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Portage, MI 49024

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This column is not only for Lecturer’s and Family Activities Chairs in your Granges. I put information in the MGN that I hope all Grange members of Michigan read. I try to include a variety of topics. Please let me know what you would like to know more about, and I will try to comply.
It is interesting to note that in the past three years, we experienced some significant winter weather just before I wrote the article. That is true this year as well, with the ice and snow that Michigan had the past few days. There are a lot of trees and power lines down in Kalamazoo County, and it has been interesting figuring out what roads are open. Ah, but we have Spring less than a month away!

​March 20 is the first day of spring this year, and even though our winter has not been too terrible, we look forward to the “greening up” and the flowers that begin to bloom. I found some interesting fun facts at funfactoday.com/seasons/spring-facts-trivia/ that might provide interesting discussion at a Grange meeting. Did you realize that the sun, on the first day of spring, skims across the horizon, signaling the beginning of six months of uninterrupted daylight for people at the North Pole and six months continuous darkness for those at the South Pole? During the Spring, birds are more vocal as they sing to attract mates and warn away rivals. In spring, the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, increasing the number of daylight hours and bringing warmer weather. Many early peoples celebrated spring for the basic reason that their food supplies would soon be restored. Spring is often associated with rebirth, renewal and regrowth.

​The Sesquicentennial Gala will be held April 15 in Okemos. It is hoped that many Grange members will attend. The committee has been working hard to make this a memorable event. Make sure that you RSVP to Rich Hazen as described in another section of this issue. The Gala will include a hot luncheon meal, a short program, display of your Subordinate Grange boards showing your activities, a raffle drawing, door prizes, and special guests – all for free. Thanks to all the Granges and individuals that supported the raffle (still tickets available), as well as made donations or sold candy to make this day possible.
Some of you may be wondering what happened with regard to gathering and publishing Subordinate Grange histories that I began over a year ago. I had to pause this project as a result of family health and other projects pertinent to the April 15 Gala. I plan to restart this project in May. For those of you that have submitted your histories, thanks! For those of you that have not yet submitted them, I will be calling to get some information. The hope is that a booklet of these will be available at the 2023 Michigan State Grange session.
I always like to include holidays in my MGN copy or my newsletters. There are so many in March and April! This year, Daylight Saving Time begins March 12, when we “lose an hour” and move our clocks forward. Many religious holidays occur in March and April – Ramadan begins March 22, Passover is April 5 – April 15, Easter is April 9, and Orthodox Easter is April 16. If you are not award of all of these, this could be a little research project and provide information for a program. April 18 is Tax Day. One of my favorites is National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12.


Make your heading - Change in 2023
At the Michigan State Grange session in October, 2022, a major change was enacted by the delegate body that places the previous Family Activities Department within the Lecturer’s program. This does not mean that your Grange must eliminate your Family Activities Chairperson if it works well for you. If you have both a Lecturer and Family Activities Chairperson in your Grange, this change may provide for a team approach in a way that you may not have had in the past. Some Granges have planning sessions early in the year to lay out activities and projects – this would be a great time to brainstorm ways that projects can be more team-driven and less individualized.
In recent years, I have laid out what I feel is the Lecturer’s responsibility in the Grange. Your Grange may define Lecturer and Family Activities in very specific ways, and there is no reason to necessarily change your definitions. In both cases, you are leaders in your Grange and have much to do with keeping your Grange energized with programs and/or activities. According to the Ritual, the Lecturer’s responsibility is education in the Grange. Each of the State Grange contests encourage members and Grange friends to showcase their talents, and perhaps provide an opportunity to learn and do something new - trying out a new recipe, learning a new craft, or joining the current craze of learning to paint in groups. One idea for a program that could be a team approach would be having a program where attendees share their favorite holiday recipe – maybe even have a potluck where they bring the results. I have also stressed having fun and recreation as part of your programs and activities as a means of involving everyone. Social kinds of activities often include fun, so you might offer a class for your community as a new project, and then encourage this group to enter the State Grange contests, as appropriate.
My committee and I have chosen to make some significant changes to the contests previously under Family Activities, but these changes do not really eliminate the kinds of items that may be entered in contests. In fact, we believe that the changes will encourage even more people to enter items that in the past were not listed as a class to enter. There are also changes in contests that were previously under the Lecturer’s program. Make sure that you keep this issue of the Michigan Grange News which includes the 2022-2023 Michigan State Grange Programs. This is where the new programs are detailed. Check it out, and plan which contests you would like to enter, and which might be appropriate for Grange friends as well, because they may now enter all contests.
I try to cover a wide variety of topics in the quarterly bulletin and hope that these topics provide ideas for programs or activities that your Grange can implement. With the inclusion of Family Activities areas now within the Lecturer’s Program, I will create the quarterly newsletters from a broader viewpoint. I encourage comments and questions from you, so that the contests, newsletters, and Michigan Grange News articles “work” for you. I will be creating a new Annual Report Form, and try to get that to you early in the second quarter. Feel free to call me or e-mail me with any comments or concerns you might have. Working together, we can have a successful year!