The Friendly Fifth

President Messages

Convention 2024 - Cheryl Wille-Schlesser, District 5 President

What a convention it was!
There were so many great aspects that it is difficult to name just one. I would like to take this moment to thank the 2022-2024 Board of Directors who rose to the challenge and planned an outstanding convention for our members when we fell short of a convention bid.

The Sons of Norway Foundation and its director Amy Tutenhagen are to be acknowledged for helping our district to secure a grant which brought Sami artists Rijvoen Jørn Magnus and Anna Grete Langseth to Indianapolis. They made numerous presentations and spoke freely with our delegates
and board members about the Sami culture and Norway in general.

The convention chair extraordinaire, Judy Ghastin, did an outstanding job working with the hotel staff and made the experience memorable-especially the daily Norwegian breakfasts served each day. Her sister Lucy Ghastin was also instrumental in the convention’s success; her expertise in planning conventions kept all aspects on an even keel and progressing forward.

Especially appreciated was the work done by the many committees I appointed earlier this spring. Those who served on the nominations, credentials, laws, finance, publicity, resolutions, and fraternal affairs committees devoted more of their personal time to the convention and traveled to Indy earlier to complete this work in advance of the meeting. Know that you made a difference.

Our convention would not have been possible without the organization and guidance Darlene Arneson provided. Read your edition of the Friendly Fifth Friday News each week on the District 5 website. It is the best way to discover what is happening around the district.

Parliamentarian Robert Schuck helped to maintain order and counseled me when discussions grew uncertain, and verbiage needed to be rewritten. It WAS my first rodeo, and his presence was certainly helpful.

Messages from the home office were shared by Foundation Director Amy Tutenhagen and the newly seated SofN CEO, Dan Seyfried. Our delegates were brutally honest with their questions and concerns. Although Dan had only been in the office for three weeks, he was a focused listener, and
returned to Minneapolis with a list of concerns that must be addressed from our perspective.

He mentioned the possibility of a cultural experience for all members of the Sons of Norway. No details were provided.

District 5’s International Director Duane Kittleson provided a company message and International Secretary Robin Fossum added additional input. District 5 is fortunate to call them our members and for their service to the larger lodge community.

The marshals, assistant marshals, and greeters performed well. Your smiles were welcoming. The tellers did not have work to do at this convention, but they stood at the ready if duty called. 

I would encourage more of our members to take part in the cultural arts competition in 2026. You may begin your projects today!
A huge thank you goes to Titan and Aurora M. and their family who helped to make Norwegian pastries for the breaks.

And now for the drumroll...the 2026 District 5 Convention will be held in Stoughton, WI, home to Mandt Lodge, the largest lodge in the district. The many components of this convention will be handled differently. Watch for further details in the FFFN each Friday.

Ways to serve our members-
1) If you have the skill set required to serve on the International Board of Directors, please obtain a candidacy form and complete it by June 30th. Director Kittleson is willing to assist you.  Please contact him with further questions.
2) Adjunct Service-We are looking for members who can serve the district in a myriad of ways. 
3) Check out our Facebook page to see many convention highlights.

Thank you for all you do to maintain your lodges and for providing the leadership they need to survive.

Good day, Members,

As we inch every so surely toward the 2024 convention in June, I want to express my deep appreciation for this year’s nominations committee comprised of Wendy Winkelman, Chr., Kathy Secora, and Janis Wegner. They have been working at a fevered pitch to find willing and viable candidates for the 2024-2026 board of directors.

I have been especially encouraged by Wendy’s latest report which indicated that most board positions have candidates, and these individuals are product owners. It was exciting to learn that we have candidates from the eastern region of our district.

Seating individuals from these places gives their members a seat at the table and a voice for their needs. If you reside in the states of Tennessee or Michigan where Sons of Norway insurance cannot be sold, you may join the board without a product.

Through service on the district 5 Board of Directors, one will help to shape the future of the Sons of Norway (SofN) in the Friendly Fifth. You will also play an active role in helping the board to plan the 2026 convention, as there were no bids from local lodges for hosting the next convention.

As the new governance model is implemented, there will no longer be zones, but rather atlarge directors who can serve any lodge with their concerns. Eliminating the zone structure provides the flexibility of finding at large directors in many locales.

