Feb 162018
 

Grange Month is fast approaching.  Have you made plans yet? Have you ordered your Certificates and/or Plaques you may need? Have you invited your guests?  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant as long as you celebrate the Grange.  Have a discussion within your own membership – What is the Grange – What the Grange means to me – What are the benefits of being a Grange member – What are the benefits of having a Grange in your community – Do we need to rethink our goals and purposes – Why did you join – Why are you needed in the Grange and the Community?  There are no right or wrong answers but be respectful of everyone’s opinion.

During the year, we encourage you as members to come up with resolutions to be acted upon in some way or another.  Some are legislative, beneficial or helpful, regulate by-laws, some to make changes to an idea, some supportive and others against something.  Each of these resolutions is valuable to us as an organization, agree or disagree.  It was brought to my attention at the officers meeting back in December that these “ideas” are great, however after the initial discussion at the Grange where they originated, then the floor discussion at State Session, the idea is “noted in the records and placed on file” then promptly forgotten about. In many cases, the action recommended, is not done or followed through.  Even the sponsoring Grange doesn’t complete the task.  For example:  With the pedestrians being more vulnerable when walking after dark, why not purchase and hand out reflective vests.  Vests can be purchased at the dollar store.   This was only one of the resolutions voted on at state Grange.  Did anyone follow through with the purchase and distribution of the vests? Did the sponsoring Grange ACT on the resolution?  I encourage you to make these resolutions actually happen even on just a small scale.  Something to think about which will go along with Grange Month or whenever we work on it.

I do realize some of our Granges do not hold regular meetings in the winter time so communications get a little behind. During February important letters were sent to the secretaries of each Grange with more to come. Please ask your secretary to find these letters and read them at your next meeting.  The information, even though they may be dated January or February affects us all and should be part of your records, discussions and appropriate action taken.

I know I am repeating myself but feel the need to do so with another reminder about handling of Grange funds. There are still concerns and questions coming to me about the accountability of funds in the Grange.  The head of a committee raising funds, no matter what the funds are raised for or how they are raised, needs to report to the Grange.  The funds go through the secretary to the treasurer.  All expenditures you have for an event, project, bingo, refreshments, kitchen fund, food, supplies, yard sales, etc. need to be brought to the Grange with all receipts showing the purchase(s). If you are in charge of fund raising you should not just go set up an account/CD, etc. on your own, those funds still need to be reported to and go through the Grange.  That includes donations also.

We still have lots of special edition session theme t-shirts at HQ to assist with fund raising for the NE Regional hosting of National Session. If you are interested, get your “Unique as a Snowflake” shirts now, contact the office at 1-800-464-3421.  National session will be in Stowe, Vermont November 12-17, 2018.

Jan 132018
 

Hello everyone and Happy New Year. I have been working on reviewing, reviving, and rewriting some Guidelines for Grange Procedure. I have mailed this information packet out to the Subordinate and Pomona Masters this week. Please let me know, if you as Master, did not get it. I hope each of you will read through it and use it in your meetings. I hope you will find it helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please drop me a line. This is the general paperwork I shared with the Officers and Deputies at our meetings, but more detailed.

In these Guidelines you will find the following information and instructions:
• Suggestions and Instructions for Grange Procedure
• Information/instructions (short paragraphs) for a regular meeting
• Procedure / Opening in Full Form (Opening Bible, Taking the Word and Report; Presentation of the Flag; Presenting Applications or bill from Secretary to Master; Closing the Bible; Retiring the Flag; Presenting Honored Guests; Proper Order for Introducing Honored Guests)
• Procedure / Open Meeting — Opening and Closing the Grange
• Balloting Procedure for Applications
• Handling Motions and Voting Procedure
• Proper Language/Procedure Returning from Recess
• Procedure for Handling Grange Funds
• Samples: Secretary’s & Treasurer’s Receipts and Improved Order Book
• How Grange Policy is developed: It all begins in the Local Grange — Writing Resolutions, Resolutions becomes policy — How to handle resolutions (2 pages)
• Guidelines for Grange Loan Program
• Setting Goals and Five (5) Step Problem Solver
• Successful Granges are Led by People, Responsibilities of a Leader
• Considerations for Grange Leaders
• 20 Tips for Bolstering Membership Retention
• Maine State Grange Leadership Directory
• Order Form: Membership Recognition Seals & Certificates

