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!

 

Apr 132017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

I want to thank all of you that helped in any way to make the visit from our National Master, Betsy Huber, an enjoyable one. It was a pleasure to have her come to Maine to visit. She arrived on April 5 to attend our Legislative Luncheon and that evening we went to Androscoggin Pomona where we had some good laughs and enjoyed a program on Laughter: How it Affects your Health.

Thursday, she visited the State Capitol and was able to see the House and Senate in action with a trip to the Maine State Museum following. We had a wet trip to Piscataquis Pomona that evening where a town hall was held for the program. There were some great questions asked and some great discussions. Participants from area Pomonas and Granges attended.

Friday was a laid back day, however, during the evening, beginning at 5 pm we had a potluck dinner with Betsy addressing us on what is happening at National and by answering pertinent questions by the attendees. Independent media coverage was present for the evening, taping the session and interviewing Betsy. Saturday was the Junior Contests and the obligation ceremony performed on two new Junior members. Thank you, Christine. her Committee, and Sherry for their work.

In the afternoon, three teams participated in the Assistant’s Contest.  Christopher Heath, New Hampshire State Master attended as a judge. Sister Betsy and I served as judges. Thank you, Brother Chris! The winners were Jim Meserve and Laurie McBurnie. Henry and Sharon Morton and Adrian Griffin and Marilyn Stinson were the other participants. That evening we enjoyed a fun visit to Lincoln Pomona witha program on Maine Trivia. She enjoyed visiting with Maine Grangers and I thank all who came out during the week to meet her.  She left early Sunday morning to head back to Pennsylvania.

One thing I do want to share concerns ritual. Since we are no longer considered a “secret society,” it is customary to allow non-members (prospective members) to sit in our Grange meetings and the strictness used in the past concerning ritual has been lessened. The opening and closing ceremonies are to be used, however, in the newer manuals, the alternative ceremonies that are included can be used. It is an option for any Grange to take up the password. This is a big change for us as New England is the only region that strictly adheres to the ritual. If there are any questions, please let me know.

I think we should be organizing some more town hall discussions in various areas. If your area would like one, please let me know and also your Pomona. These discussions will help all to understand in what direction the Grange is heading, will provide you with answers and information vital to all areas of Grange.

There have been some people interested in leadership positions and I will refer them to the appropriate committees. It is exciting to learn how Grange is understood in different areas of our state. Many dwell more on the agricultural side where others are more into the community service side, however, it appears that all areas are being covered no matter which aspect is favored in any area. The trend seems to be that there are younger farmers appearing and a need to learn how to be self-sufficient on growing food whether you live in an urban or rural area. Thus, many Granges are developing programs based on this trend and are encouraged to do so. Ask those where milk and bread come from. Some will answer ‘from a store.” The Grange has ample opportunities to spread this information to communities and also to create resolutions to favor the small farms. An Agricultural Education Committee is being formed for this purpose and to create programs for agricultural education. I will keep all updated on its progress. In the meantime, keep providing resolutions on agricultural needs. I urge all Grangers to put their thoughts on paper, vote on the resolutions at your Subordinate Granges and filter them through your Pomona. GOTO your deputies, your directors and committee members for help if needed. There are many resources on the Internet how to write resolutions and there have been some resolution writing days at some Granges. Keep up on agricultural issues and trends in your newspapers and from television. Anyone can have their thoughts converted to a resolution. Let’s have some good, agricultural resolutions submitted for discussion at State Session in October.

Grange month activities are in full swing throughout the State. There are many community service nights, birthday celebrations and degree days being held. Check the website calendar for various activities in your areas.

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers? Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

Webmaster’s note: There are resolution writing resources available on the Program Books and Information Page.

Mar 152017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Grange month is upon us so let’s open those halls, invite the community and honor some recipients. Any Grange should be able to host some kind of community event during this month. Ideas include bring a community member with you to a meeting, have a program or speaker on agricultural education for the community, open houses, community citizen awards, or any other community oriented event. This is our 150th birthday so throw a party!

I attended the Master’s Conference last month and have come back with some ideas we can try. Let’s work on them together for the GOTO.

