The term of FFSC board members begins on July 1 each year, which means that a new board has just started its work. It will be a little different this time, as Gary London has stepped down after serving as FFSC president for, I believe, 7 of the past 10 years. Gary’s commitment to FFSC has been remarkable and I want to express my deepest appreciation for all that he has done for FFSC and the local Finnish community. Gary has set a high standard for the FFSC president, and it will definitely be difficult for me to fill his shoes.

We are fortunate to have two brand new members on the board: Airi Suomalainen and Eric Schaad, who jumps right into the role of FFSC vice president. The addition of Airi and Eric delivers some of that “new blood” into the board that Gary looked for at the annual meeting in 2012, and brings new perspectives to issues that the board will tackle during the coming months.

The board will have to revisit some topics that come up practically every year, such as choosing the right balance between newsletter features and their costs or finding ways to increase membership. We have some ideas but I would love to hear your view on these issues – and anything else related to FFSC and the local Finnish community. If you have any suggestions, comments, questions or feedback of any kind, please send that in email or by mail to FFSC, PO Box 75052, Seattle, WA, 98175-0052.

The purpose of the FFSC is to promote Finnish language, history, art, music and other cultural activities. To fulfill this mission, FFSC publishes a bimonthly newsletter, provides Finnish language classes, offers scholarships and grants for projects related to Finland, presents Finnish movies monthly and organizes a variety of events every year, often in collaboration with other local Finnish organizations. Partnering with other ethnic organizations is important, as it enables us to share the resources we have and also helps us grow stronger.

A great example of an event planned together by a host of Seattle area Finnish groups is the bi-annual Finland Summer Festival, held this year at the North Bellevue Community Center on Saturday, August 24th. This event was started over 10 years ago as a counterpart to the Naselle summer festival, with the intent that the Finland Summer Festival and Naselle festival be held during alternating summers. Music has always been an integral part of both events, and so it will be this year as well, so come enjoy the musical performances, the children’s talent show, Finnish games, food and more.

There will be other events during the fall, such as a performance featuring pianist Marja Kaisla, Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year, at the Cornish College of the Arts in November, the traditional Independence Day Dinner and Dance, and more. Details about these events will be provided on our website and in the next newsletter.

Happy summer,

Mikko Männistö
FFSC President

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