Mar 162017
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Spring is on its way!!  That wonderful time of year when everything is renewing itself, and growing with enthusiasm!

We encourage you to extend this spirit of renewal and enthusiasm to our Grange organization. I challenge each of you to make it a personal goal to bring a new member into our Grange family this Spring.

With the same expectation of satisfaction that you have when you prepare soil and plant seedlings, we encourage you to personally promote the Grange and invite friends and acquaintances to come to visit your Grange.  Help them personally to experience the fun and satisfaction that Grange membership provides.

The month of May will bring Memorial Services to many Granges.  Let’s honor our members lost over the winter months with the best memorial of all–a vibrant and energized membership that includes several new members.

Now is the time to start.  Try something innovative this year!  A friend of mine is going to buy (or pick) three of the first daffodils she sees.  She is going to attach a tag to each one that says “from your friends at __________ Grange,” and give one to each of the first three people she talks to about her Grange.

While discussing this idea, we decided that it was a winner all around:

  • everyone likes cheery daffodils
  • everyone likes to be invited to a special occasion
  • everyone will appreciate a friendly invitation accompanied by a daffodil!!

This sounds like a great start to Spring to me!

Happy Spring to you all!

Feb 072017
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Winter is here!  For many of us, our lives have changed into our winter mode, including less activity at our Grange Halls.  However, this still can be an active time for Grangers…….these winter months can be a great time for planning upcoming activities.

An invitation to a Grange meeting or event received now could add a bright note, especially if it’s accompanied by a brief description of the April and May meeting programs, or better yet by your Grange’s Annual Lecturer’s Program.

If your Grange celebrates Grange Month during its April meeting, now would be a good time to ask for/select recipients for the awards that you may want to present to members of your community.  These recipients come from various sources.

Often local newspapers cover the accomplishments of individuals that have wide benefit in our general community.  In our area, the local newspaper recently acknowledged the work of some women who are interested in preserving an old cemetery.   Interestingly, some of these women have shown an interest in supporting our Grange.  Presenting them with an award of recognition (either from the Subordinate or State Grange) is possible if we start now.  Undoubtedly the recipient(s) would appreciate the recognition of their good work.

Jan 122017
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Happy New Year to You!!   Happy New Year to your Grange!! Isn’t it fun to think ahead about the coming year; dreaming of improvements that we want to achieve in our lives in the coming months? Mulling over the ideas that will enable us to accomplish those improvements. I invite you to apply those same actions to planning for your upcoming Grange New Year!  What would you most like to see improve in the coming year?

What actions can you take to ensure this success? Maybe those actions will include items as simple as:

  • jotting down the names of a few folks that you want to invite to a Grange meeting;
  • a suggestion for the Lecturer for an up-coming program; or
  • reporting to your Membership Chairperson an idea that someone else found to be successful in another organization.

Most important of all, please know that your involvement is very important to your Grange.  Every level of the Grange needs support. Please let your personal resolutions for 2017 include whatever level of participation is appropriate for you with your Grange.  You will be ensuring its success!!  Happy 2017!!

Dec 192016
 

By Loretta Washington
Sales, Benefits & Programs Director

In our 150th Anniversary celebration year, it is so important to promote the Grange and be part of our next member gain!

For only $12 plus shipping, you can receive the new Grange Promotion kit (COM 117) with everything you need to grow your Grange. Brochures, comic book, and rip cards are all part of this affordably priced kit.

Ask your community what the Grange means to them, invite them to be DO·ers with you and the other Grange members across the nation, and provide them the printed material to apply for membership.

Kit comes with:

  • 25 Declaration of Purpose brochures
  • 15 Junior brochures
  • 10 Youth brochures
  • 25 Adult Members brochures
  • 10 E member brochures
  • 25 Recruiting brochures
  • 25 Rip Card
  • 25 A Grange Story Comic book

All for the price of $12.00 plus shipping.


This article is reprinted from the December 2016 issue of The Patrons Chain… since there are no ordering instructions, I’d suggest you contact Loretta via email: salesatnationalgrangedotorg  (salesatnationalgrangedotorg)  .

Follow up… another email from National Grange provides this link for ordering.

Dec 072016
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

HAPPY HOLIDAY GREETINGS TO ALL!   I love this time of year!  November and December are my some of my personal favorites.  Everything has a festive air about it, and it is such an inclusive time of year.  As the carol says, everyone is full of good cheer!  Gifts large and small are given and greatly appreciated.

As we join in this festive season, I ask you all to give a gift to your Grange.  Large or small is greatly appreciated.  In fact, the most valuable gift of all may not cost anything.  Please commit to your Grange’s membership goals, by inviting your friends and neighbors to become Grangers.

This may seem paradoxical when many Granges adopt winter schedules now.  However, if you have a supply of membership applications and/or your Grange’s Program Schedule handy before the winter break starts, January and February can be great times to invite new members to join.

