LINCOLN, 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 www.nationalgrangeyouth.org.
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.
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.