Imperial Valley Grange Holds Meet and Greet

The Pledge of Allegiance followed by prayer opened Grange #859 Meet and Greet Monday evening in Imperial.


IMPERIAL – At the Imperial Farm Credit, the leaders led by President Carol George, and members of the local Grange Chapter  #859 introduced themselves to visitors invited to a  Meet and Greet.

This opens their third year as a Valley-wide, family-orientated, community service club.

Bryce Presley

Bryce Presley, the group’s star member holding three Round Robin Grand Championships last year, and key speaker for the night, emphasized the upcoming  6 p.m., August 11 Registration Night at the Farm Bureau in El Centro across from the health department.

A north-end registration will be held at 6 p.m., August 11, at the Westmorland House of Prayer.

August 22 is the deadline for registering in order to show an animal at the California Fair and Fiesta next spring. Membership remains open after this date though one then is registered as an independent for Fair exhibition.

The non-profit works much like our local 4-H and FFA Clubs, George says.  In fact, it was the precursor to these organizations.  State-wide, it has some 10,000 members, with many more clubs across the country.

John George, beef leader and husband to club president Carol, shared that the Grange is a grass roots organization, self-supporting, not funded by the state.

 “All our moneys go back into the club including a variety of community service projects,” George pointed out.  The group at this gathering collected donations for the local Humane Society.


Hamby says, “ It’s all about the kids!”  



Carol George
Carol George

The power house behind Grange Chapter #859 is club president Carol Evelyn George.  She and an active board of eleven and over 100 youth will again set out having fun in “the Valley’s best club.”


Its special distinction, Carol George explains, is that there is no link to the University of California. “We are free to include values and faith as foundations for building responsibility and knowledge in youth and their families.”

Cody Wise-Masters and daughter Katie Lentz wear Grange t-shirts along with designated chaplain Linda Hamby.

Grange red t-shirts have their motto on the back:  “Grange members live their principles by placing faith in God, nurturing hope, dispensing charity, and being noted for fidelity.”

The Club is more accessible to many families, because membership is free for youth from five to fourteen.

Thereafter to age 19, the fee is only nine dollars. Couples with more than one child in the club can join for fifty-six dollars.

The club helps youth obtain bank loans. Kelly and Judy Fortenberry have 12 swine pens available for north-end member’s use. They’ve also been known to help build pens at member’s homes.

“We aren’t just an animal club!” emphasized Linda Hamby during open remarks.

Hamby heads the cooking, sewing, arts and crafts side of the club.

“There’s even photography!” Terrie Cartee adds, “We do more than the local fair. We do things all year round: breeding, jackpots, and fundraising.

John George and Chris Holdridge made breakfast for fifty at their last Jackpot in Yuma. Enough livestock trailers are rounded up to make showing animals at various locations possible. It becomes a family campout. A prayer time is offered at meals and prior to competitions for those who are interested.

After his presentation, 18-year old Bryce Presley shared mixed feelings about “retiring” from Grange as an active member to attend college, with the goal of attaining a degree in animal science from Kansas State with an emphasis in communications that will help him in law school.

Bryce intends on attending law school in order to return to Southern California to work in desalination, keeping agriculture water for agricultural lands.


Hannah Cartee
Hannah Cartee

Hannah Cartee, age 12, shares some of her craft projects with the crowd.  Hannah has been involved with animal husbandry since she was five, participating in 4-H until three years ago.

 “Grange has a lot of opportunities to learn a lot more since there is year-round grooming and care for animals.”

Audrey Rose
Audrey Rose

Audrey Rose, also twelve, is enjoying her first year in Grange. She has already won many ribbons on her jewelry and craft projects, as well as animal husbandry.

She too has been involved since age five enjoying many years in 4-H. She will be raising a swine, goat and a heifer this year.

Grange red t-shirts have their motto on the back:  “Grange members live their principles by placing faith in God, nurturing hope, dispensing charity, and being noted for fidelity.”

Hamby says, “ It’s all about the kids!”