Bake sauce and Socialism

At the Salolampi Summer Camp, US children explore Finland, where looms hang out, Nylon Beat plays and socialism flourishes. Even the Väinämeenö has not been forgotten.

Bemidji, MINNESOTA

TALTA might feel like Chinese, who arrives for the first time in Chinatown outside of China. Everything is familiar, even if the place is a stranger. There are birches, lake, lakeside sauna. In the yard, signs direct you in Finnish to the dance floor and the cottages.

Inside the dining room, the guest first comes with potatoes, bacon sauce and grandma's cucumbers. There are rugs and Marimekko fabrics on the walls. After the meal, the coffee cups flicker against the set and try to come up with something to talk about. You will soon find that you are already turning from your board and your mouth becomes that it really is, the Arabian Arctica. Beautiful tableware.

But unlike in the Chinese neighborhoods of the United States, no one lives in this village of SalolampiSalolampi is a camping center built on the shores of Turtle River Lake, where approximately 150 American children and teens learn about Finnish language and Finnish culture every summer.

Salolampi is supported by a separate Salolampi Foundation, but it is also part of the Concordia Language Village language courses. Fifteen languages ​​and cultures are taught here in the remote Minnesota area. For example, there is a Spanish, French and German village next to Salolampi.

Of course, Salolampi is greener. There are fewer buildings, more nature.


The campers' breakfast table includes crispbread, cheese, gravy, ham and eggs.

The idea of ​​each village is that the campers are immersed in the language and culture of each country. Salolampi aims to give instructions in Finnish, the food is Finnish and the sauna is served every day.

It's still easy, but the idea of ​​the camp is forcing Finnish culture to compact in a way that Finns rarely encounter. We are not used to seeing restaurants of our own cuisine abroad like Thai, nor bars like Irish.

In Salolampi you will learn how to simulate Finland.

The day of the camp begins with a ticket pick-up. Everyone will gather around the flagpole and sing Finlandia together. In the evening, the flag will be counted down to the song Our Country .

Both songs will definitely play more handsome than at a Finnish summer camp. There's nothing about me.

For Finns, flagging seems quite nationalistic. We don't have that habit except maybe on Midsummer. But flag raising is part of the program at American summer camps, even then the Finnish flag. At the camp, routines are important at all. They create a daily rhythm and a common spirit.

However, patriotism penetrates the soul immediately after the song " Our Country" when someone says:

“Hey, will we go tonight anyway? It is raining so much now. ”

Ah, Finland.

Joka to be rewarded with one camper who has spoken during the day a lot of Finnish. Today's prize goes to Noora. Noora is really Noelle Aguilera , but everyone in the camp has a Finnish name.

Salolamp comes from all over the United States: California, Florida, Indiana, Connecticut. Aguilera comes from just outside Bemidj. It is the nearest small town. There are 15,000 inhabitants.

Aguilera is leaving in two weeks for an exchange student in Salo. She would have preferred to go to France or Sweden, but when the exchange decided to send her to Finland, she applied to Salolam to learn something about Finland in advance.


Anna Goodrich (left) and Ephie Cozad Schlicter aka Emma and Katariina ate the ice cream they bought at the camp's S-kiosk.

Some have come here without any contact with Finland: for example, 14-year-old Erin Laedtke aka Sirkka has heard that Finnish education is the best in the world. After high school, he wants to study at the University of Helsinki and has come to Salolampi in time to learn the language.

Should we tell her that the Finnish educational idea is about elementary school? Maybe not yet. There is time for university studies.

Some have come to the camp just to learn Finnish for no good reason. Rare language of interest.

Twins Christel and Ruby Schober-Colbum aka Katja and Sanni ended up on a special route to the camp. Their Armenian aunt had seen Mölky in the shop and thought it was a German game. Because the twins have German lineages, Aunt bought the game as a gift for them.

The sisters googled the game and learned that it was from Finland. This resulted in more googling and eventually a decision to leave for Salolam. It was a good decision. Twins are in camp for the third time this summer.

Suurimmalla part of the other campers have Finnish roots. Most of them are from generations and few have visited Finland.

The youngest campers here are usually at the parents' request, but teenagers come at their own will. They are enthusiastic about the language and even want to know something about their "legacy," as is customary in the United States.

Salolampea is run by Amy Tervola-Hultberg , a fifth-generation American American , called Iida. He says that there are three indigenous reserves nearby and that is why the roadside billboard says "Knowing Identity Can Save Life".

"I often drove past the thought that it is wisely said."

Noemployee identity introduces the singing. Director Jesse Luoma or Urho, who volunteered for the camp , teaches words on stage. Luoma took the name of the camp, even though she actually already has a Finnish name. The brave sounded funny.

He has three assistants on stage, gesturing to illustrate what is happening in the song. Horses and cowboys are explained. Next comes the word city. Luoma lists cities: Helsinki, Chicago and so on.

“Out of town. Hello hey city, hey Helsinki, hey city, ”Luoma explains the meaning of the words.

"Say 'kau-pun-gis-ta off'," he instructs.

"Kau-pun-gis off," the campers echo in one voice.

Then the first verse is sung, in turn by Luoma and the campers: Three cowboys ride their horses out of town ...

Before this camp week, Luoma, an American Finn, hadn't spoken Finnish for fifteen years. He would not guess from his speech.