This is the best time of year to invite potential members to join (again).  If you are taking a winter break, they will have an opportunity to plan ahead for their new Grange schedule.  If you do not close for a winter break, the schedule is generally more flexible, given weather and other considerations.

By focusing on inviting and accepting applications during the lead up to Spring months, your Grange will have a head start.  What a nice feature for Grange Month in April…..to have new members introduced and/or taking their degrees!

So I encourage you to make a commitment to give an invitation to join the Grange to anyone you greet this holiday season.  It may be the best gift you can give your Grange.

Nov 142016
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Happy Thanksgiving!!  This is the season when we traditionally take a few moments to acknowledge the things in our lives for which we are most thankful.  As we acknowledge these, it is not unusual for our family to be noted.  We all agree that mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, and even in-laws help us become who we are.  And we would not be the same if they were missing from our lives.

So, as we savor the roast turkey and pumpkin pie of this season, I invite you to consider this possibility.  How much do you value your Grange family?  Would you be a different person without it?  Are you an active supporter of your Grange family?

Earlier this week, we attended a Pomona meeting that reminded me of these questions, and the inherent answers.  As we prepared to attend, we called a couple of folks and invited them to attend with us.  They accepted, and we enjoyed their company as we traveled to the meeting.  When we arrived at the sponsoring subordinate grange, the hall was aglow, and the parking lot had several cars already there.  Upon entering, we were greeted by several people, most of them eligible for Youth status.  As we were invited to sit for dinner, I invited some of the young members to join us.  Obviously, I was interested in more details.

As we enjoyed an exceptionally delicious meal, all of us were pleased to get to know these new members better. The two fellows next to me were very good company… smart, witty, great senses of humor, and a real enthusiasm for the Grange!  As new members of the subordinate Grange, they and their peers had not yet joined Pomona.  However, all were invited to come upstairs to participate in the evening’s program (before the meeting.)

They accepted and soon found themselves participating in a skit and a contest with three teams.  Their presence enhanced an already fun evening and set an energized pace for the program.  Simply stated, everyone had a wonderful time.

Later in the week, we enjoyed a repeat performance in yet another Grange.  This time the youthful enthusiasm came from honorees during the subordinate Grange’s Veterans’ Day program.  Again, we met new friends and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

To answer the questions asked above:

  • Grange families are important.
  • They help us become the best that we can be.
  • We would miss them if they were not part of our lives.
  • Please support your Grange membership by inviting others to join.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sep 222016
 

submitted by Glenys Ryder, Androscoggin Pomona #1

A very interesting and productive Degree Day was recently held at West Minot Grange by Androscoggin Pomona #1.  The first four degrees were conducted on eleven candidates.  Over forty Grange members from eleven different Granges were present.  A delicious roast pork dinner was served by the members of West Minot Grange between the second and third degrees.  Honored guest at the occasion was MSG Junior Director Christine Hebert.

Officers for the four degrees were as follows:  Master Wayne Sherman, Overseer Greg Johnson, Lecturer Glenys Ryder (first and second degrees) and Steven Haycock (third and fourth degrees), Steward Norma Meserve ( first and second degrees) and Roberta Meserve (third and fourth degrees), Assistance Steward Dana Coffin (first and second degrees) and Clay Collins (third and fourth degrees), Lady Assistant Steward Sue Verrill, Chaplain Maynard Chapman, Treasurer Wes Ryder, Secretary Linda Sherman, Gatekeeper Bill Hatch, Ceres Cynthia Maxwell, Pomona Kathy Lorrain, and Flora Gladys Chapman.  Taking part in the Harvest March were Shirley Hatch, Elmira Collins, Sharon Castonguay, and David Castonguay.

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening where Grangers were sharing good food and fellowship!

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Sep 172016
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Congratulations to the team that recently sponsored the Volunteer workshop at the Maine State Grange.  A very valuable networking experience occurred during the last presentation of the day.  Simply stated, this was a roundtable discussion led by three members of AARP to introduce “AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.” (More info is available at www.Facebook.com/aarpafme.)  As the discussion progressed, it became increasing obvious that this new program sponsored by AARP has many similarities to the basic precepts of Grange membership.  I added this observation to the conversation, and a sprightly discussion ensued, including most of the attendees.  The net conclusion being that the AARP folks learned much about the Grange, and Grangers learned about a new AARP program.

Always looking for membership promotional opportunities, I asked the AARP reps why they did not belong to Grange.  The consensus was that “they hadn’t been asked,” and “they didn’t know much about the Grange.”   Promptly, I issued an invitation to each of them, and our group gave them an informal overview of the benefits of Grange membership.  As the session was ending, I asked them if they would answer three quick questions about their reasons for not belonging to the Grange, intending to take about 5 minutes with each of them to hear their answers.  Happily, they now responded enthusiastically as one that they would be happy to put their comments in writing so that they could give us as much help as possible.

