May 152017
 

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

You’ll definitely want to read a comment made on the May Communications Column.  (Subscribers do not get these–you’ll have to visit the site.) What an interesting outcome from the recent Bangor Daily News article regarding Granges that are making a comeback! By the way, website visitors should feel free to comment on any post–it’s really quite easy to do. Just look for the word “responses” in the upper right corner of the post (just below the headline) and click on it. Note that comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

There have been several requests posted to the “In Search of” Page… please take a look and see if you can help these folks.

Also, the MSG Bulletin May 2017 has been uploaded to the site… you don’t have to wait for a printed copy!

Keep those cards and letters coming in!

May 152017
 

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

 

Spring has arrived on the farm and in our Grange lives.  New growth is everywhere from the budding trees to the planted seedlings.

The following Continuous Membership Certificates have been issued and will have been or are already presented to our members.  Androscoggin Grange #8:  Janice Brewer for 25 years; Joanne Boyington for 25 years; Carol Buzzell for 25 years and Merton Buzzell for 25 years; Danville Junction Grange #65:  Beverly Lashua for 75 years; Mildred Brainerd for 70 years; Glenys Ryder for 65 years; Neil Peaco for 60 years; Gleason Sturtevant for 55 years; and Ken Brewer for 40 years; Norway Grange #45:  Timothy Pike for 55 years; Willow Grange #366:  Hazel Kleinschmidt for 70 years; Farmington Grange #12:  Robert Smith for 50 years; Stephen Scharoun for 25 years; Marion Scharoun for 25 years; L. Herbert York for 65 years and Andrew Milliken for 55 years; Pioneer Grange 219:  Joel Morse for 60 years; Margaret Morse for 60 years and Bruce Stimpson for 55 years and Jacksonville Grange #358: Nathan Pennell for 25 years.

If you are printing your Continuous Membership Certificate Application from the website you will note the change that National Grange is now charging shipping and handling using the chart below:

*Please use the following Shipping & Handling Chart

  • Orders: Up to $10.00 = $4.00
  • Orders: $10.0l – $19.99 = $5.00
  • Orders: $20.00 – $49.99 = $7.00
  • Orders: $50.00 – $74.99 = $9.00
  • Orders: $75.00 – $99.99 = $10.00
  • Orders: $100.00 – $124.99 = $12.00
  • Orders: $125.00 – $249.99 = $15.00
  • Orders: $250 and above = $20.00

Example:             Three Golden Sheaf Certificates at $10.00 each  =  $30.00
One 75 Year Diamond Certificate & Folder at $10.00 =   $10.00
Sub Total: $40.00

You will then use the chart and find the correct shipping and handling for your $40.00 order which is $7.00.  You would then make your check payable to National Grange in the amount of $47.00 and mail your application form to me for processing.  If you have the old form please feel free to use them but use the shipping and handling chart above to correctly pay for your certificates being issued from the National Grange.  If you would like your certificate by a certain date please note that on the application form. I will advise National of your request.

Recording the minutes of your Grange is one of your most important duties.  They should be exact, concise, detailed, yet comprehensive history of your records maintained in a permanent record book.

A membership record book of all members should be kept with the complete address, degree affiliations, dates, dues records and any other necessary information which should be kept available and up to date.

Grange Secretaries are constantly required to fill out all kinds of forms.  It is imperative that all directions on each form be read and carefully understood before proceeding.    Be sure all questions are properly answered in full, that names, addresses, including Zip Codes are correct and complete and all information legible.

“Let us not forget the precepts of our Order. Let us add dignity to labor and in our dealings with our fellow men, be honest, be just and fear not… The record of your Grange will be held as a memento of your labors long after the recording hand has crumbled into dust.  Let them be exact that they may redound to your honor an exhibit a faithful history of the work of your Grange to all who come after us.”

Until next month!

May 142017
 

A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

Are you ready for some great news? Your Maine State Grange Website hit a new record in May – in terms of visits to the site, the best day ever (since October 2010) was May 6, 2017, when there were 257 site visits! This record day also means that as of this writing, May 2017 is the month with the highest daily average of site visits – 114 per day. Naturally, I could resist a quick look at what might have caused this. (My experience suggests that data often raises more questions than it answers.) So I took a look at which pages/posts were the most popular in the last thirty days. In descending order:

  1. Program Books and Information Page (forms, books, etc. organized by function)
  2. Our History (a short history of the Grange)
  3. 2017 Directory of Granges (a recently published directory/list of active Granges in Maine)
  4. Update on LD 725 and LD 835 (information provided by the Ag Education Committee regarding bills under consideration)
  5. Our Officers (a “who’s who” list of state officers)
  6. Joining the Grange (includes a link to a membership brochure and application)
  7. Bangor Daily News Article About Exciting Granges (article headline: Maine Granges Are Making a Comeback!)
  8. About (a general page with links to other pages)
  9. I’m seeking… (a page where people can post requests for information about Granges and Grangers)
  10. Conferences (a list of state and regional Grange conferences and meetings)

Since the best day record was set the same day the Bangor Daily News Article was posted, there might be a correlation. The tempting conclusion is that folks are hungry for good news about the Grange. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that other highly visited pages and posts are reference pages with officer, membership, and Grange location information.

