Sunday, June 12, 2011

Camp Trollfjorden, Year 3

In 2009, our family attended Trollfjorden Language and Cultural Camp (at Lake Metigoshe, ND) for the first time (remember?) to learn more about our Norwegian heritage.  We enjoyed the experience so much that we returned again last summer (remember?).  Thereafter, I was invited to join the camp's board of directors (remember?), which pretty much guaranteed that we'd be returning to camp again this summer (and each summer for the foreseeable future).  The overall schedule for the weekend was the same as in past years, but I do have photos, videos, and anecdotes to share of details unique to this summer's camp experience.

(Remember to click on a photo to enlarge it for greater detail.)

We left early enough Thursday to make a stop for dinner at Denny's Pizza Inn (home of the best pizza in the state) in Bottineau, ND before we headed to camp.  Then I had some pre-camp board/staff meetings to attend before camp got underway.  There was registration late in the afternoon followed by supper and a tour of the Norwegian craft options available for classes the next two days.  Then we gathered for a program on the experience of Norwegian immigrants to America.  That was followed by folk dancing and then some shut-eye.

One end of the retreat center was reserved as the sleeping quarters for the girl campers, so Suzanna, Abigail, and Hillary slept in bunk beds in adjacent rooms there.  Another end of the retreat center housed the boys, and adults were in bedrooms in other spots.  One corridor in the middle of the retreat center has eight theme rooms in which staff members stay.  Susan and I were put in the Ojibwa room.  It was the fanciest "camping" quarters I've ever seen!
These items were on display during Thursday evening's cultural program.  In the middle is a wooden trunk, and the items around it are examples of some of the things that a Norwegian immigrant would have brought to America.  We heard stories about traveling to, and settling in, the U.S.
A sign in the great room where we gathered both for the programs and for the dancing.  Literal translation: "Now shall we dance.  I like folk dancing."
There were nearly 70 people at camp, which is a full house for our facilities.  That makes for a large group for folk dancing!
Can you spot the Mobergs?

Friday and Saturday began with early-morning helse turer ["health walks"] on trails through the hills and trees on the south shore of Lake Metigoshe.  Then we ate breakfast, took language classes, took crafts classes, ate dinner, sang Norwegian songs, had more language and crafts classes, and shopped at the butikk (more on that in a sec) before supper.  Friday night there was another cultural program, this one on the North American travels of Viking explorer Leif Eriksson; and Saturday night we gathered around a bonfire near the lake, eating s'mores and singing Norwegian songs.  Both nights ended with more folk dancing indoors (followed on Saturday with a late-night snack of rommegrøt [a porridge made from cream and topped with sugar and cinnamon]).

I had treasurer duties to do during the day, so I didn't sign up for craft classes this year.  Instead I used that time to tend to treasurer tasks, including setting up and running the butikk ["boutique"] each day (with Susan's help--a "perk" of being the treasurer's wife!) so campers could purchase T-shirts, Norwegian candy, souvenirs, and gifts.  Hillary worked on small crafts with the other children her age, making (among other items) a canvas handbag decorated with Nordic designs as well as a wallet made out of red, blue, and white duct tape to create the Norwegian flag on it--clever!  Abigail took a rosemaling [a style of decorative painting] class, decorating the frame of a mirror to hang in her bedroom.  Suzanna took a Hardanger [a style of Nordic needlework] class, making a small bell pull with blue and pink stitches on tan linen.

Each morning we gathered outdoors to sing the Norwegian national anthem in front of the Norwegian flag.
Rolf, one of the staff members, portrayed Leif and gave a detailed monologue on his life and travels (accompanied by a slideshow of related maps and photos).
Saturday morning we walked along a trail that has wooden troll faces hidden among the trees for us to find all along the way!
Susan was asked to help prepare the smørbrød ["butter bread"], the name for open-faced sandwiches that are made to look fancy and are common throughout Scandinavia.  We ate these for dinner on Saturday.
Camp photo!
Here is the board of directors for the camp: Helene, Kari, Sonna, Bonnie, Jolene, and I.
We Mobergs "talked up" the camp to our fellow lodge members back home, so three of them attended camp with us this year, and one brought along her granddaughter from Fargo.  Representing Hardanger Lodge 4-652 are Dave and his wife Cathy (past president), Lynette (current president), Susan (secretary), Hillary, Abigail, I (youth director), Suzanna (musician), and Lynette's granddaughter Amanda.
Gotta have a family photo near the Norwegian flag.
Here is the group gathered around the bonfire, singing and roasting marshmallows.  The lake is visible through a break in the trees.
This morning the whole group of us attended church together at Metigoshe Lutheran Church, located on the grounds of the retreat center.  And, like last year, we got to chat with my cousin Marsha's daughter Tracy, who is a counselor for Camp Metigoshe in the summer.  The camp counselors help to lead music for the church services, and it was "toe-tappin' music" (in the song leader's words) that was more energetic than some of the older Trollfjorden campers are probably used to at their home congregations!  Then, before everybody packed up to return home, we had a final meal of vaffler ["waffles," made in little heart shapes and served with whipped cream and berry sauce] and Scandinavian pannekaker ["pancakes," made much lighter and "egg-ier" than the cake-like American version].  Susan and the girls waited for me to attend some post-camp staff and board meetings, and now we're on our way back to Denny's Pizza Inn for juneberry malted milks before we head back to southwest ND!

At Metigoshe Lutheran Church, the congregation faces this bank of windows that looks out upon the lake--beautiful.

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