May 052017

After a long and snowy winter, Porter Grange #569 has once again started meeting at our Grange Hall. Reading through our Grange Bulletin, we were reminded to “Save our pennies!”

We are all getting old and forgetful down this way and our penny collections are usually forgotten after two meetings! Master Gary Nickerson had an idea. On one of his trips to our local Bangor Savings Bank, he asked the bank if he could get a dozen of their piggy banks. Our next meeting all our members were given a piggy bank to take home and fill so we will have the best penny collection ever (as long as we remember to bring them to the meeting)!

A great idea with little fuss and lots of smiles. We all look forward to piggy bank day!

Note: Pennies collected are brought to State Convention every year and donated to a worthy cause.

Nov 232016

There is much to wish for… and much to be thankful for this year. Visit The Thanksgiving Reader Website  — Grangers love readings and this will give you everything you need to make your holiday meal a little more special this year. Everything you need is there and it’s all free… it will only take a few minutes. (You’ll need to do some printing, so do this before dinner!) Not to be a spoiler, but I found the last suggested question worthy of serious consideration. “Have you lived a life that deserves gratitude from others?”


Sep 232016

Dictionary Project Logo

by Walter Boomsma, based on Dictionary Project Newsletter

Here’s an interesting idea… a fundraiser sponsored by the River Region Republican Women was recently held at the Jefferson Orleans South with 11 celebrity politicians participating in the competition. The proceeds will be used to buy English and Spanish dictionaries for third-grade students in Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John parishes. You really have to read the article, but a short description is that they created a “cook off” (sounds like a natural for a Grange!) with attendees acting as “voters” to determine the top dishes.

Read the whole story.

An interesting twist on this… A Pomona Grange sponsors a “cook off” between member Granges!

Aug 312016

education-390764_1280by Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange

Yes, they’re back to school and, hopefully getting settled. That means they’ll soon be needing a dictionary! That also means, for those Granges who have a “Words for Thirds” dictionary program it’s time to start planning and get those dictionaries on order!

For the Valley Grange program, I usually reach out to the school districts in early September to ask for an approximate census of third-grade students and also remind the schools we are continuing the program. (When I hear a Grange complain that some other organization “got there first,” it serves as a reminder of the importance of having this early contact even though the schools are very busy this time of year.

It’s generally accepted that schools do not like to schedule visits and “specials” until mid-October. By then routines and habits are fairly well established. We work with four school districts and at least a dozen classrooms, so planning becomes important. I like to have the dictionaries on order well before that as delivery can be slower during this busy season at the Dictionary Project.

You can order your dictionaries online at using the pledge form, by calling 843-856-2706, or using the paper pledge form included in the Dictionary Project Newsletter. Most of the dictionaries are packed in cases of 24 copies but there is one version available in cases of 12. It’s a good idea to order a few extras. Provide a copy for each teacher and the school library. We usually give away a few throughout the year when kids haven’t received one come to programs at our hall.

As offered in the past, if your Grange is interested in starting a program, I will be happy to help by sharing our experiences–just send an email or give me a call. At Valley Grange, we usually have two districts that make a field trip to the Grange Hall and visit the other districts with a short “dog and pony show” to explain a bit about the Grange and how to use a dictionary. There’s a little more about our program on the Valley Grange Website.


Aug 262016

By Pete Pompper
National Grange Community Service Director
Reprinted from The Patrons Chain–the e-newsletter of National Grange

community service imageThe community service works that our Granges do never cease to amaze in their diversity and scope.  These programs show that Granges are active and relevant in their communities nationwide. We encourage all Granges to make community service a cornerstone of their Grange and know that if you do, you will see it as a key tool in your kit to making your Grange grow.

 Highlights of some Grange community service projects:

Five Mile Prairie Grange (WA) held a community dinner and then had a speaker give a presentation on the American flag.

Gardner Grange (KS) has for many years holds a Veterans Appreciation night where they invite members from the local VFW to the Grange Hall for dinner.  They then ask each veteran to discuss their time in the Armed Forces and play the anthem for each branch.

Bangor Grange (ME) will be hosting its sixth annual Veterans Tribute Show and their fourth annual fundraiser for the House in the Woods which is a veterans retreat in Lee, ME.

Florissant Grange (CO) hosted a Heritage Day where the town celebrated the heritage in that area of Colorado.  At the hall they had food, kid’s games and crafts along with historic displays of the town.  This is a wonderful way to open the Grange Hall to the community and get individuals and families to learn about the Grange.

Concord Grange (NH) borrowed a community service idea from Harmony Grange (NH) a Meet, Greet, and Eat project where they served good Grange food and presented several awards to deserving people and community organizations.  One of the groups was a local band who then gave a free concert.  I really like to hear Granges that borrow ideas from other Granges, great job Dick.

