Posted by Walter Boomsma on October 24, 2014
Mr. Annis, Mr. Carroll and Mr. Boomsma recently truck-pooled to Dexter carrying along the staves, RFD mailbox and several cases of dictionaries–a sure sign that another Dictionary Day was about to happen in our area. This is our first year in AOS 94 and weren’t the kids excited!
One young lady thought perhaps the “pruning hook” was used to get prunes off trees–not an unreasonable guess when you think about it. English is a strange language and she perhaps demonstrated the value of a dictionary!
We have one more Dictionary Day to go this year. Harmony Elementary School will be our last but certainly not our least recipient of dictionaries through our “Words for Thirds” initiative. When we put away the props, we will have visited with six schools and twelve classes. Most importantly, we will have placed a dictionary in the hands of over 200 third grade graders.
Special thanks to Mrs. Hersey for coordinating our visit–and to the staff and teachers for helping us begin what we pledge to make an annual event. We also appreciate the community support we receive when fundraising for this project. Contributions can always be sent to Valley Grange, c/o Mary Annis, 28 Orchard Road, Dover Foxcroft ME 04426.
Winston Churchill said, “There is no finer investment a community can make than putting milk into the mouths of babies.” We think putting dictionaries into the hands of third graders is a close second.
Posted by Walter Boomsma on November 18, 2014
Reading the thank you letters kids send for their dictionaries is almost as much fun as handing out the dictionaries! The kids usually have some fun things to say and will often add a colorful drawing to demonstrate their artistic flair. Here are a few of their comments selected randomly.
“Thank you to you and the Valley Grange members for the free dictionaries. I now know the capitols of mostly all of the states. Also I liked Captain Battick’s whistle and his sword. He also has a cool uniform and hat. My dictionary is awesome. It even shows sign language too. And thanks for the dictionaries again, Logan.”
“Thank you to you and Valley Grange members. I love this dictionary. I always wanted one of my own dictionary. You can look up anything in the world! Tell Captain Battick I said hi, Caline”
“Thanks for the dictionaries and telling us what the words mean. I had a great time. I hope I can come again. Where was the first Grange built? I hope I can come again, Gage.”
“Thank you for letting us come to your Grange. I loved the part when we did a dictionary race. I also loved the part when we got to the meet the Navy Captain. Can we come back again soon? The dictionarys are very helpful to us. Thank you! Kassyde”
“I liked the field trip a lot. And Captain Battick was cool so much a lot. And thanks for the dictionaries. I read it a lot. Jesse”
We should perhaps explain that Captain (Jack) Battick is a featured guest when the kids come to Valley Grange. He explains the role of Navy in the Civil War as part of the history of the Grange, formed shortly after the war was over.
So far this year we’ve visited Milo and Brownville Elementary School and we’ve been visited by Piscataquis Community Elementary School and SeDoMoCha Elementary. Our next trip is taking us to Ridgeview Elementary School in Dexter on November 13, and we wrap up 2014 Dictionary Days with a visit to Harmony Elementary. We will have given out over 200 dictionaries this year when we have finished. Parents of home schooled third graders are urged to contact their local school to arrange for a dictionary–our goal is to reach as many kids as we can!
Posted by Walter Boomsma on November 6, 2014
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
Let’s get reading! Note the days of the week are the same, but the times have changed a little this year.
Friday, October 24- Bookworms will be at PCES at 10:15 a.m. for a brief assembly with second and third graders… Meet the Bookworms! This is the official start of Bookworming this year!
Tuesday, October 28 - Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9:30 AM
Thursday, October 30 - Mrs. Lander will be at school to read, 8:30 AM
Friday, October 31 – Happy Halloween!
Tuesday, November 4- Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9:30 AM – Don’t forget to vote today!
Thursday, November 6 - Mr. Lange will be at school to read, 8:30 AM
Tuesday, November 11 - No school!
Thursday, November 13- Mrs. Kimball will be at school to read, 8:30 AM
Tuesday, November 18 - Mrs. Kimball and Miss Shelby will be at school to read, 9:30 AM
November 24 – November 28 - Vacation Week - Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by Walter Boomsma on October 15, 2014
Known to the kids as “Mr. Boomsma,” Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma is the subject of a special article in the October Issue of Maine Seniors Magazine. Maine Seniors is a high quality magazine published right here in Maine and distributed throughout the state featuring “community icons” and “prime movers”—seniors who are making a difference in their communities and state.
