Dec 242012

No matter how or where you celebrate the holidays… best wishes for a meaningful time filled with love, hope, and peace!

I love the Christmas-tide, and yet,

I notice this, each year I live;

I always like the gifts I get,

But how I love the gifts I give!

(This poem by Carolyn Wells is included in the Valley Grange Christmas Offering video–enjoy the video on the Valley Grange Website.)santa_waving_merry_christmas_150_clr_508


Dec 232012

look_who_has_an_idea_150_clr_7993snow_flake_arrow_design_400_clr_6941If you’re looking for a quick  community service project to warm your heart in January, here’s an idea: host a paper snowflake making workshop! I can tell you from being at school, kids love to make them! The Connecticut Parent Teachers Association has requested paper snowflakes for Sandy Hook so the kids can have a “winter wonderland” at their new school. Several libraries in Maine (Gardiner and Brewer to name a few) have already scheduled workshops requiring only that participants bring their own scissors!

Snowflakes can be sent directly to Connecticut by mailing them to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden CT 06514 but must be sent to arrive by January 12th! Hurry!

And if you’ve forgotten how to make paper snowflakes… here’s one of many sites with simple instructions:


Dec 182012

The Connecticut State Grange Foundation has established the Sandy Hook Angels fund, where 100% of the donations collected will be given to help families of the victims and students of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. If you need more details, please follow this link:

Webmaster’s Note: I received this notice from National Grange and did not have time to research additional information or details this morning–I’ve been working at school this week.

Dec 172012


Santa gets some help.

Santa gets some help.

Danville Junction Grange #65 met at the hall last Thursday evening for a business meeting and annual Christmas program with thirty-two members present.  A table downstairs was overflowing with gifts and toys brought by members for children and picked up by the Salvation Army.  The highlight of the program was the singing of “Must Be Santa”, led by Overseer Gladys Chapman.  She called our master, Ed MacDonald, onto the stage, where he was dressed in a Santa suit by Past Master Maynard Chapman and Treasurer Barbara Hardison.  This led to much merriment!!  Most people were laughing too much to sing!  (Thanks, Mac, for being such a good sport!)  Also on the program was our traditional “Left-Right Game”, during which three members won a tray of decorated molasses Christmas cookies.  Delicious refreshments of pizza and decorated cakes were served after the meeting.  A wonderful time was had by all.Members of Danville Junction Grange wish all of you in our grange family and beyond a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Items destined for Salvation Army

Items destined for Salvation Army–more help for Santa


Dec 152012

New Grange LogoIssue Number 6 of the New Grange E-Newsletter has arrived, reminding us that a paper edition is no longer being published. The current issue includes some great articles including “The First Law of  Grange Communications,” a review of the current 13 second campaign, and some encouraging membership highlights. Did you know that one state had a 15.9% membership gain this year?

And, while most of us cling to the notion of holding paper, here’s another interesting fact–this electronic newsletter already has more subscribers than the paper edition did!

Sign up to receive your copy!


Dec 152012

At our last meeting on December 10th we had our annual supper for all of our members and their spouses and guests. The Italian meal was prepared by our gourmet cooking members and was excellent.

During the meeting, which followed the supper, we collected Christmas presents donated by our members for two St George families. The presents were taken to the Salvation Army for delivery to the families. We also collected lots of cat and dog food, paper plates, toys etc the Ocean View Grange members donated to the Knox County Humane Society.

Dec 122012

Greetings of the Season!

Words from Walter...

Words from Walter…

Our big web site news this month is that the Junior Department now has their own “sub page” under “documents you asked for.” There you’ll find a number of resources regarding the Junior Grange Program including a brochure with application and several program books! Many thanks to Director Laurie McBurney for assembling these resources and sending them so they’d be readily available to all members! Even if you’re not yet involved in a Junior Program, you can certainly appreciate Laurie’s effort. Why not send her an email  (laurie_mattidewaterdotnet)   and say “Thanks!” You can find the page by visiting the site, clicking the [Documents you asked for] tab at the top center… this will bring up a drop-down menu with [Junior Department Resources] right at the top. Here’s a direct link for your convenience: we now have a Secretary’s page and a Junior Department page with 24 hour access to the documents you need! Similar pages can be created for any department who will send me copies of program books, information and resources.

