Jan 192018

The January issue of the Patrons Chain National Grange Newsletter is now available! It contains stories like;

  • Get ready to share ‘Grange Way’ in 2018
  • Get ready for Grange Month!
  • Have you missed us? Special double issue to arrive in mail soon
  • Youth Focus: Community Service Award
  • Make plans to attend a region conference
  • Trump, Purdue make rural broadband a priority
  • Program possibilities abound from Lecturer
  • Legislative Fly-In 2018
  • Grange Month Community Citizen and Public Service Awards
  • 2018 Subordinate Grange Survey
  • Proclaim Grange’s great Legacy in 2018!
  • Fundraiser: Grange Foundation challenge coins
  • 2018 Quilt Block Contest
  • 2018 National Grange Photography Showcase
  • 2018 Evening of Excellence participants guidelines
  • National Grange Building Fund pledge form
  • 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation

Read the complete issue (and back issues if you’d like!) on the National Grange Website. (This link is always available on the Program Books and Information Page.)

Grange Month information is available in this issue!

Jan 162018

Short messages from your Communications Department

We’ve just added a link to another subordinate/community Grange Facebook Page. Welcome, New Sharon Grange!

This might be a good opportunity to point out an “easy peasy” way to share Grange Information. I hope those who are responsible for Grange Facebook Pages also subscribe to the MSG Website! At the bottom of every post, you’ll find several social media icons. If you click the Facebook one, a window will open allowing you to share the post. You’ll need to change the setting at the top of that window from your timeline to the page you are responsible for. (You are also welcome to share it to your personal timeline, of course!) If I’m counting correctly, it’s about three mouse clicks to share the post. Those clicks might count as participation in the Communication Department’s “Plus Two” initiative–a focus on what we are doing right in the Grange.

Also as a reminder, I do check Facebook Pages created for subordinate/community Granges from time to time. If a page is not being kept current, I remove the link on the MSG website so we’re not doing the equivalent of sending people to a closed store! The same is true of websites. (National Grange Policy regarding websites and social media is included in the Communications Handbook.)

Some other recent additions to the site include

  • the National Grange Handout of twenty tips to retain members (National Grange Section)
  • an updated (every month) wishlist of the Veteran’s Administration (Community Service Section)
  • the January Bulletin (Communications Resources Section)

All this and more can be found on the “Program Books and Information Page.”

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Jan 152018

A mug WB

“You always get more of what you focus on!

 This fundamental management principle seems to have “popped up” a lot recently. The late Rita Pierson, a well-known educator in her presentation “Every Kid Needs a Champion” tells the story of a young fellow who took a math quiz. Out of twenty questions, he got eighteen wrong. At the top of his paper, she wrote “Plus Two” and drew a smiley face. When he received his paper, he approached her desk, the dialog went something like this:

“Ms. Pierson, is this an ‘F’?”


“Then why’d you write plus two and draw a smiley face?!”

“Because you got two right! You didn’t miss ‘em all! You are on the way! And won’t you do better next time…”

 He left the conversation encouraged and enthused, focused on the “two right” and the fact that his teacher had confidence in him. She points out that “eighteen wrong sucks the life out of you… plus two says “I ain’t all bad.’”

So how does this apply to communication? I think in two ways: what we talk about and how we talk about it? Eleanor Roosevelt said, “”Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Obviously, there are times when each of those things bears conversation—but what is our focus? To apply this to our Grange, what are we discussing during our potluck suppers and meetings? I was at a supper once where two or three people dominated the conversation with their personal misfortunes and everything that was wrong with the organization, including the fact they weren’t getting new members. “Nobody has time… people aren’t interested in… it’s the Internet!” With that focus, will they? “Eighteen wrong sucks the life out of you.”

Some years ago when I was doing organizational consulting, I led a project team challenged to increase employee retention at a client company. People would work one day and quit. The company was actually having trouble maintaining production because they were worried about how many employees wouldn’t show up. They proudly displayed and shared all of the steps they had taken to resolve the problem including “exit interviews” with employees who quit. “Why are you leaving?” It was interesting data, but “You get more of what you focus on!” So we turned things upside down. One of our first recommendations was that we interview employees who had been with the company and ask what kept them there. We did some things that at first seemed crazy, but we knew we had to change the focus. We outlawed talking about absenteeism and posted the number present in the cafeteria every morning–not the number absent. We required supervisors to stand by the door at the end of the day and say goodnight to their employees and “see you tomorrow.” These are just a few examples. It worked.

Much like Ms. Pierson, if we’re going to talk about that quiz (the what), let’s focus on what was right (the how). There’s a big difference between trying to get less wrong and trying to get more right. If we’re going to talk about attendance, let’s focus on how many are present. If we’re going to talk about our Grange, let’s talk about the good stuff.

I’m challenging members to get behind a “Plus Two” drive which means we focus on what we’re doing right – no matter how insignificant it might seem to us—and submit reports and photos to the website. We have a few members (Granges) who do so dependably – our “Plus Two.” (I haven’t counted, but it’s more than two!) If you have a well-attended public supper, get somebody to snap a photo and submit it to the site. If your Grange does a community service project, tell us about it. If you get a repair done to your hall, share the news! When you take in new members, take a photo of them and send their names. If you need some help with ideas or writing, let me know!

The codfish lays ten thousand eggs,
The homely hen lays one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you what she’s done.
And so we scorn the codfish,
While the humble hen we prize,
Which only goes to show you
That it pays to advertise.

Rita Pierson’s presentation is a TED Talk … I consider it a “must see” for teachers, parents–anyone who works with children! But it has application in all of life. You can watch the entire presentation on my website. It’s potentially life-changing and takes less than eight minutes!

