February Meeting Postponed

Due to the winter weather advisory and school cancelations, tonight’s meeting is postponed until next week. We’ll meet on Friday, February 24, 2023, for a potluck supper at 6 pm and meet at 7 pm. Please try to attend! We have lots to discuss and attend to!

Valley Grange Completes Dictionary Days!

We provided a personal dictionary to every third grader in the area… represented by four school districts and five schools. Enjoy this short video showing a few highlights of this year’s program.

Valley Granger Receives National Award

Abbot Resident Walter Boomsma was recognized at the 156th Annual National Grange Convention in Reno, Nevada as a Cultivator of the Year by the National Grange Membership and Leadership Development Department. Boomsma is a member of Valley Grange of Guilford and serves as program director. He also serves as the Maine State Grange Communications Director. He was one of four individuals recognized from North Carolina, Connecticut, Montana, and Maine.

According to Amanda Brozana Rios, National Grange Leadership/Membership Director, the Cultivator of the Year award sets out to honor individuals or groups that “put in the work” to grow the Grange through innovative and positive messaging and programming or that found ways to improve not just their local Grange, but to provide “a guiding light for Granges around the nation.” “Each of these individuals helped the Grange in their respective communities and states, but they went far beyond that. Every one of them was responsive to inquiries and provided insight into what individuals coming to Grange are looking for as well as the tools they need to truly engage as Grange members. They give selflessly and promote fearlessly and for that, they are truly deserving of this recognition.”

In making the award, Brozana Rios said as the former National Communications Director, she has worked with Walter for more than a decade. “Over the time I’ve been with National Grange, I’ve come to truly appreciate how much Walter does to connect the outside world with the Grange, be it answering questions of the press or people interested in joining or reviving a Grange, connecting members with resources and benefits they’re entitled to and so much more. He’s a fantastic asset for the Maine State Grange and the Grange as a whole who often points out where we can improve and be more efficient even with our limited resources,” Brozana Rios said.

Boomsma first learned of the award when someone congratulated him on social media. “What did I do?” he asked. Upon learning the specifics, he noted, “For me, the work is the reward, but recognition is still nice!” he admitted. “I enjoy being part of the Grange because of our shared values, including the importance of community, especially in rural areas. The Grange has a lot to offer, including multiple opportunities to strengthen our communities and the individuals in them.” One of his favorite examples is the Valley Grange “Words for Thirds” Dictionary Project. “Valley Grange just completed our twentieth year of giving a dictionary to every third grader in four school districts in our area. In that twenty-year period, we’ve distributed over 3,600 dictionaries to that many kids. That’s a lot of cultivating!”

As the State Communications Director, Boomsma is responsible for maintaining the State Grange Website (http://mainestategrange.org) and producing a monthly printed Bulletin. “The Grange is truly a grassroots organization and the emphasis on local programs is our biggest strength and a significant challenge. That challenge includes making sure we are all connected and working collaboratively. Those were the things that made the Grange successful over 150 years ago. We have amazing technology today and we should be even better at it!”

Valley Grange Receives Award

At the 149th Maine State Convention, Valley Grange was recognized as the fourth-place winner in the 2022 Community Service Program. In presenting the award, Past State Master Vicki Huff noted that Valley Grangers “should not be disappointed with fourth place–the competition was really fierce! The top six entries were separated by a total of four points.

Breakfast for Supper?

Traditions can be great, and that certainly applies to our annual “Breakfast for Supper” program every year. We also have some great treats as members and friends put together a smorgasbord of breakfast dishes that may include an Apple French Toast Casserole… crispy bacon… lots of homemade muffins… an egg casserole or two…there’s always plenty to eat but bring a contribution if you can. And you can even come in your Jammies–we’ll have the hall plenty warm, and the season’s warmth will help.

Guests are welcome but not obligated to stay for our short meeting and Christmas Program starting at 7 pm. We’re usually finished and on our way home by 8:15 pm.

Do plan to join us for a relaxing and fun time! Questions regarding food arrangements can be addressed to Mary (564-0820) or Janice (876-4131). Weather permitting, you can come by car, sleigh, snowmobile, or, if you live close enough, skis and snowshoes! 

Dictionaries and Words Are Coming!

We’re scheduling Dictionary Days… so far we have

  • P.C.E.S. on Thursday, November 17, 2022
  • SeDoMoCha on Wednesday, November 30, 2022
  • Ridgeview Elementary on Monday, November 21, 2022 (drop off only)
  • Brownville Elementary on Friday, November 18, 2022
  • Harmony Elementary on Friday, December 2, 2022

As a reminder, these days are not public events. If you are interested in attending, please contact Walter Boomsma by email or at 207 343-1842.

