Learning to Serve: 2017 Eastern Regionals Recap

Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade

National Grange Youth Director

NEWARK, Del. – More than 30 Grangers including Grange youth and young adults gathered in Newark, Delaware for the 2017 Eastern Regional Youth Conference. The event was June 9-11.

Grange youth present their community service idea at the 2017 Eastern Regional Youth Conference.

Hosted by the Delaware State Grange, the event brings Grange youth together to connect with fellow youth from other states, participate in workshops, gain leadership skills and participate in a community service project.

The Delaware Special Olympics coincided with the conference. Grange youth supported the event by cheering for the athletes engaged in the track and swimming events at the University of Delaware campus.

“Community service is a longstanding tradition in the Grange and the youth department,” said National Grange Youth Development Director Charlene Shupp Espenshade. “Whether your actions are big or small, community service is about making a difference in the community.”

Espenshade and National Grange Youth Ambassador Asa Houchin of Ohio led a community service-themed workshop. Attendees were broken into groups and asked to develop a new community service project.

“It was amazing to see the ideas the groups developed,” Houchin said. “Many of the projects focused on giving a ‘hand up instead of a hand out.’ They focused on a community need and looked to bring other groups along side the Grange to make a difference.”

Ideas focused on using a Grange hall as a community action center, working with homeless veterans and talking food insecurity.

National Junior Grange Ambassador Jomni Tarbell showed members how to raise the awareness for honeybees. Honeybee awareness is a Junior Grange project.

The youth and young adults competed in several regional contests.

Jennifer Nauss of Valley Grange #1360 in Pennsylvania won the Best of Show Award in the prepared public speaking contest. She will present her award-winning speech at the Evening of Excellence during the 151st National Grange Convention in Spokane, Washington.

Three Grange youth, Jennifer Nauss, Asa Houchin of Ohio and Cassidy Cheddar of Pennsylvania, won the Grange Jeopardy contest and will represent the Eastern region at the national contest in November.

A regional impromptu public speaking contest rounded out the event. The winners are as follows.

Impromptu

Youth division: 1- Sara Benzio 2- Asa Houchin 3- Casey Kerschner

Young adult division: 1- Jenn Nauss 2- Cassidy Cheddar 3- Phillip Vonada

Adult division: 1- Ellen Wadsworth 2- Anna May Nauss

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

 

Guest submission: Prepping to speak to legislators

This submission comes from our friends over at the Center for Rural Affairs. This is full of good tips before you head to the hill this spring to advocate for the Grange.

Time to call your legislators
By Stephanie Enloe, Center for Rural Affairs

With legislative sessions in full swing, it is vital for rural constituents to contact legislators regarding issues that affect our communities. Here are some simple tips for calling your legislators.

Before contacting your legislator, take five minutes to visit their website and learn about their party affiliation, their background, and their stances on your priority issues. This research will help you craft a message that appeals to shared values.

Next, prepare two or three talking points that outline why your legislator should support your stance. If you want to talk about renewable energy, for example, legislators might be interested in economic benefits, environmental benefits or public health benefits. It is helpful to write out your talking points ahead of time.

When you call your legislator’s office, you will likely get a staff person. It is still worthwhile to speak with staffers. Introduce yourself and tell the legislator or staffer why you are calling. Start with a personal story or value statement, then use the talking points you prepared. End with a request for your legislator to support a bill or take a stance on an issue.

Finally, remember to be confident, courteous, brief and passionate. Even if you disagree with a legislator’s position, do not resort to name-calling, swearing or threats. End by thanking your legislator so you can continue to build your relationship.

 

 

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

Life in a Presidential Campaign

Editor’s note: Thanks to past state New Hampshire State Grange Jim Tetreault for submitting this post about his experiences volunteering with a presidential campaign.

How does someone get involved in a Presidential Campaign? First it takes a passion for an individual candidate and an interest in politics. It takes a thick skin not to be offended by what your family and friends may think of that the candidate of your choice. For instance one of my favorite cousins who I am very close to thinks that my candidate is the absolute scum of the earth so I see a steady flow of attacks on face book! I don’t comment I just let him exercise his first amendment rights to free speech.

