Mar 192017
 

Betsy Huber, National Grange Master

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Master Betsy will arrive from Massachusetts.

  • Event: Legislative Luncheon at 12:00 p.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. Legislators are invited.

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Master Betsy will travel north and be available for media interviews in the Bangor area.

  • Event: Piscataquis Pomona Potluck Supper at 6:00 p.m. and Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Meeting is being hosted by Valley Grange, 172 Guilford Center Road, Guilford. The public is invited. Click for more information about this event.

Friday, April 7, 2017
Master Betsy will be available for media interviews in the Augusta area.

  • Event: Potluck supper will be held at 5:00 p.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. A Grange “town hall forum” will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and include questions and answers as well as discussion of ideas and challenges facing the Grange at the national and local levels. The public is invited.

Saturday, April 8, 2017
Master Betsy spends the day at Maine State Grange Headquarters

  • Event: Morning reception from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Maine State Grange Headquarters. Officers, Deputies, and Directors are invited.
  • Event: Junior Grange sponsored contests from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
  • Event: Lincoln Pomona Potluck Supper at 6:30 p.m. and Meeting at 7:30 p.m. Meeting is being hosted by Meenahga Grange, 860 Main Street, Waldoboro. The public is invited.

Maine State Grange Headquarters is located at
146 State Street
Augusta, Maine

Media Inquiries should be directed to

Walter Boomsma  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  , Maine State Grange Communications Director
207 343-1842

Amanda Leigh Brozana  (communicationsatnationalgrangedotorg)  , National Grange Communications Director
(202) 628-3507 • ext 102

Mar 252017
 

We shook it and it’s changing to butter!

In something of a perfect storm, Valley Grangers are experiencing a bit of March Madness with two major community service projects involving local students and community volunteers. First up was their annual GrowME Collaboration–a joint effort with Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. By pooling resources and volunteers, the three organizations are visiting with nearly 750 students from Kindergarten through Third Grade in Piscataquis County. With a mission of “increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun,” volunteers help kindergartners build an animal graph, first graders taste and sort apples, second graders make their own butter, and third graders construct their very own “dirt babies.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange is especially proud of the fact that “we have no budget and not much structure–just a bunch of people who love working with kids and providing positive experiences around agriculture.” His specialty is making butter with second graders. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” He notes that teachers are often integrating the activities into their regular curriculum by using the experience as a writing prompt or a math lesson. But he maintains that the best part is everyone has fun. “Every year there are new stories to tell,” he notes.

Third graders make dirt babies that grow sprout and grow “hair” (grass). The babies include a birth certificate that tracks important events such as “first haircut.” In one classroom this year, as the babies were being collected and placed on a windowsill, one new “parent” exclaimed, “Uh oh! My Dirt Baby had an accident! She pooped and peed on my desk!” (There was some water and soil on the desk after the assembly was completed.) Perhaps in addition to “agricultural literacy” the GrowME program is teaching the joys of parenthood!

Boomsma notes that one school has requested an activity for their Pre-Kindergarten classes this year. “Finding activities that are grade level appropriate can be a challenge because we also have to make certain our volunteers are comfortable with it. This year I’ve agreed to be the guinea pig volunteer for this new activity and we’re trying a project involving sprouting bean seeds so the kids not only help with the planting, they get to watch the sprouting take place.”

Another initiative Valley Grange has supported long enough that it’s a school tradition is a contest among third and fourth graders to design two advertisements for the Grange in the Piscataquis Observer’s Annual Newspapers in Education Supplement. The program is a favorite of Piscataquis Community Elementary School Art Teacher Jane Daniels because it “gives the kids a practical side of art.” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis notes that “We have strong ties to kids…” with Grange members involved regularly at the local schools. “We’ve actually built a series of programs that range from Bookworming and Words for Thirds to our blistered finger knitters making hats and mittens for the kids who need them. The kids know us and we know them.”

Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis is quick to note that this is not a one-way street. “In addition to the fun we have, the kids help us. We collect  ‘Coups for Troops’ most of which came from collection boxes placed in local schools. We like the feeling that we are redefining community and good ways of working together.”

Additional information about all of the Valley Grange Programs can be found on their website, http://valleygrange.com. The GrowME Collaboration maintains a basic information and resource site at http://growmehelp.wordpress.com. If any other Granges are interested in starting similar programs, Valley Grange will be happy to help!

Ad created by Fourth Grader Kaelyn Bussell

Mar 242017
 

Lois McCarthy (shown) and Lisa Goucher visited Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon on March 17 to present dictionaries to the third-grade students there.
A word game was played and each student signed his or her own copy. This is the second year that Mill Stream has participated in the national “Words for Thirds” program as one of their community service projects.

