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!

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

It’s a Busy Week!

Just a quick post to review this week’s schedule…

Tuesday, October 22, is PCES Dictionary Day and third graders will be visiting the Valley Grange Hall to receive their dictionaries!

Wednesday, October 23 is Ridgeview Dictionary Day and the Valley Grange Team will journey to Dexter to meet third graders and present dictionaries.

Thursday, October 24 is Bookworm Day at PCES and we’ll start with a kickoff assembly at the end of morning meeting… I wonder who will be the first student to ready with a bookworm?

If you have any questions about these events, let us know!

Film at Eleven!

Valley Grange Dictionary Day with SedoMoCha Third Graders to be featured on WVII ABC 7-Fox 22 News   

Today was Dictionary Day for 75 third graders and their teachers who came to the Valley Grange Hall filled with anticipation. In addition to learning about the Grange, students talked with Captain Jack Battick about the Civil War and how the Grange helped reunite the country when it ended. Program Director Walter Boomsma explained what the Grange does, including what we can learn from the four staves. “When we look at the pruning hook, what are examples of things we might want to prune from our classrooms?” In the course of all this, students encountered some unfamiliar words which necessitated a dictionary. Valley Grange members and bookworms helped distribute dictionaries and the kids, as always, went a little wild with excitement. They not only looked up the unfamiliar words, many searched for their names and other information.

A reporter from WLVI–Fox 22 captured much of the excitement and will air a story about the program tonight on the Six and Eleven O’clock News. The story should also be available on their website tomorrow.

Here is the link to the Piscataquis Observer Story: Valley Grange continues to be the definition of generosity.

Captain Jack Battick talks about the Civil War and the Grange’s role in bringing the country together after it was over.



That’s a lot of dictionaries!

This year’s pledge certificate from The Dictionary Project confirming Valley Grange has distributed close to 3,000 dictionaries throughout the area since starting our program! It’s great to be part of this! It’s almost inconceivable that the project has reached over 32 million students!

Valley Grange is Getting Busy!

The dictionaries for this year’s “Words for Thirds” program are on order (9 cases!). That meaans Dictionary Days are coming soon! But that’s not all that’s happening!

Bookworms will also be starting their visits to PCES in just a few weeks… We’ll have exact dates for these programs very soon!

Some dates we’re already sure of:

  • Tuesday, October 15 is SeDoMoCha Dictionary Day!
  • Friday, October 18 we’ll have our regular monthly meeting–potluck supper at 6 PM and meeting at 7 PM.
  • Tuesday, October 22 is P.C.E.S. Dictionary Day!
  • Thursday, October 25 is Bookworm Kickoff Day!
  • Friday October 25, Piscataquis County 4-H Clubs will have their annual awards dinner and celebration at Valley Grange starting at 5 PM.
  • Friday, November 15, Valley Grange hosts the Spirit of America Awards for Piscataquis County starting at 7 PM. We’ll also have a Community Social Hour following the meeting with drinks and desserts–and we’ll draw the winners of our Meat or Heat Raffle.

We could really use your help this year with our raffle! See a Grange member, stop by an event… buy some tickets and help us continue to support our communities!

Kids Write…

SeDo Dictionary DayOne of the best parts for us is reading the thank you notes we get from the kids after a Dictionary Day. They are often very personal and sometimes even we are surprised at what the kids remember from the day! Here are a few of the notes we’ve received from SeDoMoCha third graders:

Dear Guilford Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary and the feild trip. Hope we see you next year. We saw the news! It was funny when Miss Grant put on the soldier uniform. It was super fun to be there there. Thank you all for the fun day. We aprecheate it. Thanks Mr. Boomsma by the way we weere trying to keep you happy. THANK YOU!


Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary. It was funny when Mis. Grant dress up as a soldier. It was exiding to be on the news can we do this again some time. The gardening tools are cool. I wish they where a round still. The tools woud be help full. I saw Mr. Boomsma on the news. It was not boring at all. I hope you enjoyed this letter. Have fun with the ether classis.



Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary! Those were rely nice gardening tools! I alse learnd that if you look at the cameras you are not going to be on the news! That was awesome that we got to see the mail boxs. I realy like the dictionary. My brother still has his dictionary in fifth grade.


Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary. I can’t believe that we learned the longest word in the English Language! I bet the Civil War was long and not so great time. Are you doing this next year? I thought the gardening tools were cool. I hope you do this next year. My dictionary is still in good shape. Again Thank you! I really like the Grange. I hope this makes you happy there will be a drawing on the back.


Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for the wonderful dictionaries. What I learned about is Corporal Benett and the Civil War. The tools you showed us, spud, the howl the shepard’s crook and the prune. Last but not least what I’m going to use my dictionary for to help me spell, help me find the definitions, help me not use the same words over and over and last but not least learn to do sign language.



Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for my free dictionary! I use my dictionary to find words and definitions. When I was there it was so fun. When we learned about the spud, owl, pruning hook and shepherds hook. I was so happy when I got home I talked all about it it my mom and sister. It was so fun to be on the news.

Lt Kane, State Grange LEO of the Year

Kane MSG
Maine State Grange Community Service Director Christine Corliss presents Lt Jamie Kane with the Maine State Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award and a check for a $100 donation to the charity of his choice… He selected Valley Grange as the recipient to “help with their Dictionary and Bookworm Programs.” As the State’s Recipient, Lt Kane becomes eligible for a Regional and National Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Corliss pointed out that it’s possible to receive the National Award without having received the Regional Award.

The State Award was presented at the beginning of the 145th Annual Maine State Grange Convention during the opening banquet and awards ceremony. Lt. Kane was named Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year earlier this spring based on his involvement with and commitment to our kids and our communities.

Dictionary Day!

Check out this story by WABI-TV 5… what a great time we all had!

Third Graders get the gift of words in Guilford

SeDo Dictionary Day