Sunday, August 31, 2008

Convention Closed: The Banquet

Last night was the end of the 60th Biennial International Convention in San Diego, Ca. It's been a long week of hard work by staff and delegates alike, but it was also a very fruitful week. As we mentioned earlier, delegates discussed and voted on a number of important issues, helping chart the course of our beloved organization for the future.

Saturday night's closing ceremonies were a great time for all. First there was a sumptuous banquet, followed by an awards ceremony that acknowledged the hard work of many lodges and members. Here are just a few photos from the night.

Marge Grorud being presented with a rosemaled bowl, presented to her upon her
retirement from the Sons of Norway International Board.

Sverre Aasgaarden receiving a Lodge of the Year Plaque

Mary Beth Ingvolstad receiving a Lodge of the Year plaque for Vikings of Lake lodge 6-166.

Folk Art Competition Best in Show Winner

Executive Admin, Liz Reque, being recognized by CEO John Lund for all her hard work on the convention.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Night Harbor Cruise

On Friday night delegates set sail on the California Spirit for an evening harbor cruise. The dinner cruise was a memorable experience that combined 25 scenic miles of magnificent San Diego Skyline and fine dining. While cruising, the San Diego Bay welcomed us with a gorgeous sunset, beautiful views of the San Diego skyline by night, Coronado Bay Bridge, Seaport Village, the Star of India – the world’s oldest active ship and the Pacific Fleet which is host to some of America’s most historic warships such as the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and the retired aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Midway.

San Diego sunset from the deck of the California Spirit

U.S.S. Midway

Delegates and guests had a great time on the 2 1/2 hour harbor dinner cruise, which included a glass of champagne upon boarding, a three-course dinner and dancing with DJ entertainment.

Delegates Enjoying Dinner

Foundation Director, Cindy Olson and International Secretary, Marit Kristiansen have dinner with delegates.

The DJ played a variety of music for our listening and dancing pleasure. And let me tell you, it was a great time! Just take a look at Dan Rude on the dance floor if you don't believe me.

Dan and Betty Rude cutting a rug during the Friday night harbor Cruise

Overall, it was a great night. There was plenty of fun to be had, sights to be seen and time to be spent unwinding from a long couple of days of delegate meetings. Everyone had a great time and we were all sad when the evening was over. After a night like this, the folks hosting the 2010 convention in Coeur d'Alene, ID, sure have their work cut out for them, but I'm confident they are up to the challenge.

Thursday and Friday Business

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were busy for the entire delegation. They reviewed, discussed and voted on a number of proposed law changes and resolutions. The issues ranged from a reordered constitution to streamlining of membership categories. There were 23 issues voted on, but in order to keep this post from being too overwhelming, it will just cover some of the highlights.

First up was a vote on a reordering of the constitution. Back in 2006, the board determined it was time to review the Sons of Norway Charter and Constitution. During the past biennium a committee was chosen and put to the task. They have since reordered the document to make it more user friendly and the resolution has passed.

Next, there was a discussion and vote on the issue of International Director Term Limits. The reasoning behind this proposed law change was that District Presidents are now serving multiple terms so their terms expire concurrently with the International Director's. Distrtict 3, who proposed this law change, felt that this stymied the development of good, capable people with fresh ideas who wished to become a DP. This proposed law change was defeated.

Members from District 1 had proposed a resolution for the International President to appoint a committee to review and help simplify membership categories in the next biennium. The reason being that current membership categories are many and complicated, which can hinder recruitment efforts of our members. This resolution passed.

Of course there were many other issues discussed, but in the interest of brevity we just wanted to give a taste of the issues being voted on. Please make sure to check your future issues of Viking magazine for a full report on the convention resolutions.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Recruiter's Reception

As many of you may know, Sons of Norway held a recruitment contest this summer where any member who recruited a new, dues-paying member between June 28th and August 28th received an invite to a private recruiter's reception at the International Convention. Last night was the big even and there was a great turnout. We hosted nearly 90 members who had recruited more than 14o members during the two month contest!

Members Enjoying the Recruiter's Reception

During the reception members ate and drank together, sharing recruiting stories and their pride in belonging to Sons of Norway. Then, towards the end of the night there were some contests for who had recruited the most members and who had re recruited a new member from the furthest distance away.

Distirct 4 International Director, Elaine Nelson

Elaine Nelson, our D4 International Director won a hand carved bunad figurine for signing up 12 new members in less than 2 months! Also, it should be noted that D1 President, Bob Hoover recruited 11 new members in the same time period. This is a great example of what a recruiter can accomplish when he or she puts their mind to it! Congrats to Elaine and Bob!

