Nov 142017
 

“The Grange Way” is the newly announced theme by National Master Betsy Huber in Spokane at the very successful National convention.  As our Grange year begins once again, I can only stress the importance of following our obligation, lessons, and precepts in all our Grange work.  Our Grange, communities, state, and nation need our ideals and support, as a group, in order to continue to grow.  Setting our personal issues aside is the only way to accomplish this goal.  We can each have an opinion, but each should be willing to listen and hear other opinions as well.

The ideas that each of you starts in your own Granges as a Grassroots organization have been presented on the floor to the National Grange as a resolution. Each is assigned to a committee, the committee discusses it, makes a recommendation then it is brought in front of the whole delegate body for more discussion and action. It is the same valuable process that we use in our own Granges. Many of the 142 resolutions will be sent on to the Legislature for action.

I would like to congratulate Bangor Grange for receiving second place for Community Service and the Gowen family for Grange Legacy Family Recognition.

I will keep this article short as I know I am pushing the deadline.  I had more to say but the information is being sent home by mail.  So until next time.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Oct 272017
 

At the state convention, Sherry Harriman was elected Master of the Maine State Grange, following the two-year term of Rick Grotton.

Harriman, who was Overseer of the State, may be a recognized name in some Grange circles because of her service previously as National Junior Director.

Sherry has been a member of the Grange since 1971 when she joined the now-closed Elm Brook Grange #521, taking her seven degrees in less than a year. Over her Grange journey, she has held every office at the Subordinate level, many at the Pomona level, and chaired or served on committees at all levels of the Grange. Today she is a member at Bauneg Beg Grange #382 in North Berwick, ME, and York Pomona Grange #14.

She previously held positions including State Lecturer for 10 years and twice was State Junior Director. She and her husband of 46 years, Richard, were State Young Couple, but have grown now to enjoy their family with three children, five grandsons, and three great-grandsons.

She has owned and operated her own business, Sherry’s Flag Car, since 1985. She is an escort vehicle driver or Pilot Car vehicle for oversized or over-dimensional loads escorting anything high, wide, long, heavy and hazardous traveling 700 miles a day throughout most of the U.S. and parts of Canada.

Sherry said her goals for Maine State Grange “are to strengthen our existing Granges, membership, and ritual practices with how-to instructions.” She hopes to see a net gain in membership and a greater partnership with agricultural producers. She also said she would like to see “more involvement in community service and grassroots resolutions for legislative action. I am working on complete job descriptions of officers, guidelines for leaders, director duties and expectations defined.”

Sherry Harriman
280 Kennebunk Road
Sanford, ME 04073
Email address: sherryhatgwidotnet
Phone:  (207) 490-1029


Thanks to National Grange for this article.

Oct 232017
 

It has been a pleasure being your leader for the last couple of years. I have learned much and have matured.  Since there are some other opportunities for me, it was best to step down now as I would not have had the time to fully devote to being the State Master. This would not have been fair to the Order or it’s membership should I have stayed another term. I want to thank you all for your support and help during my term and ask that you give that same support and help to our new Master. Sister Sherry is a great and experienced leader and there is no doubt she will do a great job.

 

Read the complete text of Rick’s Address at the 144th Maine State Grange Convention in the miscellaneous section of the Program Books and Information Page or download it directly: 2017 State Master’s Address.

 

Oct 132017
 

The year has passed quickly. State Grange is upon us once again upon us. Hope to see you there!!! Thank you to Manchester Grange members for hosting a 150th Birthday celebration on October 8. There were about 40 present on this very windy day who enjoyed a prepared lunch followed by entertainment by local Maine humorist, Gary Crocker. I then presented three Manchester members their fifty-year certificates. Thanks to all who attended. Guests came as far away as Limington.

Thank you to all Granges who have celebrated our very special birthday. It certainly is a milestone and that to be proud of by all members. Now, we need to work toward many more years of existence.  For that to happen we need the right attitude, membership, being a doer, loyalty and to remember our lessons of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fidelity and Perseverance (for those who have taken their 5th Degree). Look at the list, what is there on the list we cannot do? Put all the ingredients together as a soup and serve.  Difficult? Not if your Grange is one that works together no matter how small.

