Camp Finland 2015 a Huge Success!

The 2015 Camp Finland at the Clair Nelson Center was a huge success!

This year’s day camp served 25 kids for five amazing days of fun and learning. Nearly thirty adult volunteers, instructors, and chaperones helped make Camp happen this year, as well as multiple teenage counselors and counselors-in-training. Co-ordinators Amy Gardner and Kathy Nelson did an outstanding job, as did our counselors and CITs; Kenny Albrecht, Julia Littlewolf, Aurora Ramsdell, Al Robertson and Chase Peterson!

Big thanks go to those who donated in order to make Camp happen: the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Silver Bay Charitable Fund, Whitetails Unlimited Cabin Fever Chapter, the Organic Consumers Association, North Shore Federal Credit Union, Co-op Light and Power, Holiday Stationstores, Zup’s, Marlene and Arnold Overby, and Ellen Sundholm.

Also big thanks to the helpers, volunteers and instructors: Dean Paron and Lara Richardson for giving training for the counselors in first aid, CPR, and AED; Shelly Tibbets, Elli King and Kurt Mead for their help on the Tettegouche field trip; Trisha Harrison for help on the field trip to Flathorn Lake; Rauiri Scoles and Marc Smith for help with the camp-out overnight; Andrew Norcross and Heather Brown for providing old time music; Emily and Laura from Lake County Soil and Water for their session on invasive species; Danette Sundvick and Lara Richardson for their session with the campers on first aid and practice 911 calls; Ron Van Bergen and John Brain for their kiteflying workshop; the Tuesday Talents craft group for making personalized backpacks with the kids; and Gretchen Gilbertson for her amazing help in the kitchen and wherever needed.

Thanks again to all (and anyone we’ve forgotten) and we hope to do it all again next year!

Update on Business Incubator Project – June 2015

We are pleased to announce that in 2014 we were able to refer and assist two different local business start-ups. In 2015, we are already incubating one business, Sarah Wilson’s Acupuncture. Sarah offers acupuncture to clients on a flexible schedule most Fridays between 3-6pm in the Clair Nelson Center meeting rooms. Contact us at 353-0300 if you are interested!

In addition, we will soon have two different entities renting our kitchen for business purposes. One is the Finland Co-op, which has hired local chef Tracy Jacobson as a baker to make local and organic artisan bread in the Clair Nelson Center kitchen which will then be sold at the Co-op.

The other business is called Superior Salt, which handcrafts gourmet flavored sea salt in small batches. More info at

Stay tuned to see how these projects develop!


Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship 2015 Awards

The 2015 recipients of the Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship are Taylor Haselow of Finland, who will be studying veterinary technology at Ridgewater College; Kayla Maleski of Silver Bay, who will be studying nursing at Rochester Community and Technical College; and Spencer Tiboni of Silver Bay who will be studying heavy equipment operation and maintenance at Central Lakes College.

The Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship Fund annually awards scholarships to individuals who are enrolled (or in the process of enrolling) in a program focusing on a vocational degree or certification. Three scholarships of $350 are awarded. This scholarship is granted to adults and high school seniors in Lake Superior School District. The application period for 2016 is Jan. 1 to March 1.

These scholarships are made possible by individual giving. The late Clair Nelson was a big support and inspiration for this program. Let’s keep his memory vital with these donations! Support the Clair Nelson Vocational Scholarship Fund by making a tax-deductible donation here.


Clair Nelson Center Partners with North Shore Horizons to Provide Advocacy Services in Finland

Thanks to a grant from the Northland Foundation, we now have NSH logotwo advocates trained to provide assistance in filing protective orders, safety planning, and accessing area resources  for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Those in need are welcome to walk in during the Center’s regular office hours from 10am – 4pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and ask for Honor or Joni.

Now on Thursdays! Finland Farmers Market 2015!

Starting June 18th and continuing through September. Every Thursday evening from 5-6:30 pm unFFM Logo without Haloder the Pavilion at the Clair Nelson Center. Rain or Shine!

Vendors: 1st Week is free! $5 per week or $50 for the season

More info or to register call us at 218-353-0300!

We will be able to accept credit cards!


Summer 2015 Fundraising Project: Playground and Other Outdoor Improvements

Thanks to the fundraisers and many generous donations last summer, in Fall of 2014 we were able to install really nice cabinets in our meeting rooms for use by community groups. This summer, our goal is to do some enhancements outdoors. While we have been working hard on our building and the things that happen inside of it, the outside has been a bit neglected. And honestly, that makes sense – the playground area in particular gets a lot of use these days! This summer and fall, we’d like to do some work to make it nicer and more user-friendly for everyone! Whitetails Unlimited Cabin Fever Chapter has donated the funds for a swingset that will be installed early this summer, but we also need gravel and topsoil for the playground, sand for the digging toys, heavy-duty outdoor garbage and recycling receptacles, benches, a bike rack, and maintenance work on the tennis court and ball field. This work can be done in pieces if necessary, but we need to raise at least $14,000 in order to do it all. We appreciate your ongoing support! Donations can be made online here.


Healthy Happy Kids Make a Healthy Happy Community!

The Finland Community Youth Program was started four years ago by Elli King when the Clair Nelson Center had just opened and Elli and other parents were observing that there was a glaring lack of activities for kids in the area. Elli very generously donated her time to get Thursday night Youth Night off the ground back then and began organizing and applying for funding. From the very beginning, the Finland Co-op has donated snacks.

