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From The Lecturer's Desk
From the Lecturer’s Desk: Year In Review

By David Roberts, CT State Grange Lecturer

  November 3, 2022 --

On October 21st, I presented my first report as your State Grange Lecturer to all assembled delegates   and

patrons at our 138th Annual Connecticut State Grange Convention in Norwich. I wanted to share a few highlights from my report with all of you.

I began my report by sharing my surprise at being elected State Grange Lecturer to complete the final year for this term. My first step as State Lecturer was to get to know my fellow community and Pomona Grange Lecturers. I instituted a virtual opportunity for all lecturers to meet together in a safe way to share ideas and discuss new ways to serve as a program director.

Despite the pandemic, a priority for me was to get out and visit Granges around the state. My first Grange visit was to North Stonington Community Grange #138 for their Community Citizen of the Year award ceremony. Lecturer Susan Pianka did an excellent job on the entire program. My next visit was to Simsbury Grange #197 for their certified Agricultural Fair and belated 90th Anniversary Celebration. We enjoyed the delicious food, fair displays inside and the hay bailer outside, outdoor music, toasting the 90th Anniversary milestone and hearing about elected officials who attended earlier, and just chatting with attendees. Kudos to Susan Masino, Barbara Friedland, and others who made this such an enjoyable event. It was especially nice to see so many children outside playing around the Grange Hall. I then journeyed to Sterling to attend the Strawberry Supper at Ekonk Community Grange #89. The drive was long, but pleasant, and the trip was well worth it.

It is so important that we all support each other’s events and I will try to get out and about as much as I can to visit Granges, support their initiatives, and help spotlight their great work.

Another highlight from 2021-2022 was when I was elected Treasurer for the Northeast Grange Lecturers Association.  I also had an opportunity to attend the National Grange Eastern Regional Leadership Conference at our National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The theme for this conference was “A Monumental Experience in the Nation’s Capital” and I enjoyed meeting other Grangers, learning from them, and sharing our Connecticut success stories.

In February, National President Betsy Huber appointed me at the National Grange representative to the United Nations Council of Organizations (COO). The COO was started 75 years ago by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to provide a forum for non- governmental organizations to support the newly established United Nations.  The National Grange


was one of 43 Charter Members of the COO. Our seat had sat vacant for a number of years, but I was serving on the Executive Committee of the COO as the Lions Clubs International representative and Chairing the yearlong 75th anniversary celebration of the COO and highlighted this vacant seat to Grange member Phil Prelli. I appreciate the opportunity to again serve on the COO Executive Committee as the National Grange representative.

One decision made early in my tenure was to partner with Dawn Percoski, Chair of Family Activities, to co- host the Connecticut State Grange Family Festival on August 14th. Our Connecticut State Grange Lecturer’s Department sponsored three contests at this year’s Family Festival: Photography Contest (45 entries); Talent Contest (1 entry); and “A Number” Skit Contest (2 entries). Congratulations to all our winners and to all who participated. For the Photography Contest, the “Best in Show” GRAND PRIZE went to Dawn Percoski of Vernon Grange for her terrific award-winning photo in the Animal Category that I have affectionately titled “Dog kissing Girl!”.

We ended the Grange Year with two more contests: “Complete Program” for community Granges offering a program in 2021/2022 with the theme of “The Grange of the Future”; and the State Grange Essay Contest with the 2021/2022 essay title being “My Grange Family”. North Stonington Community Grange won 1st Prize in the “Complete Program” and Vernon Grange won 2nd Prize. For the State Grange Essay Contest, Emily Alexander of Cheshire Grange won 1st Prize and Karen Macdonald of Greenfield Hill Grange won 2nd Prize.

The purpose of all these contests is first and foremost to HAVE FUN and secondly to encourage our Grange members to get involved in a friendly spirited manner.

Recognition is a key part of my job to showcase the great work of our Lecturers. With this in mind, we chose to continue two award programs this year and announced our winners at the State Convention Celebration Banquet. The Lecturer’s Appreciation Award was presented to: Cheshire (Emily Alexander; Glastonbury (Ann Gilnack); Hemlock (Nancy Swanson); Mountain Laurel Pomona (Debbie Vails); N. Ston. Comm. (Sue Pianka); Riverton (Raine Pedersens); Vernon (Cherie Robinson).

And the Honor Lecturer’s Award was presented to the following Granges: Cheshire; Glastonbury; Hemlock, N. Ston. Comm.; Riverton; Vernon.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Connecticut State Grange Lecturer this past year. At the State Convention in Norwich, the delegates elected me to serve a full two-year term as your State Grange Lecturer. Under the leadership of State President Rob Buck and his team, I am excited to continue serving our awesome organization! Watch this column and the State Grange website as we continue to promote programs for all our Granges. Until then, stay safe and healthy and remember that we were all #RaisedRightHere!



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