Every DeMolay has memories that stand apart from the rest, memories that allow a member to finally understand the size of the massive DeMolay movement across the world. Standing on the new DeMolay "enShrined" courtyard during its unveiling was one of those moments; so surreal for myself and numerous DeMolay that traveled from across the world to take part in a celebration marking the end of DeMolay’s first century.

DeMolay Centennial Courtyard Dedication

The Centennial Courtyard was officially dedicated on June 26, 2019

Celebrating tradition

Over 1,300 attended the unveiling of the courtyard and subsequent celebration at the DeMolay International Headquarters, taking part in the camaraderie while enjoying traditional Kansas City barbeque and snacks from a variety of food trucks (the funnel cakes were a favorite of the members). The immersion into the festivities was completed by walking into the Headquarters itself, which had been converted to offer a self-guided tour featuring historical facts and displaying some of the most revered DeMolay memorabilia available, including a first edition ritual, a retired International Congress Officer collar, and the minutes from the first-ever recorded DeMolay meeting.

Friendships across generations

The atmosphere created at the Centennial Celebration brought something for every DeMolay, whether they were looking primarily for food, history, or friendships. I found myself looking around and trying to take it all in, acknowledging that each person who attended, wherever they are from, contributed to the success of DeMolay as it pushed towards its 100th year. Anywhere you looked was an opportunity for Senior DeMolay to reconnect with old friends from their youth, while simultaneously forging lifelong friendships among the young leaders attending for the first time. While the courtyard unveiling marked the end of the century for DeMolay, witnessing the bonds of friendship that were forged made the celebration and the evening truly worthy of remembrance.

The 52nd International DeMolay Congress

The 52nd International DeMolay Congress

Building for the future

From the ground up, DeMolay is an organization built on the leadership of its youth members, and what I came away from the week feeling was that the youth continue to steer their organization in a positive direction. The International DeMolay Congress, led by International Master Councilor, Avery Brinkley, and the International Congress Secretary, Andrew Buckwinkler, ran the event smoothly and initiated positive and proactive discussions among the youth leaders. These young men, hailing from around the world, engaged in a lively dialogue about what DeMolay should look like in its second century. They elected new leaders that truly lead by example while carrying the vision needed to execute the goals of the Congress and the international youth members.

Together, the Congress stands poised this year to offer a perspective built on creating a path forward for DeMolay in a similar way that the Scottish Rite, NMJ has built theirs. This first Congress of the second century of DeMolay has the capability to set a new direction and to evolve DeMolay into the modern organization it must be to appeal to today’s youth. The new DeMolay Grand Master put the future into perspective by saying that his job is to help make the youth leaders’ goals a reality, a philosophy that allows DeMolay to operate in its purest form.

The Centennial Celebration of DeMolay International was full of history, friendships, and discussions of the organization's future. Being there and having witnessed the dedication of the volunteers that comprise the organization, it is clear that the best is yet to come. DeMolay embarks on its second century prepared to make an impact worthy of mention at its bicentennial celebration and beyond.

Chandler Gordon joined the Glendale, AZ Chapter of DeMolay at age 13 and proceeded over the years to serve as Master Councilor and State Master Councilor. At the age of 18, Chandler was elected as the 49th International Master Councilor of DeMolay International, spending the year travelling across the United States, Europe, and South America to benefit DeMolay on a worldwide level. Chandler has since joined Freemasonry, and is a 32o Scottish Rite Mason in the Valley of Phoenix, AZ. He will be a senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University in Fall 2019, pursuing a B.S. in Economics with the intent to attend law school following graduation.

Chandler Gordon

Chandler Gordon