The Friendly Fifth

Directors’ Messages

District Presidents Message


Kjaere Vanner,


I am happy to announce to the district lodges that on February 25, 2018 the Fifth District won the American Birkebeiner Shellie Milford Spirit Of The Birkie Award. This is the highest award that the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation presents for volunteerism. There were over 2,000 volunteers working at the many Birkie week events. I would like to thank all the Fifth District volunteers who throughout the years donated cookies, and worked at the Barnebirkie registration, cookie tent, Ski Expo, and volunteer reception luncheon. The Barnebirkie is dear to me since I have been a Barnebirkie volunteer for over 25 years. Hopefully the Fifth District will continue to have a presence at the Barnebirkie in the years to come.

Last fall in October the Fifth District held its first President’s Leadership Conference at Camp Wonderland at Camp Lake, Wisconsin. There were 41 participants including the Sons of Norway International President, Jon Tehven, and the International Fraternal Director, Linda Pederson. Presentations were given, and conference participants took part in many of the interactive breakout sessions. The conference was time well spent for all who attended. The next President’s Leadership Conference will be held in the fall of 2019 should the Board of Directors again agree to hold the conference.

The Fifth District Lodge Meeting and Convention will be held at the Radisson Hotel located in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 through June 30, 2018. By now all the lodges in the district should have elected their Delegates and Alternates. The Wergeland 5-28 convention committee has been working very hard to ensure that the meeting and convention will be a complete success. I look forward to seeing many of you in La Crosse in June.



Please take the time to view the Fifth District Website at:


Fraternally og beste hilsen,


Andrew Johnsen

President Sons of Norway Fifth District


A sincere Rocky Mountain greeting for a wonderful holiday season. Although the weather may be different wherever you are, the feelings can always be the same. Whether gathering at a lodge meeting, enjoying a festive dinner, or simply contemplating the lessons of the season, I wish you all a joyous, prosperous holiday and look forward to seeing you in the coming year!

Geoffrey Wodell

God Jul og Godt Nytt År from the Youth Director and the Masse Moro team!
Sarah Barnes and Kaia Ellis members of the Masse Moro administrative team are working in cooperation with the leadership from the Fifth District to redesign and market our youth heritage camp, Masse Moro.  Our goal is to raise awareness and enrollment in this special Norwegian cultural experience across all 8 Sons of Norway Districts. The newly seated 2016-2018 District 5 Board voted to increase the attendance fee to $800.00 per camper for the 2017 season. Although raising this fee does not satisfy our financial commitment in making Masse Moro totally solvent, it does moves us in that direction. 
Here’s how your Lodge can help:
Fundraising for Camp must become a reality. Representatives at the June-2016 District 5 Convention set the ball rolling with personal gifts, and the administrative team has also added funding.  Individual delegates who were present at the meeting have spearheaded fundraising locally.  Creative thinking has yielded results and numerous gifts have been credited to Masse Moro’s coffers recently.  A quick game of Heads or Tails is able to generate several hundred dollars in a few short minutes.  If you would like to receive the instructions for playing this game, please send me an e-mail at:  We would love to add the name of your lodge to our supporter’s list!
Silent auctions have also been popular in some lodges, generating enough money for two causes, the Sons of Norway Foundation AND Masse Moro!  A lefse/bake sale or a chili cook-off will not only bring attention to your lodge, but it will provide you with another opportunity to promote Masse Moro to children in your area, which ultimately is another way of generating funding for Camp! In addition, a Wisconsin family’s foundation continues to support Camp with a generous gift each year. Items can be placed on E-bay for sale with established minimum bids, so one can control the amount of sales. Local classified ads both print and via social media sites would also be helpful in fundraising campaigns. A person’s Facebook page could be used to advertise an event or to post items for sale; its value cannot be underestimated. A garage sale would also generate considerable money.
The book, The Hero Next Door: World War II in Norway, was compiled by District 5 Treasurer Mike Palecek, following an original anthology by Jean Bittner and is available for purchase. Pricing will allow Camp to realize some profit. Contact Mike in regard to sales at:
We have also created a Masse Moro camp songs CD that is currently for sale and is posted on the Masse Moro homepage for sale.  This is a great stocking stuffer for any youth who has attended Camp or for perspective campers.  It is also a  great way to introduce Norwegian songs to your Lodge members! Visit and a link is shown to help you complete a purchase.
New easy-printable marketing materials are being created for Lodges to use and share with potential campers and their families, and these items will be posted to (go under the MORE tab at the top of the website and select “Tools for Lodges”) and websites when they are complete.  Efforts will be made to reach out to potential campers in all Sons of Norway Districts next year, with assistance coming from Linda Pederson, Fraternal Director, Sons of Norway International staff member. I would also like to thank President Jon Tehven for his suggestions and officers from the District 1 Board for their sage advice which has enabled us to pursue many changes.
The District 5 Board is also pursuing a 501C3 tax designation which would benefit Camp.  When more information is available on this pursuit, it will be officially shared by District 5 President Andrew Johnsen.
If you know a child who is interested in attending Camp for the 2017 season, consider filing your application now! Include a $50.00 check to guarantee them a place at Camp, made payable to: the Sons of Norway-District 5.  Numerous payment options are available for families including an electronic option through PayPal. At this writing, there are 19 youth registered.  Registration materials are now posted on our Masse Moro website: (, click the “Application Information” tab. In addition, the District 5 website has additional postings.
As you further plan your child’s summer activities, we hope that you will include Masse Moro among their many choices.
Beste hilsen,

Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 Youth Director
200 Beth Circle
Mt. Horeb, WI 53572