The Conference, which was hosted by the Connecticut State Grange, was held July 13-15 at the Eastern States Exposition (also known as the "Big E") Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The states that make up the Northeast Region are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.
Connecticut State Grange President Jody Cameron, who also serves as one of the Coaches for Connecticut's Drill Team, commended the youth on a job well done. "The members of the Drill Team have dedicated their time since March to design and learn their drill. They are all amazing young ladies and gentlemen who know dedication and hard work reaps great rewards."
2012 is the inaugural year of the Spirit Stick competition. The Spirit Stick, which was hand-crafted by Connecticut State Grange First Lady Jodi Ann Cameron's father George Bloom, was awarded to the youth and juniors from the state that showed the most Grange Spirit throughout the conference. The winning State will retain the Spirit Stick for one year.
The Connecticut Youth Drill Team consists of members representing Quinebaug Pomona Grange, and Ekonk Community Grange, and include Clifford Gervais, Katie Molodich, J Allen Cameron, Christopher Sebastian, Richard Tavalsky, Katie Hermonot, Shelly St. Jean, Jaimie Cameron, Carly Sebastian and Maria Angelone. The Coaches are Connecticut State Grange President Jody Cameron, and Ekonk Community Grange member Mike Molodich. The group ranges in age from 11 to 20 years old. This is the second time that members of this team have competed, having placed first at the 2011 Northeast Grange Youth Drill Team competition.
The Drill Team competition was scored on the following - precision/adaptability of cadence to music, choreography, degree of difficulty, execution of program, and attitude. They are also judged on time for the length of the drill. Drills were required to be 8 to 10 minutes in length. There were 5 teams competing.
Cameron says Connecticut's team is already looking forward to next year. "The Conference is far more than just the various competitions. Getting together with friends from all over the Northeast is what draws these kids back annually."
The Connecticut State Grange has been an integral part of rural and non-rural communities across the state for over 125 years, with currently nearly 60 local Grange chapters in Connecticut. Local Granges are committed to bettering their communities through service projects and family orientated activities.
For more information on the Grange in Connecticut please visit www.CTStateGrange.org.