How do they find it? Well, the data suggests that most of our “referrals” are coming from search engines. In other words, people are searching for information using Google and other search engines and the Maine State Grange website comes up in the results.

While it’s important to stay focused, one undeniable conclusion we can draw from this is that we attract people to the Maine State Grange Website by making information readily available. This is one of the reasons I’ve started the “Resources for Grangers” posts—obviously, those resources are not just for Grangers. They are also for people who should become Grangers!

I’ve recently become interested in a communication phenomena called the “echo effect.” An echo chamber is “a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a defined system.” In short, repeated messages sometimes take on a life of their own and get reinforced by nature of the fact they are heard often. Another term we can apply is “tunnel vision.” We become so subconsciously focused on something we are hearing constantly we only see what’s at the end of the tunnel.

That’s one reason I believe we need to stop analyzing and discussing why getting members is hard. I do not deny it is challenging. But I also know that the more we talk about how hard it is, the more firmly we will believe it can’t be done.

On May 6, 2017, at least 257 people were interested in the Grange: our programs, our beliefs, our halls, and our events. Did we give them enough information to at least maintain their interest?

After the Bangor Daily News article, one person emailed me and said that she and her husband plan to join the Grange when they retire. What do you think of that? I know several Grangers I told replied, “How old are they? Will I live long enough to see it?” I wish more people had just said, “Wow! That’s great!”

May 142017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Hoping that all mothers had a very happy Mother’s Day. Even if the weather wasn’t cooperating, the day should always be a special one.  We should not let outside distractions influence our enthusiasm and positive thoughts. The more we dwell on negative thoughts, the more negativity comes to us. The more positive thoughts we have, the more successful we are in our labors and accomplishments.  If we dwell on negativity then we are using our energies on things that are petty and have no relevance to our Grange work. Thus we accomplish little. Other–members and the public–pick up on such energies. This IS a difference whether you get a new member and why some Granges fold. Who wants to belong to an organization with crabby and disrespectful people? Let the little things go, especially when dealing with our brothers and sisters.  Too many times I have attended meetings where after the meeting, someone will come to me and accuse another of insubordination or tattle on some petty thing that often makes no sense. Most often it is not even true. I have seen others leave a meeting (just recently) during a closing in which one of those who left had a speaking part. They just walked out.  Imagine what the visitors who were non-members were thinking. This is the highest form of disrespect to our Order! Just because we don’t get our way doesn’t mean we have the right to “sabotage” a meeting trying to make a point by leaving during a respective time of a meeting. This is disrespectful to not just the Order but to its members, especially when there are prospective members in attendance. Brothers and Sisters, these are big “don’ts” that harm your Grange and its reputations. The point is, that we all need to get along for the GOTO; things will get done, new members will join and the public will attend our events. Which brings us further onto the topic of membership.

Since the State Membership Committee no longer exists as of May 1, there have been thoughts on the approach to realign the committee into teams in different areas of the State. After attending meetings which have turned into town hall discussions some thoughts come to mind. One thought is to have at least five teams consisting of no more than five (5) members each travel within their respective areas to educate members about membership drives (including recruiting new Pomona members), hold discussions, do training and to encourage and attend any open houses for the public. Anyone interested in forming or being a part of a team let me know so I can hold some training classes for those interested. This is not  “we have always done it that way” but a different approach.

I encourage more Granges to invite other Granges for town hall discussions. Include prospective members and reach out to the public to attend. Invite a State Officer or arrange the meeting when your Deputy is present. It would certainly be a pleasure for me to attend one of these discussions where everyone has a chance to ask questions and gain valuable information. More information how to set up or how to arrange such a meeting can be obtained by contacting me.  Membership should always be a top priority whether your Grange is flourishing or not. Think about the Good of the Order. Think about improvements and what your Grange could be doing. Share ideas, ask questions, make suggestions, develop goals and be successful in your endeavors.