Thank you to West Minot and Harraseeket Granges for hosting the first four degrees over the past month. Also thanks to all the volunteers who made these successful. I have performed the Obligation Ceremony three times in the last month!!! Members are joining, albeit a few at a time, so welcome these new members into our Grange family, listen to their ideas and educate them on the traditions and rituals of our Order. We all need to listen to the Installing Officers words for each office. When we sit and wait our turn to be installed, really listen and let the message sink in. These passages explain the duties of each office.

Remember our Veterans every day and as Veterans Day approaches. Plan programs in their honor to give thanks for their service to their country and to keep us free.

The Lecturer’s Conference on Sept 30 was very informative. It was sad there were no entries in the Talent Contest again this year. Thank you to our State Lecturer, Margaret  Morse on putting on a great conference.  If you are a Subordinate or Pomona Lecturer, she has a program book with dates of Lecturer sponsored events for you. They will be available at State Session. Check with the delegates of your Grange. Please support her and enter the contests.

It is strange when something just pops in your head and you need to write it down. By no means am I a poet, however, the following kept popping into mind as I was writing this column. A message, perhaps? A poetry entry? Here goes:

“When the times are slow and nowhere to go, your members are few, so what do you do?  One thought is to close but what if it grows? Is all lost, at what cost? We will smile and in a while, the sun will shine on yours and mine. We are not aware our answers are there, just waiting to share.”

Anyways, have a great Autumn and Thanksgiving!

Sep 132017
 

After attending a few installations so far this year, I paid particular attention to the description of the office by the Installing Officer. It appears that the descriptions very clearly define the office and all members, especially newer members and those who are new to the office should pay close attention.  These words were written to define our roots and although the duties of some officers have slightly taken on a different meaning in present time, the written word is our backbone. This means that those taking each office respect the written words and perform the duties of their office to the utmost of their abilities. Remember, Grange is like a perennial plant in most respects. Both started from a seed, grew roots,  flowered and produced fruit. When the plant grows it need the food and water to grow (meaning it’s members that keep it alive) and every once in a while we have to alter or replace the dead leaves so the plant will continue to flourish (as we do in the Grange). The plant survives another year, somewhat altered but its roots remain. Once you remove the plant from the ground, the roots are removed and unless transplanted, the roots die. Really think about this with respect to the Grange. With resolutions throughout the years altering our “plant”, our roots have remained intact. One we start changing rituals, taking away or doing away with our written code, it changes our “plant” and it becomes something altogether different after several alterations.  Feed our “plant” keep it growing, making changes as necessary for the good of our “plant”, however, leave the roots intact. Whenever the Grange begins to “wilt” or if some of its “leaves” die and need to be removed, the overall “plant” still has its roots and will again flourish. But that part is up to us. Yes, we have closed some Granges (dead leaves) and have had loss of membership (wilting) but our “plant” remains strong and healthy. Due to lack of food and water (the members) the  Grange “plant” will die and possibly our roots. Pay attention to the written words of our founders; those who planted the seed and do the best we can to ensure our Grange survives for many years to come. It is up to every one of us (not just the leadership) to feed and water our Grange and to keep it alive. We are 150 years old and proud of our organization and its membership.

There are a few who believe State Grange should hire a professional group to come and restructure our organization. We have been around for 150 years, why do we need professionals to restructure our organization?  These may be professionals in their field, however, they know nothing about our Order and would treat it as a generic fix with no meaning to the Order. It does not fix our problems or add any personal effects. Only the membership knows how to operate our organization as we have done for many years. It seems cold and uncaring  (and embarrassing) to have strangers take over and alter our “plant”. Only we know how to care for our “plant” since it requires our love and caring to keep it going.

If you have new members who need to see the first four degrees before State Grange, there are two dates of interest. The first is Sunday, September 24 at West Minot Grange and the other is on Sunday, October 7 at Harraseeket Grange on Elm Street in Freeport. Both begin at 4 pm with a break after the first two degrees are completed. Remember, in order to take your 5th Degree, you must have observed the first four degrees. The Sixth Degree will be done during State Session on Friday evening, October 20 at 7 pm at the Community Center in Skowhegan.

Has everyone sent in their new officer list? If there are any changes to your membership since you did, make sure you let our State Secretary know. Thank you for those who did submit their lists!

By now you all should have received the resolutions and the information for State Grange. Please carefully go over the resolutions at your next meetings so that your delegates will know how to vote.

