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Around The Grange
Granger in the Spotlight: Jody Cameron
 

By Molly Thompson, National Grange Program Assistant (Re-Printed from The New Grange)

  MARCH 2009 --

It wasn’t easy finding a few spare minutes to sit down with Jody Cameron during the Annual National Grange Convention in Cromwell, CT last November. It’s a known fact that Convention is a busy time of the year for any Granger, but especially so for the Northeast Region Convention Planner. Jody was gracious enough to spare the time to explain his role in the 142nd Annual Convention.
   
Like many Grangers, Jody’s Grange history can be traced back to his youth. His parents joined Brooklyn Grange #43 in Connecticut when he was in grade school. In 1985, his family moved and joined Ekonk Grange #89, which still serves as his community Grange. It was his affiliation with Ekonk Grange #89 that sparked his passion for Grange service. When asked about the extent of his Grange involvement he replies with a sly grin, “I have held all of the positions at my Grange except the lady positions.” When Jody was a teen, he met Jodi Ann at a Grange event and the two eventually married. The two of them were and continue to be very active in their Grange. They were elected Prince and Princess in 1988 and in 2000- 2001 were in the last class of Young Couples. Jody’s involvement with the Grange does not end with just him and his wife. His 17-year old son, J. Allen, is also a member of Ekonk Grange and was a marching candidate in the 7th Degree at this year’s Convention. His daughter Jaimie, 12, is involved with her Junior Grange and was a marching candidate in the 6th Degree at this year’s Convention.
   
The planning of this convention came about in an unconventional way. Connecticut was originally slated to host the convention, however, a year into the planning, the regional hosting system was implemented and the planning fell to the Northeast Region. It was then that Jody Cameron was appointed Northeast Region Convention Planner. Never one to back down from a challenge, Jody embraced his role and for five years he worked tirelessly with both the National Grange staff and the Host Committee to make Convention the success it was.
   
Jody credits his visit to the 141st Annual Convention in Reno with helping make his job of Regional Convention Planner a success. Reno was also faced with the challenge of converting to the Regional system in the middle of planning. His trip there allowed the Northeast Host Committee to “come back with an aggressive look at how to proceed.” Additionally he credits all the “hundreds and hundreds of folk who gave even a moment of their time” with helping in the planning of this Convention. Having had time to reflect on Convention, Jody is a huge advocate of the regional hosting system and believes “there is a lot of opportunity with the hosting being on a regional basis [because] small states would have never had an opportunity to host without the regional system.” Because he is such a huge advocate of the regional hosting system, he is naturally looking towards next year’s Convention in Michigan. He enthusiastically replies “I am looking forward to what the Midwest can do since they are the first region to completely plan a convention.”
   
Now that Convention is over, it seems only natural that Jody would take some time off for some much-needed relaxation, however, that is not the case for the Connecticut State Overseer. “If tradition prevails, I will be elected Connecticut State Master in 2010.”  Not one to sit by idle, he is already working with Bob Sendewicz, Connecticut State Master, and Rusty Hunt, National Grange Leadership/Membership Director to “lay the groundwork for great things to come.”
   
When talking to Jody about his future plans, his passion for the Grange is undeniable. He believes strongly in “an aggressive growth plan that everyone can buy into. I think the National Grange has done an excellent job in revitalizing the Grange and promoting its purpose and meaning and now I want the Grange to grow in both a local and national scale. The Grange is a social club, but we must not lose focus. The key is service, the key is community.”
   
When asked to reflect on his experience as a Northeast Region Convention Planner he smiles and eagerly replies “without a doubt it was the greatest journey of my life and one of the highlights of my Grange journey.”
   
His advice to future Regional Convention planners, “just enjoy the ride.”

 
 
 
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