The nominations committee is searching for candidates who can fill the following positions:
➢ Sports and Recreation Director
➢ An at-large director
➢ Alternate Secretary

Thank you for your consideration and willingness to help us advance the ideals of the SofN in local lodges and throughout the Fifth District. Fraternally,
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 President

A message from our President and Zone 3 Director Cheryl Wille-Schlesser

Godt Nyttår, Alle sammen-Happy New Year, Everyone!

2024 brings New Officers, New Changes, New Challenges, New Ideas, and New Members! We are contacting you, as a local lodge leader, asking you to participate in this year’s training program. Find out how your lodge can be on the cutting edge of greatness!

As the Sons of Norway International continues to evolve, we have seen a new emphasis placed on our fraternal organization. At this training we will expand on the knowledge you have to better understand what is happening and how to make 2024 one of the best years for your local lodge and community.

*We will detail some of the activities for the District 5 Convention to be held in Indianapolis, IN, in June.

*There will be updates on the District sports challenge and the Barnebirkie.

*Get the financial picture of our district.

*Learn the latest news from Masse Moro, our youth heritage camp.

*Discover how the District 5 Foundation varies from its counterpart in Minneapolis.

*Learn about a new benefit product in development that may greatly interest our members.

*Learn about the new volunteer reporting system, deadlines of upcoming reports, and a tour of websites

Bring your questions; we are stronger together!

There will be time for idea sharing among the attendees. Has your lodge had a recent successful membership drive, presentation, or field excursion? Inquiring minds want to know!

We welcome others from outside of our zone to join us, too. Please share this email with a friend!

A lunch will be provided, but we need to know how many people will be in attendance. Lodge Presidents, please send me the number of your participants by Monday, January 22, 2024. If you live outside of Zone 3, please contact me directly with your desire to attend. Should you have specific dietary needs, please know that you are welcome to bring a prepared lunch

An Update to the Membership from the District Presidents’ Advisory Council

Recently, the district presidents from the 8 divisions of the Sons of Norway (SofN) met with staff members from the home office in Minneapolis. Many topics were discussed, new staff members were introduced, and updates were made available. A summation of the key points is listed below.

Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 President

❖ Information was shared on disbanding/merging a lodge via a slide presentation from Kristen Lehman, Fraternal Membership Engagement Manager.
❖ Lodge liability insurance-several lodges in the Friendly Fifth need to submit payment for their coverage to the home office.
❖ A request has been made to get an updated list of staff members working at the home office due to changes over the course of the last year. Making contacts at the home office has become cumbersome for some lodges.
❖ Information over the use of the SofN website was shared. The search tool is not helpful in many instances and links cannot be found without specific wording.
❖ When contacting the home office-Questions about membership should be sent to Questions regarding lodge content should be sent to Numerous people monitor these links, and it is a better way to have your questions answered rather than relying on one person who could be away from the office or no longer employed by SofN.
❖ Membership lists are not being maintained at the home office. Please ask your member families to submit the names of deceased members to help the home office maintain a more accurate representation of active lodge members.
❖ The new system for submitting D17s has raised concerns. Once filed electronically, a lodge is given a pending approval message. The issue of contention centers on the person(s) charged with monitoring these submissions. Recommendations were made for future submissions to include the district presidents. The district presidents would also like to be notified when D63 are fully submitted. Our district is fortunate to have Darlene Arneson, District Secretary, in charge of tracking these items.
❖ Questions from each of the districts were raised with the International Board of Directors (IBOD).
    1) A common concern in many districts is the lack of fraternal engagement coming from the home office. Costs are now shifted to districts.
    2) The new template for lodge Bylaws
    3) Lack of a membership campaign (VP Wendy Winkelman organized ours this fall.)
    4) Transparency is lacking about the IBOD’s plans and actions.
    5) All districts are now required to have background checks in place for youth camp staff and volunteers (District 5 has been doing so for several years).
   6) Queries were made about where the Foundation’s funds are invested.
   7) The IBOD was asked about the cost of maintaining the home office on Lake Street. No specifics were shared but know that a long-term lease is in place.
   8) A way to promote the SofN begun by the DPAC was halted by Connie O’Brien in favor of another. We have yet to learn about it twelve months later.
  9) One important note, if your lodge is holding a special event outside of normal lodge meetings and activities, i.e., a lodge trip or heritage event, it is advised that the lodge purchase an additional insurance rider to cover any unforeseen liabilities. 10)With the myriad of changes, what specifically, are members getting for their membership dollars from the international office?

