Convention Crier – Day 1

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Host region welcomes national delegates back after 100 years

BY T.J. MALASKEE & COREY SPENCE
Pfizer Communications Fellows | Email: tj.malaskee@mnhs.org | Email: corey.spence@ymail.com 

crier_day_1_pic3“Imagine the history we are making tonight,” began National Master Ed Luttrell at the Northeast Region Host Banquet. “One century ago our brothers and sisters met [here in New Hampshire].”

The annual Host Banquet held by the Northeast Region State of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut paid tribute to the return of the National Grange to New Hampshire.

Jim Tetreault, New Hampshire Master, entertained the audience with his story of the Youth Granger resolution of two decades before to bring the National Grange Convention back to the state. Convention Coordinator Beth Merrill, also a part of that youth delegation, said, “I don’t recall the New Hampshire delegates being exceptionally pleased with that resolution.”

Monday’s banquet welcomed the convention to New Hampshire with entertainment by local family music sensation Santa Croce, pictured above. Kathy Yardley of Walpole Grange #125 said, “They came to my Grange’s Awards Night. They are a great bunch of kids.”

The acoustic group of six siblings performed covers and encouraged the guests to join in a rendition of the classic 1873 Grange song “The Yellow Corn.” Many who had attended the Kelley Farm Experience this past July remembered this song.

“It was just a great, catchy tune,” National Grange Leadership/Membership Development Director Michael Martin said.

The culmination of the night’s festivities resulted in the Assembly of Demeter also know as “The Forgotten Ones” hoodwinking the National Master and pulling him before the crowd on a life-sized goat. The night ended in raucous laughter and many glad tidings for a good convention were exchanged.

President’s Message

Ed LuttrellBY ED LUTTRELL
National Grange

Monday’s committee work was inspiring to watch. The discussion and debate during the committee meetings was enlightening to all who watched. A wide variety of opinions were presented and each member listened to the facts before making their decisions.

The host banquet was a wonderful kickoff to this Session. The Northeast Region definitely went all out to welcome the National Grange to New Hampshire. It seems so appropriate to be in Manchester when the last Session in New Hampshire was in 1913.

The 147th Annual Session of the National Grange officially begins this afternoon with the opening in the seventh degree. After the opening ceremony, the Grange will lower to the fourth degree and the Session will be off and running. Take some time and watch the work of the Session.

Veteran’s Day event allows Grangers to show thanks

BY CASSIDY CHEDDAR & COREY SPENCE
Pfizer Communications Fellows | Email: crcheddar@gmail.com | Email: corey.spence@ymail.com

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A Veteran’s Day Remembrance was held on Monday evening at the National Grange session. National Lecturer Pete Pompper talked of the origins of the holiday and then introduced Master Sergeant Carryl Davis, a member of Antrim Grange #98 in New Hampshire. Master Sgt. Davis spoke of the importance of remembering those who have, and those who continue to serve. He said that care packages are especially welcomed, including “anything from a pair of socks to a candy bar that didn’t melt before you got it.”

Pompper also reminded us that we shouldn’t forget the families that the soldiers leave behind. “It is important that Granges honor not only our veterans but also the family members and those who are at home. The spouses, children and parents who have had to keep the homes together during these stressful times. Helping these families can be crucial. Many are extremely appreciative for the assistance when they get this support from your groups.”

This celebration of our Veterans continues the Grange’s focus on the men and women that serve our country in uniform. Grange member Heidi Heidenreich from New York says that the Grange has been wonderful to her as a Vietnam-era Vet.

“At this year’s state session in New York, we passed resolutions to honor vets and encourage improvement at the VA,” Heidenreich said.

The National Grange has introduced the “Patriot’s Program” that honors the men and women who have served this country. Each CD in the program will include a PowerPoint with notes about a different aspect of each war the US has been involved in. The first CD that came out in March 2013 focused on “Women and the War Effort of WWII.”

Samantha Johnson, National Grange Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director says, “The Grange is so excited to be work ing on the Patriot’s Program to honor our men and women who serve our country.

We can only hope to show as much dedication to them as they have to their country.”

For more information on the Patriot’s Program, contact sjohnson@nationalgrange.org.

New Delaware, Illinois State Masters welcomed

BY DEBBIE GEGARE
Pfizer Communications Fellow | Email: debgegare@gmail.com

crier_day_1_pic2Two new State Masters are on site for the 147th session.

Michael Lynch, from Delaware, was elected at their State Session last December and lives in Newark, Delaware with his wife of 24 years, Helen.

Lynch has been a Grange member for 18 years and belongs to Centre Grange #11. He has held many positions in his Subordinate, Pomona and State Granges.

