While there are several youth organizations sponsored or supported by the various Masonic organizations, three are the largest and best known.
The Order of DeMolay is an organization for young men aged 12 to 21. Young men do not need to have a Masonic relative to join the organization. It was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1919 and is now international in scope. Like the other Youth Orders, DeMolay Chapters (local groups) usually meet in a room at a local Masonic Lodge. Adult leadership is provided by Masons known as Chapter Dads, and by non-Mason fathers of the DeMolays. The Order takes its name from Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Templars, who was martyred in the Middle Ages for refusing to compromise his honor. The Order teaches the virtues of reverence, love of parents, comradeship, patriotism, courtesy, cleanness and fidelity. The Order provides many social events and activities, and uses these to teach social skills and leadership.
The International Order of Rainbow for Girls is an organization for young women aged 11 to 20. It was founded in McAlester, Oklahoma in 1922. No relationship to a member of the Masonic Orders is required for membership. A Masonic Lodge or a Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star generally sponsors either local Assemblies or groups. Women known as Mother Advisors give adult supervision and guidance. Rainbow teaches the importance of character development. Each of the colors of the rainbow is associated with a particular virtue or source of inspiration.
Like the other Youth Orders, Rainbow is deeply involved with local charity and support of education. It teaches planning, leadership, responsibility and social skills through officer training programs and social events.
The International Order of Job's Daughters takes its name from the story in the Biblical Book of Job. It was organized in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920. Membership requires that the young woman be the daughter, granddaughter, stepdaughter, niece, or be otherwise related to a Mason. The local organization is called a Bethel. The teachings of the Order are Biblically based and the same virtues are stressed as in the other Youth Orders. Job's Daughters places special emphasis on community service. Many Bethels work with D.A.R.E. and other drug education programs. Membership is for young women aged from 10 to 20 years. They also have a Jobie To Bee Program for girls ages 8 and 9.
All Youth Orders make provision for senior or "majority" status for their members after they reach the upper age limit, and many such senior members serve as adult leaders for the organizations.
Membership in a Youth Order does not guarantee that a person will be accepted into a Masonic Order later. They are independent organizations sponsored by Masonic Bodies, not junior Masonic Organizations.