I have received a few inquiries concerning the location of this year’s Lecturer’s Conference. The meeting was scheduled for Topsham Grange for September 30 since the availability of Headquarters at the time was unknown at the time. Sorry for the inconvenience, however it was better to change locations then instead of waiting.

Remember that there will be an Ag Luncheon Thursday noon at State Session this year. The price is $14 and pork will be served with a speaker, Ms. Amber Lambke, CEO and President of the Maine Grain Alliance following. Capacity is 100 people so reserve early!

The schedule is as follows: 1:00-2:00 pm, Lunch; 2:00 pm, Open to the Public; 2:15 pm, Entertainment – Maine Humorist Gary Crocker; 2:45-3:00 pm, Ceremony. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

Surroundings and changes are happening all around. Those changes affect us also. There has been a rise in the number of young farmers operating in Maine. Some Granges are identifying and working with them. These Granges are growing. Community awareness is important. What is happening in your community? Do you know? Find out how the Grange can be part of the community growth or assist with changes. Establish contacts with community leaders and communicate often. Why do we exist? This is a rhetorical question which we do not stop and think about as often as we should.

Our Northeast region is hosting National Grange in Stowe, Vermont in 2018 and all states within that region have certain duties and obligations in order to make the session successful. One fundraising item is tee shirts (long and short sleeved) that are for sale. These tee shirts are a bright blue with the logo “Unique as a Snowflake” and come in various sizes. Prices are 10.00 (short sleeve) and 15.00 (long sleeve). They will also be available for sale at State Session. Sales of these items will help contribute to our share of the financial obligation to host.

On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 1:00 pm, Manchester Grange will be hosting a spectacular 150th Grange birthday party at their Hall with ALL Grange members throughout the State invited.  If there is anyone receiving their 50-year certificate this year, this may be of special interest to you. The highlights of the afternoon include presenting 50-year certificates, Maine humorist Gary Crocker, and a 150th birthday cake. I can envision how spectacular this could be having Masters or representatives of various Granges presenting the certificates to their own members. I have seen Mr. Crocker perform. He is very entertaining. Please mark your calendar. The schedule is as follows: 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Lunch; 2:00 pm, Open to the Public; 2:15 pm, Entertainment – Maine Humorist Gary Crocker; 2:45-3 pm, Ceremony.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

 

Aug 142017
 

The installation season has arrived and most of us are getting ready to have our new officers installed and ready for another year. Thanks to the Installation teams that are planning their busy schedules.  Thank you to the Subordinate Granges and Pomonas who are having joint installations due to the small amount of Installation teams. It is always a fun time to meet with our Brothers and Sisters from different Granges who we sometimes do not see or meet with very often. Make the event a celebration of a new year, with new leadership and hope to build your Grange. Set new goals, starting off with short term goals then onto more long-term ones. Get excited. Masters, set up your committees and have planning meetings. Plan events for fundraising, community, etc. Work with non-members and other Granges. Be active.

Select a Committee Chair. Each Committee is expected to give a report at every business meeting. This is where all members know what is happening with your Committee. Each member should be respectful to each other as we all have different opinions and ideas.  Handle disagreements with tact and compromise; DO NOT make hasty judgments without facts. Work together.  So your idea wasn’t considered at this time (don’t sulk, stay away or threaten to quit); work with the current plan and try to make it work for the GOTO. That is our common denominator.

One member happened to ask a visiting State Officer “How come the State Master is not here helping our Grange get members?”  First, I do recruit members for all Granges, not individual ones. Upon meeting the public and non-members, I always talk about the Grange, what area they are from and recommend area Granges. Many inquiries go to the website. They are given names and contacts of area Granges. Second, it is up to you and your Grange members to recruit new members. It is not up to me or State Grange to provide you with members. What would we tell them? We can’t answer many questions about how your Grange operates. Every Grange is different. That is why there is supposed to be a membership committee in each Grange for that very purpose. If I did get you members, how would I know they would stay? Would you obligate them and do degree work? Would you accept them and make them feel welcome? Is the atmosphere at your Grange relaxed and inviting? Certainly, no new members would be recruited or suggested if your Grange is unstable, not active or having tensions within. Third, State Grange does provide resources and offer training on how to get new members.