He retired after 41 years working for Acme Markets where he was a Night Manager. In addition to his Grange obligations, Lynch holds a seat on the Board of Trustees at the University of Delaware and is the State Secretary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Lynch did not grow up with a lot of farming experience but is excited to learn from those around him. He plans to in crease communication with the Granges in his state and partner with other youth organizations like 4-H, FFA and NJHA.

Lynette Schaeffer, who lives in Lebanon Illinois, was elected to her position this past September. She has been a Grange member since she was young. She is married to Don and they have two children, Justin and Jolene and three grandchildren, Olivia, Bailey and Logan.

She is a member of the Shiloh Valley Grange #1807, where she has held many positions. She has been very active in her Pomona and also State Granges before taking this position.

She currently works for the USDA as an IT support person for multiple Service Center Agencies. She is also a member of the O’Fallon United Church of Christ where she is a bell ringer.

Lynette and Don have been married for 38 years and met each other through the Grange when they were youth. The Grange tradition and pride runs deep on both sides of their family. Don’s grandparents were members of the Grange, as well as both their parents, their children and now their grandchildren.

Lynette knows that she has fulfilled a family rite of passage since becoming the Illinois State Master. “It’s cool when you are my age and you make your father proud with the things you do. When we go to events, Grange and non Grange, he introduces me as the worthy Master to everyone,” Schaeffer said.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet Michael or Lynette yet, please seek them out and give them a friendly Granger welcome.

10 members trained to serve as Communication Fellows at session

BY BRYAN MARCHEFSKY
PA State Grange Membership/Public Relations Director | Email: publicrelations@pagrange.org

crier_day_1_pic1This year at the 147th National Grange Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire, Pfizer, Inc. and Tracfone Wireless, Inc are sponsoring 10 National Grange Communication Fellows. These volunteers from all across the US come together days before Session begins to receive extensive training in press release writing, interviewing, and other public relations techniques.

They will use all of these skills to capture and broadcast the events of the Session to bolster the message of local Granges across the country. These fellows will produce and publish articles for our daily newsletter, press releases, podcasts, and videos. They will also be taking pictures, conducting interviews, and be actively updating the National Grange Facebook and Twitter pages.

In addition, for the first time ever, the Fellows will be designing and unveiling Grange Radio – a global internet-radio station that will be operated by volunteer Grangers. The station will feature various styles of music, US agricultural news updates, and personal interviews from various Grangers across the country.

This year, the Pfizer Fellows include: Debbie Gegare of Janesville, WI, Mandy Botswick of Ozawkie, KS., Barbara Foster of Penssboro, WV, T.J. Malaskee of Saint Paul, MN, Bryan Marchefsky of Pottsville, PA, Nick Oliver of Tacoma, WA, Ashley Pedersen of Goldsboro, NC, Corey Spence of Roslindale, MA, Hayley Tonner of Atlanta, GA, Jessica Horton of Davidson, NC, and Cassidy Cheddar of Elizabethtown, Penn.

“We are so excited to have these Fellows,” National Grange Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana said. “They are an integral part of the production and coordination of our Annual Session. They provide the vital resources required to effectively record and broadcast our event.”

Participating in intensive communication activities at the 147th National Grange Convention will provide the Pfizer Fellows the chance to strengthen their broadcasting skillset and provide them with critical public relations experience.

Affordable Care Act focus of workshop  

BY DEBBIE GEGARE
Pfizer Communication Fellow | Email: debgegare@gmail.com

crier_day_1_pic7The Legislative workshop presented Monday morning by Grace Boatright, National Legislative Director, was pertinent to what’s happening in health care in our country.

Boatright talked about the Affordable Care Act and the many changes that will affect people now that there is a government requirement for all individuals to have health insurance or potentially pay a penalty for non-compliance.

“The Affordable Care Act is an unworkable system; like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. The American people have been lied to and we’re starting to see the first of many unpleasant surprises,” Boatright said. “You can keep your private plan, just not for the same price. Insurance companies will be penalized for dropping you, unless the cost of covering you increases by $5 or more…the list goes on.”

“Millions of people are going to see their healthcare costs skyrocket and millions more are going to suddenly find themselves being dropped from their private providers, as millions already have since October 1st,” Boatright said. “Bottom line: the ACA is going to cause irreparable damage to both our healthcare system and our economy and America is going to spend a lot of time and money trying to undo all of this.”

Boatright will have available the information presented in the workshop for States to take back to their members to get educated on all the aspects of this new program. To find out more about the ACA and how it will affect you, go to www.healthcare.gov.

New online Grange radio unveiled

BY NICK OLIVER
Pfizer Communications Fellow | Email: nickmmoliver@gmail.com

crier_day_1_pic6On Sunday, November 10 at the 147th National Grange Convention Welcome Reception the new and exciting project known as Grange Radio was premiered. Grange Radio is an online radio station that celebrates and invests in the community through innovative and compelling radio programing by targeting a changing dynamic Grange population. At the same time Grange Radio will cater to the values of the National Grange community and appeal to non- member interest while growing Grange membership through loyal listenership.

