Aug 312016
 
Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

The basic information about the 143rd Annual Convention is now posted and available on the website. So far we have information (and a reservation form) regarding the annual banquet, area hotel list, and the schedule:

You can also find these any time by visiting the website’s conference page.

We’ll soon be adding “frequently asked questions” (and answers!)–if you have a question, submit it by email  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  . Also, within the next few days, we’ll have a system set up so non-delegates will be able to register online. (Delegates must be registered by the Subordinate or Pomona Grange Secretary.)

We’ll also be adding information as it becomes available! Many state contest deadlines are approaching–check program books and make sure to submit your entries. Also, officers and directors are reminded that deadlines are fast approaching for annual reports and program books.

Hope to see many of you in Skowhegan!

Aug 312016
 

education-390764_1280by Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange

Yes, they’re back to school and, hopefully getting settled. That means they’ll soon be needing a dictionary! That also means, for those Granges who have a “Words for Thirds” dictionary program it’s time to start planning and get those dictionaries on order!

For the Valley Grange program, I usually reach out to the school districts in early September to ask for an approximate census of third-grade students and also remind the schools we are continuing the program. (When I hear a Grange complain that some other organization “got there first,” it serves as a reminder of the importance of having this early contact even though the schools are very busy this time of year.

It’s generally accepted that schools do not like to schedule visits and “specials” until mid-October. By then routines and habits are fairly well established. We work with four school districts and at least a dozen classrooms, so planning becomes important. I like to have the dictionaries on order well before that as delivery can be slower during this busy season at the Dictionary Project.

You can order your dictionaries online at www.dictionaryproject.org using the pledge form, by calling 843-856-2706, or using the paper pledge form included in the Dictionary Project Newsletter. Most of the dictionaries are packed in cases of 24 copies but there is one version available in cases of 12. It’s a good idea to order a few extras. Provide a copy for each teacher and the school library. We usually give away a few throughout the year when kids haven’t received one come to programs at our hall.

As offered in the past, if your Grange is interested in starting a program, I will be happy to help by sharing our experiences–just send an email or give me a call. At Valley Grange, we usually have two districts that make a field trip to the Grange Hall and visit the other districts with a short “dog and pony show” to explain a bit about the Grange and how to use a dictionary. There’s a little more about our program on the Valley Grange Website.

 

Aug 262016
 

By Amanda Leigh Brozana,
National Grange Lecturer
Reprinted from The Patron’s Chain, the e-newsletter of National Grange

home-economicsRecently I caused quite a stir – surprise, surprise – by sharing a video on Facebook that suggests schools include in their curriculums things previously taught in what was known as shop and home ec classes.

Many of my friends – hopefully that includes many of you – argued that teaching things like cooking and sewing and finding a stud to hang a picture are the responsibility of parents and other family members.

Yes. Yes, I agree.

But there was much more in those classes that I, as a member of one of the last classes of students in my district to have them under these titles, learned (and a few things I wish I would have).

Sure, most kids can learn how to cook the basics through observation of our parents or grandparents but formally teaching young people how to prepare food in nutritious, safe and appetizing ways is still important. Food safety is second hat to those who cook frequently, but for time-strapped individuals who are just learning, it’s so easy to worry about less dishes and choose to use the same cutting board for raw chicken and cucumbers for salad, not knowing the risks.

You can watch someone change a tire and learn or figure out how to sew a button by finding a YouTube video, but more complex subjects you often can’t learn just by seeing – like balancing a checkbook, understanding interest rates or planning an investment strategy. These are vital for youth to know, especially before signing for that first college loan or taking out that first credit card. However, many parents – of young kids, teens and beyond – don’t understand these topics in detail themselves.

These are the things modern home ec classes were starting to teach as I entered and exited my high school years. But most schools have since done away with these type of classes because of reduced budgets, lack of teachers in their area in that subject, focus on academic areas covered by standardized testing and many other reasons. This is the same for many districts that have cut agriculture education (and FFA) programs.

And with those cuts, there is certainly a noticeable void. People who lack these skills and training often ignore problems because they do not know how to deal with it, or they spend money they often don’t have to fix a problem they could have easily taken care of with a little knowledge and training. In the long run, it may help the local economy for someone to call out a plumber to fix a leaky sink for $100 rather than go to the hardware store and buy a $1 rubber washer, but there are $99 fewer dollars for that individual to spend on healthy food, paying down credit card debt, or giving to your Grange Hall fund.

Still, the argument that all of the personal, home and life skills necessary should be taught by parents, or the larger parenting community, and not the burden of already stretched public school budgets is valid.

