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.
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.
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.