Mar 182017
 

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119, reprinted with permission. 

The Maine Legislative Memorial Scholarship Fund was created by the Maine Legislature to annually recognize one student from each county who is currently pursuing or is planning to pursue their education at a two-year or four-year degree-granting Maine college or technical school.  This scholarship is available for full or part-time students.  An eligible recipient must be a Maine resident who is accepted to or enrolled in a two- or four-year degree-granting Maine college or technical school that is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Awards are made on the basis of academic excellence, contributions to community and employment, financial need, letters of recommendation, and an essay of 300 words or less from the applicant that explains his or her educational goals and intentions.

All application components must be submitted and postmarked by May 1, 2017, to the following address:  Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), Attn:  Maine Legislative Memorial Scholarship, P.O. Box 949, Augusta, ME 04332-0949.

Awards will be made directly to the applicant after successful completion of the first semester of school.  The Maine Legislative Memorial Scholarship Committee will announce scholarship winners for the 2016 applicants in the spring of 2017.  Scholarships may be deferred for one year if this is to the student’s financial advantage.

All funds for the Scholarship have been raised through an annual auction held in Augusta.  Legislators, staff, and lobbyists participate in the event by soliciting and making donations, organizing, and even “auctioneering”.  Hundreds of items are donated, many of them “made in Maine”, such as sardines, paintings, and weekend get-a-ways.  The auctions have been a tremendous success, making it possible for 16 students to receive as much as a $1,000 award.

For more information on this scholarship program, please click here.

Mar 172017
 

By Marilyn Stinson

Exciting times coming to Enterprise Grange. We are Do-ers at 15 Alexander Reed Road, Richmond, ME. Contact Marilyn Stinson, beedlehillatroadrunnerdotcom  (beedlehillatroadrunnerdotcom)  ,  737-2611 or on facebook.

April is ‘Grange Month’ and lots of activities are planned. ‘Art by the Kennebec’ and ‘Art in the Schools Month’ will be celebrated April 1st & 2nd . Sat from 10:00-4:00 and Sunday from 1:00-4:00. Free for the exhibit, art will be for sale.

Dresden Elementary students and some RHS/RMS students will have exhibits as well as Scott MacMaster, Lawreston Crute (Distinctive Views) and Grangers with photos, Jim Decker, Ernest Deraps and Samantha Merrill with their paintings, Brian Seigars and his drawings, Melanie Stout with stained glass, Janet Clement with quilts, and SpinOff creations.! Jim will be painting as the days go by – interesting to watch his work come together.

Free coffee all day and baked stuff for sale to benefit Building Fund. Check out Enterprise Grange #48 Facebook page and see what will be there.

Saturday, April 15 is Breakfast with the Easter Bunny & egg hunt. From 7:00 – 10:00 am. Pancakes & eggs, $5.00 per person with family rates.

Scott MacMaster will be taking pictures with the Easter Bunny; donations for the pictures will benefit Grange charities – Barbara Bush Hospital, Home for Little Wanders and House in the Woods.

Then, to top off the month with Awards Day!! Laurie Saunders has been chosen to receive the Community Citizen Award for Richmond, and David Probert for Dresden. Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. Free, followed by Birthday Cupcakes.

We have been donated items for a raffle to benefit the Building Fund (we need new roof, tighter windows, and more handicap access) A quilted throw from Janet Clement, value $150.00, a ‘Canvas Wrap’ photo from Maine Made Photos with $50.00 value and gift  certificate to Village Café for $25.00. Expected donations for the tickets are $1.00 each or 6/$5.00. Tickets will be sold during every activity until the drawing on Awards Day.

FMI Marilyn Stinson, 737-2611

Mar 162017
 

A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

“I’m bored.” We were lined up waiting for the dismissal announcement when my fifth-grade friend made the announcement. I replied, “I’m happy” and added, “So let’s do some math facts to pass the time.” She did not groan so I quickly asked, “What’s 492 times 33?” She disappeared back into the classroom. (I should probably explain that “math facts” are basic calculations that a student can do almost automatically—one example is what we used to call the “times tables.” My question was actually a math problem, not a math fact.)

I wasn’t too surprised when she returned quickly with a sheet of paper showing the process she used and the answer. She was smiling while I checked her work. It was correct and I could point out that she’d used quite a few math facts to solve the problem.

She’s going to help me demonstrate an important point about communication. What we often think are statements are really questions. When she said that she was bored, I took it to mean she wondered how I felt and, more importantly, whether I could relieve her boredom.