Luoma has never been to Finland. He got acquainted with the song of J. Karjala at Salolampi more than 20 years ago. Luoma liked the camp so much that she returned again and again, first as a camp and then as a guide until life took over. In addition to Salolampi, she has studied Finnish at the University of Minnesota.

Kesäleiri a camp belongs to the American culture. When school is over but parents are at work, kids and teens are happy to be sent to camp for a while.

At Salolampi, some stay for four weeks, the rest for a week or two. The smallest ones come for a family week with their parents.

For many, Salolampi remains a summer experience, but there are others who will become a big part of their identity. This year, too, there are young people who are on the Salolampi for the tenth or even twelfth time. They are a bit like Riparian who are becoming church wives.

As adults, they may raise second-generation believers. Camps have been organized since the 1960s, and some families have Salolamps for generations. Some of the instructors have come from Finland, some are former campers.

Coming from Finland, the campers are introduced to contemporary culture. In the evenings, JVG, Antti Tuisku and Paula Vesala are listened to . Nylon Beat is the favorite of the little ones.

In theafternoon, the dance floor becomes a box. Over the racket of clubs is that all players know at least two words in Finnish:

"Enter!"

"Enter!"

"Feed me!"

And finally:

"Paint!"

In front of the main building, known as the Isotalo, traditional dance is being performed at the same time, and the reporter's knowledge of Finland is not enough to identify it.

After the dagger, Robin's Hula hula is danced .

While some are playing barbecue and others are dancing, a third group is doing crafts. The Schober-Colbum twins and two other girls learn how to weave on looms. The rest crochet and knit.

The instructors teach vocabulary: shuttle, grandmother, loop.

Imitation Finland also includes Kalevala studying and playing kantele. Salolampi Finland is a combination of 19th century national romance and the current country brand, ie the welfare state and education.

The previous night, the camp played a role-playing game to learn about Finland's economic history and social model. The 1990s recession, Nokia and world-class education became familiar.

“We have learned that Finland is more inclined towards socialism,” says Christel Schober-Colbum .

"Not only are taxes higher, but the state also gives more to citizens than here."

The Winter War was explored by playing flags. Finland v. Soviet Union. The camp has also celebrated Christmas and Midsummer, the latter four times this summer.

Amanda Fie Hand, who runs the Danish camp in a neighboring village, says her village nowadays focuses more on modern Denmark than grandparents' Denmark.

"We're talking that not all Danes are white Scandinavians anymore."


Campers queued for play at Ellis Island entry authorities.

I wind up llan is a role-playing game's turn again. This evening's theme is Journey to America. It mimics the immigrant experience of many campers' ancestors in the early 20th century.

Participants are divided into families, each with their own background story and a variable amount of travel money.

Punamäki family. The father of the family is Ahti. Mother is Noora. You are communists. Finland does not like you. You are sad to leave home. Domicile Teuva.

Aalto's family, who lives in the streets of Helsinki, leaves for the United States after work. The Kiertola family has also been homeless in Finland. The mother of the Säpin family and three sons are criminals who run away from the police.

There are also Lestadian people who go out for religious freedom and Ottoman people who have been left homeless since the eldest son inherited the family farm. Someone escapes the Tsar's army.

Initially, you need to get on a ship that is served by an indoor sauna. First-class travelers are allowed to stay in a cool changing room, the rest are taken into a cramped sauna.

After the boat trip, it is time to enter the Ellis Island Reception Center, through which hundreds of thousands of Finns arrived in the United States in the early 20th century. The directors represent the Americans but speak Finnish. In this way, Americans who represent Finns can experience what it feels like to come to a place that they hardly understand.

The entry authorities give the entrants new names. Some remain in quarantine at the health check and are separated from their families. Someone's passport has already been stolen on a ship.

Immigrants receive points for integration. One gets training. It is given in a room where you have to swear allegiance to the US flag. Finnish.

You can't get the job done until the papers are in order, but it is difficult for an outsider to understand the bureaucracy. Finns end up with heavy work in mines, farms and logs. The police are often a bully. Money is not enough for food, but political activism can get fired. Some end up stealing. The only help you can find among fellow countrymen is Finn Hall, the gathering place for Finnish migrants.

After Pelin, they will gather on the dance floor to unload their experiences, this time in English.

Director Ingrid Goetz , or Inker, asks participants to tell the background stories of their characters and then talks about the fact that there are always push and pull factors in immigration. Religious freedom and employment opportunities can be attracted in the new home country, poverty or political persecution in the old country can attract.

“What was hard about you?” Goetz asks.

Follow a long list, including family divorce and farmed mosquitoes.

"What was easy?"

Follow the rare silence. Then someone cries out that nothing.

"Who in the world thought nothing was easy?"

A lot of hands are raised.

"It was easy to get sick and go to jail."

Goetz asks campers how their game experience is reflected in modern times. Then, for a moment, many immigrants are experiencing similar issues.

STCPs day is over. Campers and instructors quickly disappear to the cottages named after the provinces: Häme, Ostrobothnia, Lapland, Savo.

Silence begins at ten. Then it is already dark. The Finnish summer is not tested in the simulation.

 

Anna-Sofia Berner HS , text
Uwa Iduozee , photos and videos
Kristiina Marttinen HS , video editing
Emma-Leena Ovaskainen HS , folding the net
PUBLISHED 27.7.2019, © HELSINGIN SANOMAT

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