For Minnesota DeMolay, 2022 was a year of strategic change. In our first year of funding from the J.E. Meyers Memorial fund, this opened up opportunities that had never been possible before. We needed to pivot our mindset from running on a shoestring “DIY” approach to one in which is a more professional one. We focused on making our existing events more elevated, yet affordable, while adding in new events that gave our members opportunities and experiences they were unlikely to have elsewhere. We added ziplining to Conclave, we subsidized a very successful Masonic Family day at Valleyfair. We replaced our aging paintball equipment with new modern airsoft gear. We held several high “fun factor” events such as Whirlyball, Pizza Train, Summer BBQ and OctoberFest.

Minnesota DeMolay continues to keep leadership development at the forefront of their activities. A Councilor’s Retreat was held, bringing together the leaders of each Chapter to share ideas, build plans and learn from each other. We sent three young men and an adult advisor to a week-long leadership development camp called the Great Plains DeMolay Leadership Conference in Oklahoma. And finally, we attended the Region V Leadership Conference in the spring Rochester Masonic Association and in Des Moines, Iowa in the fall. Thank you to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for providing the DeMolay Leadership Development Fund which continues to provide leadership development opportunities for our young men.

In June, DeMolay International rolled out their “The Road Begins Here” ad campaign, and Minnesota DeMolay has begun using it for social media advertising. We have seen an uptick in traffic and received several leads from the program.

August was the annual Minnesota DeMolay Conclave where State Master Councilor Jaiden Smith retired his collar and our new State Master Councilor, Justin Glass was installed. Justin’s theme for this current term year is about celebrating the differences around the world.

Finishing out 2022, we held our annual Grand Master’s Class degrees where five new DeMolay brothers were initiated in a degree class in honor of Most Worshipful Grand Master Tony Krall. The Grand Master spoke to the new young men, giving them inspiring words to carry forward in their DeMolay career.

As I always do in this report, I would like to thank every Lodge, Chapter and appendant body that has continued to contribute space, time, energy, and funds in support of the programing and success for the young men of Minnesota DeMolay. It was pointed out to me last week by the Most Worshipful Grand Master that there is an obvious correlation between the strongest Minnesota Masonic Lodges and those Lodges that support our Masonic Youth. Lodges that take an interest in these future leaders tend to be the most successful and leading Lodges in the state!

As Masons, we say we are building a better world by building better men. And throughout our Masonic lessons we teach a man to build his own temple of life. But in order to build a strong building one must start with a strong foundation. Brothers, “There is No Stronger Foundation” upon which to base one’s life than that of our Masonic Youth Groups. The lessons imparted to these kids are lessons based on OUR Masonic principles. The skills they learn, the fraternal bonds they form, and the memories made with their extended worldwide family are gifts that cannot be measured by any unit of currency. We must continue to focus on growth and sharing the gift that is Masonic Youth. I challenge each of you to sponsor a young woman into Job’s Daughters and a young man into DeMolay this year. Give them that gift!

Thank you, brothers, for all you do, but more especially for what you do for our Masonic Youth.

Fraternally Submitted,

Aaron Brendel
Executive Officer, Minnesota DeMolay
Active Member, Int’l Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay

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