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Pennsylvania Grange celebrates 5th anniversary

By Morgan Young, PublicOpnionOnline.com (9/25/11)

  SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 --

Cumberland Valley Grange 2104 in Pennsylvania has turned five. The chapter had its fifth anniversary on Sept. 15 and celebrated with an open house at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, at Elmcroft senior living community on Walnut Bottom Road in Shippensburg.

The national organization is an agricultural fraternity that promotes rural living through community service, education, legislation and fellowship.

Lizzie Bailey, master of the Shippensburg Grange chapter, said the group started out of curiosity. 

"(It's) all because I asked a question about a T-shirt at the fair," she said.

While working at a booth at the Shippensburg Community Fair, Bailey noticed a woman wearing a shirt with the fraternal organization's name on it. She inquired about the group and the rest is history.

"It didn't take us too long to form," Bailey said. "The next thing I knew I had (the Pennsylvania State Grange President) here in Shippensburg, (the former Pennsylvania State Grange President) here in Shippensburg, and the (National Grange President) here in Shippensburg."

While the chapter is small, with around 15 members, it has already made an impact on the community according to Bailey.

"Every year we go over and do Christmas cards with the residents at Elmcroft," she said. "We go down to the (Shippensburg) Library in the spring and we do a storybook reading and then we go outside and they (the children) plant flowers."

Shippensburg Mayor Bruce Hockersmith will issue a proclamation at the anniversary ceremony recognizing the group for its service to the community, an act that Hockersmith said he's proud to do.

"It's an honor to be included in the five year organization with the Shippensburg chapter," he said.

Local dignitaries and some Grange leaders will also be attending the event, including Pennsylvania State Grange President Carl Meiss.

The ceremonies will begin with a light lunch and music will played throughout the evening. 

Expanding group membership and organizing several fundraising events are among the next steps for the young chapter.

The group will be holding a craft show at the Vigilant Hose Fire Company No. 1's Shippensburg Firefighter's Activity Center, Nov. 26, with proceeds going to the chapter. 

"In 5 years it's the biggest event (we've had)," Bailey said.

In addition to fundraising and membership efforts the group is planning to begin collaborations with other local community organizations on larger service projects.

"We were hoping to offer a program in conjunction in the Food Bank that would be like gardening clinics," she said. "We hope to offer that in the spring." 

A unique bond between members is what Bailey attributes the group's continued presence to.

"Our little core group is very close," she said "And I think that's the glue that kept us together. We all enjoy that fellowship together."

To become a member of the Shippensburg Grange chapter call Bailey at 530-8000.

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