An organization that was once closely associated with the agricultural community is encouraging families to find out what it can offer members of all ages.
The Lincoln Grange will hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at its Grange hall at 16660 Raystown Road, James Creek.
“We want everyone to know what the Grange is and what it can do for them to help better the community,” said Lincoln Grange secretary Jodi (Keith) Kensinger, who is a fifth or sixth generation Grange member.
Kensinger said the Grange has something to offer all ages.
“Grange membership can range from anyone as young as 4-5 years of age to 99 plus,” she said. “There’s something for every member of the family.”
While most folks associate the Grange with agriculture, Kensinger stresses that times have changed.
“It’s not just a farming organization, and that’s one thing that’s held us back,” she said. “The Grange has grown into a rural and urban community organization.”
As many families look for ways to get involved in their community, Kensinger said Grange membership might be the perfect answer.
“There are a bunch of family activities. We work on legislative issues, too,” she said, noting Thursday’s meeting is a good opportunity to learn what the Grange can do for individuals, families and communites. “I’ve attended other community events and I learned that membership dues can actually be used to pay for concerts, hotel reservations and car rentals.”
Kensinger has been involved in the Grange practically her whole life and knows first hand the ways it’s enriched her life.
“It’s made be a better public speaker and has helped me network with other members throughout the state and country,” said Kensinger. “I know folks all the way to California through the Grange. The Grange has grown to be my family.”
The Grange doesn’t just work for the families of today, but future generations, too.
“We work for the betterment of Pennsylvanians, not just our current members,” said Kensinger. “The state Grange, for example, is trying to bring broadband to rural areas and telemedicine to those to can’t get to the doctor. These are issues that affect everyone, including those in Huntingdon County, and the Grange is working to make these communities better.”
Kensinger, who also serves as master of the county Pomona Grange and current the Pennsylvania Grange Young Patron, said membership numbers are dwindling in the Grange and new members are needed to continue providing important outreach to the communities served by the Grange. The amount of time one contributes to the organization can vary.
“We meet once a month at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month in the Grange hall,” said Kensinger. “The meetings are about an hour and we discuss community issues and how we can work to provide better community outreach to our area. One of the big things on our agenda right now is renovations to our Grange hall.”
Kensinger stressed that the Grange is really an excellent opportunity for families.
“It really is a family organization,” she said. “There are opportunities for parents who home school their children to get them involved in the community and build on social interaction skills. There are also opportunities to get family members, especially childen, involved in community service.”
The Lincoln Grange members have been working to build on community outreach.
“My sister and I planned an egg hunt before Easter and we’re hoping to hold an active shooter drill at the hall this summer,” she said. “We’re hoping to generate interest in becoming a member.”
In addition to the Pomona and Lincoln Granges, Huntingdon County has three other active Granges, including those in Hartslog Valley, Shavers Creek and Warriors Mark.
To learn more about the Grange community meeting or the programs the Grange has to offer members, contact Kensinger at 644-1481 or through Facebook.
“We invite anyone and everyone to community night. We have the state president coming to talk about how the Grange can better our community,” said Kensinger. “Everyone is looking for something to make them better and the Grange is definitely one of those organizations that can do that.”
In addition to the community meeting, Kensinger noted the state Grange will hold a convention in State College and there are various contests for families. To view the contest book, visit www.pagrange.org.
Becky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.