Site maintenance continues, with outdated information being deleted. Member help with this is sincerely appreciated… it’s a big site and it’s not easy to keep track of everything. If you find “old” information, broken links, etc. please send me an email   (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  so I can investigate and fix. Some of you have heard me say, “There’s only one of me and many of you…” We can use that to our advantage if you’ll share some ownership of your website and help keep it current. Again, please try to remember when you are submitting stories and events to include ALL the details. An important value of the Internet is ready access to lots of information!

Media & MembersI hope to see many of you at the Northeast Leaders’ Conference next month… on Saturday morning I’ll be speaking on “Media and Member Relations.”  While we won’t just be talking about the Internet and social media, we will be exploring how both have impacted relationships both positively and negatively. (Wait until you see some examples!) You’ll also learn what a “nutgraph” is and how to use it… and why it’s important to understand that the media always “cuts from the bottom.” This is your final a reminder the deadline for registering is this Saturday, December 15th. Hurry!

Lastly, I’m working on a Christmas story for my brain leaks and musings blog and can share just a little “pre-publication”… I was walking down the hall at school with a second grader… when we passed the “giving tree” (where students leave donations for the local food cupboard). My young friend asked, “Mr. Boomsma, what do you suppose would happen if every kid in school brought something for the tree every day from now until Christmas?”

My adult brain saw two opportunities–I stalled for time by telling her she’d asked an interesting question. I was debating whether to explore discussing the concepts of sharing and generosity… or take advantage of a “teachable moment” and suggesting we do some math…

Her child’s brain was quicker than mine and she quickly asked a followup question. “Do you think the school would explode?”

I prefer thinking that the conversation was really not about destruction and that she had combined both opportunities with a pretty important question. What would happen if everyone did one simple act of kindness and generosity every day?

Dec 122012

Well, maybe… it’s interesting and sometimes helpful to learn what’s happening with Granges around the country! I happened onto an interesting article about a Grange in Massachusetts — an interesting example of how a program announcement turned into a feature article. I won’t spoil it for you, but the short version is the Williamsburg Grange recently did some brainstorming to find ways to fix up their hall–partly because the local school is interested in using the Grange Hall while the school is undergoing renovations. Among the ideas surfaced by Grange Master Candy Smith are some “horsetrading” regarding a dishwasher… Check out “Updating the Grange, Fundraiser December 16.”

Dec 112012
Laurie McBurnie
laurie_mattidewaterdotnet  (laurie_mattidewaterdotnet)  

I visited So. Sangerville Grange last month to deliver art projects, prizes and awards to the five Maine State Junior Grange members in that area. The Juniors attend the subordinate meetings and are put to work helping some of the officers and participating in the Lecturer’s programs.

I’ve started a newsletter, Maine~ly for Juniors, which will be printed periodically. If any subordinate granges are interested in receiving a copy, please let me know.

This is a good time of year to spread the word about Junior Grange. Many subordinates are having Christmas parties for the children in their areas. Put out some of the membership flyers and Junior Grange programs for the children and parents to pick up. You can get a master copy on the state website or contact Jr. Director Laurie McBurnie or State Secretary Sharon Manley.

The 2013 Maine State Junior Grange program, the National Junior Grange program and the flyer for the Memorial Bricks are posted on the website. You can find them in “Documents You Asked For…”

Dec 092012

Knox Pomona Master Sherrill Snowdeal and Come Spring Food Bank Director Carol Watier with the donations brought in by Pomona members.

Knox Pomona celebrated the Christmas season on Dec. 8 with its usual tradition of giving locally. This year members chose to donate non-perishable food items to the Come Spring Food Pantry in Union. Food bank director Carol Watier was on hand to speak about the history of the food bank, its role and its needs. Come Spring is a stand-alone food bank serving families in the towns of Union and Appleton and relies on local support.