask for a better trio of guys! Afterward I heard snippets of young men practicing their parts and cracking up the ritual books.
After that, the brothers had the chance to play basketball, play video games, enjoy some pizza, or just to hang out. I shared this on my facebook, page, but tonight we shattered a record: Not once in the history of NY DeMolay has a PR/EO every lost to the young men in basketball. I need to work harder.
Finally, I can't say enough awesome things about the MCC staff. From the security guards, to the director of first impressions, the culinary staff, the IT staff, Kathy Contino-Turner. Everyone has been amazing.
It's now 3:10 and I should be in bed, but I can't wait for tomorrow