YSC Event List 2024

Please note that some of these may shift or change, and more may be added.

Do you have suggestions for more events, or want to volunteer? Here’s your chance! Let us know at volunteer@ysc.org

January
1/19 City Happy Hour
1/28 YSC Annual General Meeting

February
2/15 Peninsula Happy Hour
2/24 Elephant Seal Watching

March
3/7 Bowling
3/14 North Bay Happy Hour
3/23 YSC volunteers at the SF Food Bank
3/24 tentative Easter Luncheon
TBD March SF Happy Hour

April
4/12 Clear Lake Clean up Weekend
TBD East Bay Happy Hour
TBD Margaritas in the Park
4/25 Ocean Beach Bonfire

May
5/4 Denmark Day celebrations in Marin
5/9 Peninsula Happy Hour
5/11 Eurovision Viewing Party, joint event with the Scandinavian School
5/17 Norway Day celebrations
5/18 YSC Hike
5/24-27 Camp Norge family weekend (Joint event with Sons of Norway)
5/31-6/2 Clear Lake Opening Party

June
6/8 Tentative Wine Country bus trip
6/13 North Bay Happy Hour
6/21-23 Clear Lake Midsummer weekend
6/? Tentative YSC dinner at the Norwegian Club

July
7/12-14 Yoga/decompression weekend at Clear Lake
TBD SF Happy Hour

August
TBD FAHA weekend in Sonoma
TBD Summer Hike
Aug 16-18 Viking Luau/Pig Roast at Clear Lake
TBD Black Light Olympics at Clear Lake

September
TBD Alameda Brewery Crawl
TBD YSC goes to the Baseball Game
TBD Peninsula Happy Hour
TBD Clear Lake Crayfish Party
TBD Clear Lake Closing Weekend

October
TBD Fleet Week boat event
TBD North Bay Hapy Hour
10/19 Halloween Party
10/26 YSC Bonfire
10/27 Pumpkin Carving

More to come soon, stay tuned!

YSC Member Survey – 2024. This is what we heard…

Post-survey report (long read ahead!)

Thanks to board member and activity director Aaron Zorndorf for setting up our second member survey. As last year’s survey was the first in many years (or ever?), we wanted to do a second one to see if our response and actions on the 2023 survey had paid off.

The feedback we received is great, and serves us as our compass in navigating how we plan events and handle our operations in 2024. Out of 780 emails sent out, we got 69 responses. This means only 9% answered the survey this year, and we need to keep that in mind when analyzing the data. The demographic charts and other statistics may be skewed, but the real treasure is in the comment fields. This is where we get new ideas and inspiration, where we find items we may need to act upon, and the guidelines for our work in the coming year.

Below you will find the results from the survey, as well as our action points for each section. We are not including the hundreds of individual comments we received, but will address the trends that have emerged from them.

One thing we have to point out, in response to one comment: The YSC is not about a certain ethnicity. If you are bothered with the fact that members or their guests may be of non-Scandinavian heritage, you are in the wrong club. Read our bylaws, and read our code of conduct.

Let’s start with the demographics. Just like last year, predominantly male long-timers over 40 years of age.



General satisfaction with the club: 67% of respondents rated overall satisfaction 8/10 or greater


77% of respondents rated BOD performance 8/10 or greater

83% of respondents rated communication means 8/10 or greater. This is a major improvement from last year, which saw 59%.

Conclusions on first part:

We were happy to see that most members like us and appreciate the club and the work the board puts in. Many people feel that communication has improved, but there were also many useful suggestions on how we can kick it up a notch.

We want to clarify that the website is always the #1 go-to to find out about events and news. We post all events to our social media channels as well, but the website is the main information source for our members, and this is also where you purchase tickets and sign up for events.

Some people complained about not getting our emailed newsletters. There is not much we can do from our end (although the webtech team IS looking into this), but want to encourage everyone to take a thorough look at their spam filters, as the YSC emails may get stuck there.

The most negative comments were about our website. This is still a work in progress, and got side-tracked last year when we had an attack on our payment system and had to go back to the drawing board and eventually get a new provider for that functionality.

We have implemented a “subscribe to newsletter” option. This is primarily for spouses who are on a family membership but don’t get the newsletters. Or just anyone who is interested in the club!

