By Nick Loree, Ohio #668ALA 2013 Secretary
Hello again from the 10th Biennial Acacia Leadership Academy. I’m writing this at about 11 o’clock on Friday after a full day of presentations and good ole fashioned Acacia brotherhood. As much as all of us young men enjoy learning about networking and recruiting methodology, none of those attractions could compete with Friday's main festivity: paintball. As a first time paintballer I was timid at first: saving my ammo, biding my time. I was fighting scared. But after I got shot up by some of my brothers, I decided I had to lay down the law and enact my revenge. My winning mindset, however, was overshadowed by how utterly terrible I was at the game, so like many of the first-time warriors I continued to get peppered and am now covered in welts. The purpose of the session was accomplished, though, as we grew as a unit using teamwork and strategy. This more than anything helped us have a real cooperative effort and spirit that strengthened our ties of friendship as Acacians from all over the nation.
Luckily we had some time to relax and shower after being covered with paint and dirt. Then it was right back down to business with a session led by holistic nutrition coach, Ronie Pastko. She taught us how to keep a healthy body in hopes of creating a healthy mind. The concept is that healthy eating and living practices will transcend physical health and create valuable benefits in all areas of life. By feeling good physically we can be both more productive, positive, and proactive in all aspects of our life. This, however, made me feel terrible about my diet of cheeseburgers and pizza, but oh well I guess I’ll give veggie pizza a chance. Also she made sure to let us know that as crude as it sounds, healthy folks gotta poop -- I'll spare you the imagery, but let's just say we got specific.
Shortly afterwards, we continued our challenges in the Acacia Olympics with each and every bother vying for a chance at greatness. Darts, euchre, cornhole (bean bag toss), volleyball, and basketball were all featured. Once again the Acacian Nation, aka Team 1, aka The Future Champs, won basketball today so the competition better step it up if they want a chance at the Acacia Cup. After the Olympics, we took the health advice to heart by eating burgers and fries for dinner -- we added a few leafy green veggies to the mix, too. After dinner we viewed another presentation from one of the co-founders of ChapterSpot, an online tool for chapter organization, upkeep, and management. The presenter, Joe McMenemon, gave us many potential solutions for chapters such as collection of outstanding dues, internal communication, and budget management. I feel like all of the chapters present at ALA will probably make better use of this incredible resource in the future.
Finally, we ended the night by performing my favorite Ritual in the pledge process, the Second Degree. One lucky pledge from the Michigan Colony had the opportunity of going through it in front of illustrious alumni and men from chapters all across the country. I can firmly say that this was the best performance and execution of this Ritual that I have seen in my years as an Acacian. It was made even more amazing by the fact that the guys performing it had never met before Wednesday. Nonetheless they came together to give this lucky initiate one of the best possible pledging experiences that I have ever witnessed. This, more than anything, showed me that together we can accomplish anything. This group of people I’ve met over the past few days could accomplish anything together if put to the test. That is what makes us Acacians.
Yesterday, Patrick McGovern left us with a quote to reflect upon as young men with our lives ahead of us. Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” With the help of this fraternity, our individual chapters, and our brothers, we hope that when we lie down to pleasant dreams, we can all say that we have triumphed over evil and left a legacy as good men.