National Grange Youth Department Selects National Youth Officer Team

LINCOLN,2015 National Grange Youth Officer Team Neb. – The National Grange Youth Officer Team took center stage on Nov. 13 at the 149th National Grange Session at the Cornhusker Hotel, Lincoln, Neb. This team represents a cross-section of youth from across the United States.

The program, sponsored by the National Grange Youth Foundation, provides Grange youth, ages 14-21, and young adults, ages 22-35, the opportunity to conduct the business of the National Grange for the opening of the Friday morning session.

“It is a very unique opportunity for Grange youth to put on a National Grange officer sash and conduct a portion of the business dealings for the 149th session,” said Charlene Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Youth Development Director. “Grangers will pack into the meeting hall to watch the youth open the session.”

Bailey Shufeldt of the Oklahoma State Grange will preside over the meeting as the Master. The drill will be organized by Joshua Bethany of the Florida State Grange and Rachel Edelen of the Iowa State Grange.

In addition to presiding over the meeting, the youth will participate in several youth leadership development trainings, complete a community service project and take in the sites of Nebraska.

Members of the 2015 officer team are as follows:

Master – Bailey Shufeldt, Okla.

Overseer Philip Vonada, Pa.

Lecturer- Samantha Hanson, Iowa

Steward – Darby Madewell, N.C.

Assistant Steward – Joshua Bethany, Fla.

Lady Assistant Steward – Rachel Edelen, Iowa

Chaplain – Melanie Fitch, Ohio

Treasurer – Leah Bardal, Wash.

Secretary – Katie Kurburski, Mich.

Gatekeeper Landan Woolard, N.C.

Ceres – Jessi Jo Gutridge – Ore.

Flora – Marie Jones, N.C.

Pomona – Rylee Furr, N.C.

Executive Committe – Dominick Breton, Colo; Grace Wadsworth, Pa.; Melody Shufeldt, Okla.; Emily Hartsell, N.C.


To learn more about the National Youth Officer Team or the Natinoal Grange Youth Program, go to


Editor’s note:

Biographies on the winners are as follows.

National Youth Officer Team

Master – Bailey Shufeldt-Oklahoma

Bailey Shufeldt, 19, is the daughter of Billy and Welina Shufeldt. She has two older brothers and one younger sister. She is a sophomore at Coffeyville Community College and a Proud Ravens cheerleader. She is studying to be a physical therapist. She is a member of the Coffeyville Grange #351. This past summer, she had the opportunity to work for the Universal Cheer Association as a cheer instructor.


Overseer– Phil Vonada, Pennsylvania

Phil Vonada hails from central Pennsylvania, growing up near State College, Pa. A member of Penns Valley Grange #158, he was appointed as a Pennsylvania State Grange Advocate (deputy) this year and is a member of the State Junior Grange Committee. He is the youngest son of Dale and Ruth Vonada. He has a Masters of Arts in theatre from Villanova University and has worked at all levels of theater including community, collegiate, regional and professional. He is also a member of the Penn State Collegiate Grange advisory board.


Lecturer – Samantha Hanson, Iowa

Samantha Hanson and her husband, Brad, have been married for just over a year and live in Grinnell, Iowa. She is a substitute teacher and is in charge of a camp during the summer. She has been a member of the Grange since 2001, holding offices at the subordinate and state level. She is a member of Sonora Grange #2176 and is their lecturer. She is also the Iowa State Grange Ceres and the State Youth and Junior director.


Steward – Darby Madewell, North Carolina

Darby Madewell is the daughter of Alan and Margaret Madewell, from Raleigh, N.C. She attends North Carolina State University, double majoring in engineering and political science with a minor in theater. She grew up in Bushy Fork Grange in the Junior and Youth Programs and serves on the North Carolina State Grange Youth Team. Outside of Grange, she is involved in theater with both acting and behind the scenes technical work.


Assistant Steward — Josh Bethany, Florida

Josh Bethany of Palmetto, Fla. is a member of Manatee Grange #179. As a Junior Granger, he was the Master for 2 years, and since joining the subordinate Grange he has enjoyed participating in their community service projects. He has volunteered with local agricultural museum events, presented lecturer’s programs and has worked to recruit his friends to join the grange. He also helps out with his church’s vacation bible school.


