Local Masonic lodges are working together to bring a youth organization back to Siskiyou County that hasn’t been around since the 1970s – a DeMolay Chapter. An open house will be held on Saturday, April 13 at 4 p.m. at Howard Lodge #37, located at 101 Third Street in Yreka.
DeMolay is an international youth program for young men, ages twelve to twenty-one. The organization was founded in 1919 by Frank S. Land with a mission “striving to shape young men into leaders of character.” This year marks the 100th anniversary of DeMolay’s founding.
It is the goal of the Stateline DeMolay Chapter to help its members with strengthening leadership skills, building confidence, decision making, planning future success through education, public speaking, developing morals and values, and teamwork.
The adult advisors of the Stateline DeMolay Chapter are local community leaders who wish to pledge their time as volunteers to help the organization in meeting its goal and to provide positive guidance, coaching, and mentorship to DeMolay members.
DeMolay takes its name from Jacques DeMolay, who joined the Order of Knights Templar when he was 21. The Knights Templar was an organization sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1128 to guard the road between Jerusalem and Acre, an important port city on the Mediterranean Sea. DeMolay was noted for the respect and fidelity he gave to other members of the Order.
Local DeMolay Advisor Council Chairman Mark Dibelka noted that the local Masonic orders want to bring DeMolay to Siskiyou County because they see “a gold mine of potential in the young people here.”
Through establishing a DeMolay chapter in Siskiyou County, Dibelka said, youth would be given the tools to accomplish whatever goals they set their eyes on. The organization would not only benefit youth, but the county as a whole, he explained.
The DeMolay chapter is organized and run by young men. Members meet twice a month – once for business matters and once for social and rec time. Some rec activities being considered include go karting, paintball challenges, camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding and video game tournaments.
Asked how DeMolay differs from other youth organizations, Dibelka explained, “We have much more of a focus – a focus on the young man himself. We provide the tools and allow for mistakes to be made. There is not set formula for how a DeMolay is supposed to look. It’s guided by what the young men are interested in.”
DeMolay participants are expected to dress nicely for meetings, typically in trousers and a shirt and tie. While the organization welcomes young men from all walks of life, members are meant to have a belief in a “Supreme Being,” though who that being is does not need to fit specific parameters.
DeMolay is open to young men ages 12-21. Fifteen young men are needed to start a local DeMolay chapter and 10-12 members are needed to keep the group open.
Any young men interested in participating in DeMolay are encouraged to attend the open house on Saturday, April 13 at 4 p.m. at Howard Lodge #37, located at 101 Third Street in Yreka. For any questions before the event, please contact Advisor Council Chairman, Mark Dibelka, at (530) 408-6657.