Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting to Know…District 3 International Director Barbara Berntsen

Our dedicated Barbara Berntsen, recently elected to the position of District Three International Director, began her time with Sons of Norway when she was just nineteen years old! Since then, she can boast a long history with district three, and also a strong family connection—every single family member and in-law belongs to Sons of Norway! What’s kept her going in this great organization? Read on!

Q: Why did you join Sons of Norway? What did it offer you as a young adult that ?

A: At the time, my future in laws were members, so I wanted to get involved in an organization that we could do as a family.

Barbara also said that Sons of Norway was the “night out.” There were a lot of people her age and their kids grew up together in this organization; it was a very big family group.

Q: What initiatives did you start whilst D3 President?

A: I started a new strategic meeting plan. What had happened is, people used to come with reports intact. I started that…everybody now presents their reports early … this way when we got to the board meeting, we had more time for brainstorming, organization and committees. It gave us more time to work things out instead of being more rigid.

Also, as a district board, we revamped and wrote many new procedures for this district for the future.

Q: What changes do you anticipate between being a District President and an International Director?

A: I feel it’s a natural progression, but I also feel that one of my main responsibilities is to report all the great things that are happening in the third district to the international board.

Q: Favorite Norwegian Food?

A: Sylteflesk – like head cheese. My mother in law makes it.

You cook pork and then make a lot of slices and put it together with a lot spice. Then you have to squish it in a press and then cool it down and put in a salt brine. You put in fridge for a month, then serve with boiled potatoes.

That, and waffles.

Q: From what region is your bunad? Does that have personal significance for you / your family?

A: It’s from hardanger. My mother-in-law’s best friend used to be a folk dancer. When she felt that she and her husband were not going to dance any more, [she] asked if anyone wanted a bunad.

Liv remade the skirt and 90 year old Sigrid made apron. My mother-in-law helped me re-bead certain parts. It was a mini-lodge event!

I wore it for the first time at my installation.

Q: What is your favorite Sons of Norway memory?

A: One of them would be having my lodge watch me grow up. We joined the lodge, then got engaged, then married, then children, now I have grand-children. And really move in the organization. We have a great lodge.

When I was elected the first time to the district board. I knew I was prepared, but when I got involved with the district is how I really saw the big picture. That was really a nice time.

Q: What activities do you most enjoy participating in through Sons of Norway?

A: Just visiting with other people when we’re up at Land of the Vikings. A lot of times, we would go up on a lot of weekends (Barbara’s husband, Roy, works on building and grounds). Making new friends from other lodge and meeting the old…

Q: What’s one thing the blog readers should definitely know about you? Any hidden talents?

A: I’m a colonial oil painter, it’s all over my house. I’m from a family of painters.

We’re very involved in the 17th of May parade in Bayridge, Brooklyn. We have a lot of Scandinavian groups--it’s the civic groups, the Sons of Norway groups and the churches.

I’m very involved in the Norwegian Immigration Association. We put on exhibits from late 1800s through just after World War II, mainly about the contributions Norwegians have made to society.

1 comment:

MJ said...

Barbara - head cheese? Uff da!
Looking forward to seeing you next week. :)