❖ The SofN has been working to roll out new products that will have a wider appeal and will hopefully increase insurance sales. While products are in the pipeline, no specifics were given. The DPAC members were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
❖ The DPAC was advised to share, “When the insurance side of the business flourishes, the same can be said of our local lodges.” To strengthen our fraternal organization, more participation is needed from its members.
❖ Currently SofN has 2400 independent agents capable of selling its products.
Recently, our International Director, Duane Kittleson, and I attended meetings with the Sons of Norway home office staff. As we look to the next biennium, the district presidents have been asked to submit a list of member names who would be willing to assist with the task of screening the applications for the next International Board.

Requirements for the position are as follows: the willing member must be over the age of 21 and be an owner of a Sons of Norway product. If the SofN database is accurate, you qualify as a potential screener. I am contacting you because I know you are genuinely concerned about the overall success of our organization and the security of your investment. When the insurance side of the business flourishes, so do its other divisions. Selecting a member from the Fifth District to serve on the committee would provide us with direct input on any potential candidates.

If you are interested in assisting the Friendly Fifth in this way, please send me a note indicating your willingness to participate. The district presidents will be meeting this coming Saturday, December 2nd, via Zoom, to share our member lists. From that group of submitted names, we will be choosing two members from across the Order to serve in this capacity.

Tusen takk for all you do to keep our heritage alive and flourishing,

Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 President, 608-219-4464

Spring 2023 District President’s Report-Cheryl Wille-Schlesser

I attended meetings of the District Presidents’ Advisory Council in February and March. We await
procedural updates from the home office, but as of this writing, no such information has been
forthcoming. We do not know which responsibilities are being shifted to the districts from HQ.
Ron Stubbings and Chris Pinkerton provided a message to district leaders about the health of the
insurance company. More information will be forthcoming in the June edition of the Viking regarding
the financial stability of Sons of Norway

The home office staff has asked the district presidents to stop any marketing efforts that we had
investigated earlier. Connie O’Brien oversees all marketing messages for the Sons of Norway. This
does not affect local advertisements for local lodges.

Reports are that headquarters will no longer supply promotional items for events such as posters,
brochures, or other signage previously available. The district presidents expressed concerns about
the lessening of support from the home office. More members are dropping their memberships and
some individuals are pulling their investments.

Updated policies and procedures for the Sons of Norway were posted online. I would encourage all
directors to read these updates. District five will be submitting a change to our by-laws regarding
filling open board seats.

All district boards are scheduling and meeting with their respective zones for officer training. District
presidents have asked their lodges to submit copies of their D17 reports and the IRS 990 filing. This
request will help the presidents better monitor filings submitted to the home office and to the Internal
Revenue Service.

The home office has taken a hard line with lodges about their online filings. Lodges have been told
that they run the risk of losing their membership dues checks, and the home office may consider
suspending their charter. District five lodges should reach out to their zone directors, a district board
officer, or district treasurer Corey Olson for assistance in filing these forms.

An International Board committee is studying the necessity and effectiveness of district boards. It will
take one year to complete the study and an additional year for the International Board to review
findings and to make a recommendation.

There has been interest from Norway House in Minneapolis and the Norwegian consulate about local
strategies to increase membership. Norway House is willing to spread the word to the Norwegian
communities about Sons of Norway.

District 5 Report
There have been many health and life-changing challenges for our district board directors and officers
since January. I am pleased to report that our entire board has risen to the calls for assistance, and
together we faced adversity head-on. We continue to move the Fifth District forward; know that you
make a difference.

An enormous thank you goes to Darlene Arneson and Duane Kittleson who joined forces with Scott
Wegner to lead the Zone 3 training seminar in my absence. Other zone directors are identifying when
and where the 2023 training for their members will be. If I can be of assistance, please contact me.
I have requested that all lodges send me a copy of their D17 filing and proof of the IRS990 form when
ready. We have fallen short in both areas.

COVID-19 was not kind to the district about filling camper positions for Masse Moro. It has become
even more of a challenge this year with about one-half of last year’s numbers currently registered.
Presently, our status is twenty-one registrants. Continue to encourage youth in your lodges to give
this camping experience a try.

While we were extremely fortunate to seat Lisa Rove-Williams as the next Youth Director, after many
months of no volunteers, and she was installed during the district 5 board meeting in absentia. She is
giving her best effort.