Election time is near which is a very important period in our Grange.  I would encourage members to try different offices as there will be fresh ideas and new leadership. It does not help you to have say the same Master serve for an extended period of time. History proves that having the same leaders year after year does not work for any organization. Fresh ideas and new leadership provide new goals and approaches to reach those goals. Even if you have a small Grange, officer changes are encouraged. The position of Master is NOT one of power but of keeping your Grange running smoothly and effectively. The Master does not run the Grange as a “dictator” or make all decisions for the Grange. The Master does not control any member or other offices. Should this be happening in your Grange, then it is time for a new leader. Consider what is Good for the Order. Do not worry about hurt feelings, do not be afraid of making the change or putting them back in the same office just because you don’t want to be looked upon as a “rebel.” Believe it or not, there are Granges which operate in this manner and many people will not join or members go to meetings or the person becomes upset when replaced. Many of these Granges struggle and end up closing, wondering why they can’t get new members. In the true sense of Grange, if someone (in any office) gets replaced, there should be no hard feelings or resentment toward the Grange or its members. If they threaten to quit because they don’t want to give up an office or when replaced, let them go; they are not true Grangers or have the best interest of the Grange in mind. Your Grange will be better off. History has also proven this to be true. Each officer has their own duties but in an office such as Lecturer, the Master should know what is being planned for the year out of common courtesy in order to have the Grange run smoothly. The Master position is not to be feared but experienced and much can be learned. I have found this to be a true statement having been Master in all levels of the State.

Although some of this discussion has to do with negativity, it is in no way meant to be disparaging or condescending. It is meant to be a wake-up call for all and try to “clean up” within and have our organization primed to accept and RETAIN new members. With these negative circumstances happening in our Granges, it is holding us back as an organization. It is what I have been experiencing in my travels and needs to be communicated to all so we know what NOT to do and for GOTO.

 

May 072017
 

After a successful baked bean supper, Victor Grange #49 honored some of their most deserving members in two award ceremonies. In honor of Grange month, members chose to give posthumously a Patrons of Husbandry Flag and Grave marker to the families of some of our most dedicated members. Their contribution to Victor Grange at the local, State and National Levels were significant and instrumental to a well-run community organization. This being the first year of this award, we felt it appropriate to acknowledge those members who had belonged to our Grange the longest. Family members accepted the grave markers and flags for the following; Burleigh Crockett – 71 yrs.; Madeline Hill 73 yrs.; Coleman MacKay 73 yrs.; Constance (Babe) MacKay 60 yrs.; Muriel Tupper 81 yrs.; Robert Tupper 80 yrs.; Douglas Taylor 78 yrs.; and Clifton Wood 70 yrs.;. This represents a total of over 586 years that these members served the Grange and their Community. Family members were pleased to receive the Flag and Grave Marker in time for Memorial Day.

The second ceremony was a complete surprise to the recipients, Roger Shorty, & Don “Rick” Duperry longtime Grange members. The Sixteenth Community Service Award was given for their outstanding dedication and service to the Victor Grange #49 and its community. They are the epitome of volunteerism in every sense of the word. There is no need too small or challenge too great and by bringing the Grange and community together; they keep the Grange’s flame burning.

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May 062017
 

By Walter Boomsma,
MSG Communications Director

Check out this feature article in the Bangor Daily News Homestead Supplement! Granges featured in the article include Halcyon in Blue Hill, Fairview in Smithfield, and Valley in Guilford. I might be a little biased, but I think it is one of the most positive and well-documented articles we’ve seen recently. How cool is it to see a headline announcing that Maine Granges are making a comeback?

Grangers in the BDN coverage area may want to pick up a copy of the weekend edition, including the Homestead Edition. You can also read the entire article online. Feel free to add a comment to the article, letting folks know what your Grange is doing–several Grangers have already done that! (Make sure to mention the name of your Grange and community!)

 

Apr 272017
 

Front row: Mary Street of Chelsea Grange # 215, Susan Farrington of Maple Grove Grange # 148.
Back row: Bert Welch of Maple Grove Grange # 148, Charley Hayford of Winthrop Grange # 209.

On Sunday afternoon, April 23, 2017, thirty-six people attended the Degree Day at Danville Junction Grange, sponsored by Androscoggin Pomona.

Special guests were MSG Master Rick Grotton, MSG Overseer Sherry Harriman, and members of the MSG Executive Committee James Meserve and Victoria Huff.

