Yarn Drive Temporarily Suspended…

With thanks to all who provided lots of yarn, we are suspending our yarn drive until fall… bins are being removed from all locations except the Grange Hall. (We’ll never refuse yarn, we’re just not actively seeking donations at the moment.) Thanks to PCES, “The Pulse” Radio, County Extension, and Penquis for providing bin locations. Our “blistered finger knitters” are still knitting and we anticipate having lots of mittens and hats for our kids this fall!

Brian Woodworth, Community Citizen 2012

Brian Woodworth, Community Citizen

A crowd of some one hundred friends and neighbors gathered at the Valley Grange Hall last Friday to celebrate community and community service by honoring Brian Woodworth as “Community Citizen of the Year, 2012.” A massive conspiracy somehow managed to keep the award a secret and even after being proclaimed “guest of honor” when he and wife Cindy entered the packed dining hall he still didn’t believe it. He asked what was really going on and when told he replied, “No way.”Following a fantastic community potluck featuring good food and good friends, the group assembled in the upstairs hall to both honor and to some extent “roast” Brian… The audience learned a bit about his tendency lock his keys in his truck and certain cousins who admitted to wondering years ago during their teen years whether or not Maine permitted cousins to marry. “He was so darn cute.”Among the many groups represented were the Sebec Lake Association, Kiwanis, the Guilford Historical Society, the town of Guilford, and Friends of Central Hall, but the consensus seemed to be that while Brian certainly is a big asset to organizations, his community service is at the same very individual and personal and caring.

Celebrating at the Grange has to include eating!

Brian’s daughter Beth was unable to attend, but her letter was read as the final testimonial. “…He is always willing to help people, even those he does not know. He is constantly sparking up conversations with the casual passerby, warning them of burnt out taillights or helping with directions. I am so proud of my dad and it is nice to hear that he is being recognized for his greatness…. He is always there when someone needs him, if not patching up a roof, plowing snow, or tuning up a car he is brightening up their day with his positive attitude and cracking a joke… I want to congratulate him for being the amazing person he is and let him know how proud I am to call him my dad.”

Valley Grange is proud to call Brian our “Community Citizen of the Year” and we thank the many who made this special night possible.

Grange Members Stay Members!

Harriet Mitchell is happy to be a Granger!

In conjunction with our Annual Community Service Program, Valley Grange recognized long-term members. This year the list included Paul Curtis joined May 7, 1952 (60 years ago) and two 65 year members: Elizabeth Herring who joined August 30, 1947 and Harriett Mitchell who joined May 29, 1947. Harriet was able to attend and accept her recognition in person, pointing out that she has a birthday coming soon and will be 87 years young.  She admits that as the years have passed she hasn’t been too active, and there aren’t too many of her generation left. But she still recognizes a few people and proved it by pointing several folks out.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that “Grange Members tend to stick around” because “membership is a great thing and very likely contributes to a long life.” He also suggested Harriet should mark her calendar and plan to come back for her seventieth anniversary five years from now.

Program Director Walter Boomsma said that while the Guilford-based Grange has lots of energy and projects throughout the county, they can always use help and are especially seeking new members. “It doesn’t have to be a 60 to 70 year commitment,” he noted. “But we hope and trust that members will want to remain a part of an organization that is steeped in tradition, but very relevant in today’s communities.”

Just Five Minutes…

Just Five Minutes is a PowerPoint presentation converted to video that was produced in conjunction with our 2012 Community Citizen Program to give folks a sense of what our Grange is all about and to present some thoughts about community service.

(Should you experience difficulty with buffering, you can watch the program on You Tube by clicking the You Tube logo on the bottom right.)

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp…

If you remember the next line (“the boys are marching”) you’ll want to tramp on over to Valley Grange on Saturday, June 2nd for a few hours of Civil War Music and related activities. The day’s activities are sponsored by the Daughters of Union Veterans—Sarah Elizabeth Palmer Tent #23 and will start at 2 PM. The Back Porch Bluegrass band will be featured and the Sons of Union Veterans—Daniel Chaplain Camp #3 will have some additional presentations. Admission is by donation with $5 suggested. Refreshments will be served by Valley Grange and door prizes will be drawn. This is a family-friendly event! For more information, contact Mary Annis at 564-0820.

Cheer up, comrades, they will come.

And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again,

Of the free land in our own beloved home.

Ode to Friends…

Valley Grange Chaplain Janice Boomsma added a special touch to our recent Memorial Service with this poem by Betty VanDyke:

One by one they take that step
That takes them to Heaven’s Gate,
First Laura, then Jean, Marilyn and Merna too
All go to meet St. Peter the Great.
He looks in his book to see what they have done
In their lifetime–one by one.
He tells them all they have surpassed their goal
And now are angels to guard us all.
We shall miss all these friends, yes indeed–
And we look forward to the day
We will once again see
Our friends.

Fraternal Concern: Many around the area know Betty from her dedicated grange work… She’s still pretty feisty at 87 years old (and writing poetry!), but recently fell and broke her shoulder… remember her with a card:

Mrs. Betty VanDyke
Hibbard’s Nursing/Rehab – Room 18
PO Box 159
Dover Foxcroft ME 04426

Thanks, Teachers!

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.

~Karl Menninger

ImageIt’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Valley Grange does appreciate our teachers… who you are and what you do! And we appreciate the opportunities we have to work with you and the kids!

Parents and kids… if you’d like some ideas for ways to show some appreciation to your teacher(s)… you can start at this website:


Some thoughts from “Mr. Boomsma”…

It’s that time of year when political issues dominate the news and conversation. We are reading, listening and talking about elections, taxes, school budgets, and a host of other topics. When we focus on the politics it is easy to forget about the people.

It’s my privilege to work with several of the local schools through Valley Grange’s Words for the Thirds Dictionary and Bookworm Program. Both of these programs have given me a deep appreciation for what is happening in our schools and communities and gratitude for the people who are facilitating it. Kids are learning like crazy and, I think, teachers are teaching like crazy!

While bookworming earlier this year, a second grader told me that he was quite sure his brain was too small—he gets overwhelmed by all the things there are to learn at school. I wanted to tell him that I knew exactly how he felt but instead suggested that perhaps his brain was just too busy and he needed to focus. I’ve also had a second grader offer me that same advice, “Mr. Boomsma, you need to focus!”

It pays to listen to our children. It’s encouraging, exciting, rewarding and educational. My second and third grade friends don’t always know a lot about local politics, but they often surprise me with what they do know and how they are learning. At the end of the day education is about kids and teachers. We can and should debate politics and our social and economic issues. But occasionally we need to focus.

As I sat to write this I realized that I do not remember a lot of detail regarding the political and social issues from my childhood. But I can name a lot of my teachers. My admiration for them has actually increased over the years.

So National Teacher Appreciation week is an opportunity to offer a simple but sincere “thanks” for the incredible jobs you do. Keep filling those brains!

Open House/Awards Ceremony May 18th

It’s that time of the year when we celebrate the rich tradition of our organization with an open house and award program. Again this year we’re going “all out” with a celebration that will knock yer socks off — or at least make ‘em roll up and down a little!

Ad by Anna Morin

As you know, we’ve always used this special meeting to honor a local citizen who’s made a substantial contribution to our communities and this year is no exception. You’ll also remember that we do our best to keep it a secret and surprise the recipient… so far so good!

So if you haven’t heard who it is you’ll either have to find somebody who knows and ask or come to the party on Friday, May 18th. We’ll start with a community potluck supper at 6 PM (bring a dish to share if you can) and start the meeting at 7:30 PM. This is a family friendly event!