An article on Linkedin caught my eye a few weeks ago. It encouraged people to spend time thinking about what you wanted. This appealed to me as I am a thinker. I started thinking about Sons of Norway and in particular District Three and my goals as your President (communication, collaboration, community). And the result of my thinking is that despite challenges we have faced and will continue to face, I am feeling good about good ole District Three! Hmppppppph, you may be saying, what water cooler is she drinking from? Here is what I thought about. Since my first term as President beginning in 2014, I have seen:
- Increased communication. We are talking to each other more, whether it be through social media or attending each other’s lodge functions.
- Increased support – we have had quite a few lodge anniversaries and it is so great to see people from different lodges joining in the celebration. At Fredriksten’s 105th Anniversary celebration, there were nine different lodges in attendance and two of them were from Florida.
- Our Florida lodges welcome the northern snow birds each winter
- We are thinking out of the box – Scandinavian Heritage had an information table at a polar bear exhibit; Hampton Roads will be setting up an information table at a Home Improvement show where attendance is typically in the thousands. For the past two years we have had a table at ScanFest in Northern NJ where the attendance is in the thousands. Blafjell participates annually in a parade of nations. Many members are working hard at getting the word out about Sons of Norway.
- Land of the Vikings is open for business and old customers have come back and new customers are appearing.
- We are in the community – read a lodge newsletter and you can see that there has been participation in some kind of community related event, whether it is a food kitchen or a walk for a particular cause.
So, what am I envisioning for the future as we move forward to the end of my term in June 2018:
- Lodge consolidation – which is not a bad thing. It is better to have a strong lodge with a larger core of engaged members than a few smaller lodges with members who are no longer able to be engaged as they once were or just plain burnt out and need a break.
- Support mechanisms – we are slowly building support mechanisms for lodges with declining membership or disengaged members. There is no magic bullet, no one size fits all solution. We will address each lodge situation individually as it presents itself and I am hopeful we will come to meaningful resolutions.
- Communications – continued communications. But remember, communications is a two way street. Please join the conversation when asked or start a new conversation.
- Member engagement – our 3D walking contest has gotten many members up and about. I see it as a catalyst for increased involvement. Think out of the box to engage your members.
- Publicity – we have to work on this one. We have to tell the world what we do and that doesn’t come easy for us but we are working on it!
Despite the challenges we face, I know we will survive. Why? Because I have met so many of you and you are great and you are resilient. We are strong in spirit and steadfast, a winning combination!