Many Granges throughout the State of Maine are doing wonderful things. I have read about many on the website and in newspapers. I have attended many fun and eventful gatherings. Thanks to all of you for doing a great job!

We as Grangers need to be aware of our surroundings and changes happening all around. Those changes affect us also. There has been a rise in the amount of young farmers operating in Maine. Some Granges are identifying and working with them. These Granges are growing. Community awareness is important. What is happening in your community? Do you know? Find out how the Grange can be part of the community growth or assist with changes. Establish contacts with community leaders and communicate often. Why do we exist? This is a rhetorical question which we do not stop and think about as often as we should.

Our Northeast region is hosting National Grange in Stowe, Vermont in 2018 and all states within that region have certain duties and obligations in order to make the Session successful. One fundraising item is tee shirts (long and short sleeved) that are for sale. These tee shirts are a bright blue with the logo “Unique as a Snowflake” and come in various sizes. Prices are 10.00 (short sleeve) and 15.00 (long sleeve). They will also be available for sale at State Session. Sales of these items will help contribute to our share of the financial obligation to host.

On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 1 pm, Manchester Grange will be hosting a spectacular 150th Grange birthday party at their Hall with ALL Grange members throughout the State invited.  If there is anyone receiving their 50-year certificate this year, this may be of special interest to you. The highlights of the afternoon include presenting 50-year certificates, Maine humorist Gary Crocker, and a 150th birthday cake. I can envision how spectacular this could be having Masters or representatives of various Granges presenting the certificates to their own members. I have seen Mr. Crocker perform. He is very entertaining. Please mark your calendar. The schedule is as follows: 1-2pm, Lunch; 2 pm, Open to the Public; 2:15 pm, Entertainment – Maine Humorist Gary Crocker; 2:45-3 pm, Ceremony.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

Jul 252017
 

It is that time of year again when the seven Northeast states are finalizing plans before the Eastern Exposition Fair in W Springfield, MA opens on September 15, 2017. As most of you know, Maine has trustees for the New England Grange Building located on the fairgrounds. Each year we are required to send helpers to work in the building during the fair. The helpers work in the store and sell tickets for the annual quilt raffle with the proceeds divided among the states. We are asking for people who would like to work either for a couple days or even for a day. I need to know by July 30 so I can report to the Building Manager who is in charge of the schedule. For those who wish to work, you will receive tickets for the fair and for parking. This year, Maine is scheduled to have workers on the first weekend, Friday, September 16 through Monday morning, September 19, 2017. There are only five of us scheduled at the moment to cover the weekend shifts, however, more are needed to fulfill our requirements. We are looking for someone to cover the Sunday afternoon through Monday morning shift. More help is needed. I will be there from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning. Maine Day is the 16th and Grange Day is on September 24. Attendees are needed that day also to walk in the parade. Please try to attend and show the public that we are proud of our organization!

I wish to thank all Grangers who made items for sale at the fair and to Karen Flagg, CWA Director for asking for donations. A number of boxes full of sale items was taken to the fair this past Saturday.  A new Building Manager for the Grange Building is needed for next year so if you are interested, let me know.

Remember that resolutions are due by August 15, 2017. Few have been received with the deadline three weeks away!

I wish for those who will be attending the Northeast Lecturer’s Conference July 31-August 2, 2017 in Castleton, VT to have a great time and safe traveling. I am sure that our State Lecturer, Margaret Morse and the Maine attendees will have a great time as usual!!!

Jul 112017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Thank you to those Granges who sent the list of their newly elected officers with their June quarterly reports. If you haven’t please include the list of your newly elected members, the phone numbers, addresses and emails of the Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chair and the PHYSICAL address of your Grange with the June 30 quarterly report. If your meeting dates have changed, please include new date and time.

Remember that the deadline for resolutions is August 15. This gives us enough time to print them out and send them to each Grange for their perusal.

Reminder: There seem to be quite a few members who have email addresses but are not subscribed to the website. Some seem unaware that it exists. Please alert members of your Grange or Pomona how to subscribe (this could be a lecturer’s program) so that they will receive a wealth of information of what is happening in Granges throughout the State. Subscribers will have then received all the information by email which is also the same information in the bulletin. The website information is effective and excellent communication for all members.