Sons of Norway FBC's at the Recruiter Reception

I also think it's good to point out that it wasn't just members who were our star recruiters. Take a look at the photo above and you'll see a whole table full of Sons of Norway Financial Benefits Counselors who recruited new members for the organization. This is a great example of everyone pitching in to help Sons of Norway grow as an organization.

Overall, it was a great night for everyone in attendance and we hope to host more programs like this in the future!

Getting Down to Business (with a little fun on top)

Yesterday was a great day for the delegates. After the great time that everyone had at the Opening Ceremonies and President's Reception, the delegates were ready to get down to the business at hand.

Delegates and Officers being seated at Convention

First there was the roll call of delegates and then some discussion from the delegation, followed by a Q & A where the delegates could pose questions to CEO John Lund and International President Ted Fosberg. It was a lively discussion with many great questions and comments from the floor. One of the most talked about topics was the possibility of starting a new lodge in Hawaii (which I'd be more than happy to go and help set up--just putting that out there).

Former D1 President, Jon Tehven, and delegates from District 1

Next there were some great reports from a few of the committees before the delegation broke for lunch.

After lunch the delegates were treated to an afternoon of educational breakout sessions. The sessions covered a varity of topics ranging from how to host a New Member Recruitment Dinner to a brainstorming session on lodge programming. Also, during one ofthe breakout sessions, Sons of Norway's newest publication, the Lodge Programming Resources Booklet, was debuted.

After that, many delegates were treated to some more fun at a private recruiter's reception that evening (check back later for more about this great event).

In the end, a great time was had by all and the day wrapped with delegates heading back to their rooms, or out for dinner in San Diego; their minds full of new information and their hearts brimming with anticiaption for the next day.

Check back later to read about the great Recruiter's Reception we had last night!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

President's Reception

The President's Reception was a great time for everyone! The Host Committee planned a gorgeous Hawaiin Luau for all the delegates and guests. There were Hawaiin Dancers (see previous post) and the best food and drink so far. But just as important, moreso in my humble opinion, the President's Reception gave everyone a chance to mingle and get to know each other.

Sons of Norway members and Headquarters Staff enjoying the luau

There wasn't a single point throughout the night that I didn't look around and see delegates from different districts sharing stories, reconnecting with old friends or making new ones. Not to get too sappy, but this truly is what Sons of Norway is all about. More to the point, that's what an International Convention is all about.

This year we've done a lot to bring in new programs and materials that really underscore the idea of fraternalism and togetherness. Delegates have been given Meet & Greet maps, to encourage making new friends and learning about issues outside their own districts, convention postcards for delegates to send back to their lodges descirbing all the fun and a commemorative delegate coin to bring home and remind them of the fun they had in San Diego.

If you are curious to learn more about these pieces, ask the delegates from your lodge when they get home or give us a call at the Headquarters Office.

Make sure and check back tomorro to learn about the great recruiter reception that we hosted to recognize our star recruiters!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

Wednesday was the grand kickoff of the 2008 Biennial International Convention! The day began early with delegates arriving in the morning to check in and pick up their registration packets. The Headquarter's Office in San Diego was abuzz with activity again as we made final preparations for the big day ahead.

In the afternoon, after most of the delegates had checked in, it was time for the opening ceremonies and Presidential Reception. During the opening ceremonies, International Lodge Officers, VIP's and special guests were introduced and seated before the entire delegation. Then it was time for some musical entertainment from the Marine Band San Diego.

Next up there were greetings from the office of the Mayor of San Diego, Valhall Lodge and District Six President, Janie Kelly, which was followed by welcoming statements by Consul Geir Toennessen, Consul Sean Barr and Consul Gordon Kovtun.

The opening ceremonies then ended with remarks from International President Ted Fosberg and Sons of Norway CEO John Lund. Both had many great things to say about the delegates, staff and volunteers in attendance and shared their anticipation about the next 4 days. With that, the convention was officially opened by Ted Fosberg and delegates were invited to a luau President's Recption.

Hawaiin Dancers at President's Reception

Make sure and check back for more about the President's Reception later.

Insider's Note 2

We're back again with another Insider's Note! Today our feedster on the convention floor is going to share their impression of the opening ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies:
The Opening Ceremonies were great! The Marine Corps Band, San Diego was fantastic! Most of us felt shivers of excitement from their glorious music. We had greetings from the consul of Norway in the Consulate General from San Francisco, the honorary consul of Norway in San Diego, the consul of Canada and the Mayors Office. Then a wonderful invocation was offered by a local pastor. We had a great time meal and the Hawaiian dancers were awesome. But the best part, for me, was seeing International President Ted Fosberg get up on stage and give it a try! See the photo below and look in the center back row:

You may not be able to make out his face, but trust me, he's there!