Too often, communication tends away from exchanging information to verbal fencing, particularly if what we’re hearing doesn’t set well or fall in line with our beliefs. We could have done battle if I’d asked her, “How can you be bored?” I’m also reminded of that horrible parent warning, “I’ll give you something to cry about.” The bored version could have been, “Oh yeah? If you think you’re bored now, wait until tomorrow when we study…”

We don’t often think enough about what we hope to accomplish when we communicate.  In conversation, we often tend instead to decide if we agree with what’s being said. Many times, we don’t fully hear what’s being said because we start preparing our response. I’ll confess that when I’m busy I find I more often misunderstand what’s being said simply because I’m mentally hurrying.

Years ago, I taught an “Interpersonal Skills Program” designed by Xerox Learning Systems. One of the concepts taught hard early on was “when your initial reaction is to reject or ignore, clarify and confirm.” The goal of clarifying and confirming to make certain you understand what the other person is saying and why he or she is saying it. In practice, students often found that there was less disagreement than it seemed originally.

I will confess that I took a shortcut with my fifth-grade friend at school. She said “I’m bored,” but I decided she meant “I need something to do.” In an ideal world, I would have asked some questions and clarified what she was saying. Once it became clear that she needed something to do, that’s an easy problem to solve. I can’t fix bored. I can find something for her to do.

Please do not let an important fact escape you—communication is also about focus. I could have sympathized with my bored friend. “Me too, I hate just standing around…” Commiseration can be rewarding because we feel connection and get empathy. But it doesn’t change things.

I’ve had several incidents recently where people have explained at great length how busy they are and apologized for not getting something done. I find it hard not to point out that they could have done it in the time they spent explaining (often more than once) why they hadn’t.

“Let’s do…” does change things. Notice in my example, I didn’t try to change this young lady’s personality or her view of the world. I just found something relatively simple we could do. Think about that the next time you find yourself talking about how nobody comes to Grange anymore and people don’t have time to… Are we really saying (let’s clarify and confirm) we just haven’t found the energy and ideas for some things to do that might change what happens?

 

Let’s make some news, take some photos of it, and share it!”

Mar 162017
 

glasses-1099129_640

By Walter Boomsma

“We are constantly passing blindly along the pathway of life, events occurring that we do not understand, and often encountering difficulties and obstructions in our way; but we should press forward, having Faith that God will ultimately bring us into broad and pleasant fields of paradise.”

The master’s observation to first degree candidates is certainly of interest to an organization steeped in history and tradition. For one hundred fifty years, patrons of husbandry have survived passing along the pathway of life, perhaps not totally blindly, but certainly encountering events we did not often understand. There can be little doubt that we have (and do) encountered difficulties and obstructions along our way. For our organization, the key phrase is “we should press forward.”

Pressing forward does not equal abandoning the past. But it does mean that we must face those difficulties and obstructions while being good stewards without clinging unreasonably to the past and tradition but also without abandoning the basic beliefs and practices that have and will continue to serve us well. We do that as individuals, should be do any less as an organization?

As I study these words, it occurs to me that this might be meant to describe a process—one that is cyclical and repeats itself—just as do the seasons of the year. There are, in fact, “broad and pleasant fields of paradise” along the pathway that includes “difficulties and obstructions.”

Later, in the same degree, the master uses the analogy of grass to challenge the candidates to consider “man’s transitory state upon earth and also of a brighter and more glorious truth.”

“As the grass awakens to life again at the call of Spring, does not each tiny spear, as it shoots from the ground, preach to you of the resurrection and immortality? Let the modesty and usefulness of the humble grass be to you an object of imitation…”

This lesson of this degree gives us much to consider. While introducing this lesson, the master holds a bundle of dried grasses as a visual aid. “This bouquet as you perceive, is composed wholly of different varieties of grasses, possessing little beauty and less of interest to the careless observer, but full on instruction to the receiving mind.”

As we open our minds to consider the lesson, we must immediately recognize the renewal quality of grass. As the snow melts, here in Maine, we see brown. But soon it will awaken. I liken this to getting past the difficulties and obstructions we face and arriving into broad and pleasant fields.

But for some reason, the words “does not each tiny spear, as it shoots from the ground…” looked different to me when I saw them this time, perhaps because I was for the first time seeing this as it applies not only to us as individuals, but also as an organization. I suddenly saw each member as a “tiny spear” of grass. I also saw those spears shooting from the ground in a way of renewal that would create a broad and pleasant field of paradise.

That brings us to the word “Faith.” We must believe in ourselves and our Order. We will keep celebrating birthdays if we believe we can and follow the lessons our founders gave us.

 


Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.

