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District Secretary's Message Summer 2014

From your District Secretary, Darlene Arneson

Sons of Norway District Convention a Success!
Sons of Norway members travelled to Delavan, Wisconsin the last week of June for the Sons of Norway District 5 Lodge Meeting and Convention. The District 5 Convention was held June 25-29 at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. This year’s convention was being co-hosted by Norsemen of the Lakes Lodge - Lake Geneva, Nordland Lodge – Janesville, and Mandt Lodge – Stoughton.

The District Convention and Lodge Meeting only happen every two years. There are two parts to the event - the Lodge Meeting which is all the business and the Convention which is the cultural, heritage, social and other events. The convention rotates around District 5 based on bids placed at the previous convention. District 5 has members in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. There are over 57,178 members in the United State, Canada and Norway in 380 lodges. District Five has 4,842 members in almost 60 lodges. Based on their membership, the lodges qualify for 150 delegates at this convention.

This is the 100th anniversary of District Five and the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian Constitution. Norwegians in both Norway and around the world celebrated the 200th anniversary on May 17. A display from Norway on the 1814-2014 Bicentenary Norwegian Constitution was featured at the convention. Past District Five board members helped install the newly elected District Board at the Saturday’s anniversary celebration. The program included the Edvard Grieg Chorus from Madison, Wisconsin and a youth skit by Nordlyset Lodge members from Racine, Wisconsin.

Along with the business sessions, committee work, and election of leaders and delegates to the International Convention in Florida, there were many educational and social opportunities for members, delegates, visitors and guests. Some of their options include learning about Norwegian heritage, culture, classes, sporting events and networking! Social times, meals, an off-site event at Watson’s Western Show, a Yerke’s Observatory night outing, and visiting with each other kept attendees busy.

The 2014-16 District Board of Directors elected include: President Owen Christianson, Stratford, WI; Vice President Diane Hesseltvan Dinter, Shiocton, WI; Secretary Darlene Arneson, Stoughton, WI; Treasurer Adrian Johnson, LaCrosse, WI; Recreation Director Andy Johnsen, Cedar Lake, IN; Publicity Director Joy Beshara, Green Bay, WI; Cultural Director Esther Charlton, Cincinnatti, OH; Youth Director Cheryl Wille-Schlesser, Mount Horeb, WI; Zone Directors David Hermundson, Eau Claire, WI; Dennis Westgor, Delavan, WI; Kathleen Secora, Hoffman Estates, IL; and Christina Fairchild, Rockton, IL; and International Director Designee Jon Grinde, Madison, WI.

International delegates elected for the August 18-23 convention in Jacksonville, Florida include Zone 1- David Hermundson (alternate Sandra Olson); Zone 2 Adrian Johnson and Ramona Johnson (alternates Agneta Ames and Hazen Ames); Zone 3- Cheryl Wille Schlesser (alternate John Arneson); Zone 4- Michaela Decker (alternates Judith Ghastin and Joy Bashara); Zone 5- Thomas Maxson (alternate Gary Melby); Esther Charlton and Andrew Johnsen (alternates Merle Hanson and Gene Steensma). At large nominees: Jon Grinde, Judith Ghastin, Don Hermanson, and Duane Kittleson.

The District Five raffle winners were drawn.  Winners were as follows:  $250 – Diane Maurer; $150 – Kathy Secora; $125 – Elizabeth Boudreau; $100 – Darlene Arneson; $75 – Sarah Lopez; and $50 – Bill Myers.

International Director Ray Knutson installed the 2014-16 District 5 Board of Directors. Duane Kittleson and Tom Boudreau were installing marshals and Past District Board Five members Jon Grinde, Jostein Bakken, Susan Boudreau, Mary Bennett, Mary Zoroufy, Oleif Olsaker, and Lorraine Selvick served as honorary marshals.

Owen Christianson announced that the People’s Choice Award went to Barb Johnson. He recognized Carol DeVito, Linda Nelson, and Connie Cross for achieving the first three levels of the Rosemaling Cultural Skills Medals for their classwork during the convention.

Awards were presented at the anniversary banquet for the past biennium. The 2012 awards were presented to: Lodge Achievement Tier 1- Nordlyset; Lodge Achievement Tier 2- Elvesund; and Family Lodge of the Year - Mandt. 2013 awards were presented to Lodge Achievement Tier 1- Mandt; Lodge Achievement Tier 2- Viking and Family Lodge of the Year - Nordkap.

Cultural classes were offered during the convention for delegates and non-delegates under the direction of Nancy Odalen of Stoughton. Wednesday features one-day classes on rosemaling, genealogy, and wood carving. There was a three day rosemaling class running Thursday - Saturday, a two-day Hardanger class, and other craft and wood carving classes. Informal language lessons utilizing the Sons of Norway language resources were featured. A bunad (national costume dress) show was part of Thursday night’s opening ceremonies.

Workshops on topics such as Viking buildings and traditions, financial products offered by Sons of Norway insurance, membership, lodge operations and programming, and youth camps were held on Thursday. Informal sessions ran for two days on topics such as hosting fish boils, Folk High School experiences, watching Norwegian movies, author times, and Norwegian jokes, and other topics that can offer opportunities for sharing ideas, networking, and having some laughs.

To enjoy the beautiful setting and resort features, several golf outings were planned at area courses. An early morning walk benefitting the District’s youth camp began the day for some attendees. A Friday night outdoor event featuring Viking and camp games, Kubb, and other athletic activities lodges can try back home. The District hosts a youth camp, Masse Moro, each year in the Eau Claire area. Some alumni attended the convention and assisted with the Friday night games.

There were not any bids for the 2016 Convention. The District Board will host the convention unless bids are submitted by the October 2014 Board Meeting.

What happens next?!
District Board - The summer is used as a training and transition time for the board. Many exchanged supplies, resources and other information at the convention. Some offices take a bit longer. The treasurer needs to have all bank and other legal documents changed. Adrian Johnson and Duane Kittleson are currently finalizing the paperwork. Former Youth Director Mary Bennett continued her duties through the completion of the 2014 Masse Moro. After that, Cheryl Wille-Schlesser assumes all duties.

Contact information - The District website’s list of Board members has been updated. You can contact the Board members by clicking on their names. The addresses and phone numbers are listed but email addresses aren’t to prevent spam by hackers.
Lodges should: Add their two new zone directors to their newsletter, email and contact lists. President Christianson has finalized the lodge assignments so make a point to contact your zone director.

The Board and Executive Committee are busy updating documents related to the change in Board Members, resolutions passed, bylaws passed and other lodge meeting follow-up. The updated District Bylaws will be sent to the International Office for approval. After the October Board meeting, the approved minutes of the 2014 Lodge Meeting will be sent to all lodges. Internal documents such as the Policies & Practices are also being updated.