Kids who receive dictionaries and their families are invited to our Breakfast for Supper on Friday, December 2, 2022. You can come in your jammies!

October Meeting…

Due to an abundance of bad karma (actually make that illness), the meeting for Friday, October 21, 2022 is… at least postponed if not canceled. We’ll have to let you know!

Dictionary Day Planning Underway

Yes, it’s that time of year! Valley Grange will again be conducting our “Words for Thirds” Dictionary Project. At this point, we are gathering approximate census/counts of third graders so we can order the dictionaries. The purchase of those dictionaries was approved at our September meeting.

We’ll probably be planning the actual dictionary day distributions in early to mid-November. We hope we can offer the same options as we did before COVID:

  1. A field trip to the Grange Hall
  2. A personal visit to the school/classrooms
  3. A “drop off” with a support video for teacher use.

Obviously, that choice will be made by each district. We distribute to Piscataquis Community Elementary School (Guilford), Brownville Elementary School (Brownville), Ridgeview Community School (Dexter), SeDoMoCha Elementary School (Dover Foxcroft), and Harmony Elementary School (Harmony). Home-schooled students are of course included. Parents should contact their school or the Grange.

We’re proud of our program and know the kids look forward to it! We’ve been distributing dictionaries since 2004 and are approaching the 3,000 mark! Some of our students report using their dictionaries in high school. These dictionaries empower the kids and encourage them to “look it up!”

Stay tuned! There’s more to come!

Valley Grange Collects!

At our September Meeting, we created some piles–PB&J for the Bangor Savings Bank Drive, Lap Afghans for the Veterans’ Operation Gratitude Program, and raffle tickets! We also added 350 knitted hats from Blistered Finger Knitter Roberta in New Jersey. Do knitting needles ever wear out?

An order of dictionaries for our annual “Words for Thirds Dictionary Day Project will be placed soon. Since starting the program in 2004, we’ve provided nearly 3,000 dictionaries to students throughout the area. If COVID cooperates, we hope to do more “in-person” presentations this year.

Raffle tickets are on sale and available from any member, or call Janice Boomsma at 343-1496. We’ll be drawing the winners at our November meeting and look forward to handing out $250 in prizes! Community support is needed and appreciated!

Our schedule for the rest of the year:

  • Friday, October 21, 2022, we’ll have a potluck supper at 6 pm and meeting at 7 pm. This is usually the meeting at which we prepare for dictionary days by labeling the books, assembling the hats and mittens from our Blistered Finger Knitters for distribution, and resisting our second annual “Sock it to Us” efforts. The program was so successful last year we may be “good to go” this year! Jim and Mary are Grange Bees* for this meeting.
  • Friday, November 18, 2022, will include the usual potluck supper at 6 pm and program at 7 pm and include drawing our raffle winners. Walter and Janice are Grange Bees for this meeting.
  • Friday, December 2, 2022, is our Fellowship Breakfast for Supper–you can come in your jammies! This is always a fun night… we start at 6 pm by enjoying some breakfast specialties such as homemade muffins, breakfast casseroles, “Walter’s French Toast,” and assorted treats and surprises. It’s all about food, fellowship, and family… you won’t want to miss it!

Get those dates on your calendar and plan to join us for any one or all of these gatherings! Anyone can join us–you do not have to be a member. We do plan to keep our hall open through the winter and appreciate all who help and support us in some way.

Unfortunately, another Grange in our area is closing–St. Albans now joins Garland Grange as “closed.” Valley Grange would certainly welcome members from these two Granges with open arms. If you were a member of St. Albans or Garland Grange and would like to join us, contact secretary Mary Annis (564-0820) and she’ll make it happen!


*Grange Bees are the unofficial hosts for a meeting who make sure the heat’s on, the hall is ready, and we have everything we need. If you’d like a turn, we’ll not only show you how, we have a checklist!

September Meeting Change

“Due to circumstances beyond our control” (don’t you just love that) the September Valley Grange Meeting is postponed by one week. We will meet on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 6 pm for potluck supper and our meeting at 7 pm. That means you have a whole extra week to accumulate jars of PB & J!

“Snail mail” letters with our fall schedule and raffle tickets are on the way to members and friends. Those letters show the September meeting is THIS Friday which is not correct. We rarely discourage people from coming to Valley Grange but if you come THIS Friday, there probably won’t be anyone there!

Come on NEXT Friday (September 23) with your peanut butter, jelly, and any raffle tickets you’ve sold! Hope to see you then! By the way, details from the letter will be posted here soon!