From the Director’s Chair: Create Management Mondays

One of the most overwhelming parts of being a youth director is keeping up with all of the details of the job and balancing family, work, and farm. My farm office desk gets overwhelmed very easily.

About a year ago, I was doing my daily blog check and a headline comes flying across the feed: “Create Management Mondays.” I was intrigued. So, I clicked and read.

Lou Tonneson at Farm Progress shared several suggestions from David Koupal, a South Dakota Extension farm business management instructor.

“We know there are specific dates throughout the year to mark on your calendar: weddings, Black Friday, all the holidays, church functions, school activities, date night with your spouse, and the list goes on. What I want you to do is set aside Management Monday to do your management records,” he says. “The No. 1 issue with many of my clients is trying to find time to complete their monthly records. I agree it is hard during the year to get those records complete on a regular basis. So what I would like to suggest is Management Mondays. Pick out one or two Mondays during the month to work on the record-keeping. Depending on the size of your operation, this procedure may take anywhere from an hour to most of the day. Some may be able to stay current with only one Monday a month, where others may need to devote more time.”

The suggestions go on to say:

“The biggest obstacle is to have self-discipline to dedicate the time to complete the records. By consistently completing records on a monthly basis, I see more accuracy with my own book-keeping. Staying current with billing statements helps keep track of payments and may avoid late fees,” he says.

In order to have success with Management Mondays, everyone in the operation needs to respect the person who completes the records, Koupal says.

How does this work in my role as a youth director. It designates a time to tackle the needed filings, record keeping and planning for the department. It does not have to be Monday, and could easily be “Management Saturday” or “Management Thursday” if that works better in your schedule.

I have found by designating a dedicated time in my calendar, it carves out a defined time for department work.

I have worked at the “Management Monday” program with my farm business. I am not perfect, but I have found the “Management Monday” program has helped to manage the to-do list on my desk. I hope it might help you as well.

–  Charlene Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Youth Director

Youth activity idea: Scrabble tile coasters

Grangers work on their scrabble coasters.

The Pennsylvania Grange youth department organized a take-home project that was a hit at its recent young adult conference, Scrabble tile coasters. It might sound crazy, but I think the genius was in its simplicity and uniqueness.
The idea was discovered by Pennsylvania State Grange youth director Ellen Wadsworth on Pintrest. A short search and presto, I was linked up to a set of instructions that I could share.
First, you need to purchase Scrabble tiles. They can be purchased online through craft supply stores or Amazon. The other supplies are cork board cut into squares to fit about 4 tiles across and 4 tiles down, glue and polyurethane spray.
Arrange the tiles toGrangers work on their scrabble coasters.

build words or a message, use blanks to fill in spaces, and glue the tiles onto the cork. Once dry, take the coaster outside to spray and seal with the polyurethane and let dry.
For photos on the how to, go to