Thinking Safety First!

A community event with kids in mind…

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Family Friendly Food… Fun… Resources… and it’s all free!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Community Potluck Supper 6:00 — 7:00*

Eddie Eagle Program  7:15 — 7:45 p.m.

*please bring a dish to share with  your friends and neighbors.

We’re assembling family safety resources and plan to have a variety of people and material available during and after the potluck supper… Examples of what we’re looking for include fire safety, bicycle safety, what to do when lightning strikes…  the program is built around the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, but we have room for people and material on a wide variety of topics. If you are interested in participating as a safety resource or have handout material we can use, call Mary Annis at 564-0820 or Walter Boomsma at 343-1842 or email grange@boomsmaonline.com.


Would your child know what to do if he or she found a gun?

Picture1“Mr. Boomsma” will be facilitating the NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe® Program as part of this family safety program. Free workbooks will be distributed to kids from pre-school age to grade four, but all ages are welcome! The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program is a gun accident prevention program developed by National Rifle Association firearm safety and education experts designed to teach children four simple, easy to remember steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun. In a brand new video, Eddie and his friends remind children that if they see a gun, they need to stop, don’t touch, run away and tell a grown-up. The program makes no value judgments about firearms, no firearms are ever used, and it covers an important topic that needs to be addressed with kids. With recent changes in gun legislation and firearms found in about half of all American households, it’s a program that makes sense.

Valley Grange Creates Opportunities!

Community Counts Flyer

November Meeting — Let’s Sign!

November Meeting

Eat and Learn with Extension

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!

logo-piscataquis-santaAnother 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!)

A LOGOThe 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!

Up, Up and Away at River Festival

Here are just a few random images from the 2014 Guilford River Festival… Valley Grange is a proud participant, passing out approximately 300 balloons this year–including some that got away–and having a great time! Thanks to those who came by to visit and a special thanks to those who bought 101 Raffle Tickets! Your support makes our programs possible!

Booth space was provided by Abbot Village Press–hard working volunteers included Bob Carroll, Linda Erwin, Jim and Mary Annis, Roger and Judy Ricker, and Janice and Walter Boomsma.

 

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Health Beat — August 2014

HeartDr. 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 lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

This month’s column was a guest column written by Walter Boomsma for the June 2014 Senior Matters and as a follow up to least month’s “It’s time to live it up” Health beat.

Borrowing Kids Helps Hearts

Several years ago the Mrs. and I accidentally started what has become an annual tradition when we decided to go to the circus. Since it just didn’t feel right going by ourselves, we borrowed the children of some friends to take with us. We had a ball. The kids kept thanking us for months.

Fearing they will eventually decide they are “too old,” we still keep asking every year only to discover they’ve been anxiously waiting for our invitation. We don’t spend much money—they bring their own but are careful spenders. It’s become one of our favorite days of the year.

Educator Rita Pierson says, “Every kid deserves and needs a champion.” She’s right, of course, but what’s great about borrowing kids is that every adult deserves and needs at least one kid. In fact, the older we get, the more important it becomes to spend time with kids. Whether you take your own grandchildren or borrow some, everybody wins.

Studies have documented the benefits of mixing seniors and kids, but the statistics aren’t half as exciting as the experience itself. During our last foray, we learned (rather humorously) the disadvantage of being the youngest in the family. We also watched two young ladies make some very intelligent decisions that left us believing there is hope for the future.

Of course we acknowledge that borrowing kids is an awesome responsibility, but we’ve learned not to make things too complicated. The kids actually don’t expect much. It’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about respecting and being interested in them as little people.

There are plenty of free and low-cost opportunities to share with a kid. Talk to them; listen to them. Appreciate their energy and wonder. Your heart will feel younger.

You don’t have to speak Italian…

You don’t have to speak Italian to enjoy eating it! Family friendly pricing… note also area Granges will be participating in an officer installation program immediately following the supper… the public is invited!

Italian Buffet Postcard

Health Beat — July 2014

HeartDr. 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 lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

It’s summer time and it is time for people of all ages to Live It Up.  There are wonderful ways to start the month and to get out.  We recommend for maximum health benefit, seniors should do it with a kid.   What can be better for the spirit than fishing?  Teaching a “young-un” to fish.

This is a special opportunity for seniors who want to spend some “quality time” with grandchildren (your own or someone else’s!) and share your wisdom, patience and love of the outdoors.  It is also a time for children to remind us of how it was when everything was new and wonderful, to remind us how to really experience life as if it were the first time.   Sharing such moments with children gives meaning to our lives and allows us to pass on our dreams, skills and passions to the next generation.  It sometimes stretches us to answer questions we forgot kids ask, and reminds us to keep open to the joy of discovery which young children always have.  Our young children need the mentorship of older people to grow into healthy, responsible adults.  It is an opportunity for them to learn simple life skills from someone with time to spare who isn’t “measuring” their success.   Their parents may also thank you for spending the time with their child.

