Check out this feature article in the Bangor Daily News Homestead Supplement! Granges featured in the article include Halcyon in Blue Hill, Fairview in Smithfield, and Valley in Guilford. I might be a little biased, but I think it is one of the most positive and well-documented articles we’ve seen recently. How cool is it to see a headline announcing that Maine Granges are making a comeback?
Grangers in the BDN coverage area may want to pick up a copy of the weekend edition, including the Homestead Edition. You can also read the entire article online. Feel free to add a comment to the article, letting folks know what your Grange is doing–several Grangers have already done that! (Make sure to mention the name of your Grange and community!)
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.
Valley Grange recently demonstrated their support of Veterans with a donation of collected items and cash for the Garry Owen House in Searsmont, Maine. We also learned about some of the work being done on behalf of our Veterans from Alex “Bear” Allmayer-Beck, LCSW and Program Director for the Garry Owen House. Alex later wrote, “I particularly enjoy events like this because they restore my faith in what America is really about. As a person who immigrated to the United States to leave the atheistic dictatorship of Tito in Yugoslavia, a day never goes by that I don’t thank God that I am a citizen of the U.S.A.”
Joining Alex was Bruce “Joker” Marshall, an active member of the Maine Chapter 3 of the Patriot Riders. Bruce shared several success stories demonstrating how the Riders have help Veterans in many different ways.
In “other business” Grange Members voted to support the “4 Friends for Smiles Campaign” –a Dexter-based program run by four third grade girls (“K-Kids” who, with the help of their Moms are making and delivering baskets to kids who are in the hospital on the EMMC pediatric floor. The girls created the project so they could “pass along some niceness” and the folks at Valley Grange are happy to help! Since they received their dictionaries from Valley Grange last year maybe the looked up the word “niceness,” but defining words with actions such as theirs truly gives the word meaning!
On Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017, thirty-six people attended the Degree Day at Danville Junction Grange, sponsored by Androscoggin Pomona.
Special guests were MSG Master Rick Grotton, MSG Overseer Sherry Harriman, and members of the MSG Executive Committee James Meserve and Victoria Huff.
The four degrees were conducted by the following officers: Master Wayne Sherman, Overseer Greg Johnson, Lecturer Glenys Ryder, Steward Norma Meserve, Assistant Steward Steven Verrill, Lady Assistant Steward Roberta Meserve, Chaplain Kenneth Footer, Treasurer Wes Ryder, Secretary Linda Sherman, Gate Keeper William Hatch, Pomona Kathy Lorrain, Ceres Cynthia Maxwell, Flora Ruby Bryant, and Pianist Louise Roberts.
Taking part in the Harvest March were Gladys and Maynard Chapman, Tracey and Bill Small, and Judy and Jim Meserve.
A light luncheon was served between the second and third degrees.
Over thirty people were present recently to help Danville Junction Grange celebrate the one-hundred-fiftieth birthday of the Grange at their annual Open Meeting in conjunction with National Grange Month.
A birthday cake was enjoyed during the dessert, which preceded the meeting.
A re-dedication ceremony, which was issued by National Grange for their 125th anniversary, was conducted by Lecturer Norma Meserve and other officers. Wes Ryder read an original poem commemorating the occasion.
Angelo Giberti entertained the audience by providing music on the guitar.
Maine State trooper Elgin Physic was presented with the Community Citizen Award by State Community Service Committee Chair Christine Corliss and Danville Community Chair Glenys Ryder. Trooper Physic was named “Officer of the Year” at state session last fall.
State Community Service Chair Christine Corliss surprised Sister Glenys and Danville Junction Grange by presenting a framed certificate of appreciation for their continuous service.
A Membership Award for sixty- five years of continuous membership was presented to Glenys Ryder by her husband, Past Master Wesley Ryder. She is still active at the Subordinate, Pomona, and State levels of the Grange, currently being Chairman of the Maine State Grange Executive Committee.
It was a marvelous evening of food, fun, and fellowship!
This past Saturday, April 8, a benefit spaghetti supper was held at Somerset Grange #18 in Norridgewock. We had a great turnout, people from many towns around came. Was so good to see the dining hall full and folks milling all about visiting. this was a benefit for a long time Norridgewock resident who is now living in Madison. The apartment she had was totally destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago. Somerset Grange was happy to be of some help.
Sallie Wilder Master, Somerset Grange #18
Hello, friends of the Fairview Grange. Thanks for keeping an eye on what is going on at your local Grange, #342, in Smithfield Maine.
