Webmaster’s Note: State Masters are asked to make a report to National Conference… below is Master Vicki’s report for this year.
Greetings from The Pine Tree State and welcome to the Northeast!
Maine is honored to be one of the States hosting the 147th National Grange Convention. We have just completed our 140th Annual Session and were very pleased to have Linda and Cal Chase as our National Representatives. Thirty-five candidates received the Degree of Flora during our session and delegates debated eleven resolutions. We also had presentations from the FFA, the Veterans Association and Tim Caverly, author of Allagash Tails & Tales.
Our year has been event-filled and exciting. For example, in January our state hosted the Northeast Leadership Conference in Portland. There were several workshops and one was from National Master, Ed Luttrell. These conferences generate enthusiasm and allow us time to plan our Youth/Junior and Lecturer’s regional conferences.
Local Granges have conducted a number of degree days. In just two of those, more than twenty new members completed their degree instruction. Many of our members are looking forward to receiving their seventh degree this year. Being the host region for National Convention has given many the incentive to continue their degree work to the highest level.
Maine has had the distinct honor of organizing a new Grange—West Bath Seaside Grange #592—in an existing Grange Hall. Their charter members are all new to the Grange and since organizing they have added a few members that belonged to the previous Grange. They are full of Grange spirit. Another Grange with exciting news is Union Harvest #591, which was organized last year, in the town of Montville. The town recently voted to give a building that had previously been a Grange Hall to the Grange.
While we still had a net membership loss for the year, we believe we are poised for a brighter and exciting future. We are beginning to feel a sense of energy and potential. In fact, one of our major television stations in the state is currently preparing a feature program describing some of our “thriving Granges,” a positive step in the right direction.
Our membership keeps very busy. We had a booth at the Agriculture Trade Show in Augusta. We hosted the legislative luncheon on Ag Day for the 34th year. Our legislators enjoy this event and look forward to it each year. We again hosted the annual meeting for Agriculture in the Classroom. We participated at the Northeast Youth Conference in Vermont. Several members traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to participate in the Northeast Lecturers’ Conference. The New England Grange Building at the Big E celebrated its 75th anniversary and several members traveled to work in the store and be a greeter in the Maine Room on Grange Day. Our Granges continue to exhibit at the many agricultural fairs across the state. There is a huge support for the Dictionary Project as well as many other Community Service projects. Many have worked on items for the ditty bags that will be handed out to those registered for National Convention.
Our website shows continued improvement and our webmaster has initiated a new idea. It is called “Exciting Grangers and Granges“. Whenever anyone feels that a Grange or Granger should receive this distinction they submit an article to the website and it is our chance to “toot our own horns”.
As a host state, we welcome you to the region! We look forward to sharing our energy with you throughout the conference, but especially on Friday when Maine will be your host.
Victoria S. Huff, Master