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National Grange President: Pruning for a New Year

By Edward Luttrell - The New Grange (March/April 2011)

  MAY 11, 2011 --

I was out doing some pruning late yesterday and thought about some of the issues that cross my desk. When you care for a fruit tree, you make sure that the soil contains enough nutrients and has water to grow and produce fruit. You prune dead wood and the branches that do not strengthen the tree. You also use methods of pest and disease control to give the tree the best opportunity for a healthy year. 

We do the same with our organization if we want to have a healthy year that produces powerful results. The nutrients and water that the Grange needs are new members to bring new ideas and existing members to have enthusiasm and hope for the year. The pruning is a regular evaluation of all our projects and activities. The pest and disease control that the Grange uses is the networking and training that is provided each year. 

The January Teamspeak for new Granges was directed at why and how to bring in new members. Those who joined in on the last Thursday of January talked about all the ideas and energy that new members bring into a Grange. The point that each member must be involved in reaching out to the community by talking about and sharing their feelings about the Grange was supported by all. New members help a Grange create the attitude that allows expansion of Grange activities and the inclusion of new members. Growth also gets the members in a teacher mode as the new members don’t know the history or processes we use. 

Every Grange should seek their member’s views on every activity that is done. In addition, it is helpful to ask people in the community what their opinions are. End the activities and projects that our members don’t care about and add new ones to meet the current needs of our members and communities. Grange members should be encouraged to stretch out of their comfort zone occasionally. We need to be challenged if we are to grow, and a good evaluation will likely show areas where improvements or changes are needed in every Grange. 

If your Grange wants to have the best chance of success, then a little training and networking will go a long way. Networking is when our members get together at Pomona meetings and events, State Grange meetings and events, and National Grange meetings and events. No matter how good the materials and ideas presented, the greatest benefit is sitting and talking to other members. You will learn that your problems are common and there are a number of possible solutions. You also make friends who will give you ideas, help and a lot of moral support. 

The training that the National Grange provides is only one level of our training. State Granges provide opportunities for members to learn skills and many Pomona Granges host annual training days. I suggest that every Grange invest in their members and send at least one member to a State or National training sometime during this year. 

I know that when I take care of my apple trees, they have the best chance of producing a good crop. Even if there is a late frost and this year’s harvest is reduced, I know that my efforts will result in healthy trees that will produce good harvests in most years. 

The same holds true for our Granges. With some simple common sense actions we can ensure that each Grange is healthy and growing. Each of us must remember those ten simple little words that together are the start of every great team effort: if it is to be, it is up to me. 


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