This brings Masse Moro to the forefront for discussion. Are there incentives we can offer our current
enrollees to help increase our numbers? A large bequest from the Gene Steensma estate was
designated for camp expenses. With district costs high and enrollment low, the time may have come
for a redesign of our traditional camp. Could we reallocate the funds to other kinds of experiences for
youth and families? One idea is localized day camps for children held in various parts of the district.
Another possibility is a combination weekend for grandparents and their grandchildren. Could we
segue to a family camp experience? Your thoughts? This is something the board needs to address

The 2024 District 5 Convention site review committee, lead by Judy Ghastin has narrowed down the
options of host cities. Judy and Bill Bultinck visited sites. Judy has prepared a comparison sheet on
the properties for your perusal. After comparisons were provided and a discussion ensued,
Indianapolis, IN was chosen as the next host city. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
Bill Bultinck and Wendy Winkelman are experts at extinguishing fires in their zone. They made
additional visits to the lodges in need of assistance. Work continues as these local lodges have voted
to continue their relationship with the Sons of Norway, have elected new officers, and are charting a
new course for the future. Scott Wegner and I met with a lodge in peril. We found resistance to
innovative ideas a concern, despite a large lodge treasury. Another concern is finding willing people
to take leadership roles. This lodge was not interested in a merger.

The 2023 Barnebirkie event was a success. An adage states that many hands make light work.
Thank you to all who contributed cookies, sent donations, traveled to Hayward during a blizzard to
volunteer, and to those who helped with the organization of our booths. Judy Ghastin and Lucy
Ghastin have offered their services at the EXPO table for 2024.

The financial status of the district is strong, and we now have a better handle on the accounting of our
funds. Corey Olson and Duane Kittleson have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Corey requires
a more thorough reporting of director expenses. Be certain to include all receipts and paperwork for
any expenses one wishes to claim. There was mention of increasing the mileage allowance, but I
have received nothing official from headquarters.

The initial meeting of the district five task force was held. Discussions included realignment of our
zones. Suggestions included creating an all-Michigan zone, reworking zones in Wisconsin, and
realigning southern Illinois and the Tennessee lodges. Good representation came from a wide cross
section of the district and members provided valuable input. There were no volunteers to lead the
task force work further. The board’s lodge development, support, and zone alignment committee will
lead this work. A goal is to provide the 2024 delegates with a proposal of any changes.

Due to incomplete advisement from headquarters, the board did not elect a nominating committee for
the 2024-2026 biennium. Any board member choosing to end their service on the board may serve
the district in this capacity.

The D5 board enjoyed its spring board meeting in Anna, Il, earlier this month. The hospitality of those
from the Shawnee Skogen Lodge was second to none. President Wendy Winkelman and her
husband Bill Bultinck showcased the best offerings, and their choice of visits to local wineries and an
evening dinner at a large lodge did not disappoint.

Wonderful homemade Norwegian cookies were provided by board members and there was plenty of
fuel to complete the tasks at hand. Visiting this part of our district was also educational for the board,
and they now have a better idea of what constitutes life in this part of the district.

It is important for our board to reach out to our lodges in all geographic regions, and I am happy to
report that the D5 site review committee provided two options for the 2024 District 5 Convention. After
much discussion on location, costs associated with each site, technology concerns, and staffing, a
final decision was made. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The 2024 convention will be held
in Indianapolis, IN, pending approval from headquarters in Minneapolis.

The board looks forward to working with the local lodges in this area. We will call on your expertise in
managing some of the daily tasks associated with presenting a great convention. All lodges can
assist us by identifying breakout sessions, classes, or field trips you would find interesting. These
ideas will help the board to narrow our focus in the planning. The committee chair for this convention
is the D5 Cultural Director Judy Ghastin. She will be assisted by her sister Lucy who chaired the last
convention in Madison.

A recipe we enjoyed at the spring board meeting.

Norway’s Best Pepper Cookies
1 1/8 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1⁄4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. baking soda
3 1⁄4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. baking powder

Combine the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the cream. Add the baking soda and a
little water (no more than 2 T) to the butter mixture.
Sift the spices, baking powder and flour into the butter mixture. Blend until a nice dough is formed.
Roll the dough into sausage shapes about 2” in diameter. Wrap tightly and let the dough chill
Preheat the oven to 375 ͦ. Remove the chilled dough and cut it into thin slices. Bake on a lightly
greased cookie sheet for 6 to 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.

Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
D 5 President

Mandatory Reporting Change

From President Cheryl
The D5 Executive Committee met this week to discuss a variety of items. A change was made about mandatory reporting.
The board now asks that all lodges submit copies of both the D17 lodge financial report and the IRS 990 form (due May 2023).
Many lodges took care of both requirements at the same time. I regret this procedural change, but it gives our district the assurance that all lodges are in compliance.
Thank you for your understanding.
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser

From President Cheryl Wille-Schlesser

The Lodge Financial Statement, D17, is due at the home office on March 15, 2023.
If your lodge has not completed this filing, please do so at your next convenience. In addition, please send me a copy of your D 17 and D18 reports, if applicable.
Last year, we discovered that numerous lodges had not filed their paperwork in a timely manner. I would like to congratulate Grønnvik Lodge of Green Bay, WI for being the first lodge to send a copy of their report. The next mandatory report is the IRS 990 due on May 15, 2023.

Presidents of the eight districts of the Sons of Norway met via a Zoom format on February 18, 2023. Updates were shared from the home office, and these have now been distributed to local lodge leaders. Our organization is not what it used to be; staff cuts were addressed. We are at a loss as to what items will be sent back to the districts for attention.

The district presidents were told that there is to be no engagement with outside organizations regarding public relations. That is the responsibility of the SofN fraternal department under the direction of Connie O’Brien.

Questions were raised about the SofN advertising campaigns. Local lodges should continue to advertise their events. The district presidents asked for the compliance guidelines for advertising. Local boards should be reviewing the policies and procedures, as posted online. District Boards may also want to address these items and determine whether any district language needs revision. Templates will be available for use.

A new reimbursement per mile was discussed and will be shared from the home office.

The district presidents expect a forthcoming report.

All districts will be electing their 2024 Nominations Committees at their spring board meeting. Each district presented an update on upcoming youth camp and family camp offerings for 2023. Locations of some district conventions were shared. Issues of hotel and convention site costs were mentioned. Costs are becoming prohibitive in some locations.District 5’s site review committee will make their recommendation at the April board meeting.

New contacts at the home office were shared. For member support: (preferred) or 800-945-8851. Submitting the death of a member:, insurance sales:, fraternal topics, D17, D18, Lodge Achievement: Connie O’Brien: or Amy Tutenhagen:, Viking Magazine, Jana Velo:, for Customer Service: 800-945-8851 (membership and insurance, insurance sales, new business support, insurance licensing, for commissions, and lodge support.)

Districts will receive a reimbursement of $1.00 per member belonging to the Central Lodge who has an insurance product.

The next scheduled meeting for district presidents is March 18, 2023.

District 5 Task Force Starts Their Work this Saturday

District 5 Special Task Force
The meeting will be held via Zoom. This meeting is open to all District 5 members whether you were appointed by the District President or not. We are looking for everyone to have an opportunity to provide their ideas!

• Definition and objectives of the Task Force
• Review the Resolution
• Description of current District 5 Zones
  1.  How states are grouped together
  2.  How Lodges are grouped into Zones
  3.  Current Board members Duties
• Possible Zone Realignment
• Changing Officer duties and changing Zone Directors
• Moderator for future meetings

• District Lodge Development & Support Zone Realignment Committee
  1.  Darlene Arneson, Chair
  2.  Connie Kross
  3.  Bill Bultinck
  4.  Judy Ghastin
• Goal to have preliminary information for 2023 Fall District Board Meeting 

District President’s 2022 Fall Report

The District 5 Board has been on a roller coaster ride since leaving the D5 Convention in Madison, WI, in June. The youth director and the treasurer have since left the board, citing personal reasons. In addition, they shared concerns about insurance products sold through Sons of Norway. I spoke to
numerous staff at the home office, a former SofN board president, and other district presidents about this concern. During the International Convention virtual presentation, the need for change was mentioned. However, no specific timeline was given.

The youth director and treasurer exits posed additional challenges for the executive committee. Still, the good news is that we have found a person with much experience to serve as treasurer beginning January 1, 2023. Corey Olson, from Norse Valley Lodge in Appleton, WI, will assume that post. Corey is an internal auditor at a large corporation. In addition, a second person has shared their willingness to become the alternate treasurer. In the meantime, Darlene Arneson, Duane Kittleson, and I will work together to approve expenditures and process any district billing. In addition, Corey will assume responsibility for the books on January 1, 2023.

