Jan 182018

Danville Junction Grange #65 has completed their Dictionary Project for this year!  We were able to distribute 360 dictionaries, which included five different schools in Auburn and New Gloucester. During our many years of participating in this project, our Grange has distributed over two thousand dictionaries, something of which we are very proud!

A special fund to purchase dictionaries has been established by Danville Junction Grange.  Money is raised for this fund in many ways.  We sell Rada knives and frozen chicken pies at our suppers and sales. Some money is donated by standing committees or individuals.  We also have received community service grants from the Maine State Grange.

The photo shows a group of students from one of our schools inspecting their new dictionaries.  While this project is very worthwhile, we Grangers, who deliver the dictionaries, gain so much enjoyment from feeling the excitement when we meet the students!  They are so excited and enthusiastic!  It is fun to watch their faces as they discover the sections on sign language, planets, presidents, and, of course, the page which has the longest word in the dictionary!  We feel that this is a very worthwhile project, and one which we can continue for many years to come.

Oct 172017

Check out WABI – TV 5’s coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

Check out WVII – Fox News coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

This was our first dictionary day of the season… we still have more kids coming to the Grange Hall and three schools to visit! We’ve given out over 2,500 dictionaries in the sixteen years we’ve been doing this and it’s still one of the most exciting and fun things we do! Yesterday’s event included eighty kids from SeDoMoCha Elementary School. What fun!

Aug 222017

Please provide proper attribution when using material.

The following article appeared in today’s “Word of the Day” email from the Dictionary Project:

During 2016, the Arkansas Corrections Department and the Arkansas Literacy Councils partnered together to send dictionaries to fourteen prisons in the area. Heather Powell, the Training Director at the Arkansas Literacy Councils, reached out to share their story with us.

“Last year we [the Arkansas Literacy Councils] piloted a joint program with ADC to train literacy and ESL tutors within the prisons. To date, we have trained over 200 literate inmates as tutors. The tutors work with other inmates who have low or no literacy skills, tutoring from the Laubach Way to Reading/English programs. These student dictionaries are just the right level for introducing students in how to use a dictionary.”

Often times, we at the Dictionary Project are asked by organizations what they should do with dictionaries that are left over after their distributions are complete. We would ask you to please consider donating them to prisons in your area. Statistics show that literacy rates in the American prison system are at only 40% for adult inmates, and 15% for juveniles (literacyprojectfoundation.org). A vital skill that many of us take for granted, the ability to read could greatly impact the lives of inmates who would otherwise not have access to the basic level of education that every human being should have.

Thank you, Heather Powell at the Arkansas Literacy Councils for this story.

As a big fan of the Dictionary Project, this is interesting on several points. First, the question about left over dictionaries may include something that can easily be overlooked. In our Valley Grange Program, we have learned there is one hazard with keeping leftover dictionaries and mixing them with new ones the following year. Some teachers have the students keep their dictionaries at school for use in the classroom–both to learn dictionary skills and to use as a resource. If there is a change in the dictionary, mixing last year’s edition with this year’s can create confusion. This is easy to manage as long as you aware and pay attention to edition numbers. But it is possible to have “left over” dictionaries even though you are repeating the program every year.

Second, there are additional community service opportunities where we, as Granges and Grangers, can make an impact. As this article suggests, we can offer dictionaries to prisons. Most areas also have volunteer adult literacy programs. I occasionally hear the comment that the schools are already getting dictionaries from another organization. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a dictionary project–it just means it won’t be “Words for Thirds.” It’ll be words for others! Just think Literacy! (We have given our leftover dictionaries to local libraries and keep a few at the Hall to give to any children that visit.)

And it is that time of year to start thinking about your program with your schools. By providing dictionaries in the fall, kids get more use from them! In the twelve years Valley Grange has been providing dictionaries, we’ve learned a lot! You can read the history of our program and, more importantly, if you have any questions or I can help you with your program, please let me know  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  !


Aug 152017

Short messages from your Communications Department

If your Grange participates in the Dictionary Project, you or your Grange Secretary should have recently received their recent newsletter… I believe it is mailed to all supporters and contributors. It’s a great piece because it can be a poster and even doubles as an order form. Well, this issue is of particular interest because it features Danville Junction Grange! You can read the original post here… and notice the fact that the Dictionary Project folks are subscribers to the Maine State Grange website. If you aren’t… what might you be missing!?

Congratulations to Danville Grange and thanks to Glenys Ryder for submitting the article!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Jul 242017

Porter Grange #569 got a well-deserved face lift this summer. The outside of the building was painted and a new porch light was added in memory of Dottie Locke who we lost last year. On Saturday, July 22, we had an open house with refreshments to celebrate the National Grange 150th birthday. Porter Grange was delighted to pass out four applications to interested visitors. They were in impressed with our Words for Thirds Program and our local School Scholarships.

Our Grange was able also to put up flags in Porter Village with special donations from Jana Mayotte and Gary Nickerson in memory of Francis Mills and Ron and Marie Nickerson respectively.

Porter Grange will be holding a Bean Supper, Friday, September 22 from 5:00 pm. until 6:30 pm. We have also scheduled a Free to Veterans and their families breakfast on November 11 at 7:00 am.

