River Festival 2011

We’re ready!

If we look a little “limp” in the photo it’s because we set up right after the rain stopped… but the sun came out and we ended up with a great day!

We provided over 300 balloons–most at no charge–to a lot of happy kids. We say “most” because Nat Marsh figured out that some kids were coming back claiming they’d lost their balloon-but they’d really been using them to do that squeaky voice thing. As a result of Nat’s powers of observation, we “sold” some big kid balloons and collected $14 in the Smart Starts Collection can. We also gave away lots of information slips about our Italian Dinner later this month and talked to a few people about Grange Membership. Our 50/50 netted us $18.50 but also must have set some kind of record because the winner was all the way from Washington State!

We learned a lot about balloon blowing… and “lost” our share to the wind… got to check up on a few of our bookworm buddies and their summer reading efforts… and see some old friends and make a few new ones. We made a lot of kids happy and proved that Valley Grange is alive and well in Guilford! (And who knows where else… some of those balloons looked like they were going to sail pretty far away… )

Special thanks to booth workers Roger and Judy, Floyd and Nathalee, Linda and Bob, Janice… and to Jim and Mary for showing up super early to help with set up… and to an unnamed strapping young fellow who proved he could unload our helium tank for us single-handedly… and to the young lady from Parkman Grange who provided the “motivation” to Bob and Jim to reload it almost as quickly at the end of the day. How can helium–lighter than air–weigh so much!?


August 2011 Bookworm Schedule

Reading is fun!“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

~Mason Cooley

Okay… so there isn’t exactly a formal Bookworm Schedule for August, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be reading and doing things! Thanks to all the kids who stopped by our booth at Riverfest… it was good to see you!

This month Bookworm Readers will be anxiously looking forward to our special Italian Dinner being served by the Penquis Folks to benefit the Smart Starts Project. We are hoping lots of people will take advantage of this and we’ll help raise lots of money for school supplies for kids in the area!

We’ll keep reading… and it won’t be long before we’ll be going “back to school!” We’ll also be getting ready for our Words for Thirds Dictionary Project… the summer is going by too fast!

August 2011 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share!

Summertime in Maine offers many fun activities for families. But between the months of May and August, drowning deaths for children increase 89% over the rest of the year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-14 years old and the fifth leading cause of death for people of all ages in the United States, ranking second only to automobile accidents. Nearly 750 children ages 14 and under died in 2007 in the United States due to unintentional drowning. Many more children are injured due to a near drowning incident. A parent or a caregiver stated they were supervising their children in almost 9 out of 10 drowning related deaths. The highest risk of drowning occurs between the ages of 1 and 4 years old.

About half of all drowning accidents occur in natural water settings like lakes, rivers, and oceans. About 19% occurred in swimming pools and about 9% occurred in boating incidents.

Most children are attracted to the water. Toddlers need close supervision because their capabilities change on a daily basis.

Safety tips for swimmers and boaters include making an investment in formal swimming lessons and learn to swim!; provide constant, careful supervision when children are around or in the water; learn CPR; never swim alone; look for underwater hazards and avoid rip currents; use life jackets; avoid alcohol; take a boating safety course; know the weather forecast and do not swim during thunderstorms; fence off backyard swimming pools and remove ladders leading from the ground to a pool when the pool is not in use; do not let children operate personal water crafts; do not use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision; do not leave children’s toys around a pool or in a pool; and always jump into a body of water feet first.

Drowning can occur in the winter too. Beware of thin ice.

For more information visit www.safekids.org; www.cpsc.gov; www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov; www.safeboatingcouncil.org; and www.cdc.gov.

Be safe and enjoy the rest of the summer!

August Events

Note that due to a number of conflicts and full schedules, the business meeting scheduled for August 5 has been cancelled. Because events are submitted well in advance  it will show up in newspapers. Any questions, contact Master Jim.

Thursday, August 4th Piscataquis Pomona meets at Dexter Grange. Potluck Supper starts at 6 PM, meeting at 7 PM.

Friday, August 19th is our collaborative Italian Dinner from 5 – 7 PM–get a great dinner and help the Smart Starts Project. Members will want to stay after dinner for Officer Installation at 7 PM. For that matter, non members may want to stay too!

Piscataquis Valley Fair  set up will take place Wednesday, August 24th at a time to be announced… contact Mary Annis with your ideas and offers to help. By the way, if you pick up a fair book, please note that for some reason the information submitted for this year did not get printed.