Starting on page 32 of the October Issue, you’ll find a well-illustrated article about Boomsma’s passion for kids and how he discovered it after joining Valley Grange. “Each Grange can choose its own projects, reflecting local needs and interests. That’s how the Valley Grange, whose area stretches from Monson to Milo, came to focus so strongly on children. And how Boomsma—who talks with his hands and quotes Socrates—built a life around it.”
A digital copy of the article will be available on http://wboomsma.com and the entire issue will be accessible at http://meseniors.com before the month is over. The article features some of Valley Grange’s initiatives such as Words for Thirds, Bookworming, and the GrowME project while telling some of his favorite stories about working with kids.
But it also makes clear the fact that Mr. Boomsma believes it’s not about programs. The programs he likes “are really just an excuse to do the real work.”
Written by Donna Halvorsen of Portland, an accompanying article expands and explains the role of the Grange—a Historic Tradition—in Maine.
Posted by Walter Boomsma on October 10, 2014
It’s Dictionary Season! This is a fun time of year for Valley Grangers as we get to fill many little hands that reach out for the Dictionary we provide as part of our “Words for Thirds” Dictionary Project.
This year we will make our annual trek over to SAD 41 on Tuesday, October 15th, stopping at Milo Elementary first thing in the morning and Brownville Elementary closer to noon. Our “road trip” includes third grade classroom visits talking about the Grange Staves representing farmers’ tools and the role of the Grange in getting R.F.D. started.
PCES Third Graders will celebrate their Dictionary Day with a field trip to the Grange Hall on Friday, October 17 at 12:15 pm where they are greeted by “Captain Battick” — a Civil War Navy Captain. Captain Battick explains a bit about the Navy’s role in the Civil War and teaches the Navy Salute! He is most often joined by “Miss Mary” in her pink day dress who explains that “you couldn’t show your ankles and wrists in those days–it was considered improper.” We also discuss “stewardship” and hear from several sixth graders who received their dictionaries three years ago.
SeDoMoCha Third Graders have a similar opportunity on Monday, October 27 when they arrive at the Valley Grange Hall at 9:00 AM for lessons and dictionaries. This is our largest group this year–we expect over seventy third graders!
New this year but not yet scheduled are Dictionary Days at Ridgeview Elementary School in Dexter and Harmony Elementary School in Harmony! We don’t have a definite date yet, but we promise we are coming! Look for Grangers with Dictionaries most likely in early November. We’re excited to be adding another District to our list! With this addition, we are now covering four districts, six schools and putting dictionaries in the hands of over 200 young scholars every year!
Parents of children who are homeschooled are encouraged to contact their local school for information about participating in “Dictionary Day” by attending the program or to receive a dictionary if attending isn’t possible.
Our experience with the kids “re-convinces” us every year of the importance and power of this project. According to The Dictionary Project website, “…Even for children with computer access, a dictionary provides benefits a computer cannot. Dictionaries are portable and can be used anywhere. A child has a sense of ownership of a book that encourages exploration. And only a dictionary can provide that delightful experience of looking up a word and getting sidetracked by all the other fascinating words on the same page.”
This program is made possible by the support of our communities and those individuals who purchase raffle tickets or make cash contributions. If you’d like to help us empower these young scholars with their very own dictionary, you can send a donation to Valley Grange, c/o Secretary Mary Annis, 28 Orchard Road, Dover Foxcroft ME 04426. Together we are building the future.
Posted by Walter Boomsma on October 6, 2014
The exchanges below recently arrived by forwarded email and reminded me of a “performance” long-time Granger Laura Pratt and I did over a decade ago. We used a shorter version of this. I delivered the “My mother taught me…” and she replied with the quote. Those who knew Laura can probably hear her intonation and attest that her replies were very believable! So here’s to her memory and to your entertainment!
My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”
My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
My father taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
My father taught me LOGIC.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”
My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
My father taught me IRONY.
“Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?”
My mother taught me about STAMINA.
“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
My mother taught me about WEATHER.
“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”
My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”
My father taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out…”
My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.
