|JULY/AUGUST 2009 --
It is both a great honor and privilege to report to you on the Grange Growth Summit held in Dubuque, Iowa, June 12-14, 2009. The Summit began on Friday evening with a PowerPoint presentation on “Choosing Your Altitude.” This presentation highlighted the important points of the “FISH” Philosophy and the need to address attitude in our Granges. Saturday morning opened with another PowerPoint highlighting the process for “Revitalization of Existing Community Granges with Teams.” Following the PowerPoint, members were divided into teams where they chose a leader and received “Scouting Reports” on the Granges they would be revitalizing. Todd Gelineau was assisgned to the Pink Star Team and was chosen to be its leader. Jody Cameron and Victor Salazar were assigned to the “No Star Team.” Jody served as Grange recorder and Victor served as Team Recorder.
The teams then prepared for their revitalization meetings with Granges. Todd’s team was given the Indiana State Grange and Jody and Victor’s team was given the Iowa State Grange. This was not a token/practice revitalization meeting. Members on both sides were candid and actively interested in working on the growth and revitalization of these two states. Both Iowa and Indiana have similar obstacles before them
•Both have less than 12 Granges
•The Granges are scattered over great distances in their respective states
•Many (if not all) Community Granges are having difficulty in recruiting new members.
The meetings followed the same pattern Rusty outlined in his meetings earlier this spring with Wallingford and Hemlock Granges. The only difference this time was the concentration on State Granges.
Both States freely discussed their difficulties and desires for the future. Indiana decided to set Membership Growth as their priority coming out of the GGS. Iowa chose three priorities: (1) Organization of a new Grange; (2) Development of new youth programs; (3) Work toward a common goal, no matter how large. The remaining teams worked on role playing presentations that focused on recruitment of new members and organization of new Granges. Jody, Todd and Victor participated as potential new members. Each participant had a trait or characteristic to portray in the meeting. This was a new feature Rusty tried out in this summit for the first time. All members felt they learned a great deal about the need to have a more polished definition or “elevator speech” at the ready to discuss with potential new members when asked. There was some discussion about the need to stop referring to individuals who are not members as “non-members.” Rusty agreed that the use of the term “Potential New Members” is much more positive.
One of the most important points in “Changing Your Altitude” is the realization that we need to stop adapting new members to fit the Grange and start adapting the Grange to fit the needs of our members.
Saturday evening’s session featured a PowerPoint presentation on “Creating Grange Growth.” Very few members nationwide know the process involved in organizing and/or re-organizing Granges. This workshop focused in great detail on all of the details involved in planning for the creation of a new Grange from recruiting potential members down to ordering the materials and filling out the paperwork to receive the goal based financial rewards offered by National Grange.
Sunday morning was a de-briefing and critique of the weekend’s activities with each participant given the opportunity to relate the things they liked the most about the GGS along with the things they think they can take back to their own Granges.
It is the opinion of all three of us that a “Grange Builder Kit” and a “Grange Revitalization Kit” need to be developed. Teams would then have these kits as they go into Granges to begin the process of revitalization or to organize/re-organize new Granges. It is essential for all members to know the process for Building Granges. It has been a long time since a new Grange has been established in Connecticut. The process might seem more difficult than it actually is. The process outlined by Rusty Hunt at the Grange Growth Summit simplifies the elements and shows that it is much easier to establish a new Grange than it is to revitalize an existing one. Remember, a new Grange does not have all of the baggage that comes along with the number of years an existing Grange has been around.
The Grange Builder kit is already available through nationalgrange.org.
The Grange Revitalization Kit (as envisioned by us) would include the following:
• Applications for Membership
• The color “Grange and You” brochure already available through National Grange
• The meeting/notice postcards (which are included in the “Grange Builder Kit.”
• Declaration of Purposes (the new color version that has a magazine looking format (also in the “Grange Builder Kit).
The National Grange provides the following incentives to new Granges upon completion of specific tasks:
• $100 - Charter Application filed, obligated and officers installed
• $100 - Makes first report to State Grange
• $100 - Four Degrees are conferred
• $100 - Net gain after 4 quarters
• $50 - Application filed, officers installed
• $50 - First Quarterly report filed
• $50 - Four Degrees are conferred
• $50- 4th Quarterly Report with net gain
The team has recommended to the State Board of Directors a package of enhanced incentives from the State Grange to compliment those offered by National. We also have recommended a special line item be established in the State Grange budget providing for Membership and Leadership Training. Again, thank you for this honor and privilege.