One idea was on the topic of mentoring. There are many of us that have a passion for Grange, visit others regularly and enjoy filling in where needed. We need some of these people to become mentors to help Granges. The duties of the mentor would be to give ideas, provide support, answer questions, help keep them organized and educate members about Grange traditions and rituals. The Mentor does not interfere in the business of that Grange or take charge of the meetings. They will offer suggestions when asked. The Mentor should meet with the Master at the first visit in order to become familiar with the operations of that Grange.This will not interfere with the duties of the Deputies. The Deputy has precedence over the Mentor when present at a meeting. There were a few of us that did mentoring a couple of years ago to help Grangers who took in a slew of new members, ones that were struggling or needed someone help to guide them in the right direction. I would like to plan a Mentoring workshop in the future for those interested.

Another thought is to form an Agricultural Education Committee separate from the Agriculture Committee designed to educate our communities, our young people and support our farmers. The Committee would include a member(s) from the Agricultural Committee Ag in the Classroom and maybe representatives from the FFA and 4H and other agricultural organizations. The purpose would be for the organizations to work together for a common cause; to promote and design educational agricultural programs.

Massachusetts has a program through the UMass System that has a hands on living classroom and a summer scholars program where students are given stipends for their work.

There is increasing interest in our communities to grow their own food but many need direction. This is where the Grange steps in. Holding agricultural programs on canning, sowing, how to maintain your gardens for successful harvests, soil, seeds and various other topics. People of all ages benefit from these programs. Invite the public and maybe have hands on projects or even start a community garden. Ask someone where their milk or bread comes from; more than one will answer “from a store.” Let’s take the lead as Grangers!! We are Doers.

By now many may think I’m daydreaming or other but why not try?

Feb 132017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

How are things coming for Grange Month in April?  The 150th birthday parties? There is a lot to do and many Granges are preparing for their Grange Month ceremonies.  After your event, It would be great if each Grange posts their celebration  (complete with pictures) on the website. As we look around and see a divided country it is up to us to take charge. Plan some fun activities or lectures for the public to enjoy. Let’s help our country as we did 150 years ago. It can be done. Work with other Granges, your Pomonas, loyal nonmembers and supporters to plan these activities. It is very important for our growth  and our future,  Honor the public, give certificates to members, just have fun. Let your hall we warm and welcoming, comfortable and positive, inviting and enjoyable.

We all are aware that our country is undergoing changes. People are uncomfortable and protests are happening. But is it the fear of the unknown, things happening beyond our comfort level and control or the fear of the outcome of these changes that are consuming the people? Fear, it is so easy to think of the negative, but what happens when we shed this fear and to dwell on the concept that changes can be good. Use the positive energy to help the change become welcome. As our country undergoes these changes, so does the Grange. The fear of changes holds us back we do not grow, we struggle and are divided. If we can all accept these changes and work with them, we grow and prosper. The Grange has been through these periods of change before, however, today technology has moved so fast we have a hard time keeping  up.  Let us think positive; how can be learn to survive in this changing world? Look for solutions instead of being fearful and holding back growth. We can accomplish so much together.  As your leader, I will certainly say that I have been worried about some changes, but as your leader, it is up to me to focus on growth and prosperity, to do what is best for the GOTO, and to help our members through these changes  with a smile with confidence in my directors, deputies, and members. We are family, we are the Grange!

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers. Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need an active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

The date for the Legislative luncheon at headquarters has been changed to April 5.

It is good to know that more and more people  (members and nonmembers) are contacting the website with various questions and seeking answers. The answers are being promptly transmitted. Thank s to all!

I will be headed to Master’s Conference this Friday and am looking forward working with fellow Masters and our National Master. I will distribute information gathered with the appropriate Director.

Smile, do and grow!

Jan 142017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

While attending the Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening, I was very pleased at the number of people who stopped by who were interested in joining Grange. Over the number of years I have attended, this year seemed to be different; the visitors consisted of farmers and others who want to learn the how to grow food or just interested in agricultural programs. One young farm couple wants to organize a Grange which would be similar to the operations of Halcyon and Farmington Granges. A deeper interest in the agricultural aspect seems to be desired by most of the visitors. It is up to us to welcome them. Is this the wave of the future that we have been searching for? Let’s let it happen and find out.  It was interesting listening to them; their needs and desires from what they expect as members of the Grange. Contact information was given for Granges in their respective areas, so Masters, expect a call from one of these prospective members.