Insiders Note 1

It turns out I have an insider on the delegate floor who is feeding me all sorts of great information! He/She will be providing me with some of the gossip and laughs from the convention, which I will be posting to share with you. It's just something more to help enhance your part of the convention experience.

Day 1:
San Diego by the bay is a great place for a convention. Fellow members and guests are having a great time and doing a lot of fun things. Speaking of which, members Roy B. and Ken J. went deep sea fishing during their down time and I've got pictures of their fine catch. Check it out below:

While Roy B. and Ken J. claim they were fishing for Barracuda, it looks to me like the biggest fish they caught were the ones in the bait bucket!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Productive Day in San Diego!

After all the hubub of the day, it's finally quiet enough to get some thoughts put down on mean screen. Today was day 2 on the ground in San Diego, making final preparations for the certain deluge of delegates that will be registering tomorrow, and it was a great day to be sure.

As an aside, it's days like this that constantly amaze me. Not just the day, but, more specifically the large group of people who come together every two years to make each International Convention a success. Often between the host committees, staff, volunteers and international committee members you have a group of people who have rarely if ever met each other or worked together. Yet, when the time comes, they form a cohesive team that ensures a memorable convention for all.

Today, was another busy day for everyone. The committees were hard at work again, reviewing materials and taking action to ensure that everything goes well for our delegates. The board also spent the day in meetings with headquarters staff and committee members, giving input and background information on everything from the proposed resolutions to financial matters.

It's been a great day and tomorrow there will be some great photos from the registration, opening ceremonies and president's reception. Make sure to check back tomorrow to keep up on all the excitement!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday: Getting Ready for the Convention

All day today the entire convention office was abuzz with activity. There were staffers unpacking boxes, officers preparing for their first meetings and committee members gettting down to business. It was quite exciting for everyone as we are looking forward to a very productive week.

In a couple of days all the delegates will be arriving and registering. Everything is ready for their arrival and there has been a great team assembled to help with the registration process. We all think the convention will be a very smooth operation and that everyone is going to have a great time.

Speaking of a great time, the host committee, HQ staff, Board officers and committee members all got together for a fine evening of fraternity at Tom Ham's lighthouse. Janie Kelly, District 6 President, said "It was a great night of fellowship with a beautiful view of the San Diego Harbor and skyline!"

I'd have to heartily agree with Janie. It was a great night of fun for everyone and a wonderful way to kick off the week!

Check back tomorrow for more information about what's happening at Convention Central!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hitting the Ground Running

This will be just a short post, with longer articles to resume on Monday.

Even though it's a Saturday the Sons of Norway Headquarters staff is hard at work getting ready for the convention, which kicks off on Wednesday. Much of the staff arrived in San Diego today, with the rest getting into town tomorrow and Monday.

Right now the office/base of operations is being set up and early status meetings with the International Board of Directors and the Host Lodge are happening. Everyone is double checking logistical issues, making sure all the proverbial ducks are in a row and getting ready for a week that is sure to be full of fun and excitement!

For the delegates and guest who will be in attendance, we can't wait to meet you! This is going to be a great week and we have a lot of exciting things to do and share!

For the members who are unable to be with us in San Diego, don't forget that the blog will be updated frequently throughout the week so you can follow along and be part of the convention experience!

Also, don't forget that there is a commenting link below each post and we would love to hear from everyone!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Convention Week is Approaching!

Hey everybody! It's almost that time again for the Sons of Norway Biennial Convention, which is being held in sunny San Diego California. It's shaping up to be a great week filled with fun and excitement for everyone who is going to be there!

What's that? You say you aren't able to go this year? Well don't be too down about it, because we're doing something new this year that will let you be part of the convention experience from the comfort of your own home or office.

For the first time ever Sons of Norway is going to be reporting on many of the convention happenings right here on the Sons of Norway Blog! That's right, if you keep checking back here, beginning on Monday, August 25th, you'll be able to see photos and read first-hand accounts of all the great things that the delegates and Headquarters staff are doing in San Diego.

What's even better is that if you have a thought, a comment or a convention memory to share with others, the blog is now equipped with a commenting function. All you have to do is click the "comment" link underneath any of the blog posts and you can share your thoughts with everyone else who is reading the blog!

Well, that's all for now, but make sure to keep checking back, starting on Monday, to see all the cool stuff we have in store!