“Stop acting like your father!”
My mother taught me about ENVY.
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”
My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
“Just wait until we get home.”
My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
“You are going to get it from your father when you get home!”
My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”
My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”
My father taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
My mother taught me GENETICS.
“You’re just like your father.”
My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”
My mother taught me WISDOM.
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.
My father taught me about JUSTICE.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
Posted by Walter Boomsma on September 10, 2014
Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.
Not everyone sees that retirement party the same way. For some, retirement is a well-earned time for rest, for others it can represent a loss of purpose and can cause stress and depression. Preparing for the next stage in life where your job is not what defines how you spend your time or who you are is important.
Most advice about retirement planning focuses on financial planning. This is essential if the aging years are to be stress free, and is best started early in life. Women, who generally earn less in their lifetime than men and live longer, are particularly vulnerable to financial problems as they age. There are many excellent resources on financial planning, including columns in newspapers and books.
Retirement planning is about more than economics, however. Many people feel a sense of loss of purpose, loneliness and depression after they stop work. Since there are often more than twenty years of living left to do after stopping work, it is essential to reframe this phase of your life as an opportunity for continued growth, activity and development in new directions. The following are tips to help you age well, remain vibrant, healthy and happy after the job years are over.
- Set a schedule. Avoid the temptation to sleep in or just see what comes to you as the day goes on.
- Identify new hobbies or interests: painting, learning an instrument or new language, reading, gardening.
- Consider taking a class to learn new skills or just to learn. This keeps the mind engaged.
- Exercise regularly. Try different things: yoga, dancing, swimming. Mix it up, but do it daily if you can.
- Meet people. Maintain a social life. Find new friends. Join a club, a church. Have coffee or go out to eat with people. It’s important for mind and spirit.
- Travel to new places. Try travel and learn programs, or programs where you can travel and give back to a community by building a school or other community service.
- Volunteer your time. This not only is great for the community but it gives you a sense of value and purpose.
- Don’t feel you need to spend every minute with your spouse (or kids). They will thank you for it.
- Don’t count on your body working forever. Find activities that you will enjoy even if the body parts wear out.
- Turn off the TV! Monitor your habit of TV watching. It can be addicting and contributes to boredom and depression.
Posted by Walter Boomsma on September 6, 2014
Valley Grange left the Piscataquis Valley Fair and brought home the Blue Ribbon for it’s “Then and Now” Grange booth. The display also turned out to be a traffic stopper as some of the older folks remembered… and some of the younger folks said, “What is that?!” Telephones seemed to be of particular interest with children and grandchildren expressing disbelief that their parents and grandparents actually talked “into those things.”
The display also featured information about Valley’s many community service efforts ranging from Words for Thirds Dictionary Days to Coups for Troops. Examples of handcrafts and agriculture rounded out the display which remained in place throughout the fair.
The display was assembled by Mary and Jim Annis, Janice Boomsma, Linda Erwin, and Bob Carroll in the hopes fair-goers would enjoy the contrasts and learn more about the Grange.
Posted by Walter Boomsma on August 25, 2014
Saturday, September 6 Valley Grange hosts the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County Annual Supper and Meeting and it looks like there’s going to be something for everyone!
Another yummy supper is prepared by Penquis Volunteers and all proceeds will benefit Piscataquis Santa. Supper will be served from 5 PM until 7 PM. The meal deal will feature locally grown produce… baked ham, carrots, turnip, squash, potatoes and gravy… apple crisp for desert! Minimum donation is $8 for adults, $4 for kids 3-12, under 3 eat free! Remember, 100% of the proceeds benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund! (There will only be 110 days until Christmas from this event!)
The program parts include lots of exciting things! Prior to and during supper there will be Extension exhibits and demonstrations including a working bee hive and information on gardening, farming and nutrition. Bring your gardening, farming, nutrition, 4-H questions! There will also be lots of material available… The annual meeting starting at 7 PM will feature highlights of local programming and a feature presentation by John Jemison, UMaine Extension Agronomist, “Think Globally; Eat Locally.” All exhibits, demonstrations, and the program are free!
This is collaboration and cooperation at its best! You can come to one thing or you can come to everything!
Posted by Walter Boomsma on August 14, 2014