If anyone needs information concerning insurance for Grange Halls, I have information for two companies.

Great American Insurance Group (513-389-1869) and Bob Clouse Insurance (844-472-6431). Martha Stefenoni is the agent for the latter.

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? I am working still on mine! Any new plans for the year for your Grange? I know there are many Granges that do not meet in the Winter, however, Grange doesn’t stop there and start up again in the Spring. Use the time to plan for the year, to research, to visit other Granges. Once you meet for the first time you will go in with a solid agenda and fresh ideas.  Use the time to explore the State and National websites.  Keep up on the activities of the State Committees and upcoming contests. One goal this year is to have a talent contest representative at National Grange in 2017. It has been a few years since we have had representation. There is much talent in our membership!

The dates for State Grange Session in Skowhegan this year are October 19-21. Set up will be Wednesday, October 18 and session will begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning. The banquet will be held Thursday evening. Time, place and menu TBD.

Hope everyone is safe and warm!!!

Dec 212016
 

by Rick Watson, Master, Fairview Grange #342

In this season of giving, I’d like to share some of what our little “Grange that Could” has been up to, starting with a fundraiser dinner on 10/30 for a local Smithfield resident who is fighting cancer. We heard of her plight and decided to see if we could ease some of the burden. Whether or not her family had insurance to help with her illness, there is still the matter of gas for the numerous treatment trips, a lunch for whoever is taking her, maybe a hot meal for the family while she is sidelined and so on. We decided on a donations-accepted dinner on her behalf. To our delight, and to the surprise of her family, we raised over $2500 in a couple hours. Our Grange purchased most of the food and our members rounded out the dinner, bread, dessert and so on. As an aside, we have been looking for some menu alternatives to round out our summer supper selection and took the opportunity to try a lasagna, salad, roll, dessert, beverage dinner. It was a “hit” and will likely become one of our offerings next summer. Easy to serve to a lot of people in short fashion and in line with the food cost for our other dinners. A win-win for all.

In planning for our Grange Christmas Party, we decided to bring food and paper goods for our local food cupboard. By the end of the night, we had a mountain (OK, a small mountain, but still a lot) of donations from our Grangers. Truly in the Christmas spirit, we also made goodie bags, 50 of them, for the veterans at the VA in Augusta. One of our members works there and she was the one who brought us the opportunity to make the veterans there feel comforted in the fact that someone cares about them. We brought snacks and sugar-free candy and made a big pile on a table and some sat and stuffed the bags while others in the hall that night sang Christmas carols. Truly a night to be cherished by all in attendance. As Master, I had sent out individual invites to all paid members detailing the plans for the night, with a suggestion to bring a guest, one who might be inspired by our citizenship, (and maybe somewhat selfishly,) as a membership drive. We always need (and TRULY welcome) new faces and ideas. I was delighted with the turnout. Our largest Christmas party in years.

Next for Fairview Grange is an opportunity to help a young family who is expecting baby Emma in February. Emma will need a LOT of medical help going forward. She is being born with a heart defect. There is a lot of positive energy behind this event and we feel confident in our ability to make a difference. A spaghetti supper will be held on January 28 from 4:00  p.m. until  7:00 pm in Smithfield at the Fairview Grange. For more info please contact “Faith” (Hmmn…how fitting is THAT?) at 441-6929 to donate, lend a hand etc. or Mindy at 248-2066. There will be Mary Kay and Tupperware sales and any sales will send a portion of the proceeds to baby Emma and family. YOU CAN HELP! (This event is listed on the MSG Website event calendar and you can download a flyer with details.) Please plan on attending if you can or contact one of the gals to donate if you can’t make it on the 28th.

Thanks for listening. Good luck with YOUR Grange. Brainstorm. Take responsible risks. You will probably be delighted with the results.

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