Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir, Project Manager for the Snorri Program, vividly remembers the 2002 INL convention in Minneapolis, and the announcement that the Snorri Foundation planned on launching a program for those who have reached the age of 30.
“The audience stood up and applauded,” she said.
“In September 2003 we had the first group of participants, a group of eight, some of whom had visited Iceland before, some who had never been and one who was part of the Snorri Program in 1999”.
“Since then,” said Ásta Sól, “we’ve had 80 more Snorri Plus participants between the ages of 29 and 84. At first I thought it would be difficult to accommodate the needs of different ages and different people but it has been fun and the groups always seem to create a special bond. We’ve had people traveling by themselves, with a spouse with or without Icelandic ancestory, or with friends. Some have never been to Iceland, some have been up to seven times – they all learn something new on the program – two have even been to Iceland with Snorri Plus more than once, which says more than a thousand words about the experiences we are able to create. We used our experience from the Snorri Program to build Snorri Plus and they too want to participate again and again. “Do you need more participants, I’ll volunteer!”
Ásta Sól explained that the organizers contact relatives of the participants. “Whether they are known to your family or not, we will help you strengthen the relationship and build new ones,” she said. “It continues to surprise me that over 90% of Icelanders are interested in meeting Canadian or American relatives they never even knew existed. You will not only meet relatives, but you will be taught about Icelandic culture by the experts and visit many interesting spots with and within Reykjavík and, if you’re lucky, the President of Iceland will invite you to his residence. The newest feature is a stay at the Blue Lagoon.”
Why does the program work? It’s simple, says Ásta Sól. “We have passion for your heritage and we are non-profit.” She is looking forward to filling the last available spots.