Hoping that all mothers had a very happy Mother’s Day. Even if the weather wasn’t cooperating, the day should always be a special one. We should not let outside distractions influence our enthusiasm and positive thoughts. The more we dwell on negative thoughts, the more negativity comes to us. The more positive thoughts we have, the more successful we are in our labors and accomplishments. If we dwell on negativity then we are using our energies on things that are petty and have no relevance to our Grange work. Thus we accomplish little. Other–members and the public–pick up on such energies. This IS a difference whether you get a new member and why some Granges fold. Who wants to belong to an organization with crabby and disrespectful people? Let the little things go, especially when dealing with our brothers and sisters. Too many times I have attended meetings where after the meeting, someone will come to me and accuse another of insubordination or tattle on some petty thing that often makes no sense. Most often it is not even true. I have seen others leave a meeting (just recently) during a closing in which one of those who left had a speaking part. They just walked out. Imagine what the visitors who were non-members were thinking. This is the highest form of disrespect to our Order! Just because we don’t get our way doesn’t mean we have the right to “sabotage” a meeting trying to make a point by leaving during a respective time of a meeting. This is disrespectful to not just the Order but to its members, especially when there are prospective members in attendance. Brothers and Sisters, these are big “don’ts” that harm your Grange and its reputations. The point is, that we all need to get along for the GOTO; things will get done, new members will join and the public will attend our events. Which brings us further onto the topic of membership.
Since the State Membership Committee no longer exists as of May 1, there have been thoughts on the approach to realign the committee into teams in different areas of the State. After attending meetings which have turned into town hall discussions some thoughts come to mind. One thought is to have at least five teams consisting of no more than five (5) members each travel within their respective areas to educate members about membership drives (including recruiting new Pomona members), hold discussions, do training and to encourage and attend any open houses for the public. Anyone interested in forming or being a part of a team let me know so I can hold some training classes for those interested. This is not “we have always done it that way” but a different approach.
I encourage more Granges to invite other Granges for town hall discussions. Include prospective members and reach out to the public to attend. Invite a State Officer or arrange the meeting when your Deputy is present. It would certainly be a pleasure for me to attend one of these discussions where everyone has a chance to ask questions and gain valuable information. More information how to set up or how to arrange such a meeting can be obtained by contacting me. Membership should always be a top priority whether your Grange is flourishing or not. Think about the Good of the Order. Think about improvements and what your Grange could be doing. Share ideas, ask questions, make suggestions, develop goals and be successful in your endeavors.
Election time is near which is a very important period in our Grange. I would encourage members to try different offices as there will be fresh ideas and new leadership. It does not help you to have say the same Master serve for an extended period of time. History proves that having the same leaders year after year does not work for any organization. Fresh ideas and new leadership provide new goals and approaches to reach those goals. Even if you have a small Grange, officer changes are encouraged. The position of Master is NOT one of power but of keeping your Grange running smoothly and effectively. The Master does not run the Grange as a “dictator” or make all decisions for the Grange. The Master does not control any member or other offices. Should this be happening in your Grange, then it is time for a new leader. Consider what is Good for the Order. Do not worry about hurt feelings, do not be afraid of making the change or putting them back in the same office just because you don’t want to be looked upon as a “rebel.” Believe it or not, there are Granges which operate in this manner and many people will not join or members go to meetings or the person becomes upset when replaced. Many of these Granges struggle and end up closing, wondering why they can’t get new members. In the true sense of Grange, if someone (in any office) gets replaced, there should be no hard feelings or resentment toward the Grange or its members. If they threaten to quit because they don’t want to give up an office or when replaced, let them go; they are not true Grangers or have the best interest of the Grange in mind. Your Grange will be better off. History has also proven this to be true. Each officer has their own duties but in an office such as Lecturer, the Master should know what is being planned for the year out of common courtesy in order to have the Grange run smoothly. The Master position is not to be feared but experienced and much can be learned. I have found this to be a true statement having been Master in all levels of the State.
Although some of this discussion has to do with negativity, it is in no way meant to be disparaging or condescending. It is meant to be a wake-up call for all and try to “clean up” within and have our organization primed to accept and RETAIN new members. With these negative circumstances happening in our Granges, it is holding us back as an organization. It is what I have been experiencing in my travels and needs to be communicated to all so we know what NOT to do and for GOTO.