Freeda Findings: Ponderings from the National Grange Youth Mascot

Greetings Grangers! I hope everyone has had a great weekend and is looking ahead to a positive week. For those who don’t know who I am, I am the Grange Herd representative assigned to help grow the National Grange Youth Department.

I have been settled in at my new home in Pennsylvania with National Grange Youth Director, Charlene Shupp Espenshade. I have not been to as many meetings as some of my fellow herd mates, but Charlene has kept me busy working on ideas for the National Grange Youth Department.

Looking around Charlene’s house mixed in with all of her Grange items are things from a fraternity she belonged to in college. Actually there were two, one was Kappa Alpha Theta, a member of the Panhellenic Council, the second was Alpha Zeta, an honorary, agricultural fraternity. It was interesting to learn about both of these organizations.

One item I found interesting is how often she wore her letters for the two organizations. Charlene said that especially with Kappa Alpha Theta, on Fridays, they would have either – “dress to pin” or letter day. On dress to pin days, she said members would dress up, usually in business casual and wear their fraternity pin. On letter day, the members would wear a shirt with their fraternity letters on them. The idea was to promote awareness of the chapter on campus.

I, of course, was fascinated. It also got me thinking. Why couldn’t Grange youth have their own version of this? Proper attire for attending a Grange meeting requires members wear a Grange emblem, tie tack or pin. Why could that not work amongst the public?

I have asked Charlene about the idea of establishing a “Grange dress day” where Grange youth and young adults would be encouraged to show their Grange pride one day a month. She says it’s a good idea, but she needs more feedback as to what others think. I think selecting the third Friday of the month might be a good idea for a National date, plus local and state Granges encourage “Grange dress days” the day of a Grange event or the day before if heading off to a state Grange event. Thoughts? Leave a comment here.

Also, don’t forget to “like” my Facebook pageFreeda.

Can You Make a Difference in a Life?

Paying it forward. Random acts of kindness. Making a difference. This past Saturday, Jan. 18 one small gesture went viral online. Sgt. Ariel Soltura wrapped up a routine traffic stop in Rosenberg, Texas. He saw a boy standing alone, tossing a football, looking for someone to play with.

What happened next, tugged at the heart strings of America. With Soltura’s dashboard camera still running, he stopped the car. The kid leaves the frame, only to return running, going deep to catch a football, tossed by the officer.

“Everyone that sees it has probably at one time thought that they were that kid,”  Soltura said.

Think of ways you and your Grange can make a difference. Isn’t that how we make our communities better? One person at a time?

ABC News named the officer “America Strong” to see the segment go here.



Seahawks Player Provides Inspiration, Deaf Awareness

Seattle Seahawks player Derrick Coleman is a one-of-a-kind NFL player. He’s made national news this week, not as a member of a Super Bowl Bound team, but because he is legally deaf.

The national stir began with the release of a Duracell battery commercial. The commercial has reached more than 7.5 million hits.

The premise of the commercial focuses on his long road to overcome obstacles to achieve NFL greatness. While the commercial is geared to promote batteries, Coleman says it is so much more.

“It’s spreading awareness not just for the hearing impaired but for everybody,” Coleman said to the Associated Press. “Everybody has problems, but we can still do what we want to do.

“I’ve been doing this since I was in college. Like I always tell everybody, there might be 100 people in the room, but if one walks away knowing, ‘I can still chase the dream,’ that is all I care about. It’s heartwarming.”

In so many ways, Coleman’s story is exactly that, too. As a kid, he was a strong, fast athlete, but often was chosen last in pickup games because of the hearing aids. He also was picked on because of his deafness. But he’s never allowed it to be a handicap, as his place in the NFL confirms.

Coleman was a standout at UCLA before being picked up last winter by the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent. He’s proven his worth to the team, and continues to serve as inspiration to others about achieving their dreams.

The National Grange Youth Department, and National Grange, has long supported projects that raise awareness to deaf and hard of hearing. Both issues challenge rural America. Hearing loss of farmers, who spent their career working around loud equipment, is still a problem today. Young people are at risk by misuse of earbuds, playing music, videos too loud. And, for families with deaf or hard of hearing at home, assistance may not always be easily accessed.

Grange youth should take up the challenge this year to learn how to sign the sign language alphabet or learn how to sign a song to compete in their state sign-a-song contest. There are plenty of deaf educational resources available online.

While each Granger will pick a side in the 2014 Super Bowl, I believe every Granger should root for the awareness Coleman is bringing to a legacy issue of the Grange.

To see the Coleman video go here.

To learn about the William Ireland Deaf Achievement Award go here.

Hello world!

We’re your neighbors

The Grange is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in more than 2,100 hometowns across America. We have nearly 150 years of history, a spirit of grassroots advocacy, and a fraternal spirit that we’re happy to share with you.

To learn more about the Grange, read our Declaration of Purposes) or download a membership brochure . You can also learn more about Grange Youth for those 14 to 30 years of age and Junior Grange for children 5 to 14 . Grange members enjoy many benefits, including discounts on energy, vacations and medical services. To learn more, read our member benefits brochure .

We’d love to tell you about the exciting opportunities the Grange offers. Stop by a meeting anytime. They’re always open to the public. If you’d prefer to support rural America and agriculture on your own time, you can look into E-Membership. E-Members enjoy the same benefits as community Grange members and have all materials delivered to their inbox. American Values. Hometown Roots.