STRODES MILLS - The Pennsylvania State Grange has scheduled an informational meeting in an effort to spread the Grange story and, hopefully, rejuvenate a local Grange with a storied past.
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Granville Grange Hall, located at 111 Streak Circle, just off Strodes Run Road in Strodes Mills.
Granville native and Grange member Lois Fisher Cole, of Mechanicsburg, has been working with state Grange membership director Bryan Marchefsky, in an effort to reactivate the Grange.
"I joined the Grange after my mother (Emily Vogt Fisher) was recognized for 75 years' membership in the Grange," Cole said, noting that her grandparents and parents were active Grangers.
Nearing retirement age at the time Cole joined the organization, she said her Grange involvement is "simply making room for one more thing, because I think this Grange should be a great asset for Mifflin County. I have more irons in the fire; this is just one. I believe too many people of retirement age just sit back and twiddle their thumbs. We're hoping to put some fire in the current membership and new people as well."
Despite keeping up an ambitious program of community service to the end, Fort Granville Grange members voted in September to surrender their charter, due to declining attendance at meetings and aging of those who attended regularly.
"It is our intention to reopen the Grange, but this meeting is sort of just to get a baseline to gauge interest and discuss possible projects as well as the future of the Grange, Marchefsky said, noting that the Grange is for families of all ages.
"The Grange provides members the opportunity to affect legislative policy at the local, state and national level. It also gives members a chance to change their community for the better to give back and thereby instill pride in the area in which they live. It's also a great way to meet new people, network, and chat with good friends during meetings and projects. The Grange has a long history of being a family-oriented organization. It's a great place for our youth to learn what service, community and rural America is all about," he added.
"We're hoping to interest the newly-retired and get their families involved, too anyone from the community who is interested."
Former Grange Master William Stratton noted that the Grange has traditionally offered an opportunity for community service and fellowship, and also offers grass-roots input into legislation, with an emphasis on rural life, since the local Grange was organized in the early 1920s.
"Fort Granville Grange was very active, did much for our community, like Toys for Shots (where the Graneg has given away well over 10,000 stuffed toys) and aid to Shelter Services, and many other things. I'm truly hoping they can rejuvenate, get it going again," Stratton said.
Saturday's meeting is open to the public. An RSVP for those planning to attend is helpful, but is not necessary. RSVPs can be made by calling (800) 552-3865.