Finally, some people complained that the booking system for Tahoe is tricky. Some feel that it is difficult to get the dates you want, and we want to again clarify that the same booking rules apply to all members. Reservations open up 45 days ahead of time, but weekends do book out quickly. Sometimes you have to stay on top of it, and make your reservation as soon as that day opens up, even if it means getting on the website at midnight.

This brings us to our cabins…

The Tahoe cabin

In general, people are very happy with our Tahoe cabin and how it’s being managed.

Some of the feedback we received in the comments we have already touched on in this report, that people feel it’s difficult to book the dates they want. During winter, the cabin is extremely popular for weekend reservations. Anyone who wants a room for a weekend needs to be ready to make their booking as soon as the 45-day reservation window opens up.

There were again some complaints about the heating system, but that is being worked on now.

The parking is always an issue, but there is not much we can do about it, unfortunately. Building out a larger parking deck would be very expensive.

There were some requests for organized weekends at the cabin (hiking, biking, etc). This is something we would need to look at, since we only have 7 rooms, and it depends on the number of people in each room.

The Clear Lake cabin

This one had really improved since last year. We believe it’s a combination of better water quality/lake levels, and a higher number of events offered in 2023.

People really want to continue the dock repair project

Complaints about interior of cabin – which will this spring see a new floor installed!

Someone mentioned “a la carte” weekends. These are the weekends in between the big themed event weekends. You pay the lower, non-event booking fee, fix your own food, and just hang out.

Maybe fix up the porch area?

Requests for more family event weekends

Cultural weekends, perhaps a Nordic cook-off?

Boating weekend

Events, and general comments

We received many suggestions for additional events. These are the ones that very clearly trended, and we are actively working to implement as many of these as possible:

  • More family events
  • More camping/outdoorsy activities
  • More joint events with other Nordic organizations
  • More hikes
  • More events outside of SF
  • More cultural events (movie nights, fika, potluck, etc)
  • Bring back the Yosemite weekends

Longer notice for overnight events, such as camping

Several comments to make events less focused on alcohol, and hints that there is too much drinking going on. We will absolutely do our best to change this. The days of the drinking culture seem to be winding down in many other places too. Also, we want our events to be fun and safe for everyone who join.

We get several requests to bring back the Yosemite weekends. This is unfortunately near-impossible, due to the major changes in the reservation system for the park. That, in combination with the much higher fees, would make it a huge challenge to book. If someone volunteers to give it a try, let us know!

Another BIG item for us to look into is how to attract/retain younger members. There has been a shift in the demographic, and we need to find ways to adapt to that, and recruit new members to join. This is another area where we would love to find volunteers to help out. Considering the age of some of us on the board, we’re not really the people to go out and talk about the club with 20-somethings. 🙂

A big challenge in 2023 was to get people to actually commit and sign up for events. We noticed a clear trend of people waiting longer to sign up and buy tickets for our events. This is troublesome, but again not isolated to just our club. It’s a general trend, which seems to have ballooned after the pandemic. The board is looking at implementing early bird pricing and clear cut-off dates, and incentivize early commitment.

Comments about the website. This is still high on the priority list for 2024, and the webtech team are working on it.

Clear Lake Work Weekend – Spring 2023

A group of 20+ people signed up for this year’s larger-than-normal work weekend at Clear Lake, to get the cabin ready for the summer season.

As you all know, the dock got seriously damaged during the winter storms, with a couple of sections deemed unfit for further use. One section in particular was so damaged that it would have been unsafe to let guests use the dock, so this needed replacing.

One damaged dock section. This one is removed for now, but not yet replaced.
Another damaged dock section

YSC vice president Solveig Barnes, Clear Lake cabin master Dave Conroy, and club member Allen Hinkelman planned and organized this massive repair project, and pulled it off with flying colors. There were some snags along the way, but the team was so focused on getting the work done, they innovated solutions on the spot, and we were able to build the new dock section, AND have it towed across the lake in one weekend.

Solveig, Allen, Andrew and Ryan, assembling the new dock section
These guys did an amazing job, and you could often hear singing from the parking lot where they worked.

There were many factors that contributed to this successful work weekend, but most would agree that the main key to the high level of productivity was being well fed. Seti Shay took on the huge responsibility of cooking for us all, making sure we stayed hydrated (Saturday was HOT!) and never got hangry. Every single meal was a treat!

