June Meeting Notes

We had our annual election of officers… the site has been updated but there weren’t many changes! Amy Larrabee was elected Ceres, Kevin Annis was elected Steward, and Janice Boomsma was elected to the Executive Committee. Kevin Annis was appointed Membership Director. You can check out a list of leadership positions and responsibilities here!

Pat Engstrom reported that she delivered 21 Linus Blankets–work resulting from our “Blanketeering” event back in April and several individuals who’ve been working on them sense. Thanks to Pat’s “blistered fingers” we are also delivering three lap robes to the CHCS Hospice Program. Walter admits he’s become a big advocate of the program, particularly the service they are providing veterans. Lap robes (afghans) and quilts are needed! If you’d like to help, contact Pat or Walter!

As a reminder, we substitute the Piscataquis Pomona Picnic Fun and Fundraiser for our July meeting. It is scheduled for July 13, 2021 at the Boomsma Abode! For more information, contact Janice or Walter.

We also voted our annual donation to House in the Woods and Home for Little Wanderers from the CWA Fund.

While it presents some challenges, we also agreed that we will create a fair display this year–both for Valley Grange and for Piscataquis Pomona. We need ideas for the Valley Grange display—and willing workers for setting up (August 25, 2021) and tearing down (August 29, 2021). Mary and Janice will be organizing, please let them know you are willing to help!

Help is one thing we always can use more of! And members! For various reasons, we recently lost several and we truly need to consider a “membership drive” of some sort. Joining Valley Grange is not difficult or expensive. Just ask any member!

As things return to “normal,” we are looking forward to gearing up more of our traditional programming such as Bookworming, GrowME… our community celebrations… and we hope you’ll want to be part of it!

Valley Grange Honors Hundreds

For those who cannot be with us tonight (we’d hope to livestream our meeting, but that just wasn’t feasible), here’s an announcement and explanation of who and why we chose as “Community Citizen of the Year.”

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day!

Community Night…

We’ve always loved filling the Grange Hall in May and making the rafters ring when we all sing together! That usually happens after a huge community potluck supper with all sorts of dining delights! We missed last year because we were at the height of the pandemic. We’d hoped… but we’re not too disappointed that we won’t be doing exactly that this year. We’re not sure this will be better, but it will be different!

For those unfamiliar, every year in May we celebrate out communities and that includes honoring a “Community Citizen of the Year.” Well, we’re not doing the usual this year in more ways than one. This year we are honoring, literally, hundreds of community citizens–people who have had their boots on the ground and deserve recognition for service to our citizens and our communities. We may regret that we can’t come together and do this in person, but we’re thrilled to recognize these deserving folks and even more thrilled to report some of their many accomplishments.

Another annual tradition is the recognition of our long term members and we will be doing that as well, so keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page. If you have any questions, please let us know!

Maine State Granger of the Year

Mary Annis, Valley Grange Secretary, read the following letter to members at the January Meeting.

Dear Valley Grange Members,

Three years ago the Maine State Grange Community Service Committee added a new contest of “Community Granger of the Year.”

This Granger needed to display an attitude worthy of a Granger and take pride and joy in Community Service.

It was with great honor that this year’s winner came from Valley Grange and it was also very pleasing to me personally.

This gentleman has gone above and beyond for the Grange and he proves it everyday between Valley Community Service and state website obligations. At this point you all know who won the award but let me tell you with this was such a joy for me.

Walter has personally helped me for the last 6 years with my Community Service Book packets, columns, announcements, and downright support. He has been there to just give me an encouraging should to rely on when needed.

Walter has helped this committee and myself move forward and keep going even when we have been at our wit’s end.

Failure, quitting, or just stopping is something this man has never done no matter how discouraged I have been, he has helped me to get back on my game.

I truly wish there had been a State Session this year because I truly wanted more pomp and circumstance with this win. That was not an option this year, so I personally wanted Valley Grange to know my feelings on this award.

Walter, thank you from the bottom of my feet to the tip of my head. Just always know you are making a difference one word (key stoke or message) at a time.