For more information on any event or just to say, “Hi!” contact portergrang569atgmaildotcom  (portergrang569atgmaildotcom)  

Porter Grange Hall Before

Porter Grange After!

Front Porch Light

Front porch plaque

Apr 242017

Lois McCarthy and Lisa Goucher (in back row) of Mill Stream Grange in Vienna visited the Mt. Vernon Elementary School on March 16 to present dictionaries to the third graders there as part of the national “Words for Thirds” program. Each student signed his or her own copy and played a word game to become familiar with the dictionary. Teacher Carolyn Watkins expressed much appreciation for the “wonderful presentation” and said that her kids were “over the top” excited to receive their own dictionary.

Apr 102017

Glenys Ryder, Community Service Chair
Danville Junction Grange # 65

Throughout the year, Danville Junction Grange carries out many community service projects.  However, none are more satisfying or enjoyable than the Words for Thirds program!  It is so much fun each year to enter classrooms, bursting with enthusiasm, as students anticipate receiving their new dictionaries!!!  Once they are distributed, the room is alive with excited conversation about the “longest word”, the planets, sign language, and much more that the students find in their dictionaries!  Notice the intent look on the students’ faces in the photo as they study them!!

This year we were able to distribute dictionaries to over three hundred third graders at three schools in the area.  We are already planning for next year!


Mar 242017

Lois McCarthy (shown) and Lisa Goucher visited Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon on March 17 to present dictionaries to the third-grade students there.
A word game was played and each student signed his or her own copy. This is the second year that Mill Stream has participated in the national “Words for Thirds” program as one of their community service projects.

Dec 152016


By Walter Boomsma

For several years now I’ve used our staves as part of our Valley Grange Dictionary Day visits—whether the kids visit us at the Grange Hall or we visit their classrooms. They have always seemed to enjoy learning about these “farmer’s tools” and often will mention them when they write thank you notes. Occasionally a student will accurately draw each of the four. When that happens, I confess to wondering if we Grangers can remember all four? I hope so because I also explain to these third graders why we use them in our meetings. Historically that explanation has been a general one. This year I decided to be a bit more specific and I turned to the officer installation ceremony for help.

“Your emblem is the Spud, an ancient implement used by Stewards in passing through the fields to eradicate weeds that may have escaped the notice of the laborers… Let it remind you of your duty as a faithful steward to remove all causes of dissension or strife, in the Grange and in order.” When I’ve explained to the kids that all Grangers see the spud as a reminder to keep the Grange free of weeds, they offer what some of the things are they as classmates, might want to eliminate for their classroom. Their answers often include “bullying” and “bad words.”

“Your emblem is the Pruning Hook. The spear, beaten into a pruning hook is emblematic of peace. May it always remind you of your duty to preserve peace in our order…” There’s a natural progression here. My dictionary day helpers know the staves must be in the “right” order before I began—not just because of tradition, but because it makes sense. When we eliminate bad things (dissension and strife or bullying and bad words) we begin building peace.

“I present you, the Lady Assistant Steward of your Grange with the Shepherd’s Crook, which symbolizes a sense of caring.” I will confess that my instruction to the children takes some editorial license, in part because we have fun with this “tool.” I’ll select a volunteer to be a sheep and demonstrate how the shepherd uses the crook “like a leash” to guide the sheep. The application is, therefore, that seeing the crook reminds us that we each can be a leader, guiding others in our efforts to remove “weeds” and “build peace.”

The kids love the owl; he’s almost everybody’s favorite stave. When I remove him from the stand, someone always shouts, “He’s cute!” (The one I use is wooden and quite realistic in appearance.) Upon receiving it, the Gatekeeper is told “I caution you to be vigilant and watchful” with a comparatively lengthy explanation of the dangers to be kept from our Order. Usually the kids can come up with why a farmer might like an owl to “scare away birds and mice.” In the Grange, the owl reminds us to see what’s around us, both to enjoy beauty but also to protect it by removing dissension…

I confess the first time I tried this it was unrehearsed and probably didn’t hang together as well as it could and now does. As a teacher, for the first time I saw these four staves as potential classroom management tools—even joking with one class that it’s too bad they don’t have a set like we do—or maybe a photo poster of them. (I can picture a kid going to a corner of the room, grabbing a spud, marching over to another kid and saying, “You used an inappropriate word! That’s not allowed!” I also confess that I now see the staves a bit different myself. These tools represent tools that we must use constantly to preserve our Order, an Order that strives to remove dissension and strife, build peace and caring, and develop vigilance and watchfulness.

“The Order of the Patrons of Husbandry is the only association whose teachings accompany its members in their daily pursuits. They form part of the farmer’s life. They do not call him from his work to put his mind upon any other subjects, but furnish recreation in his daily duties, and, by cheerful instruction, lighten and elevate his labor.”

While the literal staves may remain in the holders between meetings, what they represent should accompany us in our daily pursuits. I would encourage (uh oh, sounds like we’re going to get some homework!) each member to find or borrow a Grange Manual and read/study the installing officer’s opening address. That address describes some of the reasons we need those staves—not just for four people to hold and carry during the ritual but as a way of life.

Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.