Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is There Room for One More?

Recently I was skimming through some media mentions of Sons of Norway when I came across a short piece in the Las Vegas Weekly. Specifically, it was their annual "Rivalry Issue" and I was surprised to see Sons of Norway mentioned (in the article's third slide).

The piece discusses both of the Las Vegas Lodges, Vegas Viking and Desert Trolls, as well as how they both promote Norwegian heritage and culture in the greater Las Vegas area with events, lodge programs and lutefisk dinners. It then goes on to ask the question "is this town big enough for both?"

Rarely has such a short article given me cause for such pause for thought. Should any city have more than one Sons of Norway lodge? I've heard arguments on both sides of the issue.

Some say that any given city should only have a single lodge because it provides a focal point for Norwegian heritage and culture. Those who ascribe to this line of thought believe that having two or more lodges in a city fractures the efforts of everyone involved, creates unnecessary competition and dilutes the message of Sons of Norway. Essentially the argument is strength in numbers; that all Sons of Norway members in a city should work together toward common goals, and for a common purpose.

However, those who are proponents to the idea of multiple lodges within the same city believe that more lodges means a wider reach for the organization, while allowing each lodge to be unique and offering different pursuits to members with different interests. In essence it's still the argument of strength in numbers, however in this case, the strength is a little different (variety as opposed to unity).

In my humble opinion I think both arguments have their merits, but I think there is a third option. Why not take the best elements of both and build a hybrid model?

In the interest of full disclosure, I live in a metro area where there are as many as 10 lodges (depending on how you define "metro area") with five of them in the same city. But I think that what the lodges here have done is a great example.

You see, while each lodge has it's own identity that's made up of its strengths and pursuits, be they lodge programming, community involvement, fundraising, etc., they also work together for common goals. Thanks to a "Joint Committee" that is made up of members from each of the lodges, all the lodges in the Twin Cities can work together towards common goals, assist one another when needed and pool their resources together to increase their effectiveness in promoting and preserving Norwegian heritage and culture.

Overall it's been an effective way to consolidate our efforts when appropriate, while allowing each lodge to maintain its own identity. It's something I think could be very beneficial to any city where more than one lodge resides. If you'd like to learn more about how lodges can work together or start their own Joint Committee, contact the Sons of Norway Headquarters at 800-945-8851.

With Las Vegas as the current example, I think they are going to do just fine! If you are a member of either Vegas Viking or Desert Trolls, leave a comment. I'd love to hear about how your lodges differ and how they work together.

1 comment:

Erik Pappa said...

The article was great exposure for our two Las Vegas-area lodges and fits into the category of "any publicity is good publicity." While it's useless to deny a little rivalry may exist between our Vegas Vikings and the Desert Trolls,the reality is that we try to support each other in our endeavors. We each share common goals extorting Norwegian and Scandinavian culture and we will be more successful in reaching them together than we will apart. Additionally, I think it's important to support other local Scandinavian groups for the same reason. I myself, while president of the Vegas Vikings, also have joined the local Vasa lodge and hope that I can do my small part to strengthen that organization.