2014 International Lodge Delegate Report
2014 International Sons of Norway Convention Jacksonville, Florida
Judy Ghastin Norse Valley 5-491 Member Resolutions Committee
Committees appointed by International President, Marit Kristiansen, met on August 18 and 19, 2014, to study and make recommendations on proposed by-law and proceedure changes. Committees also reviewed the reports and financial statements presented. A leadership workshop was held on August 20, 2014 which was open to any Sons of Norway member.
The International Lodge of Sons of Norway met to conduct the business of the fraternal organization on August 21 to 23, 2014. The first action was the hearing of an appeal by Ralph Peterson to be reinstated to the position of International Vice President. After hearing both Mr. Peterson and the International Board, the delegates voted to uphold the Board decision to remove Mr. Peterson from the office of Vice President.
Committees reported to the delegates regarding their specific assignments. Resolutions passed concerning the procedure for closing or merging lodges; disposition of lodge property and membership transfer when merging or closing; keeping all levels of the organization -- local, district, international -- aware of business regarding lodge formation, closure, or similarly important items; simplifying the membership classifications; and identifying members of the international lodge.
A resolution to conform to a standard abbreviation for Sons of Norway -- SofN instead of SON failed.
A resolution to identify lodges by district, zone, then lodge number was withdrawn.
By-laws changes passed requiring a nominating committee at international and district levels; defining timing of bids for the international convention; changing the district representation from one delegate per 400 members to one member per 300 members; and defining status of district and international delegates and officers. By-laws changes regarding ownership of property and delegates from recruitment lodges failed.
New officers elected to the International Board included President JonTehven, Vice President Ron Stubbins, Treasurer Ray Knutson (District 5), Secretary Dan Rude, District 5 Delegate Jon Grinde.
Delegates to the International Sons of Norway Convention had responsibilities including studying the Reports Book before arriving at the convention. There was more formality at the international level than some of us are used to in our local lodges, but the atmosphere was congenial. The ten dollar fine (to benefit the Foundation) for letting a cell phone ring kept delegates focused on business.
There was a lighter side to the convention during free time. Everyone was welcomed by the sponsoring lodge with a southern dinner and an opportunity to row a replica Viking boat. Opening ceremonies included instrumental and vocal music, a memorial service and the seating of the International Board. The President's reception was held at an art museum with exceptionally beautiful formal gardens.
Vendors at the convention offered traditional Norwegian products, fine chocolate, financial products, travel opportunities and even the all-Norwegian
Lundhund with a beautiful little guy present to prove how friendly they are. The auction featured an array of offerings with proceeds benefitting the Foundation and another charity.
Many bunader added to the color of the final evening. It began with the installation of the new International Board Officers followed by a reception and the banquet. Parting gifts were presented to officers leaving the board. Awards were given to lodges for exceptional progress in 2012 and 2013. There was an uproar from District 5 when Mandt Lodge in Stoughton recieved the International Lodge of the Year award. Congratulations to President Darlene Arneson and her hard-working group! Entertainment was by a "Big Band" with that genre of music for the dancing enjoyment of the delegates.
Attendance at the International Sons of Norway Convention was educational and exciting. It offered the opportunity to meet people from all districts and from the headquarters office. It provided a look at how the organization functions, especially for those serving on committees.
I recommend this experience for anyone who has the time and interest to serve in this way. The hard work is balanced by social contact with people from throughout the membership.