Lady Assistant Steward – Rachel Edelen, Iowa

The youngest daughter Gene and Maria of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rachel Edelen is a member of Chester Royal Grange #2181. She has a sister Emma. Rachel is taking college classes and working on her liberal arts degree. She’d like a career in realty, insurance or another related business field.


Chaplain- Melanie Fitch – Ohio

Melanie Fitch is a member of Olivesburg Grange in Ohio, and a third generation Granger. In the past, she was the Ohio State Grange Junior Princess and Youth Ambassador. She has graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in business and organizational communications. Melanie interned one summer for the National Grange in the membership department. She has served on the state youth committee and been the Master of the state youth drill team.



Treasurer – Leah Bardal, Washington State

Leah Bardal is a member of the Washington State youth team and past state Grange Youth Ambassador. She is a Junior Grange leader for Pleasant Hill Grange #101. Before joining the Grange, she was a Junior Grange member. In her Pomona Grange, she has started a community service project collecting pajamas, socks and underwear for local foster kids. She continues her Grange service as a camp counselor at Camp Morehead for the past four years.


Secretary – Katie Kurburski, Michigan

Kaite Kurburski is a third generation granger from Harbor Springs Grange #730. She is the daughter of Foster and Anne Kurburski. She is one of six children. She is 16 and a sophomore at Petoskey High School. She plays golf and basketball. Her other organization include 4-H, Scottish Highland Dance, FCRV and Crooked Tree Youth Leadership.


Gatekeeper – Landan Woolard, North Carolina

Landon Wollard hails from Washington, N.C. and is the youngest son of Timothy and Melissa Woolard. He has two older brothers Tyler and Cole. A senior in high school, he plans to attend North Carolina State to major in engineering. He was named the 2014 Male Scholastic Athlete of the Year at school where he plays basketball, baseball and soccer.


Ceres – Jessie Jo Guttridge, Oregon

Jessie Jo Guttridge is a member of Springwater Grange #263 and from Estacada, Ore. She is a member of her high school’s GSA and has served as president for the past several years. She enjoys theater and has participated in school plays and the Springwater Grange theater group. Her family operates a small diversified farm with beef cattle, rabbits and chickens. She plans to study agriculture and natural resource management during college and would like to work as an Extension agent and conservation agency.


Flora – Marie Jones, North Carolina

Marie Jones is from Garner, N.C., and the daughter of Cliff and Colette Jones. She has two brothers Stpehen and Nicholas. She is majoring in secondary education to become a math teacher. She is a member of Southern Wake Grange #1295.


Pomona – Rylee Furr, North Carolina

Rylee Furr is a member of St. John’s Grange #729 and from Mt. Pleasant, N.C. She is the daughter of Philip and Lori Furr. She has three younger brothers Caden, Mason, and Jacob. Rylee is a senior in high school and plans to attend North Carolina State and study chemistry and Spanish. She plays high school basketball and softball. Outside of school, church and sports, she said she really enjoys Grange and it has helped her gain confidence.


Executive Committee

Dominick Brenton, Colorado

Dominick Breton is a member Wheat Ridge Grange. He has been a member for approximately ten years. He has been involved in the Wheat RIdge Grange Community Service project in Share Colorado as a boy scout since he was 12 years old. He is an Eagle Scout and has been a leader, and district leader until about two years ago. He is Lecturer of Wheat Ridge Grange. He is president of Kiwanis and very active in the city of Wheat Ridge. He is involved in Club 20-20. He works for Safeway and has since he was a teenager. He is an assistant manager and in charge of most of Safeway’s community service projects.



Grace Wadsworth, Pennsylvania

Grace Wadsworth is the daughter of David and Ellen Wadsworth and a member of Goshen Grange in Pennsylvania. She has been a Junior Grange camp counselor and served on the state Grange Youth State Officer Team. She has also attended state Grange youth camps and youth regional conferences.


Melody Shufeltdt, Oklahoma

Melody is the daughter of Billy and Welina Shufeldt. She is in her freshman year at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Okla., on a cheer scholarship. She also has been employed at the Coffeyville Sonic since she turned 16. She is a native American of the Cherokee tribe. Melody is a member of Coffeyville Grange #351.


