479 Tuscany Drive
Portage, MI 49024

Tel: 269-365-0401
Cell: 518-222-6622

​Hope all of you have been enjoying our relatively mild Winter. Just under one month from today is the first day of Spring, which many welcome. In many ways, it is a “rebirth” or awakening, as flowers begin to bloom and trees begin to “green up”.

​In our religious lives, Easter on April 12, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the Christian world; in the Jewish tradition, Passover on April 8 is celebrated as God’s protection of His people and for how He freed them from being slaves; and in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, which begins April 23, is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

​​In our Grange lives, April is Grange Month. Traditionally, this has been a time for Granges to celebrate and to invite the community to their events to learn more about the Grange. Even if you are not the Lecturer of your Grange, this is an opportunity for you to make suggestions to your Lecturer about ways to involve the community and spread the message of the Grange. Ideas for action:
  • have an Open House (with food!) where you display your typical Grange activities, 
  • have an awards program for Grange members longevity in the Grange that might include presentation of a Very Important Patron award, and/or present the Community Service Dedicated Worker award, and/or present the National Grange Dick Patten Community Service Firefighter of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, or the Teacher of the Year Award,
  • submit a press release to your local news media regarding your Grange, including an invitation to your events,
  • coordinate with your local church to have a hymn singalong at the Grange Hall,
  • customize and create a program for your Grange and your community.
Spring trivia: Did you know that baby birds must learn to sing? Although they are born with the ability to sing, they must learn the songs of their species. An isolated baby bird will learn simple songs, but not the complex songs of its species. A bird must hear in order to learn. Only a few birds can sing the songs of other species. The mockingbird seems to be the best at imitating the songs of other birds. (Source: https://withgia.com/assets/files/Spring%20Trivia%20Quiz.pdf)

​Another program or activity idea could be wrapped around Earth Day, celebrated April 22. Many communities have activities to celebrate this day that you or your Grange could participate in. Your Grange might want to sponsor an activity for the whole community. If you are looking for possible ideas, I recommend going to your public library, or if you have Internet access, check out this link: 20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in 2018 – MERS Goodwill: mersgoodwill.org/20-ways-celebrate-earth-day-2018/.

Don’t forget to have some fun at all your events!



​With each new year, it is common to establish goals for the year, sometimes called New Year’s resolutions. I am hopeful that more Michigan Grangers will check out the Program booklet included in this newsletter and resolve to enter at least one of the Lecturer’s contests to be displayed at the Michigan State Grange session in October. A great time to work on these contests is during the Winter months when weather may be limiting our time to be doing other things.

Typically, there is a great display of photography each year, and I encourage continued participation, including those that have not entered before in this area. The classes remain the same this year, and are intentionally made broad so that many can enter. It was a bit disappointing this past year to have limited entries in the Art Contest. There are two very broad categories in this contest for the upcoming year – 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional objects. Some of you may be “doodlers” – this kind of object would be a great 2-dimensional entry. I heard from a couple people that they wanted Ceramics added – these items may be entered into the 3-dimensional category. I know there are a lot of creative Grangers out there, and look forward to their work! The topics for the Creative Writing contest have changed, and one class has been added, so now this contest includes classes of poems, stories, and book reports.

​​A new contest this year is Family Heritage. This is the result of discussions with several people at the State Grange session. The entry for one class is a chart, illustration, or drawing showing a minimum of three generations of a family including each person’s name. I will be including some examples in the Lecturer’s Bulletin this year, but there is no set format for this class. This could be started in a Grange meeting Lecturer’s Program. The other class is a Family Photo Story, for which there are few rules. Descriptions and/or labels are encouraged for the photos, and a minimum of three photos are to be included. This entire contest is meant to encourage creativity in display of family heritage information. 

​Last year was the first year for the “Original Grange Program” contest. Only one entry was received. This contest does not require the person entering the program to be a Lecturer, nor does it require that the program was presented/executed in a Grange meeting. Use your creative juices to think of what might be a “perfect Grange program” – it could be a “regular” Lecturer’s program during a meeting, or it could be a special program that may or may not be within a Grange meeting.

Five entrants participated in the Public Speaking Contest in October, each giving an impromptu speech of 3-5 minutes. Winners were judged by those in attendance. This contest will continue with new topics in the coming year. Several people have already indicated they are planning to enter! A second class has been added of “Readings”. For this class, participants will bring their reading with them. Both of these classes will be held on Thursday evening at the Michigan State Grange session, but local Granges may wish to have a contest at their level as well.

I am hoping that each of you create resolutions and take the time to create something in the coming year for the Michigan State Grange Lecturer’s Program. I can’t wait to see the results.

Get creative!