Fraternally and with much love!

Christine Corliss, Director
Maine State Grange Community Service &
Family Health and Hearing

Original Letter is available here.

Help Wanted! Knitters Kneeded!

We are looking for a few more folks to join our Blistered Finger Knitters! Thanks to these folks, we are able to provide local schools with knitted hats and mittens for kids who need them for recess and beyond.

During our recent dictionary deliveries to area schools, we included shopping bags with mittens and hats produced by our B.F.K. These hats and mittens are always appreciated but this year several schools almost literally leaped for joy as the need is great and the supply is critically low.

Since we’re constantly being reminded to stay home… and can only bake so many cookies or clean the house so many times… if you’d like to knit a few pairs of mittens or a couple of hats, we’ll make sure they get put to good use! In fact, we’ll even arrange for “contact free” pick up or drop off. Email or call Community Service Chair Mary Annis (564-0820) or Program Director Walter Boomsma (343-1842).

Our focus tends to be on children’s sizes but we can make use of adult sizes too! They don’t have to be fancy, certainly. And you don’t really have to knit until you get blisters!

We are having some spring-like weather right now and the kids are on school break, but cold weather is coming! Let’s keep our kids warm!

December Meeting Changes!

Friday Meeting will now take place on Thursday in conjunction with Piscataquis Pomona Meeting

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to combine the Valley Grange “Breakfast for Supper” with the Piscataquis Pomona Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020! That means our supper Thursday night at 6 p.m. won’t be the traditional Pomona Potluck… but folks are encouraged to bring a breakfast-type dish to share. Walter will provide his classic “Apple French Toast” casserole… Bill says he’ll bring beans, they’re for breakfast too… Mary’s makin’ bacon! Questions regarding the meal are welcome!

We are scaling back a bit… which means we’ll eliminate the optional gift exchange usually held during the December Pomona Meeting–these are challenging times, and we’re trying to simplify! We also won’t be collecting items for a food cupboard, instead, we’ll consider cash donations to a food cupboard or the Parkman Grange SAD 4 Santa Project.

One activity we’ll be looking for some help with is labeling dictionaries! It looks like we’ll just be dropping off the dictionaries this year. I did manage an in-person presentation at PCES but that will probably be the only exception.

To further clarify, we’re talking about Thursday, December 3rd… Breakfast for Supper at 6 pm, primarily the responsibility of Valley Grange… the meeting at 7 pm will be a Piscataquis Pomona Meeting and we’re hoping Pomona Lecturer Dave Pearson will regale us with an appropriate “Lecturer’s Program.”  And this takes place at Valley Grange. Frankly, we don’t expect a crowd so we should be able to respect physical distancing… bring your facemasks. We’re Grangers; we can make this work!

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.

Guilford Historical Society Harvest Festival Returns

by Janie Lander

While our lives have changed dramatically during the past six months or so and many folks are still self-quarantining or at least have remained cooped up for far too long, the Guilford Historical Society has planned to hold their annual event to break the monotony! As all activities are to be held out of doors, we feel a safe gathering time can be enjoyed by all. We will ,have masks and sanitizer available, the servers at the hot dog and popcorn stands will be masked and gloved, and the Bounce House will be continually re-sanitized with limited numbers at one time.

We are having a CrEaTiVe Mask Competition too! Create a mask, take a selfie (or have someone take a picture of you in your new creation) and send it to Janie at jknee@myfairpoint.net by Sept. 24. Include your contact information please as there will be prizes for the most original, the funniest and the prettiest. Photos will be on display at the Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26 with attendees judging the masked competitors! Make sure to send your friends and relatives to vote for you!

Get out of the house and come have some fun!!

The Cemetery Tour will be held at the Lawn Cemetery on the left side of Route 15 (Elm Street) heading west at 6:30 pm and will include the mystery of the lost cremains!

Thanks to the Red Maple Inn for providing the Bounce House and Live Music and to the Town of Guilford for providing the masks and sanitizer!

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!