The four degrees were conducted by the following officers:  Master Wayne Sherman, Overseer Greg Johnson, Lecturer Glenys Ryder, Steward Norma Meserve, Assistant Steward Steven Verrill, Lady Assistant Steward Roberta Meserve, Chaplain Kenneth Footer, Treasurer Wes Ryder, Secretary Linda Sherman, Gate Keeper William Hatch, Pomona Kathy Lorrain, Ceres Cynthia Maxwell, Flora Ruby Bryant, and Pianist Louise Roberts.

Taking part in the Harvest March were Gladys and Maynard Chapman, Tracey and Bill Small, and Judy and Jim Meserve.

A light luncheon was served between the second and third degrees.

Apr 262017
 

Reposted from a National Grange Announcement… note that membership recognition awards must be ordered through Maine State Grange Secretary Sharon Morton… an order form is available on the Maine State Grange Website.


We would like to clarify the shipping costs applied to the Golden Sheaf and 75 Year Awards. This shipping cost increase went into effect March 1, 2017 and reflects a portion of the rising costs the National Grange faces to ship items to members.

Membership Recognition
Golden Sheaf is $10 plus shipping & handling (see chart below)
Example A = 1 Golden Sheaf cost is $10.00 + $4.00 for shipping
Example B = 2 Golden Sheaf cost is $20.00 + $7.00 for shipping
Example C = 5 Golden sheaf cost is$50.00 + $9.00 for shipping

75 Year Diamond Certificate and folder is $10 plus shipping & handling (see chart below)
Example A = 1 – 75 year award cost is $10.00 + $4.00 for shipping
Example B = 2 – 75 year award cost is $20.00 + $7.00 for shipping
Example C = 5 -75 year award cost is $50.00 + $9.00 for shipping

If you did a combination of both Golden Sheaf and 75 year award (see chart below)
Example A = 1 Golden Sheaf and 1 – 75 year cost is $20.00 + $7.00 shipping
Example B = 3 Golden Sheaf and 2 – 75 year award cost is $50.00 + $9.00 shipping

NOTE: If you need the certificate to be delivered by specific date for presentation, otherwise it will take a minimum of three weeks to complete your order once it is received here at National Grange.

All Shipping & Handling costs for Golden Sheaf and 75 year award items will now be the same price as the Grange Store shipping and handling. Standard Shipping and Handling rate prices are listed below:

ORDERS TOTAL: SHIPPING & HANDLING
Orders: Up to $10.00 = $4.00
Orders: $10.01 – $19.99 = $5.00
Orders: $20.00 – $49.99 = $7.00
Orders: $50.00 – $74.99 = $9.00
Orders: $75.00 – $99.99 = $10.00
Orders: $100.00 – $124.99 = $12.00
Orders: $125.00 – $249.99 = $15.00
Orders: $250 and above = $20.00

Grange Hall Award – change in price
• The 100 year and 125 year award (includes certificate along with a 8″x10″ wood plaques) are at no charge, but shipping & handling will be $10
• Please note if you need the certificate to be delivered by specific date for presentation, otherwise it will take a minimum of three weeks to complete your order.
• Form available contact Loretta Washington for the form

For more information call,
Loretta Washington
(202) 628-3507 (ext 109)

salesatnationalgrangedotorg  (salesatnationalgrangedotorg)  

Apr 152017
 

A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

During National Grange Master Betsy Huber’s visit, it was my distinct honor to facilitate the “town hall” discussion during the Piscataquis Pomona Meeting. There were nearly a dozen Granges represented and over thirty Grangers and guests. The conversations were spirited and encouraging throughout the entire evening starting with our supper. This was a rare opportunity for Grangers at all levels of the Order to communicate: National, State, Pomona, and local.

When the evening ended, one of the comments made was how helpful it was for so many different Granges to talk about their accomplishments and challenges. “We thought we were the only ones who…” While not all challenges were resolved, a sense of reassurance developed, in part because if we all have similar challenges, the odds of overcoming them increases. Chances are, someone solved that problem or challenge you are having. This became obvious as Granges reported their successes. The meeting truly was one of sharing with an eye towards solving problems and growing our Granges.

I later found myself thinking we had perhaps witnessed a meeting the way Pomona meetings are meant to be. While surely Pomona meetings were social events in the early days, I suspect those meetings including a lot of discussion—both formal and informal—on topics ranging from the best time to plant to what is working in your Grange.

While I’m admittedly biased by my position as communication director, I think the purpose of every meeting is communication in some way, shape, or form. A little thought and structure should go into why we are meeting and what we are communicating. Let me share two examples.