The programing for the radio will include music from all different genres, though right now it is primarily playing classic rock and country music 24 hours a day. Mixed in with the music will be segments about interesting Grange and agriculture related topics that are not only important to know but entertaining as well. The aim is to present a product that is entertaining to Grangers accurately portrays the Grange as an organization. People who aren’t Grange members will also find Grange Radio entertaining and informative as well.

Some of the featured interviews are stories about what makes your hometown great, stories about how or why you joined the Grange, information about your Grange or what makes your Grange special and even what you do outside the Grange as a hobby or job. Interviews will take place throughout the week.

We in the communication fellows department are very proud and excited about Grange radio and have put a lot of thought and effort into developing a template for an online radio station that is appealing to all age groups and demographics. Yet at the same time, we have outlined potential programing that will hold true to the slogan “American Values. Hometown Roots”.

As we build the foundation for Grange radio, we hope to add more regular content. We would like to include things like a legislative update, lecturers and family living updates, segments about the youth and juniors, and even cooking shows. These segments, shows, and mixed musical genres will follow a weekly schedule. We hope to hear from fellow members about what they would like to hear on Grange radio as well!

Delegates to discuss more than 160 resolutions

BY TJ MALASKEE 
Pfizer Communication Fellows | Email: TJ.Malaskee@mnhs.org

delegatesWith 164 resolutions sent to the National Grange from 37 State Granges, this year’s legislative agenda is on the high side of average for recent years’ submissions.

“I’m very excited to see what the delegates set as our legislative priorities for 2014,” said Grange Legislative Director, Grace Boatright.

Hot button issues at this year’s session are expected to be resolutions on the 2013 Farm Bill, the Affordable Care Act, drones, and veterans’ health care. The most contentious issue of the session in likely to involve GMOs. Nearly a dozen resolutions regarding GMOs are currently being reviewed by committees.

In an attempt to streamline session committees the Taxation and Transportation Committee was absorbed into the Citizenship and Labor and Judiciary Committees.

Celeste Spencer authored the Rhode Island resolution “Adopt Don’t Shop,” and is hopeful that the delegates will support the resolution. “We want the Grange to educate people on the horrid conditions of pet stores and online breeders.”

Grangers at this year’s convention are quick to speak up on the issues their states have passed on to the National Grange. The budget has been mentioned frequently in the halls and Hospitality Room.

“The general feeling I’m getting from Grangers is that many feel we are resigned to pay for the lawsuits [affecting the National budget]. We’ve got to pay,” said Mark Collins, State Executive Committee Member from New Hampshire.

History, heritage of Junior Grange celebrated

BY MANDY BOSTWICK
Pfizer Communication Fellow Kansas Grange Member

crier_day_1_pic5This year the Junior Grange celebrates its 125th Anniversary with formal events, new programs and activities throughout the convention.

As we kick off, it’s important to look back at our roots.

In August 1888, the first Juvenile Grange, as they were called at that time, was organized at the Texas State Session.

The Texas State Grange created and adopted a ritual for the Juvenile Grange and then took it to the 22nd Annual Convention of the National Grange, held in Topeka, Kan.

At National Convention the Juvenile Ritual was referred to the Committee on Ritual and the committee asked the Executive Committee and the Lecturer of the National Grange to put it in a form that was suitable for all Juvenile Granges.

The following year in Sacramento, California at the 23rd Annual Convention, Sister Joe Bailey of Mississippi moved that the ritual of the Texas State Grange be adopted as the ritual for Juvenile Granges in all states.

Brother E.W. Davis of California made another motion, to refer it to the Executive Committee to further discuss the ritualism. It wasn’t until the 24th Annual Meeting of the National Grange in 1890 that a ritual for Juvenile Granges was adopted.

At the 56th Annual Meeting of the National grange in Wichita, Kansas, in November 1922, National Master Sherman J. Lowell appointed a Special Juvenile Committee that drew up a careful report of provisions and a definite set of rules for the Juvenile Grange.

One significant provision of the report was that the National Grange would issue dispensations and charters for all Juvenile Granges. Up until this point, all records of Juvenile Granges had been kept by individual states that issued their charters.

In 1929 the National Grange began to issue Honor Certificates to Juvenile Granges who met certain requirements. Among the requirements was increased membership and performing some form of community service.

In 1964 at the Annual Meeting of the National Grange in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the delegate body voted to change the name from Juvenile Grange to Junior Grange.

A merit badge program began in 1970 totaling 16 felt badges. Requirements were set up for each badge. Badges covered a variety of subjects including Grange ritualism, citizenship, membership, talent, nature, conservation, among others. An official ceremony was used for the presentation of the badges to Junior members. Badges were sewn on to a dark red sash. Two new badges were added in 1978, two more in 1979 and by 1982 there were a total of 25 merit badges.

