We Love Our Dictionaries!

Third-graders at Brownville Elementary School show off their dictionaries. Teacher Mrs. Mills writes, “My students were thrilled to receive their dictionaries. They couldn’t wait to look up information in the back. Almost all wanted to try to say the longest word…. They even used them on an indoor recess day to look up words to use when playing Hangman. I would say they were a hit.”

And here are a few kids from Mrs. Higgins Class… photos are a real challenge with physical distancing requirements but it’s great to see so many “smiling eyes.”

We’re told the kids really enjoyed the video… if you missed it, check it out here.

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!

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 Connections

Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director, to appear on National Program…

National Grange has started a series of Facebook Live Broadcasts during Grange Month to “cultivate connections in the time of COVID.” The daily broadcasts feature guests and a wide range of topics such as making balloon animals to exploring the future of the Grange as an organization.

On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at 6:00 pm, Walter Boomsma, author, and Maine State Grange Communications Director, has been invited to appear and discuss “exploring connections,” based partly on his book, Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.

Boomsma says he’s often a self-appointed cage rattler. “One of my goals in writing the book was to get people thinking about how the Grange–its rituals and traditions–connect to the world today. Too often we get stuck in a backward and inward perspective. We may need to turn our welcome mat around. Instead of thinking ‘Welcome to the Grange,’ we may need to focus on getting out into the world. The Grange way of life works best when we’re in the world, not when we’re in a Grange Hall. That’s as true today as it was 150 years ago.”


Tune in to this Facebook event to get your cage rattled and your mind engaged. If you’re not on Facebook, no problem! The broadcast will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube. We’ll share the link here after the broadcast.

Connect with us!

The Grange Salutation is “A Granger places faith in God, nurtures hope, dispenses charity, and is noted for fidelity.” Now more than ever, we need to connect. We are all in this together. If you agree, connect with us by leaving a comment, contacting any Valley Grange Member, or sending an email!

VALLEY GRANGE ANNOUNCES AD CONTEST WINNERS

Guilford—Over forty fourth-graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the twelfth year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Mark Arthers students labored to produce ads that would promote the Grange and its programs.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is a winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Winners included Teegan Pomerleau (3rd place), Lillyon Boutilier  (2nd place), and Ava Edes (1st place). Ava’s ad included a book being devoured by a book worm and two people reading together, noting that “volunteers are needed” to “come help kids learn.”

Ava’s first place ad will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year and featured on the Valley Grange Website.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor several programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love involved with the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Town Meeting Time!

It’s town meeting season and time to do your civic duty by attending! And as long as you’re going, Valley Grange could use your help.

We appreciate the strong support we receive from individuals, communities and businesses. That support comes in the form of time and money. And since we’re good stewards, 100% of that support directly benefits our local communities in some way.

In spite of our best fundraising efforts, we continue to struggle to support everything we do. However, we are financially challenged every year. Therefore, for 2020 we’ve decided to turn to our local communities for some help. Earlier this a letter was mailed to each town that benefits from our Words for Thirds Dictionary Project. We are asking those towns to consider a small donation to Valley Grange as part of the town’s budget.

When you attend town meeting this year, please stay until the end when these warrant articles are reviewed and voted on. We’d genuinely appreciate a word or two of support from those who are familiar with our efforts to support our kids and communities. Thanks for ALL you do to keep Valley Grange “going and growing.”

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas do not hesitate to contact a member of join us for a meeting!


View a copy of the letter sent to towns.

View the Valley Grange Fact Sheet summarizing our projects and programs.

Valley Grange Places Second in Maine State Grange Community Service Contest!

During the recent Maine State Grange Convention, Valley Grange was awarded a certificate for second place in the Grange’s Community Service Program in Maine. Judging was based on a book prepared and submitted by Mary Annis, Community Service Chairman for Valley Grange.

River Festival Fun!

Plans are underway… if you’d like to help us with baked goods, please contact Janice Boomsma (876-4131) or Pat Engstom (564-8290). We’re looking for individual portions of things like cookies and brownies. This will be a fun day!

Thanks again, Lt Kane!

An enthusiastic group of well-wishers and supporters took time out of a beautiful spring day to partake of Valley Grange’s free community supper in honor of Lt. Jamie Kane’s recent selection of the Grange Northeast Region Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Vicki Huff, Past Master of the Maine State Grange, was on hand to complete the formal presentation, noting that this really is a “big deal” considering that Kane was selected at the Northeast Regional Conference representing all of the New England States and New York. Huff said that from the stories she’s heard and previous conversations with Kane she knows he does what he does because he loves doing it–not for the awards or recognition–and that is just one of many reasons he deserves it.

Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director said that there’s a “…notable change in attitudes towards law enforcement due in a large part to Kane’s work at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. The kids are developing an understanding that law enforcement is a very positive resource in our community. They run to him, not away from him.”

During his closing remarks, Boomsma noted that it’s great that as a society we have normalized thanking Veterans for their service. “We think nothing of walking up to a complete stranger, shaking his or her hand and saying thanks for your service. That is as it should be. But we truly have an opportunity to do the same for law enforcement officers who are putting their lives on the line for us every day. Tonight we honor Lt. Kane and many will shake his hand and say thanks. But just maybe we should do that with every officer we meet in our daily lives. These men and women are making incredible contributions and helping us build strong communities.”