Emily Hartsell, North Carolina

Emily Hartsell is from Concord, N.C. She grew up in St. John’s Grange in the Junior and Youth Programs, and serves as the NC State Grange Junior Director. She is also a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church where she serves as the Sunday School Secretary. She is married to John and they have two daughters, Ryleigh and Reagan. They enjoy spending time as a family, taking our daughters to the beach, to the lake, and to dance class.


Countdown to Nationals

Greetings from the National Grange youth department. I hope you are making plans to attend some of the youth activities at the 2015 national session in Lincoln, Neb.

The National Youth Ambassadors and I have been hard at work with members of the host committee to deliver an action-packed set of youth days.

Things kick off on Wed. Nov. 11 as the state youth ambassadors, young couples and National Youth Officer Team arrive at the Cornhusker Hotel. The youth will attend session, plus participate in mixer games to get things started.

Thursday is when the youth will get to take in the sights of Lincoln. We will visit the Nebraska State Capitol and learn about the state’s unique legislative branch. Unlike many states, Nebraska has a unicameral, rather than a bicameral (two body), legislative branch. Since we are in the “Cornhusker State,” the youth will swing by the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. After lunch, our youth tour will conclude at People’s City Mission for the community service project.

The evening’s dinner will take place at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus. During the bus tour there, we will pass through the campus, and youth will be able to see many of the university farms and it’s connection to the land-grant mission for agricultural research. The dinner speaker will be Dr. Tom Field, who heads up the College of Agriculture’s Entrepreneur Program.

The night will cap off with the annual youth costume party and dance. This year’s theme is “ultimate sports fan.” Everyone is encouraged to rock out their gear promoting their favorite football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or sports team.

Friday morning the National Youth Officer Team will open the day’s session. There will be workshops offered in the morning by National Membership Director Joe Stefenoni on Grange growth. The afternoon workshops will be presented by University of Nebraska professors and focus on Social Media 2.0 and how to use the next generation of social media platforms to promote the Grange.

The Youth Ambassadors and Young Couples will be recognized at the Evening of Excellence and the 2015-16 National Grange Youth Ambassadors and Outstanding Young Patrons will be selected.

Saturday morning is contest day for the youth department. The Grange Parliamentary Procedure contest and Grange Jeopardy Contest will fill the morning’s activities. Youth teams will show their meeting management skills conducting the basic business of a Grange meeting. This program is sponsored by the North Carolina State Grange.

The Grange Jeopardy Contest follows the same format at the television show where several Grange youth from each region will compete to win a tablet, sponsored by DCI Communications.

Youth events are open to all ages and I would encourage you to stop by and support the Grange youth and young adults.

See you in Lincoln!


Great Plains Conference Challenges Grangers to Expand Their Horizons

Derek Snyder discusses how to prepare for a legislative meeting.

Derek Snyder discusses how to prepare for a legislative meeting.

Grangers were challenged to take a leap of faith at the 2015 Great Plains Regional Leadership/Youth Conference. Members participated in the challenge course at the Hesperus Camp, Hesperus, Colo.

Grangers had to choose one of three ways up the course to the platform about 20 feet in the air to take the zipline down the hill. Members could climb a rock wall, cargo net or up a pole with cleat hand/footholds.

“It was absolutely amazing to watch Grangers battle their fears to reach the top and then take the ‘leap of faith’ to go down the zip line,” said National Grange Youth Director Charlene Shupp Espenshade. “Other Grangers cheered members on as they tried to overcome difficulties to reach the top.”

Colorado State Grange organized this year’s conference. The event included a mix of workshops, activities and projects from the youngest junior Granger to adults. Junior Grangers worked on centerpieces for the National Grange Session Junior Breakfast.

National Grange Youth Ambassador Derek Snyder led an Apathy Not Allowed workshop

Grangers took on the challenge to ride a zip line.

Grangers took on the challenge to ride a zip line.

with Espenshade. Grangers chose to prepare a key request in support of rural broadband – showing how broadband access could improve education opportunities, business growth and access to critical medical care. They presented their viewpoint to “Congressman Snyder” who eventually agreed with their position.

