MSAD #4 Santa Project

Valley Grange supports Parkman Grange with this important project!

The Parkman Grange is again coordinating the MSAD#4 Santa Project with a few changes this year. The Santa Project provides a coat, boots, and a toy to children in the MSAD #4 school district whose families need a little help this Christmas. Applications will be available at school and at the town offices of Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville, Abbot, and Cambridge. They must be returned by mail or at the locked box at the Parkman Grange.  The application deadline is November 13, 2020. The distribution will be Sunday, December 20, 10 AM-noon at the Parkman Grange which is located at the corner of State Hwy 150 and North Dexter Road. It will be a drive-thru event that will include a turkey dinner from the Masons.

Due to Covid precautions, Parkman Grange is not having their annual hunter’s supper which helps finance this program.  The Grange anticipates a greater need this year, so donations from the community are especially needed this year. Donations can be made at K.C. Store or the Parkman Town Office.  Checks can be made out to Parkman Grange, memo line: Santa Project and sent to PO BOX 114, Guilford, ME 04443.   Another way to help is by sponsoring a child from the Angel Tree at K.C. Store and buying a coat or boots.  For more info call Sue Manchester 277-3942 or check the Parkman Grange Facebook Page.

The Words Are Coming!

by Walter Boomsma, Program Director

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the “Words for Thirds” program… and anyone who knows Valley Grange may remember that we’ve had a very successful program for well over a decade. We provide dictionaries to four school districts every year with two of those districts making field trips to the Valley Grange Hall.

It’s that time of year when we order dictionaries and start planning “Dictionary Days” with our districts. The perhaps obvious question has arisen. “How is this going to work this year?”

The honest answer is “We don’t know yet!” But what we do know is that, one way or another, we will provide our third grade friends with their dictionaries this year. We’re committed to finding a way that works for everyone involved. Things may look a little different–or maybe a lot different but the results will be the same. Every third grader in our area will get their own dictionary. And, as the label inside will say, “This dictionary and all the words in it belong to…”

We’ve already put our thinking caps on and will be coming up with ideas–some may be a little bit crazy–for how to make this year’s program work. Since there are still a lot of uncertainties with how schools will be operating (and things could be different in each district) we can’t make many decisions yet. But in addition to being certain we’ll figure it out, we’ll also be working with the teachers and administration in each district to develop a plan that’s convenient, safe, and as much fun as possible. It’s a difficult but exciting challenge.

From our experience, we know Words for Thirds works best when it becomes a partnership between the Grange and the school(s). This year, more than ever, it will be important to be considerate of the challenges our teachers and schools are facing. We will stay focused on the goal of getting dictionaries into the hands of the kids and work within the restrictions that may be in place. We can do this, we’re Grangers!

This is one Grange Program that we won’t discuss whether or not we’re going to do it. We just have to figure out how we’re going to do it! The words are coming, kids!

August Meeting…

After some pondering, musing, thinking, contemplating, and deliberating, we’ve determined we will have a short meeting on Friday, August 21, starting at 7:00 p.m. No potluck supper. Maybe we can go for ice cream after!

We do have some business to conduct, including a brief discussion of Words for Thirds and approval of the dictionary order. We also may have a group using the hall on Saturday, so we’ll want to do some quick cleaning and straightening of the dining room. Probably no heavy lifting, just sweeping, dusting, wiping things down, etc. If you’re feeling energetic, come early! Thanks for helping Valley Grange stay open and relevant… hope to see you then!

Parade of Pirates Canceled

Guilford—Valley Grange of Guilford recently announced that in a joint agreement with the administration of SAD 4, the Parade of Pirates scheduled for June 10, 2020 is being canceled. In announcing the cancelation Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma explained, “After reviewing the recent changes to Governor Mills’ Executive order we made the unhappy decision to cancel the event in keeping with the spirit of the order and everyone’s safety.”

Boomsma also reminded everyone that the purpose of the parade is not cancelled. “We just have to celebrate our community treasurers differently and more creatively.” He suggested that “even something as a simple card, email, letter, or email to someone and saying thanks for being part of our schools and communities and the area we live in.”

Valley Grange offers a number of programs to support area communities ranging from providing dictionaries to third graders to making “fabric hugs”—blankets for children in conjunction with Project Linus. The Guilford Grange has a long history of programs to support schools and kids. Boomsma had a special message for the students, parents, and teachers. “In these uncertain times, I promise you this. We’ll be back.”

