Maine member releases easy-to-read book ‘Exploring Traditions’ of the Grange

Reprinted from the September 2018 issue of The Patrons Chain–The Official Newsletter of the National Grange


Walter Boomsma, Program Director of Valley Grange and Maine State Grange Communications Director has authored the book, “Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.”

While this is not his first book, Boomsma believes it may be one of his most important.

“The primary goal in writing it was to encourage exploration,” Boomsma said. “The Grange is a 150-year-old organization with a strong agricultural focus and many are questioning its relevance to today’s society. I wanted to encourage people to develop a deeper understanding of what the Grange is all about–including our members. The Grange is very much about a way of life and, while farming has changed, people have not.”

Boomsma said he also believes people who are not familiar with the Grange will appreciate exploring the value of tradition in general since “tradition and ritual create stability and a sense of community, especially when we understand the basis for them.”

Betty Van Dyke accepts the “very first copy” of Exploring Traditions from Walter Boomsma, the author.

National Grange Master Betsy Huber provided a foreward to the book, in which she wrote, “These essays by Walter Boomsma unpack the teachings of the Grange and relate them to today’s world
and our everyday lives. He has a gift for taking the lessons from the farm and showing their relevance today, even for those whose only interaction with agriculture happens through their food and clothing choices. He understands the meaning the Grange Founders intended and interprets the sometimes archaic language to reveal the principles they wanted to teach to farm families who often had no other opportunity for education.“

Boomsma dedicated the book to a woman he affectionately calls a “Granger Extraordinaire,” Betty Van Dyke of Guilford. During a presentation of the first copy of the book, Boomsma said Van
Dyke explained the great influence she had during his “formative years” as a Grange member.

“I came to appreciate both her knowledge of the Grange’s teachings and her commitment to what I later came to understand as ‘the Grange Way of Life.’”

At the height of her Grange career, Van Dyke held a number of local and state positions, including serving as the Maine State Community Service Director. At 94, Van Dyke still keeps track of what’s going on at Valley Grange and is a strong supporter.

Boomsma will sign copies of the book at the 152nd Annual Convention where it will be available for sale. It is also available through the Grange Supply Store. Contact Loretta Washington at sales@nationalgrange.org or by phone at (202) 628-3507 ext. 109.

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Betty Van Dyke Honored…

BV and WB

Betty Van Dyke receives the first copy of “Exploring Traditions” from Author Walter Boomsma

Guilford–Betty Van Dyke of Guilford was recently notified that a soon to be released book is dedicated to her. Walter Boomsma, Program Director of Valley Grange and Maine State Grange Communications Director has authored the book, “Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.” He dedicated the book to Van Dyke, calling her a “Granger Extraordinaire” and explaining the great influence she had during his “formative years” as a Grange member.   “I came to appreciate both her knowledge of the Grange’s teachings and her commitment to what I later came to understand as ‘the Grange Way of Life.'”

At the height of her Grange career, Van Dyke held a number of local and state positions, including serving as the Maine State Community Service Director. At 94, Van Dyke still keeps track of what’s going on at Valley Grange and is a strong supporter.

Boomsma describes his latest book as serving a dual purpose. “The primary goal in writing it was to encourage exploration. The Grange is a 150-year-old organization with a strong agricultural focus and many are questioning its relevance to today’s society. I wanted to encourage people to develop a deeper understanding of what the Grange is all about–including our members.  The Grange is very much about a way of life and, while farming has changed, people have not.” He also believes people who are not familiar with the Grange will appreciate exploring the value of tradition in general since “Tradition and ritual create stability and a sense of community, especially when we understand the basis for them.”

In her foreward to the book, National Grange Master Betsy Huber writes, “These essays by Walter Boomsma unpack the teachings of the Grange and relate them to today’s world and our everyday lives.  He has a gift for taking the lessons from the farm and showing their relevance today, even for those whose only interaction with agriculture happens through their food and clothing choices.  He understands the meaning the Grange Founders intended and interprets the sometimes archaic language to reveal the principles they wanted to teach to farm families who often had no other opportunity for education. “

The book is available through a number of outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as the Grange’s National Supply Store.

 

Officer Installation at Garland Grange

Installation 2018 Postcard

Valley Grange Hosting SOA Tributes

Guilford–Piscataquis County winners of the 2018 Spirit of America Foundation Tribute for outstanding community service will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, September 21, 2018 starting at 7:00 PM in the Valley Grange Hall 172 Guilford Center Road, Guilford.

