By Nick Loree, Ohio #668ALA 2013 Secretary
Today marks the end of a very special week for a lot of members of the Acacia Fraternity. As we look back on the week we recall many fond memories of brotherhood and fellowship. The experience we’ve shared through common bonds and experience have brought us closer together than we thought possible over a very short span of time. I personally count myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful learning experience, an experience which has shed light on more than just running a chapter. In the next paragraph I will share with you the events of the final days of ALA 2013 and try to impart just part of its importance to the men lucky enough to take part in it.
The day started out beautifully for a man of my interests. Instead of the normal bread and butter of the IU Acacia fraternity house, we were served a delicious breakfast by the wonderful staff and members of the Monroe Masonic Lodge of Bloomington, Indiana. As soon as I entered the door I smelled biscuits and gravy, and I was sold. As much as I enjoyed the breakfast, the main purpose of the trip was to initiate Peter Corso of the Michigan Colony into the Acacia Fraternity. The initiation process went seamlessly, as we were happy to welcome a strong new member into our international ranks. The Michigan Colony is lucky to have such a motivated young man to help restore the colony to its former glory.
After the initiation it was right back to business with the Acacia Olympics, and Peter's initiation meant one more brother than the day before. Sadly my team was beaten for the first time and did not gain the Acacia Cup, that honor belongs to Brother Jeremy Davis' team, Boats-N-Bros. No worries, though, because we all had a steak dinner waiting for us at the ALA Final Banquet. Nothing takes my mind off a hard loss like a nice cut of steak and a side of mashed taters.
During dinner we were graced with the presence of the Acacia Fraternity Foundation Directors - some of Acacia’s finest alumni. Men who once walked the halls of the very fraternity houses we call our homes. Men once faced with the same challenges we now face as college students and young men. They imparted much wisdom and inspire us to strive for greatness and a lifetime of dedication to our fraternity and the search for Truth. As much as they seem like royalty to us, I’m sure a few will be making a splash at some local Bloomington establishments after the ceremony. Overall the tone of the day was very reflective and full of excitement about how much we can help our chapters and brothers become the best Acacians we can be.
Overall, I think that this year's Leadership Academy has created bonds and friendships which transcend the boundaries of geography, communication, and time. We are all good brothers, and if there was any doubt of that statement on a nationwide scale, none of that doubt exists anymore. Sure, I’m only 20 years old. I have a lot left to learn in my life. I’m not even old enough to enjoy a night out on the town with my fraternity brothers (active and alumni alike) to celebrate a job well done. So I sit in my room and write this blog. I write to try to put into words what this experience has meant to me and everyone else here. In this world, there are approximately 7,000 languages. Each have their own words, traditions, and expressions which convey sentiments both universal as well as unique and deeply personal. I could spend my life studying linguistics and familiarizing myself with the words, trying to find one to put this experience into words. However, I think that would be a waste of time -- there is only one group, and only one word capable of describing this experience. To me it was deeply, beautifully, and profoundly... Acacian.