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Scandinavian Club looking for more members to celebrate the cultures

The Scandinavian Club is celebrating its 45th birthday this December.

If your ethnic background is Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic or Danish, then the Moose Jaw Scandinavian Club wants you to sign up and help celebrate these cultures.

The club was formed on Nov. 1, 1974 and had 163 members on the rolls. However, that number began to decline during the next 45 years and, as of May 23, had dropped to 24 members. This includes 11 active members, four life members over the age of 90, and nine honorary life members, plus 15 students. 

“We want people to know we’re still here,” said club president Sylvia Stephanson, who joined the club in 1989. “It’s very interesting. I enjoy it.” 

The Scandinavian Club joined the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council in 1974 and was involved with Motif from 1974 until 2011. The club has also been involved with other events over the years, including cultural evenings, anniversaries, bake sales, singing, dancing, and annual Christmas parties.

The club has also celebrated the Constitution days of each of the five countries by placing the respective flag of each country at city hall.   

The club — which celebrates its 45th anniversary in December — gathered on May 17 to celebrate Norway Day, or Constitution Day as it’s known. There were 11 members who attended the supper, while many cultural artifacts of the five countries were also on display. 

For example, explained club member Barbara Grand, there was a pewter candle holder, pewter jewelry and pins, wooden bowls, candles, a calendar, a doll and other items. 

The youngest member at the supper was Grand’s daughter, Meagan, 26, while the oldest member was Herman Simrose, who is more than 90 years old. 

Stephanson and Grand agreed that fellowship is one of the main reasons why they enjoy the group. The club meets once a month for supper and a meeting; in June it will celebrate the birthdays of three of the five countries by holding one get-together. 

Grand is married to a Norwegian, while her two children are half Norwegian and “a little bit” of Scottish, Irish and German. 

Stephanson is half Icelandic and half Norwegian. She took a 10-day trip to Iceland in 2005 in an attempt to find some of her ancestors. She was unsuccessful, and even though she discovered a long lost cousin through the archives, he was unwilling to co-operate with her search. 

“It’s not like (finding someone) on TV,” chuckled Grand. 

Current members of the group include Connie Becker, Barbara Grand, Martin Grand, Meagan Grand, Dan Listoe, Bessie Listoe, Lynn Orten, Sylvia Stephanson, Mary Vangsnes, Mildred Watkinson, Herman Simrose, Evelee Wenaas and Paul Wenaas. 

If anyone is interested in joining the Scandinavian Club, call Sylvia Stephanson at 306-692-2626. Membership is $10 and you receive an ID card as part of the deal. 

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