Seti ran a tight ship, planning and organizing all the meals for the crew. Here with the help of Ramesh!
Mediterranean style breakfast eggs

Fred and Lisa Barnes assisted with invaluable help, letting us use their trailer to tow the dock to the launch ramp, and their boat to tow the dock across the lake. And they kept the spirit of the team up by just being pretty darn awesome people!

The Barnes family. We can’t thank them enough for all their help

Saturday was a hot day. While one crew worked on building the new dock, another group started demolishing and disassembling the damaged sections, a job that seemed to give the workers a bit of satisfaction as they got to swing heavy tools to break things.

Club president Jeanette, winning the battle against rotting dock boards and rusty nails.
Rotting boards, and disintegrating flotation tires and buckets were removed.
Saturday was basically ONE, looong workout.

We also had one group focused on staining the deck, which our local caretaker Rick McCann had power-washed before we all got up there. Rick’s diligence in looking after our cabin is truly amazing. He checks in on the cabin almost daily and sends frequent reports and updates if anything happens or needs repairing.

Erde and Rick, enjoying a well-deserved break
Cabin Master Dave, supervising the deck staining
Eric, putting the final touch of stain to the deck, which is now ready for dining and dancing again!

Another group went to work on all the outdoor furniture, power-washing the tables and benches, and then giving them a fresh coat of paint.

Jo was very proud of her stylish Tyvek suit for the paint job. As a true fashion designer, she modified it by removing the sleeves and cutting off the legs.
Ramesh and Lotti, repainting the tables
So many cobwebs to get rid of!
For those of us lucky to be up early, we got to witness a rare sight. A family of benches cautiously emerging from their winter hibernation.
Jo and Lisa, painting furniture

And inside the cabin we had help from electrician Monica Anderson who fixed a lot of malfunctioning wiring. Monica is a new member, and this huge work weekend was her first club event! We hope we didn’t scare her off… 🙂

In the kitchen, Erde went to town on the messy pantry, an area in dire need of cleaning. He spent the ENTIRE weekend throwing away old food, cleaning all the shelves, organizing the remaining items, and also adding labels to the shelves. It’s been decades since the pantry was this clean!

No more expired food items, plus we got labels to tell us what goes where!

We also transformed the cabin from winter use to summer use. In the winter we have beds in the two smaller rooms and the women’s locker room, but in the summer the smaller rooms become storage, especially the cabin master’s room that holds the sound system and speakers, plus numerous boxes of party supplies, the first aid kit etc.

The cabin master’s room. Beds are out, summer supplies are in!

Saturday was also the day of the Celebration of Life for the club’s long-time member Carsten Johansen. As some people were not able to attend it because of the work weekend, at exactly 4pm, we stopped work for a bit, and raised a toast to Carsten. Those who knew him well explained to the others just how much Clear Lake and the club meant to Carsten. One thing that people found particularly endearing was how much he liked people, and that he used to say “the best ship is friendship”. Skål Carsten!

Carsten Hughes, pouring a little Akvavit for everyone to toast Carsten Johansen.
Henrik and Lotti, securing a stray boatport to the dock. After the winter storms, there are way more loose parts on the dock than there should be…
Lunch time. Delicious pesto sandwiched and more!
Carsten, telling Jens, Henrik and Eric about the fish that got away

There is also an old shed at the back of the cabin, that barely anyone, except rodents, has dared venture into. Dave and Jesper bravely masked up and went to work, and cleaned out SO much stuff!

As the old dock parts were removed, the new dock section reached finished stage, and we got to the major task of getting it into water.

Andrew and Ryan
The team, getting ready to lift the entire new dock frame onto the trailer
The frame was then attached to the top of the flotation devices, before being towed away to the other side of the lake, where we could easily lower it into the water
And then towed across the lake back to the cabin
Captain Allen
It’s here, and it floats! Time to celebrate!
“Pop!” goes the cork!

There are still a few minor things to fix, like putting boards on top of the new dock section, and securing it in place. Plus a few clean-up things in and around the cabin. But we got SO much work done this weekend. A huge THANK YOU to Solveig, Allen and Dave for planning and putting this all together, and to Seti for feeding this hungry and rowdy bunch.