In 1995, the merit badge program was revamped by changing the felt badges into metal pins that could be worn on the badge sash, t-shirts, jackets, caps or other articles of clothing. The badges fall into three categories and are available for a 4-year period on a rotating basis so that new badges are added every year.

At this 147th National Convention, Grangers are looking forward to discovering the new programs that are being developed for Junior Grangers by the new National Junior Director.

How the first Grange was chartered in Georgia since 1885

BY MICHAEL MARTIN
Leadership/Membership Director | Email: membership@nationalgrange.org

crier_day_1_pic11In January, the South Carolina State Grange staffed an informational booth at the first annual South Carolina Agribusiness and Farm Exposition.

National Lecturer Pete Pompper, North Carolina State Grange Membership Director Jessica Horton and I assisted State Master Jerry Martin with this exhibit. Jerry, assisted by Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana, purchased a full-page ad in the exposition program, which gained much publicity among this agricultural audience.

In addition to speaking with hundreds of exhibition participants and visitors, we made a connection with a fledgling group of hobby farmers. We spoke frequently throughout the event.

The hobby farmer group had formed via Facebook about four months prior and already had 350 “likes” on their Facebook page. As a result, Jerry Martin invited the hobby farmers to attend a Grange meeting and Jerry attended several hobby farmer meetings and events.

Out of this cross-pollination of experiences and ideas, the hobby farmers, being a very new organization, really liked the organizational structure of the Grange (local, state, national) and were highly enthusiastic about the local autonomy of Subordinate Granges.

Some of the hobby farmers were in nearby Georgia. They started talking with Jerry about how to organize a Grange for their colleagues. Jerry referred them to me, and soon we had a round-robin discussion via telephone and email between David Young, organizer of the Hobby Farmers of the Central Savannah River Area in Georgia and Jerry, Pete, Jessica and myself. Many thanks to Jimmy Gentry and the North Carolina State Grange for allowing the flexibility for Jessica to travel repeatedly to Georgia.

In a matter of several weeks an informational meeting was scheduled in Augusta, Georgia. This was followed two weeks later by an organizational meeting, and on August 8, 2013 Savannah River Grange was organized. This is the first Grange organized in Georgia since 1885!

So, welcome Savannah River Grange to our Order and congratulations to the team effort that made this possible.

Have you Herd?

‘Critters’ take over 147th session

BY DEBBIE GEGARE
Pfizer Communication Fellow | Email: debgegare@gmail.com

crier_day_1_pic9Are you wondering what all these stuffed animals are doing around the convention?

They are the Grange Herd and they have been assigned to help each State Master do work for the betterment of the Grange.

Each animal was “trained” by Willy the Grange sheep. Willy has been tour- ing the nation with his sidekick National Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana for the past several months.

“The response that I have gotten from taking Willy with me to events has been great. Members want to take their picture with Willy and post messages to him on Facebook,” Brozana said.

The Herd – members of which some session attendees have taken to calling “critters” – is meant to encourage positive interactions between Grange members and help connect members to social media. Each animal has their own Facebook page that Grangers can like and be able to stay connected to what’s going on in their state.

The animals came equipped with a journal, birth certificate, and some suggested assignments for their state. State Masters are encouraged to take their animal with them to Grange events and also document their travels.

We hope that all Grangers will go to Facebook and like all the animal’s pages and begin interacting with them. If you are unsure how to access Facebook, feel free to come to the production office and ask one of the fellows to assist you.

The herd has already had some excitement happening since they came to be with their owners on Sunday night. Chuck the badger and Freeda the mouse both were lost from their caretakers and held for ransom. Hopefully these demands will be met so the animals can be returned and are able to go home.

“I think that the Masters can use these in so many ways to benefit their states, departments and members,” Brozana said. “But they better put them to good use and keep them close!”

Warm weather wear displayed, to be donated

BY CASSIDY CHEDDAR
Pfizer Communication Fellow | Email: crcheddar@gmail.com

crier_day_1_pic8This year, at the 147th Annual Grange National Conven- tion, attendees are donating hats and mittens to charity.

By Sunday night over 1,500 items had already been col- lected. Throughout the convention week, collected items are being hung on a mitten tree. The items will be split among the seven Host Committee states, which will then determine which charities they will be given to.

The mitten tree was constructed by Claremont Grange member, Mark Collins, of New Hampshire.

Collins developed a plan for the 12-foot tree based solely off a paper plan. From there, he adapted the design so it would work as a mitten tree and built the wooden structure by himself.

This is the first year the mitten tree has been done at the National Convention. In previous years, actual Christmas trees were collected and donated to charities. However, this year, the Host Committee decided to alter the project. This idea was devised so that Grangers could collect items and could better help other people in need.