So, maybe there is a call to action for Grangers to fill this void.

Instead of asking schools to provide this type of instruction on the backs of taxpayers, or expecting parents who sometimes graduated out of schools and homes that did not prepare them in these fields, our Grange members who have an area of expertise could share their knowledge as part of an ongoing Lecturer’s series on “Life Skills.”

In the coming months, I will be seeking assistance in creating programs in this area and hope Granges will put on their own programs, then share them with me for further distribution. It’s time to return to the lives of our community members as educational hubs we were meant to be, and what better time than as we prepare to celebrate our founding and prove our relevance in this new age.

Won’t you consider providing ideas for Life Skills Basics and Advanced Lecturer’s Programs that could be offered at meetings or on weekends by your Grange? Email your ideas or completed programs, in the form of a Lecturer’s Program in a Box, to lectureratnationalgrangedotorg  (lectureratnationalgrangedotorg)  , or call 202-628-3507 with suggestions.

Lecturer’s Program in a Box Standard Form

Program should be completed on PowerPoint or similar presentation software and must include

  • A title slide
  • At least 10 informational slides
  • A closing slide with author’s name, contact information and basic details (ex. Larry Smith has been a licensed contractor with his own business in Hartford, CT, for more than 20 years).
  • A handout/stand alone document that includes either a step-by-step guide, tip sheet, frequently asked questions, resource list, comparison guide, activity or other tool or activity to engage the audience and reinforce your instruction

If you are unable to use a presentation software, you can create a speech script with attached photos or illustrations in addition to the stand-alone handout.

Aug 262016
 

By Pete Pompper
National Grange Community Service Director
Reprinted from The Patrons Chain–the e-newsletter of National Grange

community service imageThe community service works that our Granges do never cease to amaze in their diversity and scope.  These programs show that Granges are active and relevant in their communities nationwide. We encourage all Granges to make community service a cornerstone of their Grange and know that if you do, you will see it as a key tool in your kit to making your Grange grow.

 Highlights of some Grange community service projects:

Five Mile Prairie Grange (WA) held a community dinner and then had a speaker give a presentation on the American flag.

Gardner Grange (KS) has for many years holds a Veterans Appreciation night where they invite members from the local VFW to the Grange Hall for dinner.  They then ask each veteran to discuss their time in the Armed Forces and play the anthem for each branch.

Bangor Grange (ME) will be hosting its sixth annual Veterans Tribute Show and their fourth annual fundraiser for the House in the Woods which is a veterans retreat in Lee, ME.

Florissant Grange (CO) hosted a Heritage Day where the town celebrated the heritage in that area of Colorado.  At the hall they had food, kid’s games and crafts along with historic displays of the town.  This is a wonderful way to open the Grange Hall to the community and get individuals and families to learn about the Grange.

Concord Grange (NH) borrowed a community service idea from Harmony Grange (NH) a Meet, Greet, and Eat project where they served good Grange food and presented several awards to deserving people and community organizations.  One of the groups was a local band who then gave a free concert.  I really like to hear Granges that borrow ideas from other Granges, great job Dick.

Pennsylvania State Grange at the PA SG annual Family Festival the members donated money. Gift cards and other items that were then donated to a local Ronald McDonald House by Ruth Vonada, PaSG Community Service Director.

Burns Grange (MI) hosted a Meet the Candidates night, one of many Granges, where they had not only a good turnout of candidates but also community members.  This is an excellent way this time of year to open up our Halls to the community.

Little Lake Grange (CA) has started a local radio station at their Grange Hall with coverage in the local community.  It is a 100-watt low power FM station KLLP-LP 97.9.  Think of the possibilities this Grange now has to serve their community.  Job well done.  For more information, you can contact Larry Cotler, Gen Mgr., at lannyatkllgdotorg  (lannyatkllgdotorg)  .

Aug 252016
 

The National Grange is seeking to learn more about our members so we can provide better programming and services. Today is a focus on our farmers.

Please tell us if you or a member of your Grange is a farmer (large or small scale). Please provide their name and contact information (if permitted) and the type of farming they do. Also, if you or if you know your farmer member uses precision ag, drones, and other new innovations that rely on networks and a solid internet connection, we would appreciate you noting that.

You can reply to this email or send the information to lectureratnationalgrangedotorg  (lectureratnationalgrangedotorg)  .

Thank you so much!

Amanda Leigh Brozana
National Grange Lecturer
For more valuable news and information, please join our mailing list.