The position of youth director remains open. However, no current district board members indicated an interest in filling the vacated position. Therefore, the district secretary contacted delegates from the District 5 Convention for assistance filling the position. No one stepped forward. New language in the Sons of Norway Charter and By-laws, dated September 2022, provides additional procedures for the board. We are now in contact with others who are possible candidates.

Bill Bultinck, Zone 6, volunteered to serve as the alternate international director, a position he held earlier for District 6. Connie Aiello, Zone 4, has volunteered as a second zone director. The district 4 alternate zone director is Michaela Decker, who previously served as the D5 sports and recreation director. In addition, a volunteer from Zone 5 is willing to serve as our district treasurer alternate.

Do you live in Michigan or Tennessee, where Sons of Norway cannot be sold? New language in the Charter and Bylaws includes a provision for seating interested members who do not own a benefit product. That language widens our talent pool, and I look forward to working with more members from those states.

Early into my tenure as president, I went to Muskegon, MI, to present a 50th-Anniversary plaque to members of Sognefjord Lodge in Muskegon, MI. The lodge celebrated with an evening cruise on Lake Muskegon.

I answered a request from the Norsemen of the Lakes Lodge in Elkhorn, WI, to participate in their lodge open house in August. I presented information on Masse Moro and gave a second presentation on the Little Norway Building that once stood at Blue Mounds, WI. On November 8, 2022,
I returned to the Norsemen of the Lakes Lodge and presented their 25th -Anniversary plaque.

By invitation from Rich Gunderson of Cleng Peerson Lodge, I visited the Norsk Museum in Norway, IL. Shortly after the meeting, I returned for the unexpected funeral visitation of Cleng Peerson’s president, Charleen Seville, who introduced me to the museum the day of my visit.

An Adult Heritage Weekend, October 7-9, 2022, showcased many cultural activities and was widely appreciated. Plans are to continue this event yearly, locating it in different parts of the district. Next year’s Adult Heritage Weekend is tentatively planned in Norway, IL. The October date is not finalized.

I joined the members of Mandt Lodge in Stoughton, WI, for their annual Foundation Night fundraiser. I took an “Uff-da” basket for the raffle.

Recently, International Director Duane Kittleson and I celebrated with the members of Cleng Peerson Lodge at their 50th -Anniversary celebration in Ottawa, IL. In addition, Susan Meyer, Honorary Norwegian Consul General of Illinois, announced that she has accepted additional responsibilities
and will officially begin serving Wisconsin.

On Sunday, November 6, District 5 Board representatives and former D5 International Director and District President Jon Grinde gathered with members from Ostestaden Lodge in Monroe, WI. Guests offered words of congratulations on the event of their 25th -Anniversary. Although their actual anniversary date was during the pandemic, it was great to celebrate with Ostestaden’s members who belong to a small but vibrant Sons of Norway Lodge. Gratulerer til alle!

On Sunday, November 14, 2022, I will join Lodge President Olga Fast from Nordland Lodge in Janesville, WI, for the lodge’s memorial service.

From November 15-18, I will represent the Fifth District at the International Board meeting in Minneapolis, MN. I will join other district presidents to discuss the recent changes handed down from the international office and how they will impact our districts. In addition, we will look at seating our
district boards and the need for serving our members in large geographic regions. International Director Duane Kittleson will also be in Minneapolis that week. His commitment is for the entire week, which involves a series of educational discussions and consultations. Trygvason Lodge, Osseo, WI, has celebrated 100 years of fraternal ideals. Unfortunately, I have spoken to the lodge president, and they will not meet any further this year. However, we have planned to present their anniversary plaque at next June’s Midtsommer bonfire event.

D5 is coming alive! Please send me a copy of your lodge’s newsletter if I am not on your current list. It is great to celebrate the successes of others and to glean an idea or two that can be modified and easily used locally. Thank you for all you do to further the Sons of Norway in your communities.

