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Public Relations News
Public Relations News: Looking Backwards to Move Forward
 

By Terri Fassio, CT State Grange Public Relations Co-Director

  May 12, 2018 --

When using your Grange’s history paves a path to the future.

The late Steve Jobs once said at his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005: “... you can’t connect the dots by looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”

When working with the Community Granges in Connecticut, one thing we often hear is “our Grange used to do it this way” or “back in the day our Grange used to have “x” event and it was the talk of the town.” Every Grange in Connecticut has a past and a rich history. But is that history holding the Grange back from moving into the future? At first thought, the answer may be yes, because ‘my Grange is stuck in a time warp and not forward thinking.’ But in reality, the answer is no. So how do we connect the Grange dots?

Granges were originally organized because their founding members felt there was an unmet need in their local communities that the Grange could fulfill. For older Granges, that need may have been the betterment of agriculture practices and fellowship based on commonalities shared in both the home and the fields. For newer Granges, that need may still have rural roots, or it may be based in service projects, personal growth and family-oriented values. But one dot that connects the past and the future, and which is consistent from 1867 to today - Granges fulfill the needs of their local communities.

Each of us can recall our favorite memories - it may be the birth of a child, a wedding day, or even hitting a home run in the high school championship baseball game. According to the article “Your Brain Doesn’t Contain Memories. It Is Memories” on Wired.com, Our brains have the ability to “collect, connect and create” impressions, which are the basis of our memories. Memories begin at birth, and through the neurons interpretation of time, thus our personal timelines begin. The same could be said for our Granges. From the moment each Grange is founded, their unique timeline begins. Just as no two people share the same timeline and memories, the same goes for Granges. No two Granges share the exact same history.

In order to use a Grange’s history to blaze a path forward and connect those dots, each Grange must first be armed with the knowledge of their past. Start by making a detailed timeline of important Grange events and activities. (ie: building a hall, reaching the milestone of 50 or 100 members, hosting a popular event, holding the first Grange Fair and more.) This is a great year-long project for older members and younger members alike. Make it fun for all members. Put aside time at each meeting for project updates. Have older members write down their Grange memories and stories of the past. (Or record a quick video of them telling their stories. All smart phones are video-capable.) This may be especially poignant as it may be the first time some of these members have shared these stories in years. Collect old photos, trinkets, regalia and memorabilia. Old minutes books are a treasure-trove of information. Plan a Grange trip to the local library or Historical Society for a research day. Use the internet for research. Websites like Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchive.com, ResearchItCt.org, or CTStateLibrary.org are great resources. Be sure to keep a good record of all the findings.

Now that your Grange has a complete picture of its history from start to present, how do we use that information? Take this opportunity to decide what has gone well over the years, and where there is room for improvement. As you review your findings, the needs of the community that your Grange fulfilled will become clear. Are those needs the same today as they were when your Grange was founded? 50 years ago? 25 years ago? 10 years ago? What made your Grange stand out in the past? When your Grange stands out in the community, there is a direct correlation to being memorable. Why not capitalize on what worked in the past when looking forward and connect those dots. Think outside the box. The possibilities are endless.

-- Have a Grange Retro Night(s) and bring back some of the events from the Grange’s past that were successful.

-- Revisit a service project that your Grange used to participate in (ie: cemetery clean-up, bottle collection, pennies for veterans, etc.)

-- Host a Community Potluck Dinner and honor non-Grangers who have historically supported the Grange.

-- Have an Open House and take a stroll down memory lane. Spotlight the historical findings of the Grange by creating a slide show or video of old photos and videos. Then have a photo booth, photo wall or selfie-stand for those in attendance to make new photo memories.

-- Submit Grange members’ memories to National Grange for their “That’s the Grange Way” program.

All Granges have the capability to connect their dots and be an engaging, current and relevant organization to their communities, and in doing so, create new memories for years to come. Need help getting started? We can help! Email Terri at information@ctstategrange.org or Bob at publicrelations@ctstategrange.org  today.

Sources: www.designwise.net/stevejobs-memorable-three-stories-speech-atstanford-university-in-2005/

www.wired.com/story/your-brain-ismemories/  

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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