And a big heartfelt thank you to all who volunteered their time and energy:

  • Dave
  • Solveig
  • Allen
  • Seti
  • Jo
  • Henrik
  • Jeanette
  • Lotti
  • Erdmann
  • Ramesh
  • Fred
  • Lisa
  • Carsten
  • Jesper
  • Monica
  • Eric
  • Ryan
  • Andrew
  • Annelie
  • Ryan
  • Rick
  • Jens

Seriously, we could not have done it without you! Here’s to a great Clear Lake season!
(And did you all notice how high the water level is now?! The lake is refilled, and clearer than it has been in many years!)

Marin Hike, April 23

Hikers on the trail in Marin

Our Marin expert Jesper finally got a hike with good weather! We tried doing this one in March, but this winter’s weather has really managed to disrupt outdoor plans this year!

Jesper guided the group on Ring Mountain in Corte Madera. We were treated to great views and plenty of spring flowers. We ended the hike with a beverage at the Junction Beer Garden in Mill Valley.

We have plenty of hikes planned this year, and hope to see as many of you as possible out on the trails!

Easter Lunch at the Swedish American Hall, April 8

easter lunch guests around the table

We are so happy that we were able to bring back the traditional YSC Easter lunch indoors this year. The Swedish American Hall had us booked in another room, and despite some last-minute shuffling to get everything together, we had a delightful Saturday lunch together.

President Jeanette, along with Erde, Ramesh, Lotti, Jo and Henrik hosted, and we had around 35 guests.

On the buffet table you found a (mostly Swedish) Easter meal, all home-cooked. Meatballs, potatoes, salmon, spring quiches, herring, smoked salmon spread, salad, “kladdkaka” (sticky chocolate cake), and a fruity Easter punch.

The sun beamed through the large windows, there was some singing, and everyone left the party full of food.

Happy Hour at the Royal Cuckoo, March 16

Bar interior

New club president Jeanette Flodell hosted this city happy hour at the cozy Royal Cuckoo in the Mission District.

We had about 25 people show up, and the owners Deb and Paul had created two specials for us. The Pink Viking (elderflower + Akvavit), and a Carlsberg beer accompanied by an Akvavit shot.

It was a great laid-back Thursday event. Several new members showed up, which we appreciated!

Seal watching at Año Nuevo State Park

YSC members on seal hiking trip

YSC board member Aaron organized this sold-out family friendly event where we got up and close to the elephant seals that call Año Nuevo SP home.

15 club members braved the gnarly weather and got what turned out to be a really awesome day outdoors. The weather opened up with a chilly rain as we left for the trail, got  pretty  miserable for about  20 minutes, then stopped and brought in blue skies, by the time we returned 2 hours later it was a lovely day on the coast.

Hard to beat seeing  these massive  beasts thumping around the beach and the cute pups  with huge black eyes close up.

We should do this again a bit earlier next year , end of January  would be an ideal  time to see a lot of activity.

And for anyone interested  it’s free to come visit in November and there will be  large bulls on the beach.

YSC Member Survey – 2023. This is what we heard…

Post-survey report (long read ahead!)

Thanks to board member and activity director Aaron Zorndorf and his brilliant initiative, we were able to send out the first YSC member survey in a long time (I am not sure I have seen one in my 14 years as a member!).

The feedback we received is amazing, and will truly serve as our guiding star when making decisions this coming year. We had 100 responses, out of 1000 emailed, so a 10% response ratio, which we feel gives us a statistically significant foundation.

Below you will find the results from the survey, as well as our action points for each section. We are not including the hundreds of individual comments we received, but will address the trends that have emerged from them.

Let’s start with the demographics. Maybe we should do a new survey about keeping the word “young” in our club name… 😉

79% of our members are over 40!

General satisfaction with the club:

Conclusions on first part:

We were happy to see that most members like us and appreciate the club and the work the board puts in. Many people feel that communication has improved, but there were also many useful suggestions on how we can kick it up a notch.

We want to clarify that the website is always the #1 go-to to find out about events and news. We post all events to our social media channels as well, but the website is the main information source for our members, and this is also where you purchase tickets and sign up for events.

Some people complained about not getting our emailed newsletters. There is not much we can do from our end (although the webtech team IS looking into this), but want to encourage everyone to take a thorough look at their spam filters, as the YSC emails may get stuck there.
The newsletters include summarized information about all upcoming events, plus a link to the specific event page on the website, which is where the detailed information can be found.