Med vennlig hilsen, (With best regards)
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
Sons of Norway Fifth District President

District President’s 2022 Fall Report

The District 5 Board has been on a roller coaster ride since leaving the D5 Convention in Madison, WI, in June. Two younger members willing to serve have since left the board, citing personal reasons. In addition, I shared their concerns about insurance products with staff at the home office, a former SofN board president, and other district presidents. As a result, the company will consider adding insurance products that appeal to a younger demographic.
The youth director and treasurer exits posed additional challenges for the executive committee. Still, the good news is that we have found a person with much experience to serve as treasurer beginning January 1, 2023. Corey Olson, from Norse Valley Lodge in Appleton, WI, will assume that post. In addition, a second person has shared their willingness to become the alternate treasurer. In the meantime, Darlene Arneson, Duane Kittleson, and I will work together to approve expenditures and process any district billing.
The position of youth director remains open. However, no current district board members indicated an interest in filling the vacated position. Therefore, the district secretary will contact delegates from the District 5 Convention for assistance filling the position. In addition, the new language in the Sons of Norway Charter and By-laws, dated September 2022, provides additional procedures for the board.
We also need to fill the following positions: alternate international director, district 1 alternate zone director, district 4 zone director and an alternate, and district 5 alternate treasurer. Our board needs more energetic and enthusiastic members to help keep the district on the cutting edge! I would be happy to speak with you about any of these positions. Consider supporting District 5 and helping us to continue our legacy of success.
Early into my tenure as president, I went to Muskegon, MI, to present a 50th-anniversary plaque to members of Sognefjord Lodge in Muskegon, MI. The lodge celebrated with an evening cruise on Lake Muskegon.
I answered a request from the Norsemen of the Lakes Lodge in Elkhorn, WI, to participate in their lodge open house in August. I presented information on Masse Moro and gave a second presentation on the Little Norway Building that once stood at Blue Mounds, WI. On November 8, 2022, I will return to the Norsemen of the Lakes Lodge and present their 50th Anniversary plaque.
By invitation from Rich Gunderson of Cleng Peerson Lodge, I visited the Norsk Museum in Norway, IL. Shortly after the meeting, I returned for the unexpected funeral visitation of Cleng Peerson’s president, Charleen Seville.
An Adult Heritage Weekend, October 7-9, 2022, showcased many cultural activities and was widely appreciated. Plans are to continue this event yearly, locating it in different parts of the district.
In early October, I joined the members of Mandt Lodge in Stoughton, WI, for their annual Foundation Night event. I took an “Uff-da” basket for the raffle.
Recently, International Director Duane Kittleson and I celebrated with the members of Cleng Peerson Lodge at their 50th-Anniversary celebration in Ottawa, IL. In addition, Susan Meyer, Honorary Norwegian Consul General of Illinois, announced that she has accepted additional responsibilities and will officially begin serving Wisconsin.
On Sunday, November 6, District 5 Board representatives and former D5 International Director Jon Grinde will gather with members of Østestaden Lodge in Monroe, WI. Guests will offer words of congratulations on the event of their 25th Anniversary. Although their actual Anniversary was during the pandemic, it will be great to toast this lodge, a small but active Sons of Norway Lodge. Gratulerer til alle.
From November 15-18, I will represent the Fifth District at the International Board meeting in Minneapolis, MN.
Trygvason Lodge, Osseo, WI, has celebrated 100 years of fraternal ideals. My goal is to present their plaque before the year’s end.
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
Sons of Norway Fifth District President

2022 District President- Cheryl Wille-Schlesser

District President-
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser Vennelag Lodge- Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
A member of the Sons of Norway since 1999, Wille-Schlesser has served her local lodge, Vennelag 5-513, in many officer positions. She is currently the lodge counselor and the newsletter editor. She will be chairing this summer’s Kaffe Stue on July 16th. On the heritage side of the coin, Cheryl’s maternal great-grandparents were both born in Norway and immigrated to America in the late 1800’s. Sigrid Olsen departed from Rogaland, and Marin Phillips left Solvorn bound for the Midwest where other relatives had settled. They met and married in Stoughton, Wisconsin in 1899. She is a retired middle school science teacher and works part-time positions at the University of Wisconsin and for Bergey Jewelry in Mt. Horeb, WI her hometown.

Address to the 2022 District 5 Delegates,

 June 18, 2022

We sit poised on a precipice. Our choices are to lean over the rock face's edge and spiral downward or to look up and soar with the eagles. In my opinion, the Fifth District needs to SOAR upward!

