by Rick Grotton, State Master
This month is flying by. The last three months have been extremely busy. With State Grange, National Grange, Deputy School and a State Officer’s meeting behind us it looks like January and February will be equally busy. Northeast Leader’s Conference and Master’s Conference are on the horizon as well as the Agricultural Trade Show and Fair Association meeting.
National Grange this year was the 150th National Convention in Washington, DC. We enjoyed our tour of DC going to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying and changing of the guard, a tour of the National Grange Building, the War Memorials and the Lincoln Memorial. It was a great session and our National Master, Betsy Huber, did a great job. We now have a new National Lecturer, Christine Hamp, from Washington State. Many of you remember Sister Chris . She attended our State Session a couple years ago as our National Representative with her husband Duane. Also, Brenda Rousselle, Vermont State Master, was elected as National Lady Assistant Steward.
Congratulations to Riverside #475 as they received the 2016 Distinguished Grange Award for the third year in a row and to Maple Grove #148 for receiving Honorable Mention for their Community Service Book. Great job!!! A beautiful Memorial Service was done by Sister Barbara Bordereaux, National Chaplain. A tribute to our own Nancy Clark as well as other deceased past delegates and National dignitaries were part of the service. National membership had a net gain this year! Our state needs to have all 120 Granges bring in 2 members apiece and we will be at that same level.
One of our convention speakers elaborated on a great point. The Grange was formed at the time our nation was divided . It helped tremendously to bring people back together. Today, our nation is divided again and the Grange is needed more than ever to help bring this country back together. Let’s work our magic and do what great Grangers do. Be there to help others, provide a place for them to meet and socialize, and to support our communities. Whether you are a small Grange or a large one, let everyone know you are still the Grange and the Grange is here for all. This is our time to shine and to grow. All the tools are at our disposal and the mix of current events occurring nationally and statewide is where Grangers prosper. Let us not miss out on this opportunity. Our communities need us!
December 4 was the 149th birthday of the Grange meaning 2017 will be the 150th, meaning: You got it! Celebrations! I would suggest every Grange do a program or celebration next year. Let your communities know we are 150 years old and proud of it! Invite the public, provide visitors with a copy of the history of your Grange for all to enjoy and/or put on a meal or refreshments. Be creative, be proud, and most of all, smile! State Grange will be hosting a celebration the first weekend of December so planning has to start soon! Whatever type of event you hold, make sure to take pictures and send a write-up for the website. Share with your Brother and Sister Grangers throughout the state! After all, it is a milestone and we must show that we made it and will continue to grow!
We had a good time at Deputy school and a very productive State Officer’s meeting. I would encourage all Directors to attend Northeast Leaders Conference in Rutland, VT on Jan 27-29. Information will be on the website. This is a great opportunity if you are on a State Committee as there will be breakout sessions for most committees. Our National Master will be in attendance.
By the way, whenever your Grange is considering changing your by-laws, there are certain steps which must be done. Ensure that all members know that this meeting is happening; each member should be allowed the chance to attend this meeting. A two/thirds vote is necessary for passage. By-law changes are not to conflict with National and State by-laws. Then, the new by-laws must be approved by the State Master. Refer to the National Digest and State By-Laws if changes are forthcoming.
Have your Grange make some New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. Write down some goals at or by your first meeting of the year and strive to make them reality. Have fun doing it. Make resolutions for your own consideration and make them come true. Make it a competition. Have members write down five (or whatever you choose) goals each member vows to do for Grange. At the end of the year, see who has completed their list. Make your goals challenging; bring in two members next year, chair a supper or event involving the community, set a fundraising goal of whatever number of dollars. Imagine if just five members could complete such a list then your Grange would have at least ten new members, there would be five suppers/community events held and a good sum of fundraising money. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It sounds easy because it is. Each example is highly attainable. You will be so caught up in the hype and not want to be outdone by others that you won’t even think about reaching your goals; they will just happen.
I wish all a happy holiday season, May all your Christmas wishes come true and your New Year be a happy and healthy one!!!