National Membership Director Michael Martin presented a workshop on the ritualisic elements of the Grange.

Grangers also participated in the pubic speaking, sign-a-song and Grange Jeopardy contests.

Daniel Greer of Colorado topped the prepared speech contest earning the Best of Show award. Beth Simons of Colorado earned the Best of Show award in the sign-a-song contest.

Three Coloradoans qualified to represent the Great Plains Region in Grange Jeopardy, Daniel Greer, Beth Simons and Dominick Breton.

Photos from Great Plains Conference can be viewed at the National Grange Youth Facebook page at



Teambuilding idea: Marshmallow towers

School is out for the summer! With the warmer days, it means GRANGE YOUTH CAMP! Camp is a highlight for many Grangers and with it comes the challenge of balancing fun, memories and leadership skills.

One of my favorite teambuilding projects is marshmallow towers. The idea is very basic, take the given tools in a bag and work with your group to create the tallest tower you can.

What do you need:

Supplies needed:

  • Spaghetti (uncooked)
  • Marshmallows
  • Paper plate
  • Prize or reward (optional)

Create teams of Grange youth between 4 to 8 Grangers.


Give each group some marshmallows and spaghetti. The goal of the exercise is to build the tallest tower possible out of the spaghetti and marshmallows.

Allow the students 10-15 minutes to accomplish this. The team that has the highest tower wins a prize.


Afterwards, you could have the groups discuss 1) how well did your team work together, 2) who most helped the group pursue its goal, 3) what role did you play in the group, and 4) what would you do differently if given a second chance at this activity?


The activity can be modified to use toothpicks, tested to see what tower can withstand the greatest amount of weight, etc. This activity also works well as an icebreaker by encouraging intermingling among the Grange youth.

Spreading the Word About Ag

Cassidy Cheddar

National Grange Youth Ambassador

Cassidy Cheddar, 2014-15 National Grange Youth Ambassador

Cassidy Cheddar, 2014-15 National Grange Youth Ambassador

We all know the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives; it provides us with food, clothing, and shelter that we would not be able to function without. But just because we know about it, doesn’t mean that everyone else does. I once assisted with a program where fifth graders rotated through stations about food production. I was amazed how much they didn’t know about agriculture. Some didn’t even know milk comes from a cow. Through interacting with these kids, I realized I had taken this so much knowledge for granted. I also realized that we have a grand tool for spreading the word about agriculture: advocating.

Advocating for agriculture may seem like a daunting task; it doesn’t have to be. Programs like the one I attended can reach a huge audience and make a large impact. However, you can spread the importance of agriculture throughout your daily life and involvement in the Grange. It can be as easy as striking up a conversation with a stranger about where their food comes from. Or it can be more in depth, such as an event in your town set up by your local Grange.

My home Grange hosts a coloring contest for June is Dairy Month with the local library every year. We set up a display in the Children’s Library explaining why dairy products are important. If a child checks out a book, they receive dairy paraphernalia such as erasers from our local dairy association. Kids can then color a dairy related picture that is hung for display in the library. At the end of June, judges choose winners for the contest and we invite them to an awards ceremony. Here, Dairy Princesses present programs and the children are rewarded for their efforts.

This type of event helps promote why a certain branch of agriculture is important in a person’s life. Many adults know that dairy can provide better nutrition to improve health. However, since this event is targeted towards children, the younger generation are able to learn the importance of the dairy industry at an earlier age.

If you do choose to establish an advocacy event, begin by finding a need. You may notice an aspect of agriculture that is misunderstood or is not thought of as important. From this need, you can create a clear message of what you want people to learn from your campaign. Maybe it’s that dairy is a good source of nutrition and therefore the dairy industry is very important. Whatever it is, a clear message will help develop your plan of action down the road.

In addition, identify your audience. Every audience will have a different set of background knowledge and motivators. By narrowing your focus a bit, you can tailor your message to what your audience wants and needs to know. Your audience may already know the basics of agriculture. It might be helpful to bump the intenseness of the information up a notch. But if you want to reach a wider group or one that isn’t as familiar with the topics, keeping it more basic will be helpful.