Mar 162017
 

By Steven Haycock, Chairman

We’ve got about a month to go before the Variety Show at Topsham Grange on Pleasant Street in Topsham.  The date is Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. The admission fee will be $6.00.  There will be a raffle with items donated by local businesses, and during intermission Ruby Bryant is coordinating refreshments featuring slices of pie.  We are starting to get some nice acts signed up, thanks to Merton Ricker who is our recruiter-in-chief.  If you have a talent and you would like to share it, please contact me as soon as possible as Merton will be in Japan.  (Don’t worry he’ll be back in time for the show.)  Also, do you own a local business?  Want some free advertisement, consider donating something to the raffle?  We will mention you in the program for the night, and on the State Grange Facebook page. A portion of the proceeds from the Variety Show will be donated to the Maine State Grange’s scholarship funds; agriculture, educational aid, and Howe’s nurses.

On June 24, 2017, we will be holding a yard sale at State Grange HQ from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We are seeking attic treasures and other gently used items. Also, you can join us, we are renting tables for $20.00. We will be selling lunches and having a cooked food table as well.  More information coming soon!

I’m so happy to say we have gotten a supply of the Agricultural Pride t-shirts in for sale.  These are the green t-shirts we were showing at State Grange! They depict a farmer standing in corn field and the caption says, “Farmers… Outstanding in Their Field.”  These t-shirts don’t promote Grange, so they are suitable for anyone, especially those interested in agriculture.  The cost is $12.00 and we have sizes Medium – 4X.  We can ship these to you if you would like for an additional $5.00.

We also have the Grange car magnets back in stock for $3.00.  These are not only great on your vehicle, but also on mailboxes, metal doors, refrigerators, and similar items.  These make great gifts and are also a super promotional tool.  We can also ship these to you for $1.00.

If you would like to purchase one of the above items or have any questions about the Variety Show or Yard Sale, please contact me at 998-2586 or Granger04071ataoldotcom  (Granger04071ataoldotcom)  .

Mar 162017
 

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Gagne, Director

We are all looking forward to spring and spring-like weather and the thoughts of green grass and rich soil. Looking at seed catalogs, ordering seeds and planning my garden is giving me hope as the wind blows and the snow keeps on coming.

The Ag Committee is gearing up for the Legislative Luncheon on April 5, 2017, talking with our state legislators and also promoting agriculture. We are in need of everyone’s help for this event. We are looking for fudge which will be on our display booth and would love to have more donated Maine made items to add to our basket we will be raffling off at the State Grange Convention in October.  The money raised from this basket goes toward Ag Scholarships for Maine youth.

If you are willing to make fudge or donate Maine made items for the basket and need transportation for these items to get to Augusta for April 5, 2017, please contact me and I will make sure we secure transportation for you.  My number is 207-592-6980 or email Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu  (Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu)  .

Maine Ag in the Classroom is always looking for volunteers to read Maine Ag books in schools during the month of March. (I have committed to reading to 5 classrooms.) If anyone might be interested let me know and I will connect you with Willie Grenier who coordinates this delightful way of engaging children in learning about agriculture in Maine. This year’s book focuses on gardens.

I have not heard from any Granges at this time but am still interested in connecting with Granges who may be interested in exhibiting an Educational display at your local Agricultural Fair. Many of the fairs have expressed great delight in having more grange displays but they need to know in advance that you plan to have a display. Let me know if you are thinking about setting up an educational display this year.  Let’s get the Grange displays front and center at our local Agricultural Fairs.

Happy Spring to one and all!

Mar 162017
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Spring is on its way!!  That wonderful time of year when everything is renewing itself, and growing with enthusiasm!

We encourage you to extend this spirit of renewal and enthusiasm to our Grange organization. I challenge each of you to make it a personal goal to bring a new member into our Grange family this Spring.

With the same expectation of satisfaction that you have when you prepare soil and plant seedlings, we encourage you to personally promote the Grange and invite friends and acquaintances to come to visit your Grange.  Help them personally to experience the fun and satisfaction that Grange membership provides.

The month of May will bring Memorial Services to many Granges.  Let’s honor our members lost over the winter months with the best memorial of all–a vibrant and energized membership that includes several new members.

Now is the time to start.  Try something innovative this year!  A friend of mine is going to buy (or pick) three of the first daffodils she sees.  She is going to attach a tag to each one that says “from your friends at __________ Grange,” and give one to each of the first three people she talks to about her Grange.

While discussing this idea, we decided that it was a winner all around:

  • everyone likes cheery daffodils
  • everyone likes to be invited to a special occasion
  • everyone will appreciate a friendly invitation accompanied by a daffodil!!

This sounds like a great start to Spring to me!

Happy Spring to you all!