This week we celebrated 119 years of continuous operation with a great dinner on Thursday evening. We were especially pleased to have Grange members from other Granges join us. They came from at least Abbot, Bingham, Norridgewock, Madison, and we also had visitors from the State Grange level. Former Master of the Maine State Grange, Vicki Huff, Communications Director Walter Boomsma with his lovely wife Janice, and three from The Maine Grange Agricultural Committee (I think Mr. And Mrs. Rance Pooler and Mrs. Barker represented that committee). Also attending to help us celebrate were Terry and Harriet Spencer, local to us in Smithfield, but also involved in various capacities with the State and Pomona. Special thanks to Walter Boomsma for sharing some stories about what he sees and hears successful Granges doing. We thank all of them for helping us celebrate 119 years.
Noteworthy speakers in addition to Walter were Secretary Sharon Wood and Lecturer Kerry Cubas. Sharon read a Grange history her mother had written in 1971 about the early days of the Grange. Kerry has started a “living history, or spoken history” of our local Grange working with Shelby Watson, and gave us a taste of the project by telling us what her first two interviewees had to say. Fittingly for this event, the recollections of Marilyn and David were told. Kerry hopes to interview all our members so we may keep our history alive. Working in a similar vein to document and to preserve our history, Karie Watson has started reframing the pictures in the Grange and is working to get the people, our people from the community through the years, identified and noted.
Making the night extra special was being able to recognize Marilyn Giroux for her 75 years of membership in the Grange. Marilyn is one of our favorite “Grange Gal’s” and we were pleased to celebrate this milestone with her. She was surrounded by several generations of family and friends Thursday and many from the community took a minute to share a story about their interactions with her through the years. David Hartford, another long time member presented her with certificates of appreciation and recognition from the National and State Granges. He also read her a poem he had written, and shared a couple stories from their youth. A nice tribute. Special thanks to David.
We had plenty of great food, great company, and it truly felt like an evening spent with family. The Hall looked great and I would be negligent to not recognize Karie Watson for her efforts putting on the meal and also to her and to Sharon for making the Hall look so fresh, Springlike and inviting for our celebration.
Thanks to all who cooked, cleaned, lugged and tugged, decorated, hauled trash, washed dishes, spoke, made the trip to join us or in any other way helped make it a fitting tribute to 119 years in Smithfield.
In something of a perfect storm, Valley Grangers are experiencing a bit of March Madness with two major community service projects involving local students and community volunteers. First up was their annual GrowME Collaboration–a joint effort with Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. By pooling resources and volunteers, the three organizations are visiting with nearly 750 students from Kindergarten through Third Grade in Piscataquis County. With a mission of “increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun,” volunteers help kindergartners build an animal graph, first graders taste and sort apples, second graders make their own butter, and third graders construct their very own “dirt babies.”
Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange is especially proud of the fact that “we have no budget and not much structure–just a bunch of people who love working with kids and providing positive experiences around agriculture.” His specialty is making butter with second graders. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” He notes that teachers are often integrating the activities into their regular curriculum by using the experience as a writing prompt or a math lesson. But he maintains that the best part is everyone has fun. “Every year there are new stories to tell,” he notes.
Third graders make dirt babies that grow sprout and grow “hair” (grass). The babies include a birth certificate that tracks important events such as “first haircut.” In one classroom this year, as the babies were being collected and placed on a windowsill, one new “parent” exclaimed, “Uh oh! My Dirt Baby had an accident! She pooped and peed on my desk!” (There was some water and soil on the desk after the assembly was completed.) Perhaps in addition to “agricultural literacy” the GrowME program is teaching the joys of parenthood!
Boomsma notes that one school has requested an activity for their Pre-Kindergarten classes this year. “Finding activities that are grade level appropriate can be a challenge because we also have to make certain our volunteers are comfortable with it. This year I’ve agreed to be the guinea pig volunteer for this new activity and we’re trying a project involving sprouting bean seeds so the kids not only help with the planting, they get to watch the sprouting take place.”
Another initiative Valley Grange has supported long enough that it’s a school tradition is a contest among third and fourth graders to design two advertisements for the Grange in the Piscataquis Observer’s Annual Newspapers in Education Supplement. The program is a favorite of Piscataquis Community Elementary School Art Teacher Jane Daniels because it “gives the kids a practical side of art.” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis notes that “We have strong ties to kids…” with Grange members involved regularly at the local schools. “We’ve actually built a series of programs that range from Bookworming and Words for Thirds to our blistered finger knitters making hats and mittens for the kids who need them. The kids know us and we know them.”
Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis is quick to note that this is not a one-way street. “In addition to the fun we have, the kids help us. We collect ‘Coups for Troops’ most of which came from collection boxes placed in local schools. We like the feeling that we are redefining community and good ways of working together.”
Additional information about all of the Valley Grange Programs can be found on their website, http://valleygrange.com. The GrowME Collaboration maintains a basic information and resource site at http://growmehelp.wordpress.com. If any other Granges are interested in starting similar programs, Valley Grange will be happy to help!