The most negative comments were about our website. Last year the website and the functionality behind the curtains saw a major overhaul, with automated booking systems for our cabins etc. The bulk of the work has been done, but there is a lot more we can do to improve user friendliness for our members.
Upcoming improvements/tweaks will be to add a page where we post all newsletters and board meeting minutes, just to make club information easily available and searchable for all. We will be adding a donation page for the Clear Lake dock repairs (more info on that further down), and we will merge some of the cabin info pages.

We are also hoping to implement a function that can register both adults on a family membership, so both receive newsletters and information emails, as that was something people asked for in the survey.

Finally, some people complained that the booking system for Tahoe is tricky. Some had missed that we have gone back to pre-pandemic bookings, i.e. separate rooms instead of full cabin buy-out, even though it had been communicated. Some feel that it is difficult to get the dates you want, and we want to again clarify that the same booking rules apply to all members. Reservations open up 45 days ahead of time, but weekends do book out quickly. Sometimes you have to stay on top of it, and make your reservation as soon as that day opens up.

This brings us to our cabins…

The Tahoe cabin

In general, people are very happy with our Tahoe cabin and how it’s being managed.

Some of the feedback we received in the comments we have already touched on in this report, that people feel it’s difficult to book the dates they want. During winter, especially of the kind we’re seeing now, the cabin is extremely popular for weekend reservations. Anyone who wants a room for a weekend needs to be ready to make their booking as soon as the 45-day reservation window opens up.

We will take a closer look at the heating system at the cabin, as it warms up the house very unevenly, something people have pointed out. And speaking of heating, others commented that the sauna is really slow and doesn’t go all the way up to Viking level heat.

The parking is always an issue, but there is not much we can do about it, unfortunately. Building out a larger parking deck would be very expensive.

There were some requests for organized weekends at the cabin (hiking, biking, etc). We will look into this, especially since 2023 is the cabin’s 30th anniversary! Space is the limiting factor, with only 7 rooms, but maybe we could rent a neighboring cabin and make a fun and active weekend out of it!

The Clear Lake cabin

Of all the sections in the survey, Clear Lake was the most commented on. And it was obvious people’s opinions on it span across the entire spectrum.

Many members have fond memories of the place, with decades of fun events in the history books. In the past couple of years, the lake water quality has deteriorated due to the drought and pollution flowing into the lake, and some of the California wildfires have affected the area. Several events have had to be canceled, and the Clear Lake season has been cut short for a couple of years now. We are hoping that the excessive amounts of precipitation we’re currently getting will refresh the lake and raise the water level a few feet. The county also have long-term plans on making the lake healthier, and cabinmaster Dave Conroy showed some slides on this during the annual meeting.

Our biggest and most urgent problem now lies in the fact that the dock was severely damaged in the January storms. The board has voted to approve an initial $5000 to repair one critical section of the dock, as soon as the storms taper off this spring. We will also start fundraising, hoping to raise additional funds to repair more of the dock.

The most common comments in the survey had to do with the water quality in the lake, and many members avoid CL completely because of this. A late summer weekend often means very high temperatures, and if you can’t swim, what else do you do?

People also commented on the cabin’s interior, especially the kitchen and the flooring. A kitchen renovation was in the plan, but the damage to the dock takes priority, as it is a serious safety problem if not solved quickly.

Several comments asking for old-timer events! And many comments asking for more family-oriented weekends. We are looking into both!

Events, and general comments

We received many suggestions for additional events. These are the ones that very clearly trended, and we are actively working to implement as many of these as possible:

  • More family events
  • More camping/outdoorsy activities
  • More joint events with other Nordic organizations
  • More hikes
  • More events for the older crowd
  • More events that are not centered around alcohol
  • More events outside of SF
  • More cultural events (movie nights, fika, potluck, etc)
  • Bring back the Yosemite weekends

Another BIG item for us to look into is how to attract/retain younger members. There has been a shift in the demographic, and we need to find ways to adapt to that, and recruit new members to join. Efforts are already underway!

North Bay Happy Hour with Solveig, Feb 24th

Our vice president Solveig Barnes hosted the year’s first Happy Hour north of the Golden Gate, at No Name Bar in Sausalito.

We had a very successful turnout for the first North Bay HH. All who attended were extremely grateful that there was finally a HH closer to their neighborhood. There was around 20+ people who passed by throughout the evening and a bonus for a live band that hopped on stage around 9pm. We met some new members and a lot of alum members too. They all had wonderful ideas and requests for more HH and events in the North Bay. The bar was a locals watering hole and the usuals were very friendly and welcoming!