Your audience also affects what an effective delivery vehicle will look like. Not everyone will find the same type of implementation useful or engaging. In our program, we were tailoring our activities towards children. Because we had this main audience we could choose a specific method of delivering our message that works for kids. In this case, that method happened to be a coloring contest. Even though the children may have been the main audience, we have others as well. Adults who were accompanying the children or even just passers-by would have been able to view our display. Because of this, the display contained pamphlets that were aimed towards both children and adults. Try to think if you would have any secondary audience members. Then you can spread the word to even more people at the same time.

It might seem like there’s a lot to think about when planning an advocacy campaign. You need a message, clear audience, and effective delivery method. And, these aspects will all change based on your situation. However, have a little bit of fun with it. You’ll be engaged while advocating. And if you are, chances are, your audience will be a lot more receptive of your message as well. Even if you decide not to plan a whole event, try sharing your story. Even that one little bit can help a lot of others.

Camp idea to try: Yard Yahtzee

Pintrest is a great resource when you are looking for a new idea and collect them into an online database to review at a later time. One board on my account is Grange youth ideas. A second is for Junior Grange activities, but that’s for a different time.

One of the ideas that has been floating around on the site and pinned on one of my boards is the concept of “yard Yahtzee.”

The idea is you craft oversized dice that can be thrown in the backyard to add a different concept to the traditional table game.

It could also be used as a way to create a team building activity or an icebreaker game.

Many of the ideas for the game on Pintrest use 6-inch by 6-inch wood cubes that are painted and then have the dots added to them. And, if your family or Grange youth group would be regular players of the game, it’s the way to go. However, if you are looking for a simpler, and less expensive way to try out the game, go for white craft Styrofoam instead. To add the dots to the die, use a dowel to create the indent and then color the dots with craft paint or maker. Our family used the Styrofoam dice to play the game during the annual “cousins camp” at the farm. It was a hit and one of its draws for the kids was the novelty of the game.

If using at camp, I would recommend downloading the rules from Hasbro just to clarify any confusion for how the game will be played. For the rules, go here:

To roll the dice, have a bucket handy to “shake and toss” them across the lawn. Enjoy!



Bringing an ‘Intrapreneurial’ Spirit to Your Grange

How often have you wanted to make a difference in your Grange and were left wondering how to get started? If you have, great! Now it’s time to tap your inner intrapreneur. What is an intrapreneur – it is a person that acts like an entrepreneur within a larger organization.

In his 2012 keynote address at the University of the Arts, London, award winning author Neil Gaimen told the audience “do the stuff that only you can do. The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story your vision.”

Put your individuality to good use to develop new, innovative ideas that can benefit your Grange. Engaging in growing your Grange could increase your satisfaction with your membership and your value to your Grange.

Wondering how to get started? Start by considering your personal and professional attributes and strengths. Need help with developing some skills? Participate in a Grange youth program, contest or achievement seal program.

Look at your Grange and look for ways to add value to your Grange and identify challenges or needs. Use creative problem solving tools to come up with solutions. Develop your presentation skills so when you have an idea you believe in, you can pitch it convincingly and confidently. For help, turn to a trusted Grange member for advice and support.

If you present the idea and it is not approved by the members, don’t give up, go back to the drawing board. Refine the idea, take feedback from members further develop your idea. Remember, many great ideas were rejected the first time around – Barbie dolls for example were rejected at their first proposal.

When you get the go-ahead from your Grange, start turning your idea in a reality with careful planning. If a large project, it might be wise to do a smaller scaled project at first and grow it responsibility.

Need help with planning? Use the PI2 Project book, available on the National Grange Youth website,, to build out a plan. Make sure to share your final report with your state and national youth director. Your idea could be the next great concept to help grow the Grange.

Five steps for youth legislative involvement

On Tuesday, April 21, the Grange Youth Department hosted its monthly TeamSpeak meeting. Grange youth member Christopher Szkutak shared five points on how Grange youth can participate with grassroots advocacy.

Point #1 — If your community grange does not have a legislative director/chair volunteer to serve. If your Grange has a legislative chair, ask to join the legislative committee. It’s a chance to step up and learn more about issues impacting your community and share it with your fellow Grangers.