Pennsylvania State Grange at the PA SG annual Family Festival the members donated money. Gift cards and other items that were then donated to a local Ronald McDonald House by Ruth Vonada, PaSG Community Service Director.

Burns Grange (MI) hosted a Meet the Candidates night, one of many Granges, where they had not only a good turnout of candidates but also community members.  This is an excellent way this time of year to open up our Halls to the community.

Little Lake Grange (CA) has started a local radio station at their Grange Hall with coverage in the local community.  It is a 100-watt low power FM station KLLP-LP 97.9.  Think of the possibilities this Grange now has to serve their community.  Job well done.  For more information, you can contact Larry Cotler, Gen Mgr., at lannyatkllgdotorg  (lannyatkllgdotorg)  .

Aug 062016
Quick Tip

Quick tips are ideas for making Granges more effective and efficient. Submit yours today!

by Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

Thanks to Steve, a Granger from New Hampshire who suggested Granges might want to consider addressing the current drought situation with information and programs. (Discussing climate change isn’t a very effective option–just as talking about the weather doesn’t change it.) We’re reviving an “old” column called “Quick Tips” to share his idea and some resources.

Community/Subordinate Granges could do all sorts of things ranging from a Lecturer’s Program to a “Family Health and Hearing” program to a community information campaign. How about a one-page flyer of tips distributed compliments of your Grange including information about your next meeting at the bottom? The idea was triggered by this article in the Bangor Daily News. Note that the last paragraph includes some suggestions for coping and helping.

Here are a few resources for you:

Let us know what you come up with and we’ll share it with others!

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

Leonardo da Vinci

Mar 152016
Share your ideas with other Granges!

Share your ideas with other Granges!

Here’s a great idea from Rick Watson of Fairview Grange… four members took turns at the Town Office in Smithfield during town meeting and voting day, staffing a Grange table. They sold some of their 175th-anniversary DVD’S, distributed information regarding the Grange Hall’s availability for use by citizens and groups, and handed out membership applications. Rick reports that they talked to a “couple dozen people who would add positively to our little Grange.” They also had bright yellow “save the date” tickets to their “next-ravaganza”– a free 118th Grange Birthday Party. They called them “Golden Tickets” and passed out close to 100!

That’s some creativity and energy! If your town meeting hasn’t happened yet… how quickly can you put a team and some information together?

There’s lots to like here… including the idea of “tickets” to free events that can be handed out everywhere!

Dec 052015

brainstorming_huddle_PA_150_clr_3115Thanks to Mary Annis, Valley Grange Community Service Chair for this quick tip–a community service opportunity that’s great for Grangers who like to knit!

Hats for the Homeless Bangor Project is seeking people who knit or crochet to help provide warm hats, mittens, and scarves to be distributed to the homes and less fortunate in Greater Bangor. Warm items are give to the Bangor Police Department and other assistance agencies. The next deadline for having the items ready is January 17. For information, email hatsforthehomelessbangoratgmaildotcom  (hatsforthehomelessbangoratgmaildotcom)   or sign up at the website

Nov 292015

By Marilyn Stinson, Enterprise Grange

Since I am very slow with needlework and crafts, I like for our Grange to choose a theme early so I can work on items through the winter. Since we, as a state organization, are trying to promote Grange, I thought it would be neat for all Granges to use the same theme and plaster all the fairs with CELEBRATE THE SEASONS OF GRANGE. We can promote Faith, Hope, Charity, and Fidelity or Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter or any combination thereof. Or whatever anyone else can come up with.

Something to think about. Enterprise #48 is going with it, anyway.

Sep 292015
Share your ideas with other Granges!

Share your ideas with other Granges!

by Walter Boomsma

At Valley Grange we use our staves as part of our dictionary day presentations, teaching the kids a little bit about the “tools” of the Grange. A few years ago I refurbished all our staves with a thorough cleaning, new ribbons, etc.  I discovered the tops had been painted—they were solid brass beneath the silver paint. A little paint removal and polish and they ended up looking real classy!

How’s your regalia? I know a little bit about the care and feeding of wood and metal, but not much about fabric. We’re fortunate at Valley Grange that some years ago a member built a nice cupboard where we can keep all our regalia, manuals, etc. But sashes in particular are subject to wear and tear.

Being instinctively curious I learned a while ago that you can, in fact, purchase brand-new sashes. Before you add that to your next meeting’s agenda as new business, be aware they cost $299. each. Since most sashes have been around for a while, we might do well to consider what a major investment our forebears made. I count a minimum of seventeen. That’s close to $6,000 at today’s prices!

So a little maintenance might be in order out of respect for that investment… do we have a seamstress out there who’d could give us some tips? Has anyone ever taken a sash to be dry cleaned? Inquiring minds want to know! In fact, I wonder if there’s not a nice little business available for someone who could restore and clean sashes.

Grange supplies such as sashes  are available from