What is our Mission?
Capital City Grange shares the mission of the National and Vermont State Granges to provide opportunities for all to be part of a community organization, striving to improve the life of rural communities. At CCG, our special focus is on providing a convenient, affordable and comfortable community hall, that can serve as a meeting place for organizations, families and individuals. Grange Hall users are those who make our small-town communities companionable, stimulating and interesting, with classes, meetings, church services, dances and much more. Completely run by volunteers who care about the community in which they live, Capital City Grange welcomes everyone who wants to improve the quality of life in Central Vermont.
Who are we?
The CCG is a community organization, whose main community service is providing a convenient, affordable and comfortable Hall for organizations and individuals. Our Hall hosts regular dances of many kinds, plus church services, political meetings, performances, seminars, training sessions, potluck dinners, wedding receptions, birthday parties, even proms! Our entire organization is run by volunteers, and we’re always looking for more people who want to make a difference by pitching in.
What is the Grange?
The Capital City Grange is one of the 40 or so Community Grange organizations in Vermont, which in turn are part of the National Grange. The Grange is a family, community organization with its roots in agriculture. Founded in 1867, the Grange was formed as a national organization with a local focus. You can learn more at the website of the National Grange: www.nationalgrange.org. Every Grange is different, and so are the activities that take place in their Grange Halls, but all Granges are open to everyone, and encourage participation in their activities and decision-making by all. The official name of the organization is “National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.”
Who runs the Grange?
Our Grange is managed by the membership who come to our meetings, which happen on the first Saturday of every month (except July & August). At these meetings, finances, policies, community service opportunities and more are discussed, and decisions are made about everything from maintenance and improvement of the Hall, to how to raffle off quilts and other fund-raising methods. While only Grange members are eligible to vote, all interested parties are welcome to participate. Grange meetings begin at 4:30 PM on the first Saturday of most months; see the Calendar for specific date. Note–in 2017, the Grange voted to name our “CEO” as President, instead of “Master”. Similarly, the office of “Overseer” was re-titled as “Vice President”. We made these changes to acknowledge the connotations of the original titles in the history of this country.
How can I join?
Joining the Grange just means filling out a simple application, and sending in a check for the annual dues, of $30.00. Instructions for mailing the application and the dues check are on the application form.
Once we get your application and check, we’ll invite you for a simple “obligation ceremony” which makes you an official member of our Grange. You’ll be able to propose motions & vote on them, equally with all members. Everyone is welcome to our meetings, but only Grange Members can vote!
In 2016, Berlin said YES to a Grange tax exemption!
On March 1st, 2016, the Berlin Town Meeting approved our request for exemption from property taxes, for the next 5 years. Merry and Tim attended the meeting, and found support from a good number of Berlin voters. In return, the Grange has committed to free rental for Berlin organizations, and also Berlin families and individuals a minimum of 2 times per month. Rentals will have to be for times not previously reserved by others, and will need to conform to Grange policies, but will serve to further connect the Grange and its Hall with the town in which it is located. And it will provide Berlin and Berlin residents with a Hall for organizations, families and individuals for meetings, celebrations, dances, workshops, reunions, baby showers, craft fairs and much more!
In 2021 and 2022, Berlin voted YES to renewing our exemption for one year!
After 2016, the Grange hosted almost 100 free “rentals” to Berlin families and organizations–up until COVID-19 forced the closure of the Grange Hall to gatherings. These exceeded the average of more than 2 per month to that point. These ranged from birthday celebrations, to Berlin farmer potlucks, to Board meetings for the Resident-Owned-Co-op which purchased the Weston Mobile Home Park, to church gatherings.
In 2021 and 2022, because of the COVID pandemic, the Town of Berlin only allowed us to renew our exemption for one year.
In 2023, Berlin voted to extend our exemption for 5 more years!
With the slowing of the pandemic, Berlin held a Town Meeting in person for the first time since 2020, where attendees discussed the value of the Grange to Berlin, and Grange President Tim Swartz spoke about how we were back to more than 2 free uses per month for Berlin residents. In the “Australian ballot”, Berlin residents voted for the 5-year exemption from Town and Education property taxes!
Since receiving the exemption in 2016, we have been able to stay solvent while maintaining and improving our all-volunteer run Community Hall, contributing to major renovations of our lower level, installation of a wheelchair lift, complete painting of the Grange Hall–see the “Support the Hall” tab, and the “Completed Projects” list, plus the photos in the Gallery! Our Hall is warmer, cheaper to heat, and much more attractive because of these projects. We’re also very pleased to be able to offer our facilities for Berlin residents and non-profit organizations at no charge, along with our affordable rental rates for renters from outside the Town.