Point #2 — Help your Grange to organize a legislative night. If an election year, host a candidates forum instead. The non-partisan stance of the Grange is a value to many legislators. Grange halls are a great forum for legislators and candidates to share their ideas, goals and listen to the concerns of the community. Legislative nights also have a news value and can generate publicity for the Grange.

Point #3 — Review state and national Grange policy books. See if a resolution is needed on an issue. Do research beforehand to make sure every is accurate. If you need help writing a resolution, ask others for help. As one Granger suggested, hosting a workshop about resolution writing can help encourage youth and Grangers craft resolutions to send to Pomona and state Grange for consideration. The youth department also has an achievement seal program to recognize Grangers for their participation.

Point #4 — Participate in National Grange Youth legislative programs, such as the John Trimble Legislative Experience. The Trimble Legislative Experience or a state-level program, gives Grange youth and young adults a chance to have a front-row seat to the delegate process. Trimble youth participate on a national delegate committee and is seated with the national delegates. They also assist the National Grange Legislative department.

Point #5 – Organize a subordinate Grange lecturer’s program based off the Apathy Not Allowed. The program promotes the value of Grange members engaging in the voting process. The United States has one of the lowest voter turnouts of all developed countries. The program reminds Grangers that twice a year, through a primary and general election, they have a chance to impact who their elected officials are.




Need an idea? Recipe for Success for youth department

It’s a work in progress, but the National Grange Youth Department has been working through the countless ideas collected in 2014. These ideas will become the youth department version of the “Recipe for Success” book series.

The ideas are wide-ranging and can spark a new Grange project or a way to have fun.

For a sneak peek – Here’s an idea provide by Mariah Brooks of Avon Grange #125, Montana and Melanie Hackett, Haynie Grange #169, Washington State.

Don’t forget – if you have a great idea, send it to [email protected]

 Game/Movie Night/Lock-in

Mariah Brooks, Avon Grange #125, Montana

Number of People: 2-10 to organize

Money required: $30 to $40 – depends on if purchasing food or not

Other resources: Snacks, computer, sound system, projector, screen or large white, blank wall.

Set a date and time for the event. If at Grange hall, check for hall availability. If elsewhere, book the location.

This event could be a smaller-scale member “fun” event for Grangers and invite families or organized as a wider community event. If a public event, make signs to post on community boards and local businesses. Also post in newspaper and online communities calendars.

Decide how the Grange will organize snacks for the event. Either have members offer to bring snacks or purchase in the days before hand. Also organize to have popcorn available for the event.

A few hours before the event, set up the movie viewing area. Make sure the computer, projector and sound system work correctly. Organize “snack bar” area with drinks, snacks, popcorn. Enjoy.

Movie Night (Variation) – Use as a community outreach event

Melanie Hackett, Haynie #169, Washington State

Follow many of the outline points above. Use as a free community activity. It is a great way to invite people to the Grange and a chance to discuss the Grange at a fun community activity.


Eastern Regionals rewind

A big thank-you to the Ohio State Grange for hosting the 2015 Eastern Regional Youth Conference.

National Grange Youth Ambassadors Cassidy Cheddar and Derek Snyder joined me to present two workshops. The first was on PI2 (PI squared) to encourage Grange involvement to encourage Grange growth. The second was based on the program, Apathy Not Allowed, or grassroots advocacy.

Michael Martin, National Membership director, presented a workshop on code reading. As expected, for many of the Grangers, it was the first time they had ever attempted the code reading. With some encouragement, Jenna Wyler, the 2014-15 Ohio State Grange Youth Ambassador earned a Thompson Achievement Seal for code reading.

The contests were very competitive, especially Grange Jepardy, where youth tested their Grange knowledge. Jennifer and Rob Beaman of Pennsylvania and Melanie Fitch of Ohio will represent the Eastern Region at the national contests. In the public speaking contest, the winner was Jenna Wyler of Ohio Melanie Fitch of Ohio earned the best of show sign a song.

The regionals was also a time for Grangers to enjoy getting to know others from other states, share Grange stories and create new friendships.

For a photos from the event, go to the National Grange Youth Facebook page.