Program Director Walter Boomsma explains the decision.

Parade of Pirates

Additional Information and Resources

New information being added regularly! Keep checking back!

Our communities and schools are a great place to live and learn! That’s worth celebrating! We also want to provide our kids with some sense of closure–the last day of school may be bittersweet, it’s also exciting!

Announcing a Parade of Pirates!

Grange and Community to Celebrate the Last Day of School

Guilford—Valley Grange of Guilford is sponsoring a Parade of Pirates to celebrate the final day of school for SAD 4 and “acknowledge our community treasures—schools, teachers, parents, kids—everyone who helps make this a great place to live and learn,” according to Walter Boomsma, Program Director of the Guilford-based Grange. Using the school mascot as a theme seemed appropriate, according to Boomsma. “While we might not approve of everything pirates did, the fact is they led exciting lives and in many cases built up huge treasures. That certainly describes life in our schools and communities.”

Scheduled for the final day of school, June 10, 2020, and start at 1:00 pm, the parade of vehicles will travel through the MSAD 4 Campus with appropriate waving, balloons, decorated vehicles, horn-blowing, and yelling. Teachers and staff will line the edges of the driveway in what Boomsma hopes becomes a “huge event” that marks the official end of the school year and the start of summer. Noting that many events are being canceled this year, he said, “We know we can do this safely. Drivers and passengers are instructed to remain in their vehicles while driving slowly and safely through the campus. Valley Grange members and volunteers will assist with directing traffic and maintaining social distancing.”

Noting that the event is not just for parents and kids, Boomsma said that community organizations, businesses—anyone who wants to celebrate our community treasures and accomplishments is invited to follow the parade through the campus.

Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis says she’s excited, “We have a great relationship with the school and kids thanks to programs like our Dictionary Day and Bookworming… We have been missing the kids and those activities we normally do. This seems like a great opportunity to take the focus off what we have missed this year and put it on what we have.”

Want to volunteer? We need a few people to help with directing traffic and keeping it moving… just send an email. Specific information and details will be listed soon! Check back often!

Exploring Traditions and Connections

Here you can watch and listen to the discussion between National Grange Communications Director Amanda Brozana Rio and author Walter Boomsma as they explore some of the topics from the book and what they mean to Grangers and Granges today–especially during the current pandemic.

Walter’s book is available from

VALLEY GRANGE ANNOUNCES AD CONTEST WINNERS

Guilford—Over forty fourth-graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the twelfth year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Mark Arthers students labored to produce ads that would promote the Grange and its programs.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is a winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Winners included Teegan Pomerleau (3rd place), Lillyon Boutilier  (2nd place), and Ava Edes (1st place). Ava’s ad included a book being devoured by a book worm and two people reading together, noting that “volunteers are needed” to “come help kids learn.”

Ava’s first place ad will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year and featured on the Valley Grange Website.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor several programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love involved with the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Meetings and Events

After careful consideration, we have decided the following:

  • Our March Meeting (Friday, the 20th) is canceled.
  • Our March Blanketeering Event (Saturday, the 28th) is postponed–a new date will be announced when the COVID-19 situation allows for less “social distancing.”
  • The April Piscataquis Pomona Meeting (Thursday, April 2nd) is postponed–a new date will be announced when the COVID-19 situation allows for less “social distancing.”

With school being closed:

  • Newspapers in Education Contest Winners will be announced here and on the Valley Grange Facebook Page by the end of this week. Certificates and magnets will be distributed when students return to school.
  • Bookworms are standing by and will be scheduled at school when students return. We hope students will keep reading at home!

Thank you for your support and understanding. We’ll definitely keep you posted!

Adults Have Fun Too!

The fourth graders at PCES in Guilford recently worked on their ads for Valley Grange as part of yet another “Newspapers in Education” Contest. This is our twelfth year participating in The Piscataquis Observer’s Newspapers in Education Supplement by sponsoring an ad! The earliest winners are now graduated from high school. Maybe some are working in graphic arts or advertising.

Proving that the fun we have with this isn’t just for kids, Mr. Arthers, PCES art teacher, sketched a quick ad for us. Of course he’s disqualified from the competition but we thought you’d enjoy seeing his work!

Stay tuned… we’ll be announcing the contest winners shortly after our next meeting on March 20, 2020. If you come to that meeting you can help us judge the winners and make a magnetic certificate for every participant. And look for “our” ad in the supplement published on April 10, 2020.