Let’s play at Skogfjorden!

Skogfjordens Family Fun Weekend, or hyttetur, takes place from Jan. 13-16.

Skogfjorden's Family Fun Weekend, or hyttetur, takes place from Jan. 13-16.

Skogfjorden’s annual family fun weekend takes place next week in Bemidji, Minn.

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year? Does your New Year’s resolution include trying something new or learning a new language? On the weekend of Jan. 13 – 16, 2012, head up North to Bemidji, Minn., and enjoy Concordia Language Village’s Family Fun Weekend at Skogfjorden, the Norwegian language village. “I really love introducing new families to Skogfjorden and I especially love introducing kids to the silly antics of their parents,” says Hannah Hansen, who has worked at the weekend for five years and has served as co-leader of the event for the past two winters.

CLV’s Family Fun Weekends focus on language learning in a fun immersion setting. They are meant for kids, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and the rest of the family. In past years, there have been as many as 40 participants, ages 2-80! Most are from Minnesota, but families have come from other parts of the Midwest, including Iowa, North Dakota and Ohio. Each member of the family chooses a Norwegian name for the weekend, lives in a cozy cabin, and focuses on developing language skills through fun activities.  These include cooking lessons, singing, dancing, woodcarving, knitting, snow sculpture (pictured above!) and, if your family enjoys cross-country skiing, pack your skis and hit the trail.

“The weekend has a schedule similar to the summer program with activities, specific language learning for different levels of ability, meal times and evening programs. However, there is also a looseness to the schedule to allow for parents and kids to step away from the program and be as a family,” says Hansen. “I think that the weekend is a great way to introduce your kids to Skogfjorden in preparation for a one week or two week session in the summer program. It is also a good way for a family to have a fun educational experience together.”

Skogfjorden’s Family Fun Weekend celebrates the Norwegian tradition of hyttetur (cozy winter trips to the family cabin) without the financial burden of travelling abroad.  It is also a great way to prepare for such a trip. “Most participants tell us that they attend the weekend in order for their family to connect with each other through a common heritage. But some families have come to get a jump start on language before a family trip to Norway,” Hansen says.

The cost is $250 for adults, and $140 for children ages 0-17. Find more information at http://clvweb.cord.edu/newsite/Programs/Families/norwegian.php.  Is January 13 coming up too soon? Encourage language learning in your family by signing your kids or grandkids up for one of Skogfjorden’s summer sessions.

“Our theme for this year is ‘Tradisjoner: gamle og nye,’” says Hansen (Traditions: old and new). “We consider this weekend to be the first celebration in Skogfjorden’s 50th year. Kom og bli med!” Come and join!

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 6, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.