Since it started, the Program has grown by leaps and bounds. From about 10 children each week in those early days, to nearly 30 kids every week in 2015, the program now requires more oversight, organization, volunteer help and funding. Two years ago, thanks to support from the North Shore Collaborative, we were able to hire Amy Gardner to coordinate the Program and Kathy Nelson as her assistant. Funding from the Northland Foundation has helped to pay the Coordinators and further develop the program.

Financial support from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Silver Bay Area Fund has helped expand to a year-round Thursday night Youth Night instead of only during the school year. This same funding has also allowed some amazing field trips for these kids, such as pool parties at the AmericInn, bowling at the Silver Bowl, and going to see the Community Theatre productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Nunsense. The program really shines when the kids participate together in other community events. Last December some program youth attended the Finland MN Historical Society’s Pikka Joulu (Little Christmas) as a group and by the end of the evening, they were singing songs with the band and interacting well with the various adult attendees of the event. In other words, participating in community!

Last but not least, the DSACF funding has allowed the creation and expansion of Camp Finland, a week-long day camp for school age kids in June. This year is the second year of Camp Finland and we are so excited! Camp Finland provides our young people with a high quality summer camp experience, fostering a lifelong love of discovery, friendship, learning and leadership. It draws in local talent to lead various activities, as well as utilizing interested teenagers and young adults as “Counselors in Training.” For many of these children, Camp Finland is their only summer camp experience.

If this fun program interests you, please don’t hesitate to volunteer or direct your giving here! Please make a donation or contact Coordinator Amy Gardner for more information.


Food & Folk Art of Mexico Fundraiser

The Food and Folk Art of Mexico Fundraiser was an amazing and beautiful event! Pictures don’t do it justice! Thanks to everyone who came out to dine and bid on items in the silent auction, thanks to the cooks and volunteer helpers and also thanks to Zups for saving us from a small cucumber crisis!

Thank You Finland! The 40th Annual St Urho’s Celebration was Amazing

A huge thank you to everyone who helped to put on the 40th Annual St Urho’s Celebration! Thanks to all the individuals and businesses who sold tickets and buttons, and everyone who bought them! Thanks to Miranda Sve for organizing the Scavenger Hunt, thanks to everyone who participated,and thanks to all the businesses that assisted with that. Thanks to the folks who participated in the Float Workshop. Thanks to the folks who hang up the sign over the highway every year. Thanks to all those who donated photos and helped with the 40-year photo display. Thanks to all those who helped with set-up and prep at the Clair Nelson Center. Thanks to the Friday night Helmi Crew for the best year ever! Special thanks to Ron VanBergen and George Beck for their amazing performance and assistance. Thanks to Terri Ramsdell for being our photographer/videographer! Thanks to the Booya Committee and many other volunteers for help on Saturday morning. Thanks to the tug of war teams – West Branch won! Thanks to Cheri Bischoff and all the parade participants for the best parade ever! Thanks to Jeff Berquist and State Farm insurance for their generous donation to help cover the parade costs. Thanks to Nancy, Suzy and all the kitchen helpers for the great lunch at the Clair Nelson Center after the parade, to Amy, Kathy, kids and parents for the kids activities, Thanks to the Trestle Inn for donating the ice cream machine and supplies, thanks to Thrivent Financial for support for the kids games and the lunch supplies, to Cindy Hansen for helping to sell buttons and raffle tickets at the door, thanks to Fish Soup for playing music on such short notice. Thanks to Adam’s Autovalue and others for providing free sober rides! Thanks to all the businesses who donated door prizes for the raffle ticket drawing. Thanks to Carol and Elwood Youngberg for getting all of the door prizes. Thanks to all the helpers at the drawing, and thanks to the West Branch for hosting! Thanks to Marc Smith for helping to put everything away! Thanks to anyone we’ve forgotten!
Top ticket sellers were
Renee Goneau – over 1000
Heather Lehtinen – 700ish
Owen Klinker – 400ish
Melinda Suelflow – 250s
Miranda and Miranda – 300
Gary Nikolai – 200s
Senja Ahlbeck – 200s
Four Seasons, Our Place and West Branch all sold close to 200, with Trestle Inn and Wildhurst not far behind!
Many others helped out as well, and every bit helps!
Thanks ticket sellers! You rock!
Raffle Winners:
1st Prize- $600 – Faron Meeks
2nd prize – $300 – Mona Thums
3rd Prize – $200 – Wayne Madsen
4th – $100 – Dani Brandes
5th – $40 – Ron Van Bergen
6th – $40 – PJ from Wisconsin
7th – $40 – Colin Bischoff
8th – $40 – Carole Bakke
9th – $40 – Senja Ahlbeck
Thanks everyone who bought tickets!
Thanks to AmericInn Silver Bay, Bri-esa’s, Camp 61, Cedar Chest, Divas Design, Don’s Auto, Finland Co-op, Four Seasons, Hy-Fashion, Jimmy’s Pizza, Julie’s Variety, Maple Grove Bait Shop, Beaver Bay Mobil, Norshor Agency, North Shore Barber Shop, North Shore Federal Credit Union, North Shore Oil and Propane, Northwoods Family Grille, Our Place, Quilt Corner, Teddy’s Plumbing and Heating, the Lake Bank, Vicki’s License, Wildhurst and Zups for your generous door prize donations! Your support helps make the raffle ticket drawing a really nice event.
Again, thanks to everyone! We’ll see you next year at the 41st Annual St Urho’s Celebration on March 18, 19 and 20, 2016! Whoohoo!  Kookelikuu! Please feel free to correct my bad Finnish spelling!