Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet the 2010 Norwegian Experience Winner

Sons of Norway and Borton Overseas are very excited to announce the latest winner of the Norwegian Experience recruitment contest, Nancy Madson! As the 2010 winner, Nancy and a guest will be spending nine days visiting some of Norway’s most scenic and historic places, including UNESCO World Heritage sites and several stave churches.

A member since 1990, Nancy has held numerous lodge leadership positions and is currently vice president of Solskinn 6-150 and a District 6 zone director. I had an opportunity to speak with Nancy and learn more about her as well as the upcoming trip.

What do you like most about your lodge?
“We really are planning some great activities at the lodge. We have several cultural skills groups in hardanger, music and rosemaling, a literature blog and a folk dancing group as well as a lunch and supper club. We also are doing some great succession planning for our lodge leadership.”

Why did you join Sons of Norway?
“I grew up in Mankato, Minnesota and had always been surrounded by other Norwegian-Americans, but I never had any exposure to Sons of Norway until I moved to Southern California and saw an ad in the paper for a lodge that was just starting. I was so surprised that there were other Norwegians in that part of the country that I decided to attend the event. I had always had an interest in my heritage and had attended Nordic Fest in the past, but my interest really increased after the loss of my parents—when it is too late to ask questions about bunads and family recipes.”

Were you recruited?
“No, I attended a lodge meeting after seeing an ad in the local paper. It turns out that the meeting that I attended was only the 2nd meeting the lodge had ever held and they asked me to become the publicity director for the lodge—I hadn’t even officially joined yet but I said yes!”

Do you have any family in Sons of Norway?
“I have a sister and niece that are both members. At one time I had purchased gift memberships for all of my siblings and a distant relative in Norway. My nephew and niece both have a strong interest in their heritage. My nephew wants to learn how to make lefse and my sister has been teaching my niece and grandniece Norwegian baking. It’s really important to pass our heritage and traditions on to others. I don’t have any children, but I enjoy passing on those traditions to my nephew, niece and grandnieces.”

What do you like best about Sons of Norway?
“Many things…mostly the camaraderie. Getting together with people with a shared interest. Membership in Sons of Norway was also good for me on a personal level. I used to be terrified of public speaking! But, when I first became a cultural director I had to learn how to give presentations. Several leadership positions later, I’m much more comfortable and I now give leadership workshops.”

How did you find out that you’d won the Norwegian Experience contest?
“Dan Rude, our International President, left a message on my answering machine saying he would like to talk with me and that he would call back at a different time. My first thought was, ‘oh no something is really wrong in my district!’ Luckily, it was good news and a definite surprise!”

What are you most looking forward to when you travel to Norway?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing so many stave churches. I traveled to Norway in 2000 to attend the International Convention in Stavanger, but that was 11 years ago. I’m really looking forward to seeing the differences and things that have changed since the last time I was in Norway. I’m also looking forward to enjoying the trip with others. We’ll be joining attendees of the Presidential Tour so it will be a lot of fun to experience Norway with other members.”

The contest is open to anyone who recruited at least one new member last year. How many new members did you recruit and do you have any tips to share about recruiting?
“I didn’t recruit that many, 4. I know there are people who recruited many more people than me--it really is all the luck of the draw! Over the years we’ve tried a few recruiting ideas and letter writing campaigns, but simply asking others in your community works. Just recently I was at a Chamber mixer and someone overheard a conversation I was having with another person about lutefisk and that peaked the person’s interest. I always have copies of Viking magazine in my car, so I went out and grabbed them a copy and showed them what they’re missing.”

Be sure to check in with us in the coming months as we continue to blog about the big trip, and don’t forget you, too, can be eligible to win the Norwegian Experience! Check out the Norwegian Experience 2011 ads in the March and upcoming April issue of Viking to learn more or call 800-945-8851.

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