Countdown to Convention: 6 Days Left

In less than a week delegates from all eight districts in the U.S., Canada and Norway will gather together in San Diego California for Sons of Norway's 60th Biennial International Convention. It will be a time for Sons of Norway members to come together and help chart the future of our beloved organization. That's a pretty weighty thing to be tasked with, but we know the delegates are up to the challenge!

Because delegates are charged with the duty of making decisions that will help chart a course for Sons of Norway over the next two years (and sometimes beyond). With that kind of responsibility there are some important things to keep in mind as you prepare for the convention.

  1. Come with an open mind. There will be a lot of different issues being discussed by different people and its good to be open to ideas other than your own.

  2. Be a "Change Agent." Change, while sometimes scary, can be a good a thing. As a delegate, think about things we, as an organization, can do together to change for the better.

  3. Be an effective communicator. During the general sessions, delegates will be expected to take up discussions on the issues at hand. The most efficient way to do this is to effectively communicate your point of view. However, its more than just saying what you think. Effective communication is a two way street that requires strong listening skills as well. Also, a big part of being an effective communicator is being able to back up your argument with strong supporting information.

  4. Maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. This is probably the most important element, which is why it was saved until last. Having a positive attitude is the one thing that will make the difference between your convention experience being a good one or a bad one. There's going to be a lot of fun and exciting stuff happening at this year's convention and with a positive attitude it will be more fun than ever!
Well, that's all for now. Be sure to check back later for updates about the convention. Don't forget that beginning on Monday night the blog will be posting information from the convention site in San Diego!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Countdown to Convention: 9 Days Left

There's just over a week left until the 60th Biennial Sons of Norway International Convention gets underway. This year there will be Breakout Sessions offered to all delegates, guests and other attendees. We had a great experience with them in Vancouver, back in 2006, that we decided to bring them back again. They will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, August 28th and the format will be the same as last time--Eight total sessions in four time slots, allowing attendees to choose from two different sessions during each time slot. The schedule is as follows:

Time: 1-1:45 p.m.
Option A: Investing in Our Future: Youth Programming
Option B: Lodge Resources Booklet

Time: 1:45-2:30 p.m.
Option A: Technology Resources for Lodge Programming
Option B: Brainstorming Session 1: Lodge Programming Ideas

Time: 3-3:45 p.m.
Option A: Planning a Successful New Membership Dinner
Option B: Brainstorming Session 2: Lodge Fund Raising Ideas

Time: 3:45-4:25 p.m.
Option A: Norwegian Genealogy Today: Great Progress Through Technology
Option B: Successful Programming Through Foundation Funding

If you haven't already, it's probably time to think about which of the Breakout Sessions you want to attend on Thursday afternoon. To help you make your decision, please take a look at the descriptions of the various sessions below:

Investing in Our Future: Youth Programming
In this session attendees will explore an assortment of programs designed specifically for Sons of Norway lodges who wish to develop youth programs. The session will be moderated by International Vice President, Dan Rude.

Lodge Resources Booklet
Learn about the newest lodge tool from Sons of Norway. The session, lead by Sons of Norway Headquarters staff Erik Evans and Nichole Neuman, will unveil the Sons of Norway Resources Booklet that lists and describes all of the resources available to lodges for programming.

Technology Resources for Lodge Programming
The Technology Resources session will be moderated by Sons of Norway IT Director, Rachele Hockert and staffer Erik Evans. Here, attendees will learn about all the existing and new programming resources available from Topics will include downloadable offerings, the Sons of Norway Blog and the new message board available to members.

Brainstorming Session 1: Lodge Programming Ideas
This brainstorming session, lead by Jon Tehven, will be an idea-generating discussion for members. During the session, everyone will have the opportunity to share ideas and success stories about their experiences with lodge programming.

Planning a Successful New Membership Dinner
Here, Director of Agencies Leonard Carlson will lead a panel discussion on New Membership Dinners. He and his panel will discuss the benefits of working with FBC's to plan the event and how much success other lodges have experienced through this program.

Brainstorming Session 2: Lodge Fund Raising Ideas
During this session District 6 President, Janie Kelly, will lead a brainstorming discussion on issues related to lodge fund raising. She will have a panel of speakers on hand to discuss their success, but will also be asking attendees to share their experiences, good and bad, as well.

Norwegian Genealogy Today: Great Progress Through Technology
In the past, conducting genealogical research as a lodge program has been a time consuming effort. This session explores the numerous time-saving tech tools available to lodge genealog programs, including online databases and the Sons of Norway genealogy programs.

