Shortly prior to initiation it is important that new members have the correct understanding of the responsibilities that come with full membership and the proper attitude for the initiation ceremony. The following activities could serve as a catalyst to achieve a more impactful initiation ceremony.
1) Charter Examination: The Charter is the governing document that gives all chapters the right to operate. A close examination of the charter can help spark interest in chapter history. The discussion could center around the signatures of your chapter’s founding fathers, how long ago did they join, how many men started your chapter and how has it grown? Further, there are many symbols displayed. Ask the new members what they think about each.
2) Self-Reflection Activity: New members circle up and face outward, seated, so their backs are facing inward. Whichever brother facilitates this activity will tell them to close their eyes during the activity, unless told otherwise. The facilitator will then tap the shoulders of certain brothers and ask them to open their eyes and go to the middle of the circle. The individuals in the middle of the circle will be read questions, such as the ones below. Those 2-3 new members will tap the shoulders of those other new members to which the question relates. After all questions are read, the new members will go back to the circle with their backs towards everyone. After everyone has had the opportunity to tap shoulders the facilitator gathers everyone up and recap the activity. The point of this activity is so everyone feels and learns that they impacted the chapter or a member in some certain way. Some example questions include:
- Who has taught you something vital during the new member education process?
- Who has had an impact on your life during the new member education process?
- Who do you see as a potential officer in the chapter?
- Who do you feel is good representation of a KA?
- Who are you glad to have met and developed a relationship with?
3) Tour of Lexington: For some chapters this would be extremely difficult and maybe impossible, but for those that are within a drivable distance, it is a great opportunity. If scheduled in advance (2-3 weeks), a staff member could provide a tour of the National Administrative Office and Lexington. There are many ways to teach the history of the fraternity, but being able to experience it outside of The Varlet is truly special. We welcome any guest to Mulberry Hill and Lexington!
4) Lifting the Charter: Circle all the new members and active brothers around a large stack of cushioning (pillows and blankets work best). The facilitator has a bolt of yarn and gives the end to the Number I. Then the facilitator proceeds to have brothers and new members share an impactful moment or why they joined KA. After each member shares, he takes the bolt of yarn, holding on to a part of the yarn as he passes it across the circle to another new member. Once all members have shared, the yarn will form a web centered over the pile of blankets and padding. Then the facilitator will place the chapter’s Charter, or another item symbolic of the chapter, at the center allowing it to be held up by the web of yarn. Then the facilitator will prompt the men to release their hold if they have ever done any of the following:
- Ever failed to make grades
- Ever failed to meet their financial obligations
- Ever failed to do something for the chapter that he promised to do
- Ever acted ungentlemanly
- Ever spoke ill of another brother
By now the charter has most likely fallen into the cushions. This event helps men understand that their actions; while they may not cause an immediate threat, a summation of all actions could endanger the chapter’s future. This is a very visual and literal exercise that demonstrates that every member is accountable to their brothers and the chapter.
5) Candle Pass: Schedule a candle pass when and where all the members of the chapter can be present. The event should also be scheduled somewhere where it is completely dark. Begin by putting all the actives in an outside circle and all the new members on the inside circle. Then have one member light his candle and explain to the chapter why they joined KA, why KA is important to them, or what they have gotten out of KA. When he is done, he lights another brother’s candle. This continues until all the actives’ candles are lit, and then each new member gets his turn and joins the circle when finished. Once everyone has lit his candle, the leader of the pass should point out the significance behind the brightening of the light. Now ask the seniors who are active to extinguish their candles, then the juniors, then the sophomores. When only the new members’ candles are lit, explain that it is now their duty to spread the light and seek out others who can help spread our message.
For more ideas of pre-initiation activities, visit the Manuals & Guides section of our website.