If fishing is not for you, or you are looking for more “entertainment,” invite a child to go to a fair or any on the many summer events in your area.  Whatever you do, call up a kid and grab an opportunity to “live it up”.

Whatever you are planning with young children, a few tips to make the trip easier:   pack a few easy, healthful snacks like granola bars, fruit, raisins.  Plan for short outings.  An hour or two may be enough for a vey young child.  Don’t plan on driving a long way to the destination-the child will get bored and may get cranky before you get there.  Most of all, have fun!

A Plant-astic Ag-stravaganza!

GrowME logoCommunity invited to celebrate GrowME Growth

Guilford–Valley Grange will host an “Agstravaganza” on Friday, March 28th at their hall on the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road. The Grange is one of three collaborating organizations who sprouted and nurtured the GrowME Project. Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma says, “There’s a lot to celebrate! The numbers are still coming in but it looks like our volunteers will reach nearly 50 classrooms and over 750 students. I think we’ve lost count of volunteers because we seem to add more every day.”

The GrowME program was hatched in 2011 when three local organizations with an interest in agriculture decided there was an opportunity to assist schools and teachers by providing some “hands on” activities with an agricultural theme. Valley Grange was joined by Piscataquis Soil and Water Conservation and District and the Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and the three organizations agreed on a mission to “build a truly local program of agriculturally themed activities for kids led by local volunteers with the goal of increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun!”

During the week prior to the Agstravaganza volunteers will be visiting grades K through 3 throughout the county with activities like creating animal graphs, apples to apples tasting and sorting, making butter, and making dirt babies. Boomsma notes that “our Grange loves an opportunity to invite the community to our hall, but it seemed particularly appropriate to have a community celebration of our achievements and agriculture in general. We’ll have a great potluck supper and brief program to share highlights from GrowME.”

The event is not just for people involved in GrowME—it is open to anyone who supports the idea of community and collaborating. The Grange promises to a “family friendly” event and hopes volunteers, teachers, kids, and parents will come.  The “Plantastic Agstravaganza” features a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM—bring a dish to share! A brief meeting at 7 PM will cover some highlights of the GrowME collaboration and some agricultural related information. Attendees are invited to bring an old-time farm, gardening, or home device to display as part of “what is it?” table.

Don’t forget to bring some “Coups for Troops!” (Coupons for our military families stationed abroad.)

Additional information is available on the GrowME website.

Aren’t you the person who…?

newspapersStu Hedstrom, reporter from the Piscataquis Observer, jokes that he has attended so many Valley Grange Dictionary Presentations he could probably fill in for me if for some reason I couldn’t make it. Well, it seems the kids agree with him. Stu emailed this morning to tell me that he was waiting for Santa to arrive in Dover Foxcroft last night and a young boy also waiting approached him with the question, “Aren’t you one of those guys who gives out the dictionaries?” Stu  says he explained his role and notes that he was pretty impressed with the young fellow’s memory and the fact he
got it “almost right.”

There’s a lot to learn from this little incident. One, even the little things we do with and for kids are appreciated and remembered by them. We may not arrive in a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, but the kids do remember the “gift of words.”

Two, we might learn how fortunate we all are to have “community” — including a “hometown newspaper” with an interest and commitment to our communities. I think Stu is one of the guys who gives out the dictionaries, because he–along with untold others who help in some way–are part of the program and make it possible. As the kids might say, that’s pretty awesome.

Santa gets the credit for a lot what happens at this time of year, but let’s not forget our communities are filled with good people who are not just nameless faces going through the motions of life. They are people who give of their time and energy to help others and make so many of the things we have and enjoy possible.

This morning I find myself thinking that third grader really had it right. He recognized Mr. Hedstrom, but he didn’t just smile and say “Hello.” He saw that Mr. Hedstrom fit into something that happened and had meaning in his young life. That he saw it is important.

Maybe we should follow his example–start looking for those people who fit into our lives in some way. While Stu was being greeted by his friend in Dover, I was standing by the bonfire in Guilford waiting for Santa as well, enjoying the warmth not only of the fire but of the friendship. I now realize I could have walked up to more people at the tree lighting and asked some questions like:

  • Aren’t you one of those people who helped put up the town’s tree?
  • Aren’t you one of those people who baked the cookies to go with the hot chocolate?
  • Aren’t you one of those guys who kept the bonfire going?
  • Aren’t you one of the kids who came to sing Christmas songs?

The list gets longer once you get started, doesn’t it? I think one of the things we love about Christmas is watching people’s — especially kids’ — faces light up when they receive a gift or hear that Santa’s coming. And yet there are thousands of “gifts” being given in our communities every day–gifts of time, energy, compassion and friendship. We need to discover them. We need to give them. And we need to let our faces light up when we do.


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer