Howard teens to lead DeMolay chapter

January 16, 1994|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Joshua Ridgeway, Matt Fink and Ryan Laufer are due to make fraternal history in Catonsville today..

The three Howard County teen-agers will be installed as the top officers in the Catonsville chapter of the International Order of DeMolay at 2 p.m., at the group's office near Frederick Road.

It marks the first time that Howard County residents have taken all three top offices in the 40-member Catonsville chapter of the group, a fraternal organization associated with the Masons.

The chapter is open to young people from Howard County, which has no chapter of its own. It also includes members from Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore counties.

"It's really unusual to have the top three officers from Howard County," said Charles Ridgeway, the group's adviser and scribe, who said Howard residents have been officers of the group in the past.

The international group was founded in 1919 by Frank S. Land and nine teen-age boys in Kansas City, Mo., to help young boys become better citizens and develop values.

Since then, more than 2 million boys and young men ages 13 to 21 have joined the group worldwide. They learn leadership skills, public speaking and the importance of serving the community.

Prominent members have included Bill Clinton, John Wayne and Walt Disney.

The Catonsville chapter was formed in the early 1950s, Mr. Ridgeway said. This past Christmas, the group raised about $700 to buy presents for underprivileged children in the community.

"We try to train boys to be community leaders," Mr. Ridgeway said.

Joshua, 17, a Columbia resident and a junior at Atholton High School, will become master councilor, or president, of the Catonsville group.

Matt Fink, 16, an Ellicott City resident and a junior at Centennial High School, will become the senior councilor, or vice president.

Ryan Laufer, 16, also of Ellicott City and a junior at Centennial High, will become junior councilor.

Ryan said he joined the Catonsville chapter more than a year ago because of the interesting activities and the camaraderie.

"It's just a great bunch of guys," he said.

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