Jan 102018

Short messages from your Communications Department

Just a quick reminder–around this time every month, I receive an updated “wish list” from the Maine Veterans’ Association–you can find the most current list in the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page. The January 2018 list is now available… it includes items needed, volunteer help sought and a short list of items that cannot currently be accepted.

On the topic of Community Service… if there’s a Grange in the Waterville Area looking for an opportunity to serve, I may have an opportunity for you that’s quite manageable. As many of you know, I work (volunteer) with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), conducting Suicide Prevention Classes and encouraging “good mental hygiene and health.” They have recently opened the Waterville Peer Recovery Center in Waterville. I recently visited to donate some books to their lending library. I was give the “five-cent tour” and am very impressed with the program–in simplest form, they are creating a “community center.” I had a great visit with some of the folks and found myself wishing I lived closer. The Center Manager has some exciting ideas such as a garden (well, not until spring!), possibly some meal related events, etc. — projects of the sort Grangers could help with! We’re about building community too! If you think your Grange or some of your members would be interested, shoot me an email! I’ll share what I can and put you touch… Thanks!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Jan 062018

Webmaster’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.

The 77th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show will be held Tuesday, January 9, through Thursday, January 11, 2018, at the Augusta Civic Center.  Hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), the show highlights Maine agriculture and the people involved through demonstrations, presentations, and meetings of over 50 major agricultural organizations.

There will be over 125 exhibits featuring the newest in agricultural products, equipment, and services.  One of the State’s largest agricultural exhibitions, the event is expected to draw more than 5,000 people over the course of three days.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Something for Everyone

This year’s show features several new offerings for attendees in addition to a wide variety of presentations covering diverse topics of interest.  New 2018 program highlights also include opportunities for growers, conventional and organic, to learn the latest developments in pest management and earn credits required for pesticide license recertification.  The Maine Board of Pesticides Control will also be on hand to discuss basic safety training.
This three-day event has something for everyone, the farmer, non-farmer, hobbyist, educator, or supplier.  Attendees can walk through, observe, and learn about how food is harvested and processed.  Farmers and producers can see the most up-to-date farm equipment and processing methods and equipment.

Trades Show floor hours:

  • Tuesday, January 9, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 10, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 11, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The complete program and schedule are available here.

Jan 032018

AUGUSTA-The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL), are pleased to announce the second Agricultural Career Fair, to be held during the Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta. The Career Fair will take place on Tuesday, January 9, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Augusta Civic Center.

“The Agricultural Trades Show and Career Fair is a great opportunity for job seekers to learn about Maine’s agriculture industry,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “There’s no cost to attend, and I encourage Mainers to come visit with these companies, as well as connect with resources from the Maine Department of Labor.”

Job seekers are encouraged to bring their resume and meet with these employers:

– American National/Farm Family Insurance – Bartlettyarns, Inc. – Casella Organics – Feed Commodities International, Inc. – Hammond Tractor Co. – Hannaford Supermarket – Kent Nutrition Group – Kubota – Maine Agriculture in the Classroom – Maine Association of Conservation Districts – Maine Dairy Industry Association – Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) – Poulin Grain, Inc. – United Farmer Veterans of Maine – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Representatives from the Augusta CareerCenter and Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign will also be available to meet with job seekers.

The Maine Agricultural Trades Show can be found online at http://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/market_promotion/ag_trade_show.shtml . The event is open to the public.

To learn more about the Maine Department of Labor’s program offerings, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/labor and http://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Dec 282017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Here’s hoping everyone had a great holiday… and you’re now ready for a new year!

For reasons I truly don’t understand, we experienced some email delays over the Christmas Holiday… maybe the email elves were busy wrapping presents or something! I do think we’re caught up now… if you emailed or submitted information/news during the past few days you should have a reply. If not, please let me know!

In an unrelated note, we’ve been experiencing an increase in spam email from “hacked” accounts. Most of these seem to be coming from AOL and Yahoo email addresses… if you use either service for email, you may want to change your password on a regular basis. Also, be alert to the possibility that an email may have the appearance of being from a Granger you know, but that’s not necessarily the case if that person’s email has been hacked. Use caution when replying, forwarding, and especially before clicking a link in an email.

And, while I’m at it… ODD’s (officers, directors, deputies–don’t you just love that acronym?) please remember that the monthly deadline for your posts and Bulletin Columns is the fifteenth. You can submit posts any time and we’ll get them on the site, usually within a day or two at the most. You can actually submit posts more than once per month. However, Bulletin Columns must be submitted by the fifteenth of the month to be included in that month’s issue.

But wait, there’s more! We are gaining new website subscribers every week! Welcome! Now the question is, what news do you have to share with other Grangers around the state? Have you recently had new members join? Were your December events successful? Inquiring minds want to know!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Dec 192017

The December Issue of the National Grange Patrons Chain Newsletter is now available!

• During season of giving, don’t forget the Grange
• Grange shines at 150th Birthday Gala
• Junior Pen Pal program unveiled
• December merit badge spotlight
• Long-standing partner gets makeover
• Like people, Granges can benefit from ‘preventative health screenings,’ too
• 1 in 1,000 Club of the Grange Foundation
• Lecturer’s round up and preview
• Guidelines for Grange Leaders, a new Supply Store item
• 2018 Quilt Block Contest (Note that detailed information is included: instructions, entry form, etc.!)
• Legislative Fly-In 2018
• Proclaim Grange’s great Legacy in 2018
• Celebration of the National Grange Sesquicentennial Anniversary
• National Grange building fund pledge form

Remember, there is a link on the Program Books and Information Page that will allow you to read the current and back issues of this e-newsletter at any time.