Aug 242016
 

mmhp_logoBy Peter Nelson, Steward

On Sunday, August 14, Halcyon Grange in North Blue Hill jumped at the chance to open its doors to the Maine Migrant Health Program. The MMHP is a non-profit 501-C, licensed by the Federal Government to provide vital health services to farm laborers throughout Maine. The mobile van travels the agricultural regions of the state with over a dozen volunteers, drivers, doctors and assistants to set up their screening clinic to provide free health services covering the gamut, including dental. According to Executive Director Lisa Tapert, whose office is in Augusta, the MMHP has spent 25 years providing this vital volunteer service to farm labor. The MMHP contracts with many clinics and hospitals throughout the state to allow them to refer patients in need of medical care. For the farm workers, the mobile clinic is basically open from 6:00 to 11:00 PM. Volunteers spend hours shuttling farm laborers to and from the unit.

The Halcyon Grange Hall was filled with collected donations for the workers: clothes, toiletries, food items and more, free for the taking.

We are excited to broaden our support to local farms by providing our facilities for the use of the MMHP, and look forward to their return next season.

For more information about the Maine Migrant Health Program, visit http://www.mainemigrant.org/.

Aug 232016
 

by Glenys Ryder, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Maine State Grange

At the request of the state officers, I am sending the following reminder.

October will soon be upon us, and with its arrival, the Maine State Grange session will soon be here on October 20, 21, and 22 in Skowhegan.  It is of vital concern that EVERY Grange in the state of Maine should have a voice during this convention.  Many important issues will be discussed and decided upon, one of them being the sale of the Maine State Grange Building.

If the Master of your Grange and their spouse cannot attend this convention, then two of your members should be elected to attend the session to represent your Grange.  Their names should appear on the form that you send in to register your delegates.  This form will soon be on its way to your secretary!  Without a representative, it is as if your Grange doesn’t exist, and it is short-changing your members and purpose for existence!  EVERY Grange needs to take an active part in the state session!  Please send someone to present your viewpoints on the resolutions.

Whether you are a delegate or not, you do not have to be a Sixth Degree member to attend.  Any Subordinate Member, having had the first four degrees, may attend.  I hope that you will consider coming to this session.  Many people return from State Grange Convention with new enthusiasm and purpose, ready to take on new projects and increase interest in their Grange!

I hope to see you and your Grange members in Skowhegan!  Plan now!

Webmaster note: My apologies are due. In my haste, I changed the word “convention” to “conference” and should not have done so… while it seems to me a relatively small matter, I’ve been corrected in the past for using the word “conference” to describe state session. Folks who saw or received the original post should know that it was my error, not Glenys’. For some reason my brain got it backwards this morning. Sorry!

Aug 172016
 

By Christine Corliss

It has come to my attention that individuals are looking a little more explanation on the volunteer fair this coming Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This Volunteer Fair is an opportunity for Grangers and non-Grangers to understand just one of the aspects of Grange and some of what we do.  The Junior and Youth Committees will have an activity for people to participate in.  Membership and Agricultural Committees will be there to speak about the ways you can become involved, Community Service/Family, Health & Hearing will be there with raffles, scavenger hunt, and information on worthwhile causes as well as CWA with quilt tying and some speakers on different topics.  This is to show that Maine State Grange is trying to make a difference “One Project at a Time.”

See the flyer…

 

Aug 172016
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

There are a few things I wish to share. First, all 990’s have been submitted. If you receive a letter from the IRS concerning the 990 being due, it has been taken care of.

Next, The updated officer information from each Grange for the next roster must be sent in by November 1, 2016.Please send in early!

Thank you to those Granges who sent in their resolutions before the deadline! They will be sent out in time for all Granges to review before State Session. Make sure your Grange sends delegates to State Grange in Skowhegan October 20-22. Your Grange vote is important!!!

Some Subordinate Granges have not sent in their quarterly dues for the quarter ending June 30. These need to be in ASAP. Don’t risk losing your Grange the chance to vote at State Session!

Some Granges are making changes to meeting dates and times without updating their by-laws. Whenever changes to by-laws are made, they need to be voted on at your Grange and sent to State Grange for approval. Check your Grange by-laws to see if they are up to date. It is difficult for visitors to attend if the meeting dates and times have changed without notification.

Come visit the Volunteer Fair on Saturday at Headquarters beginning at 9:00 a.m. Several events are scheduled at various times in the am and the directors will each have a table for their committee. Bag lunches will be served for $5. Sounds like a fun day!

Last, make sure to inform all with computers to go to mainestategrange.org and hit the subscribe button to receive posted information concerning state events. directors and state officer columns, information for various committees and other good Grange stuff!! For those who do receive the information, please share at your next Grange meeting!