Come for Supper

Valley Grange Collaborates with Penquis

Working together to host a Smart Starts for Students Fund Raising Supper

Guilford/Dover Foxcroft—Valley Grange and Penquis are teaming up to raise funds for the Penquis Smart Starts for Students Project Fund in a way that’s smart for both organizations, according to Sheree Brown, Project Coordinator. “Valley Grange has been a supporter for several years, but this year we found an even smarter way to help our kids by informally partnering to offer folks in the area another way to help. In what may be our final fundraiser for this year, we’ll be offering an Italian Buffet with a build your own salad bar in exchange for a donation to the project.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange notes that this is just another example of the collaborative spirit that exists in the Guilford-based Grange. “We’ve had a focus on kids for some time now,” he observed. “We’re probably best known for our Words for Thirds initiative which takes us into three school districts, providing personal dictionaries to third graders throughout the area. So it does make sense for us to work with Penquis on an initiative that provides kids with school supplies.”

"Sure hope I can find an eraser!"

Boomsma explains that “the best programs we do are the ones that give us contact with the kids.” Volunteer Bookworms from Valley Grange visit Piscataquis Community Elementary School to read with second and third graders during the school year. Boomsma says he developed a real appreciation of the need for the Smart Starts program a few years ago while in a second grade classroom. “The kids were working on drafts of a report and I bounced from desk to desk to share ideas, do a little editing and correct spelling. I confess it took a while to stop reaching for my pen as I worked. Second Graders work in pencil for a reason. While finding a pencil wasn’t too difficult, finding one with some eraser left was! I asked no one in particular ‘Where do we find a pencil with an eraser?’ The kids are usually great at helping a guest find his way around the room, but there was

Glad I didn't make a BIG mistake! This eraser is really small!

a notable lack of response to my question. Eventually one little guy dug into the back of his desk and with a secretive smile presented me with his cherished possession—a pencil with a few millimeters of eraser left on top. Since a lot of our volunteer work with the school is about empowering kids, I found myself considering the idea that a simple pencil with some eraser left could mean a lot in a classroom where a lot of mistakes have been made in the course of learning.”

Brown agrees, “Kids’ needs are often simple but simple doesn’t mean unimportant.” The Smart Starts Project represents a school supply assistance program for the greater Piscataquis area by providing starter packs of new school supplies for families in need throughout MSAD #4, #41, #46, #68 and Union #60. (The starter packs include erasers!) Last year nearly over 400 kids benefitted from the program and early indications are the need will be even bigger this coming school year.

The buffet will be served on Friday, August 19th starting at 5 PM until 7 PM or until the food runs out—whichever comes first. Diners get all they can eat of a variety of traditional Italian dishes for a minimum donation of $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children ages 5-12, and children under age 5 eat free. Valley Grange is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road in Guilford. Additional information regarding the Smart Starts Program is available at the Penquis website: http://www.penquis.org or call Sheree Brown, 564-7116 Ext. 2440 or 1-800-215-4942.

Come See Us at River Festival!

Valley Grange is excited and proud to be participating in this year’s River Festival with an informational booth featuring free balloons for the kids! (Kids note that you might see a Grange Bookworm… and yes, we will probably ask you how you’re doing on your summer reading!)

This will also be a great time to make a donation of school supplies to the Smart Starts for Students project… we’ll have a collection box available!

While the festival starts Friday night with musical entertainment, our both will open Saturday morning… before the parade. You can find highlights of the Piscataquis River Festival Schedule at the Hometown Newspaper Website.

Hooting Heard!

While it was admittedly a bit subdued because of the heat, there was still some hooting at the Valley Grange Hall on Friday as a number of people braved the heat to participate in our supper and music program. We do appreciate the support of those who agreed it was “too hot to cook” — we even had one take out order!

A special thanks goes to all those who helped put this event together… we had a number of food donations and lots of willing workers. One featured item was a  home baked pie featuring handpicked raspberries. Don and Eileen Ebbling provided it and rather than serve it we auctioned it off before the music… for $20!

Other than the pie, our leftovers were donated to the volunteer crew at the JD Foundation Yard Sale… an amazing bunch of people who aren’t letting the heat stop them from raising record funds for their suicide awareness and prevention program. If you want to brave the elements today, a trip to Abbot would be supportive and there are plenty of treasures left for your shopping pleasure.

Also thank to North Country Strings players Susan, Ruth, and Paul for a great performance as always. They even opened with the “Grange Welcome Song!”


Plant a Grange Garden

Creating your “grange garden” for daily life…

1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

Cultivate with patience and love—remember that you reap what you sow.

We’re on…

We know it’s hot! But we also have tons of food ready… so we’re proceeding with our supper and hootenanny! We’ll do our best to make things comfortable… lots of iced tea and ice water for sure!

Bear in mind it should start to cool late this afternoon, although admittedly not much! One thing you might do is ready Karen’s July Health Beat… it’s all about this kind of weather and how to cope!

If you’re sick of weather reports… here’s another different up-to-the minute report: The JD Foundation Yard Sale is MOBBED. So the heat isn’t keeping people away! You might want to check it out before all the good stuff goes!