It is that time of year as the fair season has started. Many Granges are preparing their exhibits for the Agricultural Fairs. The Ag Fairs are screaming for more Grange exhibits, Good luck to all Granges who exhibit at any Agricultural Fair. It is a great way for all members to contribute their crafts and talents; whether it be painting, canning, baking, knitting, garden goodies, crocheting, etc. It is always a pleasure to check out the various Grange exhibits. They all make me proud. I am thankful to all involved in order to have such wonderful displays that show how proud we are of the Grange and what we stand for. Each exhibit has its own ambiance; it tells a story of its creators. Seriously, you can feel the good energy that radiates from each if you focus and pay attention.  If your Grange does not exhibit and would like more information, please step forward. Yes, it takes effort however, make it fun, make it entertaining, make it with a team effort. Be proud of your Grange, show it off to the public; free publicity, a chance for making money (and a first place ribbon), however, the biggest gain is that we work together for a common cause. When we work together, we can accomplish anything. Any member can contribute to their Grange exhibit. Being busy year-round preparing for the next year’s fair is the norm. Ask those who have been involved in planning, preparing, setting up and tearing down exhibits. The rewards are great!!

If you are looking for an installation team for September, do it now since the three listed teams in the website (Vicki Huff, Christine Hebert, and Rolf Staples) already have busy schedules. The other options are to have all Granges in your Pomona have installations together or to ask another Grange(s) to be installed with them.

State Grange session will be here fast. Make sure you send a delegate from your Grange to attend this important session. This is an election year also, so come and enjoy meeting new friends and reacquainting with others.  Should your Master need a second delegate or if your Master is not attending, please volunteer for this great mission. Speaking from experience, should you have never attended State Grange, it certainly would be different than you would ever expect. You do NOT have to be a Sixth Degree member to attend, either as a delegate or a spectator. I am looking forward to seeing you there!

 

May 302017
 

By Rick Grotton,
Master, Maine State Grange

If there is any Grange out there that needs staves, implement cases, ballet boxes, older manuals, cloths, and sashes, etc. there are plenty of items available at Headquarters. Please let me know what you need and when to arrange to pick up.  June 24, 2017 is our yard sale so that would be a good time for pick up.

May 142017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

The vegetable garden is in and doing well, my herb garden looks great (to me, anyways) and the warm weather is finally here. This has been a busy time for all Grangers, especially with elections happening. If you have changed positions please help your successor to learn the duties of the office.  New Treasurers and Secretaries need to know the correct procedures to do their duties. New Masters need to know what their duties are and how to run a meeting effectively. New Assistants need to learn the floor work and new Stewards to do the same and the procedures to announce distinguished or invited guests. The Deputy ‘s role is to help answer your questions and to have your Grange go through various floor work rituals. When your Deputy is present, use this time to bring any concerns, questions, or explanations. The Deputy is there to help you. They are the liaisons between the Subordinate Granges and myself.  Most Granges run smoothly, however, issues do arise and need to be resolved. If your Grange cannot solve your issue or disagreement, contact your Deputy, who will contact me should the issue still exists. I will then visit or resolve the issue. This “chain of command” has been working well and a big thank you to all (including the Deputies) for making this successful.

There seem to be quite a few members who have email addresses but are not subscribed to the website. Some seem unaware that it exists. Please alert members of your Grange or Pomona how to subscribe (this could be a Lecturer’s program) so that they will receive a wealth of information of what is happening in Granges throughout the State. Subscribers will have then received all the information by email which is also the same information in the bulletin. The website information is effective and excellent communication for all members.

Secretaries, please include the list of your newly elected members, the phone numbers, addresses and emails of the Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chair and the PHYSICAL address of your Grange with the June 30 quarterly report. If your meeting dates have changed, please include new date and time.

On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 1:00 p.m., Manchester Grange will be hosting a spectacular 150th Grange birthday party at their Hall with ALL Grange members throughout the State invited.  If there is anyone receiving their 50-year certificate this year, this may be of special interest to you. The highlights of the afternoon include presenting 50-year certificates, Maine humorist Gary Crocker, and a 150th birthday cake. I can envision how spectacular this could be having Masters or representatives of various Granges presenting the certificates to their own members. I have seen Mr. Crocker perform. He is very entertaining. Please mark your calendar. For more information, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

Wishing you all a Happy July 4th!