The outgoing District 5 Board has done everything in its power to keep the district moving forward despite the many challenges. They served for an extended number of years.
➢ District officers organized Zone training in virtual formats.
➢ Other districts from across the Order called for information so they could offer this experience to their members.
➢ Virtual meetings became the norm, and local lodge leaders received updates.
➢ The Masse Moro staff presented activities to our campers in unprecedented ways.
➢ Scholarships were awarded to our youth.
➢ Cultural classes were offered to our members via Zoom. The Viking chests continued their rounds.
➢ District officers wrote new grants to offset the costs for cultural, sports, and membership pins.
➢ The district's playing card photo contest engaged members and raised several thousand dollars.
➢ Local lodge Foundation fundraising continued.
➢ The Nordic News Show began using much talent from our members.
➢ A walking challenge had over 100 participants from all six zones.
➢ The Barnebirkie continued with changes, and cookies returned in 2022!
➢ The publicity director sent photos to the Viking magazine.
➢ The webmaster posted district events and celebrations on the D5 website.
➢ Our Zone Directors continued their visits to local lodges, installed officers, and made presentations.
➢ The district's business was addressed, challenges were faced, and solutions were found.
➢ Since the governance structure of the Sons of Norway (SofN) has changed, our International Director is writing new language items for SofN.
➢ She was integral in creating the Together We Are the Future campaign, helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the SofN Foundation.
➢ Many members of the district board attended special lodge anniversaries.

❖ Members maintained connections with others via phone calls, postcards, email, and videoconferencing.
❖ Small items of appreciation were delivered to older or shut-in members.
❖ Lodge meetings and activities came back to the delight of many, beginning in 2021.
❖ New members joined our ranks.
❖ Syttende Mai revelry occurred despite the pandemic.
❖ Floats were brought out of storage to the delight of parade attendees.
❖ Retention ideas have kept the flame of Sons of Norway alive!

Our imaginations only limit us. So join me in making the 2022-2024 biennium one for the record books.
Tusen takk!
Cheryl Wille-Schlesser
District 5 President

District President Har Ordet

Kjære Venner,

            As my tenure of office comes to a close in June 2022, I take the opportunity to thank those members of the Fifth District who through their efforts have kept our lodges cohesive during these difficult times.  The last two years have been challenging for the lodges in our District and all the Districts of Sons of Norway in because of their efforts to conduct meetings and events.  As the pall of the Covid pandemic lifts, we can look forward to better times in celebrating the culture and Heritage of our fraternal.  

            Currently, the members of the Fifth District Nominating Committee are seeking members of the district who would be willing to take positions of leadership on the Fifth District Board of Directors.  If you would be interested in a position on the Board of Directors, please contact the members of the Nominating Committee: Robin Fossum (715-924-4111), Thomas Boudreau (715-886-4514), or myself (219-671-8301).  There are a considerable number of people retiring from the board your help in filling vacancies would be greatly appreciated.  
            In closing, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the members who make our district the best district in the Sons of Norway.  I will miss serving you as District President, and I am confident that the 2022-2024 officers will do an outstanding job moving forward.   

Med beste hilsen,
Andrew Iver Johnsen
Sons of Norway Fifth District President      

District President Har Ordet

Kjære Venner,
            As of now I am sure that most of the members of the District have received word that the 2020 Fifth District Convention/Meeting and the 2020 International Convention/Meeting have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  There was a unanimous vote by the International Board of Directors to cancel the 2020 conventions/meetings.  President Ron Stubbings has instructed all sons of Norway Officers, Directors, and Delegates to, “continue in service until the regular session lodge meetings of 2022”.  As members of Sons of Norway we need to follow President Stubbings instruction in order to maintain our cohesiveness as a fraternal in this time of uncertainty.
            As your District President I am requesting that all local lodge Presidents and Officers be prudent, and that they follow all State and Federal government mandates concerning the COVID-19 virus.  Be thoughtful and do not put yourself or any of your lodge members in any undue risk.  Stay in touch with your other lodge members using the telephone and electronic means (conference calls or skype).
            These are difficult times we are all experiencing.  It is my hope that when this pandemic is over the Sons of Norway will continue to be as strong and vibrant as ever.
            It is with sadness that the Fifth District has lost one of its finest members, Gene Steensma, who passed away on March 25, 2020.  Gene was a past Fifth District President, an International Director, and a long-time member and President of Samhold 5-473.  Gene will always remain in the hearts of those who knew.  Keep Gene’s family in your prayers as they go through their time of mourning.        
Med beste hilsen,
Andrew Iver Johnsen
Sons of Norway Fifth District President