Interest in the Grange is everywhere.  We now have three unofficial ambassadors for our organization from the Mid-Coast, South Central, and Western regions of Maine.

Please take the time to toot our horn when opportunities present themselves.  We are a valuable organization whose current low membership totals do not represent the value of our organization.

Thank you for representing our Grange well.  I look forward to seeing you at State Session.

Aug 162016
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Summer in Maine! What  a delight! Every community and organization seem to compete for our time and attention… public suppers, community-based celebrations and field days. For Grangers, these are special opportunities  for promoting our  very special organization.

As I’ve said many times before, I am a firm believer that the best advertising for the Grange is our Grangers themselves.  So I encourage you as you continue your activities, whether they be fundraising activities, installations, or special purpose meetings, please let your neighbors know what you are doing.

They are interested.  Invite them to attend any event of interest. Remind them of special events sponsored by the Maine State Grange, such as the upcoming Volunteer Day at Grange Headquarters.  Invite, invite, invite.

When you attend other events think of creative ways to encourage interest in our Granges. Chelsea Grange #215 has recently decided that T-shirts are a comfortable way to advertise ourselves.  We agreed on dark blue shirts with gold lettering. When we contacted the local t-shirt makers, they were very supportive and arranged for us to have a choice of standard t-shirts or a polo style with a collar.  Each has the Grange logo with the words “Chelsea Grange #215” on the front.  The back of each shirt lists “Good Friends, Good Food, Good Fun.”

Interested members purchase these as their schedule allows. Members wore these at a recent community event where our Grange had a table. We also presented one to a 65-year member as a special recognition of years of support.  Whatever the reason, every time a member wears one of these shirts, they are proudly reminding their community that the Grange is very good

 

Jul 172016
 

BY JOE STEFENONI
National Grange Membership/Leadership Director | membershipatnationalgrangedotorg  (membershipatnationalgrangedotorg)  

Tradition and culture issues and concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.

Recently, I visited my high school to enjoy their production of Fiddler on the Roof, the classic story of Tevye and his family. As I sat in my seat listening to the opening tones and lyrics of Tradition one line spoken by Tevye truly stuck with me. “Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything; how to sleep, how to eat, how to work, how to wear clothes… You may ask, how did this tradition get started? I’ll tell you, I don’t know, but it’s a tradition!”

As the story goes on, Tevye must come to terms with the changing world around him. To do this, he must learn how to balance the old traditions of his faith with the world he lives in, and by the end of the story, Tevye has learned how to celebrate traditions while at the same time adapting to the world around him. Immediately, my mind went straight to the Grange with our numerous rich traditions. Our traditions that have stood the test of time, but how do our traditions play a part in the recruitment and retention of new members? Is it possible that we can strike a balance between our traditions with the need to remain relevant to our members and our community? I say, “ABSOLUTELY”!

When we look at the identity of our organization, it’s necessary to remember that at the end of the day we are a fraternal organization and it is our ritual and fraternal bonds that are the foundation of what binds us together throughout the nation. At times, we shy away from our traditions either because we feel they don’t fit with society or we don’t understand why we do what we do. How often have we heard a member ask why something in the ritual is done the way it is and the answer they receive is “because we’ve always done it that way”.  This is almost the same as Tevye exclaiming “…it’s tradition!” Wouldn’t it better serve our members and ourselves to take the time to understand and explain the history and meaning behind our traditions?

Much of our ritual dates back almost 150 years to the founding of the Grange and as such may not be quickly understood by someone who is new to the Grange. Ritualism is something that was commonplace to those of my Grandparents generation who were involved in many different organizations from Masons to the Royal Neighbors who each had their own unique ritual. However, ritualism isn’t as common today as it was a century ago.  When we bring new members into our Grange, we must ensure that our rituals and traditions are fully explained to them. Place yourself in the shoes of a new member who is observing our ritual for the first time. It could be unusual to see certain aspects without an experienced member to answer questions that a new member may have.

Our traditions can also be a tool by which to both recruit and retain members. We should not be afraid to share our traditions should be shared with new members upon joining the Grange and we should also be sure to refresh the collective memory of our current members. Our traditions are rich and meaningful and there are many people who are looking for a return to the more traditional and basic values that our rituals and traditions espouse.

For those of us who have been Grange members for a number of years, our traditions seem to be natural and second nature to us and we may have become complacent with them. It is of the utmost importance to take pride in our traditions and fully understand what we do and why we do it. It is then that we will be able to share our traditions with and excite new members about the history, ritualism and traditions of the Grange. So let’s pull out the manuals, the stations, the regalia and unwritten work. Blow the dust off and practice the floor work once again. As we do this, let us take the time to understand the meaning behind these traditions and strengthen our fraternal bonds.

Reprinted from The Patrons Chain, the E-Newsletter of the National Grange.