Successful Programming Through Foundation Funding
Because participation in Foundation-related programming can strengthen your lodge and help recruit new members, Foundation Director Cindy Olson will lead a discussion on all the available resources from the Sons of Norway Foundation. This session will illustrate the potential for success through a discussion and presentation.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Countdown to Convention: 11 Days Left

Just a quick post for the weekend:

There's 11 days left until the 60th Biennial International Convention kicks off and there's a lot going on.

Hey delegates! Have you read the post about your Convention Report Book yet? How about the one on all the great social events that the Host Lodge has planned? In not, make sure you because there's a lot of interesting and helpful information for you.

Right now, we are making some final preparations and I'm sure the Host Lodge is doing the same. Putting together an event like this one can be quite a challenge, but in the end it's all for the good of our beloved organization, right? That's right!

This is going to be a great event for everyone who attends. The International Lodge meetings with the delegates are going to help us chart the future of Sons of Norway and the social events are going to top-shelf fun! Also, don't forget about the Breakout Sessions being offered on Thursday, August 28th. We had such great success with them in Vancouver back in 2006 that we decided to bring them back again. Make sure to check back here on Monday for a larger post about them.

We at the Sons of Norway Headquarters are all very excited about this year's convention and hope you are too! We can't wait to meet all the delegates and guests and get the chance to work together.

Have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to check back on Monday to read all about the exciting Breakout Sessions we have planned for the convention!

Olympic News: Congratualtions to Olaf Tufte and Tore Brovold!

Norway won its first gold medal of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games today! Norwegian rower, Olaf Tufte took home a gold medal for the Mens Single Scull event at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in China! Olaf's time of 6:59.83 beat out his Czech rival, Ondrej Synek, who had a time of 7:00.63. That's less than a one second difference in time. Isn't it astounding the things some people can accomplish in the blink of an eye? Sounds like Michael Phelps knows all about that.

And yes, while this blog is normally devoted to things of a more Norwegian theme, we would be remiss if we did not congratulate Mr. Phelps on his historic achievement of winning seven gold medals thus far, and to wish him luck on the last leg of his quest to become the first person to ever win eight at the Olympics.

Also, at the same time Olaf Tufte was rowing his way to a gold medal, Norwegian skeet shooter Tore Brovold brought home Norway's second silver medal of this year's Olympic Games. If you are a fan of shooting skeet, then this competition was one for the ages. Tore and Vincent Hancock, of the U.S.A., were tied throughout the competition right up to the final where they were in a dead heat, totaling 145 points each. Unfortunately for Tore, during a tie-breaking shoot-off, Hancock scored one point higher, thus ending the competition.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Countdown to Convention: 12 Days Left

To make an event like the Sons of Norway 60th Biennial Convention a success, there needs to be a balance between business meetings and fun for everyone. We think that the combined efforts of the Host Lodge and Sons of Norway Headquarters staff has done a great job doing just that. If you've looked over the agenda in your Report Book you'll notice that there is something fun to do each day of the convention.

Wednesday Night
The plan is to kick things off on Wednesday, August 28th, with the Opening Ceremonies and President's Reception. I can't say much about this event yet because we want it to be a surprise, but I promise you that it will definitely be a night to remember for everyone! International President Ted Fosberg and the Host Committee have a really fun evening in store.

There are a couple of really fun things that I highly recommend. First, beginning at noon on Thursday the International Folk Art Exhibition & Competition will open to delegates. Walking through the exhibition and seeing all the amazing pieces of artwork is always a great way to spend some free time. There will be rosemaling pieces, woodcarvings, woven art and so much more! And remember, every piece you see was created by a Sons of Norway member. The high level of artistry and craftsmanship of our members is always a source of pride for everyone here at the Headquarters. Also, don't forget that if you see something that you think you'd like to try Sons of Norway offers a Cultural Skills Program, which is free to members.

Another fun event on Thursday will be a private recruiter's reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This is open to delegates, guests and other convention attendees who have recruited a new member between June 28th and August 28th. This is going to be a really great event with music, cocktails and time to mingle with other recruiters. If you haven't recruited a new member yet, there's still a couple weeks left and I strongly encourage you to try because you are going to want to miss this evening.

Friday night there will be an optional harbor cruise, which I hope you all have signed up for. We did something similar at the 2006 Convention in Vancouver, B.C. and it was one of my favorite memories from that convention. Knowing the Host Committee, I can promise this cruise will be just as much fun! Dinner Cruise will be a unique and memorable experience that combines 25 scenic miles of magnificent San Diego Skyline and fine dining. The 2 1/2 hour harbor dinner cruise includes a glass of champagne upon boarding, a three-course dinner served, a no host bar and DJ entertainment. The DJ will play a variety of music for your listening and dancing pleasure. While cruising, the San Diego Bay welcomes you with a gorgeous sunset, beautiful views of the San Diego skyline by night, Coronado Bay Bridge, Seaport Village, the Star of India – the world’s oldest active ship and the Pacific Fleet which is host to some of America’s most historic warships such as the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and the retired aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Midway.