In my case the interest in politics started in the Grange, even as a youth member I was always fascinated by the Legislative Report, as I look back on it now I thought wow “old people” give those reports but in hindsight I now realize that they were people the same age as I am now! Year latter when I became Legislative Director of the New Hampshire State Grange, and having the opportunity to be mentored by Brother Leroy Watson, I figured out I was a “darn good Lobbyist” and wanted to move beyond the Lobbying world and more into the political side of the spectrum. My political life actually started by becoming a local elected official I have served as the Town Clerk and the Tax Collector for the Town of Winchester since March of 2007, I have a job that I have strived to become good at and my goal is always to make my portion of the Government work and be effective for the Tax Payers. The Political Advocacy portion of my life began as a “bribe” now the reader looks at this and thinks an elected official took a bribe? OMG! The “bribe” was actually a dinner ticker biggest fundraising dinner the State Democratic Party runs at $100 per person. At this event is when the local Democratic Committee hit me up to be their Treasurer, being the person that usually doesn’t say no to anything I took this on and it’s given me an opportunity to see Democratic Politics from the inside.

You wonder how this all relates to the Presidential campaign? Well when the Clinton Campaign was looking to set up a regional campaign Committee, they went to one of my good friends JoAnn Fenton and asked her who should be on the Committee? JoAnn listed a grouping of people and I was one of the people included! So here I site on the Monadnock Region Campaign Committee for Hillary Clinton, a candidate that I supported in 2008 and proud to support today. So what does a member of this type of committee do? Well a lot of grunt work! Canvassing homes, phone banking – you know those annoying calls you get while you’re watching “Jeopardy or the Big Bang Theory” while you’re feeling annoyed remember these are dedicated volunteers who take time out of their personal lives to work for a candidate they really believe in! So please don’t be rude to them, thank them for the call but let them know you’re not interested.

 

There are times when I am not home and people are in my house launching canvasses, having meetings, we also feedback information to the campaign from the field. Do they listen to us? Probably not! For the field operation it’s an opportunity for volunteers to feel they have someone “connected” to offer suggestions or complaints back to the campaign. We also do some serious things for campaign beyond the grunt work. We also work to accomplish campaign goals and we work as parts of the local brain trusts that helps map out the strategies to meet these goals. The Clinton Campaign is taking advantage of the expertise and knowledge of local activist who have strong roots and connections within each of those communities. On a personal note I have had the opportunity to connect with so many new people. People right in my own neighborhood, that I have waived to as they have driven or walked passed my house. I have also had the opportunity to mentor some young activist who I see great promise in for the future. Ask me and I will tell you about the two exceptional young men from Cheshire County are going be either a US Senator and member of the US House of Representatives from New Hampshire in the next ten years.

So the downside of being involved in a campaign to this extent, you’re always finding left over literature on the counters, Hillary stickers on every suit jack and coat and on the bottom of every pair of shoes. The glove box of the car is full of Hillary brochures, stickers and commit cards.

So when you are home on a Sunday afternoon watching the football game or on a Monday night watching Jeopardy think of me and my associates out in the cold knocking on doors and working the phones, working really hard to get the candidate elected we believe in. If any of this sounds interesting join us for the NH Primary Fly-In on February 5-7 in Manchester NH.

 

 

 

 

National Grange Youth Department Names Outstanding Young Patrons, Youth Ambassadors

2015-16 National Youth Ambassadors, Young PatronsLINCOLN, Neb. — Rob and Jennifer Beamon of Pennsylvania; Shannon Ruso of New York and Brodi Olds of North Carolina were selected to be a members of the 2015-16 National Grange youth team as the Outstanding Young Patrons and National Grange Youth Ambassadors.

They were selected at the Evening of Excellence at the 149th National Grange Session in Lincoln, Neb.

