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.

Freeda Findings: Program Focus – William Saunders Achievement Award

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

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

Hi folks! It’s Grange Month and I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some of the programs in the National Grange Youth Handbook.

The first achievement award is the William Saunders Agricultural Achievement Award. This award celebrates our agricultural roots. It is designed as a self-discovery program about farming, agricultural sciences and related pursuits. New to the program this year participation in National Junior Horticultural Association programs is included in the awards.


Select a seal and try.


— Freeda


William Saunders Agricultural Achievement Award (Updated for 2015)

Sapphire: Visit a local farm and talk with the farmer about what it is like to run a farm. Write a short essay describing what you learned and send it to the National Youth Director. Or, if you live on a farm, develop a “know your farmer” project that could be shared at a Grange meeting or other outreach program. For example, ag in the classroom, farm-city day, dairy princess promotion or agriculture day on the hill.


Emerald: select an area of interest; learn as much about your selection as you can, prepare an exhibit and exhibit it at a community/county fair, Grange fair or exhibit day or meeting, trade fair, or in a local business. (Examples include: animals, crops, home improvements, home economics skills, Science, wood working, mechanical, computer technology, photography, art, musical talent, theatrical talents, etc.) Take pictures of your project, keep records of the expenses involved in the project, compare the costs involved with the potential profit, evaluate and write a conclusion about your project. Keep all your information in a notebook and present it to your State Youth Director who will apply for your Achievement Award.

Grange youth participating in the following NJHA contests qualify for an emerald award: Horticulture Artwork, Horticultural Photography: Digital Imagery, Horticultural Photography: Still Film; Promotion of Horticulture; Writing in Horticulture.


Silver: Develop, print and distribute a brochure, table tent card or display of your Grange and display at your local or state fair. Send a copy of the brochure, table tent card, or a picture of the display to the National Grange Youth Development Director, as well as photos of you at the fair with your display. Or publish a newsletter for your Grange or develop and/or design or maintain a Webpage or create a video or PowerPoint presentation promoting your Grange or a special activity sponsored by the Grange that could also be presented at a local or state fair. Also included are Facebook and YouTube presentations. Send a copy to the National Grange Youth Development Director.


Ruby: Plant a garden or a plant or develop an agriculture enterprise (livestock, dairy, direct farm sales, etc.) and keep a diary of the progress of your plants through pictures and words. Keep all your information in a notebook or record book and present it to your State Youth Director who will apply for your Achievement Award.

Grange youth participating in the following NJHA contests qualify for a ruby award: Horticultural Demonstration; Horticulture Identification and Judging Contest; NJHA’s Next Top Chef; Science and Horticulture: Environmental Awareness; Science and Horticulture: Experimental Horticulture; Science and Horticulture: Production: Awareness; Speaking in Horticulture; Extemporaneous Speaking Contest; Horticultural Performing Arts.


Gold: Organize a mutual event with your local FFA, 4-H, or other agricultural organization and your sub­ordinate/community or Pomona Grange. Let these groups explain what they do and do the same for the Grange. Have some kind of activity for the two groups to do together, such as games, discussions about agriculture, etc. Have the appropriate Grange director/Master (president) verify participation and send a copy to the National Youth Director.

Win NJHA Grand National Award at 2015 contests.


Making Healthy Grangers…A New Program Idea for Youth

Missy Mueller

2014 North Carolina Youth Ambassador

Two years ago, our state implemented a new program for youth called “Grangers on the Go.” This is a program that promotes healthy living among our Grange youth. As we all know, the U.S. has been dealing with an obesity epidemic. Because youth are our future, we feel it is pertinent that young people start learning early how to lead a healthy life.

The Grangers on the Go program starts annually at North Carolina State Grange Winter Conference each February. This is where the youth set their own health goals for the year. The goals can be, but are not limited to, losing weight, eating healthy, or exercising. Fitness and food journals are provided to help youth record progress. We also send youth a personalized packet of information that offers tips and info to help achieve their goals and learn to live a healthier lifestyle.

One popular part of the program is helping youth to complete 5K races for charity. No matter what fitness level someone is, they can achieve completing a 5K through running or walking, and training information is given to youth who want to achieve this goal. The most competitive part of the program, however, is called Charity Miles. Youth are encouraged to download this free app to their phones, and each time they run, walk or bike, they open the app and start their activity. The app records their mileage and a certain amount of money per mile goes to the charity of their choice. In our state, we are raising money for “Stand Up for Cancer.” By joining the Grangers on the Go team through this app, youth are able to see the mileage of other youth and it becomes a competition to see who can log the most miles for charity.

By Sept. 15, participating youth are required to submit a report of their goals, adding any extra goals or successes that were achieved. Youth who excelled in the program are awarded at our State Convention. Prizes for these winners have included gift cards to athletic stores such as REI, Dicks Sporting goods, or Sports Authority. This is a great incentive to encourage youth to participate.

What I love about this program is that youth are able to support each other to achieve their goals. We really enjoy running and exercising together. I had never run a 5K race until this program started. I ended up running four races for charity with my Grange friends since the program started. I have also become inspired to complete a half marathon with my youth director. I encourage other states to implement health programs and incentives for their youth as well. You will be amazed at the success of your youth and their drive to succeed.

Growing through hands on agriculture

The Grange has it’s roots in agriculture, but as an organization has evolved to become reflective of its communities. However, as the distance from the farm gate to the dinner plate has grown, there is a growing interest among youth and young adults to learn more about where their food comes from.
Gardening has come back into fashion as people reach into the soil, whether it is a traditional garden turned with a tractor and disc or raised beds in a backyard or in a container on a patio.
Horticulture can also lead to a career as it has been reported there is a shortage of college graduates to fill the jobs in this career field.
This year, the National Grange Youth Department announced a partnership with the National Junior Horticultural Association to connect youth with a new set of contests and programs. Below is the story written by Debbie Gegare, Wisconsin Grange youth director and NJHA youth coordinator for the “Jungle Echo” at the 2014 National Grange Session in Sandusky, Ohio.
Grange Youth partners with NJHA
DCI Communications Fellow
This year, the NationalGrange Youth Department and National Junior Horticultural Association have entered into a partnershipto encourage horticultural education. Horticultural education was a passion of Wib Justi, first National Grange Youth Development Director. He was involved withNJHA, fostering a partnership between the two organizations.
Starting in 2015, a Grange division has been added to the NJHA Horticultural Identification and JudgingContest. In addition, Grange youth can participate in other NJHA national contests such as demonstrations,speeches, photography, performing arts, and promotion
of horticulture to name a few.
“This will be a great way for our two youth organizations to collaborate on agriculture
and horticulture education and to stimulate interest for both groups,” said Charlene
Shupp Espenshade, National Grange Youth and Young Adults Director.
By participating in these contests, youth not only have a chance to win prizes in NJHA but also earn Grange Youth seals.
To learn more about these contests and for entry deadlines, check out the 2015 National Grange Youth Handbook at or go to