After spending three days together, the last evening of an International Convention is a special night and this year is no different. There will be a banquet and dance held to celebrate our last evening together. There will be a social hour, followed by the banquet, presentations of awards and then the dance. This is always a fun night for everyone as friends, both new and old, spend one last evening together before going home.

Remember, there's going to be a lot more going on; these were just a few of the fun and exciting events that are planned for this year's Sons of Norway International Convention. Make sure to keep checking back to learn more about what's going to be happening in San Diego!

Olympic News: Congratulations to Sara Nordenstam!

Congratulations to Norwegian swimmer, Sara Nordenstam, who won the a bronze Olympic medal in yesterday's 200 meter breaststroke event!

Along with her medal,
Nordenstams time also gave her back the European record, which she had briefly lost in Wednesday's semi-final.

This is only the second medal for Norway at this year's Summer Olympics. Thus far both have been in swimming events.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Countdown to Convention: 13 Days Left

There's just under two weeks left until things kick off at Sons of Norway's 60th Biennial International Convention. On Wednesday, August 27th, delegates from all eight districts in the U.S., Canada and Norway will gather together for the opening ceremonies that will kick off 4 days of fun and excitement!

In the meantime, all delegates should have received their Convention Report Books by now and we hope you will take some time to familiarize yourself with its contents. In addition to all the financial and membership information, there's a lot of other important stuff to take in, and we'd like to point out a few areas to pay special attention to.

  1. Agenda: The agenda, on page 2, is probably one of the first things a delegate should read. It provides an outline of the meetings and special events for delegates, with room assignments and start-times. Participation is important, so give the agenda a red-through to find out where all the excitement is happening during the convention.

  2. Reports Section: This section, found on pages 8-39, contains the reports from our International President, Ted Fosberg, as well as our CEO, John Lund, and the rest of Sons of Norway's Senior Staff. The information has been broken down by department to make specific information easier to find. Take some time to read through this section and learn about the various departments at Sons of Norway have been doing over the last biennium and what their new plans are for the future.

  3. 2006 Action Items: At the last convention, in Vancouver B.C., there were a number of resolutions passed on issues ranging from our mission statement to the reports of some departments. The Action Items section of this year's report book, found on page 84, review the status of these resolution and provide an update for delegates and our International Board of Directors.

  4. Proposed Law Changes: Since the proposals of this section have a direct bearing on our Charter and Constitution, which is the foundation of our beloved organization, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with this information, which can be found on page 91.

  5. Proposed Resolutions: On page 105 you'll find all the resolutions that will be discussed and voted on during the convention. It's important for a couple of reasons to read this section prior to your arrival.

    First, it gives you the opportunity to think about how you feel about a particular resolution, good or bad, and develop your arguments for or against it. Remember, at the convention each resolution will be given time for discussion where you can speak your thoughts and provide your arguments for or against said resolution.

    Second, by reading the resolutions well in advance you will have time to discuss them with other members in your lodge, and maybe even others in your district. This is paramount, because when you cast your vote, it will have an effect on both your lodge, your district and the people in them who you are representing.
If you have any questions about your report book, or any section within it, do not hesitate to contact the Sons of Norway headquarters for clarification. Call us at (800) 945-8851 and we'll be happy to help you in any way we can.

Also, don't forget that the convention is more than just business meetings and resolutions. There's going to be a lot of fun events to enjoy also. For example, in the evening on Thursday, August 28th, there will be a recruiter reception open to all attendees or guests who have recruited a new member between the dates of June 28th and August 28th, 2008. It's going to be an exciting event for everyone who comes and there will be more information posted here in the coming days about it. But until then, you can learn more about it by reading the invitation on the inside front cover of your convention report book.

Well, that's all for now, but be sure to keep checking back for more information about the convention as well as some some interesting articles on other topics related to Sons of Norway!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Countdown to Convention: 14 Days Left

There's two weeks left until things kick off at Sons of Norway's 60th Biennial International Convention. On Wednesday, August 27th, delegates from all eight districts in the U.S., Canada and Norway will gather together for the opening ceremonies that will kick off 4 days of fun and excitement!

But until then the blog will host a series, along with its regular content, called Countdown to Convention. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be posting information about the convention, as well as articles for delegates with suggestions on how to prepare for the convention and what to expect while there. We'll also be posting information for those who were unable to attend--in fact, starting on Monday, August 25th, there will be a series of posts from the convention hotel, so everyone can follow the goings-ons in real time. Make sure to check back often that week to see photos from the convention, thoughts about the day's events and news announcements.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic News: Congratulations to Alexander Dale Oen!

It's been a heck of a week for Norwegian swimmer, Alexander Dale Oen! First, on Saturday Oen broke the Olympic record for the men's 100m breaststroke with a time of 59.41 seconds. This not only broke the previous record but it also made him the second fastest swimmer of all time in that event!

Then, as if that weren't enough, Oen entered the annals of Olympic history once more, yesterday, by becoming the first-ever Norwegian to win an Olympic Medal in a swimming event! While his silver medal winning time of 59.20 seconds wasn't enough to get the gold (Japanese Olympian, Kosuke Kitajima, took that medal with a time of 58.91) it was more than enough to hold off Hugues Duboscq of France who had a time of 59.37.

So far Oen stands alone as the only Norwegian to win a medal at this year's Olympics. However Norway's women's football team have a match today and they are being picked by some to successfully repeat their 2004 Sydney Games performance with another gold medal.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We've Only Just Begun

Hi everybody! I know that many of you have been stopping by the Sons of Norway Blog for a couple of weeks now, following Marcia Stein on her amazing Norwegian Experience trip and I hope that you've enjoyed reading all about it here.

So, now that the Norwegian Experience is over with, what's next? That's a great question and it's one that we've been discussing a lot here at Sons of Norway. We're putting together a bunch of new ideas and over the next few days and weeks we'll be rolling them out right here! We're all very excited about it and hope you are too. So, make sure to keep checking back as we'll have new posts starting up on Monday!

Until then, have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Norwegian Experience Trip: Final Thoughts from Marcia Stein

We've been home for almost a week, but my family and I are still talking about all the things we saw and the things we wanted to see if we went back again. This trips was so amazing for me--I had always wanted to go to Norway, and might have gotten there eventually, but I know that trip never would have compared to the trip I got from the Norwegian Experience contest! I can't thank Viking, Sons of Norway and Borton enough! This was a marvelous trip that I never would have taken on my own! I'm glad to be home, but there's a part of me that wishes I was still there.

Now that I've been home for a bit, I've had some time to reflect on everything I saw. I could list off my favorite places and activities, but the list would be endless so I'll say this:
Norway is such a beautiful country and its close to my heart because my grandparents emigrated from there and I spent many summers as a youth with them at their farm in Minnesota. A pretty place, to be sure, but it doesn't compare to the beauty of Norway. Also, everything I saw was so meaningful. From the fjords and coasts to the statues and fountains in the cities, everything had a special meaning to it, which is different from where I live (here they're trying to build a statue of Fonzie!). I guess its the history of the country and all the stories that give these things meaning. I can't say enough about it!

All in all, it was an experience unlike any other. I've never done anything like this before and I can't say enough good things about my experience. Thank you so much to Sons of Norway and Borton Overseas!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Norwegian Experience Day 10: Part 2

Well, Marcia has been home for a few days now getting rested up and shaking off the jet lag of a seven-hour time difference. Sons of Norway caught up with her to talk about her experiences on her last day in Norway as well as some final thoughts about the trip.

When we last checked in with Marcia and her group they were getting ready to head off to the Hadeland Glassworks. Marcia reported that she was amazed by the size of their facilities and the artisans working there. While there, she and her traveling companions were taken on a private tour of the factory and grounds. The highlight of which being the opportunity for Marcia to try her hand at glass blowing.

She had this to say: "It was so much fun! I got to make a small vase, which is now sitting on my mantle. The process that glass blowers go through is very interesting and it's not very easy either. When I was working on my piece I had to keep blowing and blowing until I ran out of air and had to take a breath. You can actually see where that happened in the final piece, which is ok because it makes my vase unique."

After that Marcia and her group watched the professional artisans and apprentices working on glass pieces that would eventually be sold to the public. They watched the Hadeland crew make some new plates and bowls, and then saw the process that adds color to all of the glass pieces made. "After seeing all that, and experiencing first-hand the creating of a Hadeland piece, it really makes you appreciate the work and effort that has to go into each piece. I'd never really thought about it until I saw the artisans at work."

After the tour Marcia and her group were treated to a sumptuous salmon luncheon and a trip to the Hadeland shop on the grounds of the Glassworks, where she used her NOK 1000 gift certificate that had been kindly provided by Hadeland for the Norwegian Experience winner. "It was a great shopping experience," said Marcia. "I loved everything I saw, but in the end I bought some gift ornaments for my great-grandchildren and a beautifully elegant glass vase for myself."