Additional information: Deputies Instruction/Visitation Report for Grange Procedure; Basic Beginning Steps for Organizing or Reorganizing A Grange; Consolidation of Subordinate Granges; Procedure for Surrender of Charter; Suspension or Revocation of Charters; Sale, Encumbrance or Transfer of Real Property of Subordinate or Pomona Granges; Property of Granges Which Surrender Their Charter or Whose Charter Has Been Revoked; other material is available. A list of new items in the 2013 version of the Subordinate Grange Manual is included.

Dec 132017
 

Sister Betsy Huber’s Master’s message at National Grange certainly hit home, echoing how I feel about the Grange, strengthening my own goals and sentiments.  Sister Huber introduced the new theme for 2018 – “That’s the Grange Way.”  Reminding us of “American Values, Hometown Roots, Traditions, and history.  Honesty, trustworthiness, fidelity. Caring about others, helping our communities, helping others even far away.  Civic participation, interest in legislation and our government, from local to national. Holding leadership positions in your community.  Using our hands to make things for others.  Teaching others how to make or grow things.  Being Doers.  Trying new things, but staying true to our roots and ritual.”  Sister Betsy did continue with addition inspiration for all of us to think about. Like Betsy, I would also like to encourage all Granges to think about “the Grange Way”, discuss it in your meetings, and hold an open house to demonstrate it to others who will want to join us. Thank you, Betsy, for the heartfelt inspiration.

We had a very productive Officers meeting discussing expectations, new paperwork and inspection form for visitations, how we can help Pomona and Subordinate Granges, and other related subjects.  Good suggestions were made and I appreciate their input.

The name of your Pomona visiting/inspecting officer will be mailed out next week, along with the inspection report form, this gives you a chance to have the information on hand.  Please contact the person listed with your meeting dates, places and if you have a supper or not, also include the schedule for conferral of the Fifth Degree during the year.

Deputy school was a big success with everyone participating in floor work instructions, each team of people opening/closing the Bible, many commenting they had never filled the AS or LAS office and finding it more difficult when actually doing the work.  We covered the same materials and held similar discussions with the Officers, with very good input from those present.  Meatball subs and 150th Birthday cake was enjoyed by all for lunch.  Thank you to all who came to this important meeting.

I have updated a lot of Grange paperwork including guidelines and more precise instructions for the ritual, handling monies, motions, and a lot of other items are covered.  Each officer and deputy received the entire packet of materials.  Every Grange Master will be receiving the exact same material in a packet in the next couple of weeks.  I hope you will take time to review the instructions and use them in your meetings.  You don’t have to do everything at the same meeting but practice something each time you meet.  The more you practice it, the easier it will become and more understandable.

We will be having area meetings again.  I am looking for someone to host in the different areas in the state.  Several Officers and Department heads have agreed to participate.  Let us know what you would be interested in having discussed or done. More information to come out later.

One discussion I will share with you.  Many folks are on Facebook, that is a great tool and can be valuable when sharing information, however, it is not the place to make decisions for the Grange.  Grange related decisions are to be discussed at a working meeting that is open in full form by all members of that Grange and voted upon, not determined by comments of a few made on Facebook.  Rumors spread by word of mouth also have a negative effect on the Grange, the same as negative actions.

I am not on Facebook, by the way, and do not accept any friend requests.  If you need to reach me, use phone, text or email.  My email address is sherryhatgwidotnet  (sherryhatgwidotnet)  .   Email messages forward onto my cell phone and I often reply using my phone email address, but I prefer you use my regular email listed above.

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!!!