The Pomona Meeting includes a roll call of Granges that often means a brief report from those Granges attending. Many times these reports begin, “We are meeting regularly…” which I suppose is an accomplishment. (In some cases, it’s “We are trying to meet regularly…”) Why not make an effort to find at least one exciting thing about your Grange to report? Or, for that matter, why not report on a challenge your Grange is facing and ask your fellow Grangers for help and ideas? One of the points of Pomona Grange is communication and sharing resources. We should structure our meetings to do just that.

My second example is committee reports during meetings. If we see an important purpose of meetings as communication, we should be sad when it’s announced, “Nothing to report.” Yes, the original purpose of committee reports was to share what the committee is doing—but if it’s doing nothing, there still could something to report. A couple of sentences regarding what is happening in the world we live in will at least suggest we aren’t totally disconnected and out of business! Even a brief reminder of something important could qualify as a report.

I’ve attended Grange meetings where it seems like the purpose of the meeting is to get it over as quickly as possible! I’m not suggesting we turn meetings into long, drawn out affairs. I am suggesting that the purpose of every Grange meeting is not simply to have a meeting. When attendance at our meetings is poor, we might allow ourselves to wonder why. If the only reason we’re meeting is because it’s scheduled, that’s not much incentive for people to make the effort.

When I am responsible for leading a meeting, I always create an agenda with time estimates and outcomes. If at all possible, I share it with participants so we share the responsibility for getting “the labors of the day” completed in a timely and effective manner. Why not do the same for a Grange meeting? Let’s communicate with purpose and energy!

Apr 142017
 

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

April is a busy month here at State Headquarters as well as in our Subordinate Granges. My time has been busy with the finishing of the 2016 Journal of Proceedings, which will be published on the website. April is a month to celebrate our grange heritage and what a great way to do so is to have an open house, invite all to enjoy a great meal and program.

I have had the opportunity to issue these Continuous Membership Certificates which have been or will be presented to our members.  Somerset Grange #18, Gwendolyn Knight for 65 years; Farrilyn Chase for 70 years; Bernice Chase for 55 years; Norman Chase for 55 years; Elizabeth Wilder for 25 years; Alice Jones for 70 years; and Marjorie Farrand for 50 years; Manchester Grange #172, Mark L. Johnston 50 years; Brenda L. Lake for 50 years; and Edward Lincoln III for 50 years; Mousam Lake Grange #467, Sylvia Young for 70 years and Clayton Chute for 65 years; Bingham Grange #237, Terry Spencer for 40 years; Bear Mt. Grange #62, Linda Davis for 50 years; Clara Hamlin for 60 years; Prentiss Kimball for 60 years; and Glenn Chute for 60 years; Huntoon Hill #398, Sharon Leeman for 55 and 60 years; Fairview Grange #342, Marilyn Giroux for 75 years; Ellie Zarcone for 40 years and George Merry for 75 years; Hollis Grange #132, Valerie Joy for 50 years; Maple Grove Grange #148, Carol R. Brown for 50 years and Esther L. Kilborn for 80 years; Topsham Grange #37, Julia Wallace for 50 years and Merton Ricker for 70 years; Valley Grange #144, Elizabeth Herring for 70 years; Roderick Lander for 50 years and Harriet Mitchell for 70 years and White Rock Grange #380, Gloria McBee for 55 years.

Quarterly Reports:  Please remember the quarterly reports are due March 31st; June 30th; September 30th and December 31st and are due at headquarters postmarked on or before the 10th of the month following each quarter.

KEEPING MINUTES – As Secretary, your first priority is keeping a record of the meetings of your Grange.  Accuracy should be the goal, for your minutes are your Grange’s permanent record.  Remember that “Robert’s Rules of Order” advises, “They (the minutes) should contain mainly a record of what was done at a meeting, not what was said by the members unless in the form of a motion… Minutes should never reflect the Secretary’s opinion on anything said or done.”

Resolutions and motions should be included in the minutes word for word, as well as the action taken on them.  Detailed accounts of receipts and expenses should be included.  Communications read need not be included word for word, only that they were read and their general subject.  You can refer members to the communication if they wish details.

An exception might be the description of the lecturer’s programs.  If a member says something particularly worthy, or a discussion is important, including it in the minutes should be approved by the Grange.

Next time I will touch on the Secretary’s responsibility on maintaining records.

I will be updating the Roster Information Form that will be sent with your June Quarterly Report. This form will include the name and number of your Grange; physical location of your Grange Hall; contact name and phone number; name, address, phone number, and email address of your elected Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chairman.

Please contact me immediately with any address changes or any changes to the officers listed above so that our records will be correct and updated.

Happy Spring, and enjoy the nice weather.