The rest of the day was spent in Oslo, where Marcia got some last minute shopping in. She picked up some very interesting books on rosemaling, like Rosemaling i Valdres, as well as a great cookbook. After that it was time for her to head back to her hotel and rest up for her journey home.

Final Thoughts
Check back tomorrow around mid-day for some final thoughts from Marcia, the 2007 Norwegian Experience winner!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sons of Norway Blog

Well, Marcia is home from her 10-day Norwegian Experience trip, but she's still collecting her final thoughts on her time in Norway. We'll catch up with her in a little while, but in the mean time let's take a tour around the Sons of Norway blog, so you can get familiar with all of its bells and whistles!

Here, in the left-side column, you will find the primary blog posts. In the future you will find information on topics ranging from the upcoming International Convention to interesting news items and everything in between. We plan to post new information every couple of days, so please keep checking back to see what's new and exciting at Sons of Norway.

Next, there's some new points of interest (other than Norway beating the U.S. in women's soccer). If you take a look down the right side of this page you will see a number of resources that may be of interest to you. First, underneath the "About Us" section, you will see a poll that currently asks which medal you think Ingrid Tørlen and Nila Håkedal, the reigning Norwegian beach volleyball champions, will win at this year's Olympics? These polls are designed to be fun, raise awareness about news items related to Norway and give members a chance to weigh in with their opinions.

Below that you will find the "blog archives" and the "labels" section. These are used to help our visitors find information as easily as possible. The blog archives are great for visitors who are looking for an older post, with entries broken down by year and month. This will be a great tool as the blog goes on and there are many months and years worth of posts. Also, the labels section helps visitors search for specific information within posts. For example, if you happen to be looking for all posts that mention Bergen or Mt. Fløien all you have to do is click the "Bergen" or "Mt. Fløien" link and it will display all posts about those subjects.

Finally, at the bottom of the right-hand column you will see an item that will probably be of interest to many of our visitors, called the News of Norway section. This is a dynamic news feeder that provides links to various online news stories about Sons of Norway. It's a great way to keep up with what other lodges are doing in their own communities as well as a resource for ideas about successful lodge programming.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Norwegian Experience Trip Day 10: Part 1

Today was Marcia's last day in Norway, but it was a busy one. She started out her day with a chauffeured ride through the country to the Hadeland Glassworks. Once there she went on a guided tour of the factory and museum.

About Hadeland: Founded in 1762, with production starting in 1765, the Hadeland Glassworks is widely recognized for its quality glass and creative artisans. However, that hasn't always been the case. Early on Norway didn't have the requisite craftsmen to create the glass pieces, so the Norwegian company was often required to recruit them from other countries, like Germany. Today, however, Hadeland's designers typically come from Norway.

After Marcia's tour of the Glassworks, she was invited to try her hand at blowing glass and creating a one-of-a-kind memento of her trip (hopefully she packed it well for her return trip)! Finally, there was some time for shopping, where Marcia got to use a 1,000 NOK gift certificate provided by Hadeland Glassworks.

The rest of Marcia's day was left to her and her companions to take a leisurely stroll, or do some last minute shopping before going home on Saturday.

Check back on Monday evening to learn more about the final days of her trip and how it feels to be home after the trip of a lifetime!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Norwegian Experience Trip Day 9

Thursday was a day for Marcia and her companions to explore more of Oslo on their own. The first oder of the day was to visit Akershus Castle, the location of numerous historical events. It's image has become so intrinsically bound to Norwegian identity that a portion of the fortress was even replicated in the Norway pavilion at Epcot Center.

After that, it was time to visit the Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History). Established in 1894, this large open-air museum is the site of 155 buildings, which have been relocated from different areas of Norway. Probably the most significant of which being the Gol Stave Church. Built around 1212, the church was relocated to the Norsk Folkemuseum in 1880 at the behest of the Norwegian Society for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments.

Marcia had this to say about the museum, "The Gol church was so breath-taking! the carvings were so intricate and gorgeous! I think my favorite part, though, was the folk dancers. They put on a show every hour and we were able to see a couple of their performances."

After that, Marcia and her family spent the evening dining at the Hard Rock Cafe in Oslo. According to Marcia, "this was some of the first 'Americanized' food we'd had the entire trip. We really tried to eat mostly traditional Norwegian food, which has been so delicious! But, I will admit it was nice to have some fajitas and ice cream as a little treat."

Make sure to check back over the weekend to hear about Marcia's last full day in Norway and her trip to the Hadeland Glassworks.