“These young people will travel for the next year, promoting the Grange, connecting with other Grange youth and focusing on Grange growth,” said Charlene Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Youth Development Director.

The youth ambassadors and outstanding young patrons will travel to regional youth/leadership conferences, assist with program development for the National Grange Youth department and represent the department at various events.

The National Outstanding Young Patrons, Robert and Jennifer Beamon, are from Lebanon, Pa. and members of Hamburg Grange #2103. They have an eight-month-old daughter Savanah Mae. The pair met at Lycoming College where they both majored in chemistry. They are employed by Bayer HealthCare where they work in a chemistry laboratory testing raw materials and products. They are also the Pennsylvania State Grange Young Couple.

National Grange Youth Ambassador Shannon Ruso is a member of Ravena Grange #1457. She is from New Baltimore, N.Y and this year’s New York State Grange Youth Ambassador. She is the daughter of Jeffry and Sandra Ruso. In Grange, she is the Junior Matron for her local Junior Grange and Ravena’s secretary. Ruso is enrolled at Columbia-Greene Community College.

National Grange Youth Ambassador Brodi Olds of Greensboro, N.C. Olds is a member of Summerfield #661. The son of Charles and Jenifer Olds is a junior at East Carolina University majoring in business. Outside of school, he enjoys playing football, listening to music and playing guitar. At church, he is a Young Life Leader. He is a member of the state Grange Youth Team, has competed in public speaking contests and was a member of the state’s youth Grange parliamentary procedure team.

The other youth and young adults participating are as follows.

The youth and young adults participating are as follows.

Ambassadors
Iowa – Emma Edelen
North Carolina – Emily Harrison
Ohio – Jenna Wyler
Ohio – Jason Shiltz
Pennsylvania – Lindsay Schroeder

Young Couples
Colorado – Daniel and Jennifer Greer
Illinois Adam and Sara Ellwanger
To learn more about the National Grange Youth Department go to www.nationalgrangeyouth.org. This program is sponsored by the National Grange Youth Foundation. Farm Credit also sponsored the leadership development program.

Editor’s note: Biographies about each winner are as follows.

 

Young Couples

Colorado – Daniel and Jennifer Greer

Daniel Greer was raised on the Greer Homestead in Marvel, Colo. Jenna was born and raised in Colorado, spending much of her childhood growing up around a farm. The Greers married at age 18 and just celebrated their 10th anniversary. They have four children, Billy, 9; Nathen, 7; Brianna, 5; and Jake, 3. Dan is the DOT compliance officer for Crossfire, LLC. Jenna is a stay-at-home mom, busily raising their four kids. Recently, the Greers started a “jam session” at the Marvel Grange Hall, where musicians can gather for a fun time to play and sing. It has helped to raise attention to their Grange in the community.

 

Illinois – Adam and Sara Ellwanger

Adam and Sara Ellwanger have been married for eight years and reside in Belvidere, Ill, with their 2-year-old daughter, Scarlette. They met at a National Session in Portland, Ore. “We can honestly say we owe our lives to the Grange,” they said. Adam has been a member of Prairie Grange #1832 all of his life. Sara joined at Mt. Allison Grange in Colorado at the age of 13, and joined Prairie Grange when she moved to Illinois. Both are very active in their local Grange holding the offices of Overseer and Steward. Adam is the Illinois State Grange Overseer and Sara is the State Grange’s community service director. Adam is employed as a firefighter with the City of Belvidere Fire Department. Sara works for the Rock River Valley Blood Bank as a phlebotomist.

 

Pennsylvania – Robert and Jennifer Beamon

Robert and Jennifer Beamon are from Lebanon, Pa. and members of Hamburg Grange #2103. They have an eight-month-old daughter Savanah Mae. The pair met at Lycoming College where they both majored in chemistry. They married after college and are employed by Bayer HealthCare where they work in a chemistry laboratory testing raw materials and products. They are the Pennsylvania State Grange Young Couple and enjoyed traveling across the state with the State Youth Ambassadors and Junior Grange Prince and Princess. Jennifer is the Pennsylvania State Grange Ceres.

