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 212016
 

by Rick Watson, Master, Fairview Grange #342

In this season of giving, I’d like to share some of what our little “Grange that Could” has been up to, starting with a fundraiser dinner on 10/30 for a local Smithfield resident who is fighting cancer. We heard of her plight and decided to see if we could ease some of the burden. Whether or not her family had insurance to help with her illness, there is still the matter of gas for the numerous treatment trips, a lunch for whoever is taking her, maybe a hot meal for the family while she is sidelined and so on. We decided on a donations-accepted dinner on her behalf. To our delight, and to the surprise of her family, we raised over $2500 in a couple hours. Our Grange purchased most of the food and our members rounded out the dinner, bread, dessert and so on. As an aside, we have been looking for some menu alternatives to round out our summer supper selection and took the opportunity to try a lasagna, salad, roll, dessert, beverage dinner. It was a “hit” and will likely become one of our offerings next summer. Easy to serve to a lot of people in short fashion and in line with the food cost for our other dinners. A win-win for all.

In planning for our Grange Christmas Party, we decided to bring food and paper goods for our local food cupboard. By the end of the night, we had a mountain (OK, a small mountain, but still a lot) of donations from our Grangers. Truly in the Christmas spirit, we also made goodie bags, 50 of them, for the veterans at the VA in Augusta. One of our members works there and she was the one who brought us the opportunity to make the veterans there feel comforted in the fact that someone cares about them. We brought snacks and sugar-free candy and made a big pile on a table and some sat and stuffed the bags while others in the hall that night sang Christmas carols. Truly a night to be cherished by all in attendance. As Master, I had sent out individual invites to all paid members detailing the plans for the night, with a suggestion to bring a guest, one who might be inspired by our citizenship, (and maybe somewhat selfishly,) as a membership drive. We always need (and TRULY welcome) new faces and ideas. I was delighted with the turnout. Our largest Christmas party in years.

Next for Fairview Grange is an opportunity to help a young family who is expecting baby Emma in February. Emma will need a LOT of medical help going forward. She is being born with a heart defect. There is a lot of positive energy behind this event and we feel confident in our ability to make a difference. A spaghetti supper will be held on January 28 from 4:00  p.m. until  7:00 pm in Smithfield at the Fairview Grange. For more info please contact “Faith” (Hmmn…how fitting is THAT?) at 441-6929 to donate, lend a hand etc. or Mindy at 248-2066. There will be Mary Kay and Tupperware sales and any sales will send a portion of the proceeds to baby Emma and family. YOU CAN HELP! (This event is listed on the MSG Website event calendar and you can download a flyer with details.) Please plan on attending if you can or contact one of the gals to donate if you can’t make it on the 28th.

Thanks for listening. Good luck with YOUR Grange. Brainstorm. Take responsible risks. You will probably be delighted with the results.

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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 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 152016
 

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Summer is here! How wonderful it is to have long, sunny days with hot temperatures and blue skies. For Grangers, the temptation can be to skip the regularly scheduled meetings, and go fishin’ or some other relaxing summertime pastime. And probably membership building activities are not our first thoughts.

But please remember that this can be a wonderful time of year to invite people to visit your Grange. We recently had a “Bring Your Friends and Neighbors to Grange” night, with 17 guests present. Not only did our Grangers have a good time, but a local artist agreed to hang several of her paintings in the dining room for all to enjoy. The summary of this event includes these varied thoughts:

  • everyone enjoyed the meal and camaraderie
  • the age range was from 2 months to 80+ years
  • the art exhibit was enjoyed by all attending
  • our Lecturer prepared a handout titled “Who We Are, What We Do” which outlined our Community Service and Fund Raising events
  • new visitors to Grange expressed the following thoughts:
    • “Thank you for inviting me, I had a wonderful time,
    • I had no idea this Grange did so much in our community,
    • I can’t join right now, but I will gladly help, please call me,
    • I only come to Maine in the Summer, but I will make sure to come to this event next year….we loved it,
    • I need 2 applications, one for me and one for my friend.”

I am a firm believer that the best advertising for Grange is our Grangers themselves. Please invite your friends and neighbors to your Grange, and please let us know what worked for you.

P.S. I want to apologize to you all for the uncertainty in our personal lives that is spilling over into our Grange lives as well. Jim Rogers and I are both younger members of our families, and we currently have five siblings that are terminally ill, none local. We appreciate your good thoughts, and will try to minimize the impact this has on our Grange activities. Thank you for your understanding.

 

May 222016
 

Folks came from far and wide to join Valley Grange’s Community Night Celebration–an annual event that celebrates community and recognizes a Community Citizen of the Year. This year the award went to Sherry French of Guilford for her work throughout the area. Sherry’s projects are many, ranging from supporting Pine Tree Hospice to coordinating fundraising events for a number of causes, to answering children’s letters to Santa Claus. Friends and coworkers testified to the unselfish work Sherry does and to the value of her friendship. This year’s event took on an unusual twist in that Sherry’s husband Jim received the Grange’s Award several years ago, so following Sherry’s honor a special certificate was presented to the “Dynamic Duo.”

The evening’s program was based on “Just Five Minutes” with Lecturer Walter Boomsma pointing out the dollar value of volunteering for just five minutes per day. “If everyone between the ages of 20 and 80 in Piscataquis County did that, it would equate to 188 people working full time for our communities–an average of ten per town and an equivalent payroll of over six and a half million dollars.” But, Boomsma noted, “the real value comes from the impact we can have on others lives.” Every attendee received at least two lollipops, with the instruction they were to give one to someone who they wanted to recognize as “creating an important moment in their lives.”

Additional recognition during the event went to Grange members celebrating anniversaries. Secretary Mary Annis reported on the recent celebration for Opal Bennett, an 80 year member and then presented her husband Jim with his 25 year certificate joking, “It pales by comparison.”

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