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

Motivational Monday Idea: Easter Egg Hunt

Looking for an idea to engage your community? Here’s is one of the many ideas from the 2016 National Grange Youth’s edition of “Recipes for Success.” These are tired-and-true activities from Grange youth, youth leaders and others to help encourage youth involvement.

With Easter a few weeks away, an Easter Egg Hunt is one way to generate community involvement. The members of Pleasant Lodge #134 in Indiana host this event annually according to Grange member Jason Smith.

The details are as follows.

Easter Egg Hunt

Type of Project: Community Service

Time: Preparation: 2-3 days, Event: 1 day

Number of People:10-25

Budget: $750-800

Other Ingredients: Candy, Plastic Eggs, Gifts

Skills Necessary: Planning, advertising, arranging prizes

Mix: Fill Easter eggs with candy.

Break children up into 4 age brackets

Hold hunt based on age groups

Notes: Have a fun carnival game area while waiting for hunt to start; prizes could be included.

Examples include Egg toss, Easter plinko, Photo board.

Youth Activity Idea

Lindsay SchroederOne of our activities for our youth was to meet at a local Grange hall and just spend time with each other. We had make your own pizza for dinner, and had plenty of snacks! We had a Wii that had many choices of games. And we also enjoyed playing musical chairs.

This way, there is no set time for anyone, and they could come and go as they please. Everyone liked to be relaxed and could have choices on what they wanted to do.

-Lindsay Schroeder

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.

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: http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/yahtzee.pdf

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

 

 

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.

Grange shadowing

Young agriculturalists are often encouraged to seek internships or work for another farm before returning to the family farm. The object is to provide the aspiring farmer a chance to see how other farms operate. They learn practices they like or get hands on experience with a process or management practice they are considering implementing at home. They also learn how it is to work for others and gather some practical experience.

Aspiring farmers often pick up apprenticeships for some hands on experience.

How does this fit into our Grange experience? The question, “how to do we…” is one I often hear as Grangers are seeking ideas to create new programs, generate excitement among their members or building their local youth program. I am a big believer in hands-on learning, so spending time with a neighboring Grange to learn about one of their successful programs or how they create that excitement among their members could provide some tips and ideas to take home. Thus, “Grange shadowing.”

This does not mean your Grange or youth department has to morph into an exact replica of the Grange you are shadowing. Instead, like these young farmers, you see what practices, activities and ideas could work at your Grange and what ones might not. The goal is how to advance your Grange for future success.

Grange shadowing could be more than just attending meetings. It could include volunteering at an event they organize that you are interested in bringing to your home Grange. If your Grange does not participate in a visitation program, usually among Granges in a Pomona, create a hybrid of the idea. Find a “sister” Grange you could develop a relationship with. The ideas are limitless.

 

Tie Dye – A Grange Activity for the Ages

Tie Dye is something that has come in and out of style through the decades. Just when I think its out, it comes back again. The first time I completed a tie dye project was in art class in middle school. The teacher had multiple vats of dye for the students to dip their rubber-banned shirts into. Same again in 4-H.

Today, there are kits and multiple ideas on how to tie dye shirts. It’s actually a great activity for Grange youth and juniors. First, the kits give plenty of ideas on how to dye shirts. And, many use spray bottles or squeeze bottles to apply the dye. The benefit is you can leave the shirts absorb more of the dye to make more vibrant colors.

You can pick up a kit at Wal-Mart or a local craft store. Many offer larger kits for groups. Or go old school and purchase Rit dye, fill containers with the needed tye and water mixture. Go wild.

Need pattern ideas- check out ideas on Pintrest, Youtube, or through a Google search. It also can go beyond a basic t-shirt. Or for a twist, instead of plain white shirts, make Grange shirts that can be dyed.

Check out ideas and share your tie-dye creations on our Facebook page.

Freeda’s Findings: Summertime fun

Freeda the Mouse. The official mascot of the National Grange Youth Department.

Freeda the Mouse. The official mascot of the National Grange Youth Department.

Summer is here. What events does your Grange have organized to make this summer memorable? Will your Pomona Grange have a picnic? Or is your local Grange planning for a night at the ballpark? For a youth event – will you host an outdoor movie night or play a round of miniature golf? Or organize a homemade ice cream fundraiser?

If there is one thing summer brings, it’s a time to kick back, have fun and enjoy time with your fellow Grangers.

I am packing my bags for several regional youth and leadership conferences. I hope to see many of you in Texas, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Montana!

 

Until next time,

— Freeda