 

Iowa – Emma Edelen

Emma Edelen is a junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, studying earth science education. Her long-term plan is to teach high school geology and astronomy. She is also a member of the college’s women’s track and field team. She competes in weight throw, hammer throw, discus throw, and shot put. She is the daughter of Gene and Maria Edelen and has a sister Rachel. They are members of Chester Royal Grange #2181. Edelen is the Iowa State Grange Chaplain.

 

New York – Shannon Ruso

Shannon Ruso is a member of Ravena Grange #1457. She is from New Baltimore, N.Y and this year’s New York State Grange Youth Ambassador. She is the daughter of Jeffry and Sandra Ruso. She has one brother who is a captain in the Army and a sister who is a social worker. In Grange, she is the Junior Matron for her local Junior Grange. She is also Ravena’s secretary. She is enrolled at Columbia-Greene Community College and is on the Dean’s List.

 

North Carolina – Emily Harrison

Emily Harrison is the daughter of Rick and Genia Harrson, Newton Grove, N.C. She is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in political science. She said that Grange has opened up many opportunities for her, including serving as this year’s North Carolina State Youth Ambassador. She enjoys baking, crafting and participating in community theater in her spare time.

 

North Carolina – Brodi Olds

Brodi Olds of Greensboro, N.C. is this year’s North Carolina Youth Ambassador. He is a member of Summerfield #661. The son of Charles and Jenifer Olds is a junior at East Carolina University majoring in business. Outside of school, he enjoys playing football, listening to music and playing guitar. At church, he is a Young Life Leader. He is a member of the state Grange Youth Team, has competed in public speaking contests and was a member of the state’s youth Parli-Pro Team.

 

Ohio – Jenna Wyler

Jenna Wyler is the Ohio State Grange Youth Ambassador from Fresno, Ohio. She is a member of Progressive Valley Grange #2433. She is the 17-year-old daughter of John and Annette Wyler and has a brother Kurt. Jenna is a third generation dairy and grain farmer. She enjoys showing her cattle and swine at the county fair and the Ohio Dairy Expo. In Grange, she holds the office of Lady Assistant Steward. She is a member of the Ridgewood FFA Chapter and is chapter president. She is on the worship committee at Fresno United Methodist Church.

 

Ohio – Jason Shiltz

Jason Shiltz is from Tory, Ohio and is the son of Stephen and Jennifer Shiltz. He is a junior in high school and a member of the Troy High School Marching Band. He plays flute in marching band, tenor saxophone in the jazz band. He has participated in high school musicals, men’s chorus, and symphonic choir. After high school, he plans to study music in college. A member of Stauton Grange #2685, he has enjoyed representing the youth department at different events as the Ohio Youth Ambassador. He also attended the National Grange Legislative Fly-In this spring.

 

Pennsylvania – Lindsay Schroeder

Lindsay Schroeder, 20, is the Pennsylvania State Grange Youth Ambassador. She is the youngest of five children. She is the daughter of Monte and Rebecca Schroeder of Shoemakersville, Pa. She is a member of Virginville Grange #1832. She is a nanny for two families and building her photography career. She also coaches a U12 girls’ soccer team in the Kutztown Soccer Club. She is also a Sunday School teacher for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten groups.

Trimble Legislative Experience-Emily Kurburski

Hello,

My name is Emily Kurburski, and I am from the Great Lakes State of Michigan. I am 17 years old and have been a member of the Grange since the day I was born, and have since enjoyed all aspects of the Grange. I am beyond excited to have been selected for the Legislative Experience. I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people and gaining a valuable experience that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life! I am beyond excited to have this legislative opportunity to gain more knowledge about the Grange’s legislative processes Emily Kurburskithat they use! I can’t wait to see what this week has in store for me!

Sincerely,

Emily Kurburski

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 https://www.facebook.com/nationalgrangeyouth?fref=ts.

 

 

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.

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.