SOA Event Photo

Spirit of America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity established in Augusta, ME to encourage volunteerism.  Since the first Spirit of America Foundation award was presented to Alma Jones by Augusta’s Mayor in 1991, over 500 Spirit of America ceremonies have taken place.

Those to be honored at the county wide ceremony include: Wayne Bennett–Abbot, Atkinson Lady Quilters, William Manahan Jr.–Beaver Cove, Elaine Hartley–Bowerbank, Kevin Black– Brownville, the Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft, Richard Gould–Greenville, Christina Pratley–Guilford, Lori Anthony– Medford, Herbert Carey– Milo, Monson Public Library Board of Trustees, Time Lab Summer Bible Club– Parkman, Jimmy Bell –Sangerville, Sebec Volunteer Fire Department, Darell Sawtelle—Shirley, Emaline McClintock—Wellington, and Gerald Packard—Willimantic,

The event is open to the public. “We hope friends and family of these recipients will come and help us salute these models of the volunteer spirit of America,” Spirit of Amerca Foundation Director Bruce Flaherty suggested. “This will be a fun, uplifting evening with no long speeches,” he promised.

Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma is excited the Grange has been given the honor of hosting the awards. “All Granges are about community and Valley Grange is certainly not an exception. We enjoy making our hall available to organizations dedicated to building strong individuals and communities. It is a special treat to host individuals and organizations doing just that!”

Additional information about the Foundation is available at http://spiroaf.com and the event at http://valleygrange.com.

See You at the Fair?!

The photo doesn’t do it justice… there’s a lot to see in this year’s Valley Grange Fair Exhibit! We’ve returned to the “then and now” theme… comparing items of today with items of yesteryear… and of course, there’s an opportunity to get familiar with the many programs we have. Stop by the Grange Building and check it out! The Piscataquis Valley Fair is on until Sunday afternoon…

Valley Fair Display_resized

Brammer Benefit Bean Supper at Garland Grange

Please note this event is taking place at Garland Grange… Jackie was a hard-working member of Garland Grange and Piscataquis Pomona. Valley Grange is supporting and encouraging others to honor Jackie’s service to her communities and to offer some help to her family at this difficult time.

Brammer Benefit PostcardThose who cannot attend may send a donation to

Garland Grange
Bill Bemis
102 Merrill Road
Corrina ME 04928

If you’d like to help by working at the supper or donating food/supplies, call Bill at 924-4123. Thanks!

Garland Grange Facebook Page

Thank you, MHFC!

As part of their Community Care Program, Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union recently presented a donation to Valley Grange. Employees contributed based on their “dress down” Fridays with the proceeds being distributed to local community organizations. Walter Boomsma, Program Director for Valley Grange noted, “Through no fault of our own, we recently lost part of the funding of our Words for Thirds Dictionary Program, so this is perfect timing and will help us to continue to give a dictionary to every third grader in four area districts. Thank you!”

l-r: Sonya Smith, MHFC; Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director; Jim Annis, Valley Grange Master

Bake a Batch for Valley Grange?!


We’re looking for some bakers to help out with our “Balloons and Bake Sale” at River Festival on July 28, 2018this year… in addition to free balloons for the kids, we will be offering baked goods (individually wrapped portions) for sale to raise funds for our many community service programs. Creativity is certainly encouraged but to give a sense, we’re looking for things like brownies, whoopie pies, cookies… what’s your specialty? One batch will help!

Proceeds will help us maintain our hall and the many community service programs we offer every year such as:

  • Words for Thirds — every third grader in Guilford, Brownville, Dover Foxcroft, Dexter, and Harmony gets their very own dictionary to keep forever.
  • GrowME — in 2017 — we completed agriculturally themed, hands-on activities with nearly 700 kids in the area.
  • Project Linus — we host an annual “blanketeer” event to help produce blankets to help make kids feel safe.
  • Coups for Troops — one of the ways we support our troops is by collecting coupons for use in overseas PX’s.
  • Garry Owen House — one of the ways we support our veterans is with continuing donations of goods and dollars.

For additional information, contact Pat Engstrom (564-8290) or Mary Annis (564-0820). You can also email Mary.

What Valley Grange Does…

River Festival Means Balloons and Baked Stuff!