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National Grange Blog: A Prophecy, A New Year

By Charlene Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Blog (1/12/11)

  JANUARY 17, 2011 --

In 1948, the National Grange established its National Grange Youth program. With it, they formalized what had been happening since the beginning of the Grange, the inclusion of youth events and youth leadership. With the start of the new year, many Granges and departments are setting their plan of work.

When I sit down to review a plan of work for a Grange activity, I can’t help but think of a passage from “The Grange-Friend of the Farmer” called A Prophecy.

It reads, “The question has been asked, ‘How long will the Grange live?’ I believe it will live as long as it continues to serve the welfare of agriculture and the nation. Whenever it becomes ingrown and selfish, and the members look on it only as a means of bringing them pleasure, entertainment or profit, it will fade away.

“But to those who find their pleasure in doing something for the common good, the Grange provides an instrument both effective and satisfying. Through it we can jointly find our entertainment and our pleasure in service, while at the same time we can advance the interests of our neighbors and ourselves in the fields of health, education, business and in almost limitless ways. Through the Grange we have an opportunity to give, and the more we give, the more we gain.” (page 430)

This passage serves as a reminder to both Grange youth as well as all Grangers that the responsibility to grow and strengthen this organization belongs to all of us.

As Grange Youth Departments across this country begin their re-organization, this is a good time to evaluate our purpose and mission. What activities are slated for this year? How do they benefit our communities, members? Is our investment into our youth and young adults helping to grow as leaders and to make an impact to solve issues?

I have often talked about the desire of Grange Youth and Young Adults wanting to make a difference. These youth can serve as leaders within their subordinate, Pomona Granges. Youth can pen resolutions and stand ready to meet with legislators. They search for ways to improve their community. And while this is “work” there is no reason it can not be fun as well as beneficial.

As you plan for 2011, are you planning to serve? How do Grange youth play into that plan?

Charlene Shupp Espenshade, 
National Grange Youth Director


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