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March 2015 Quick Look  
Inbound Exchange - Tashkent President's Letter Next Meetings
Inbound Exchange - Vancouver Member News Past Meetings
2016 Exchanges Shuttle Service 2015 Southwest Conference
International Conferences FFI News Club News
Disover Panama Report Exchange Update Columbia Cascade Inbound

President's Letter

Hello Friendship Force Dallas,

Well, after a lot of work by all parties concerned – Paula Rose, the ED in Birmingham, Alabama, FFI and the ED in Tashkent – things DID come together, and there’ll be an incoming exchange from Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the latter half of April! Obtaining tourist visas to the USA from that part of the world is no easy project. A big thank you to all of you who waited so patiently and flexibly, just in case. There’ll be volunteer needs for this exchange so please look elsewhere in this newsletter for all the opportunities.

Michael Wald told us at the last Board meeting that the trip to Panama was really successful and he plans another one in late 2015 or early 2016 and hopes our club will sponsor it. The group going to Georgia and Azerbaijan depart in May.

Just a reminder – the Regional Conference hosted by the Houston Club is at the end of March – the 27th – 29th and there’s still time to register. Meanwhile, the International Conference in Vancouver is, at the last count, fully booked with 400 registrants. It filled in an unprecedented 4 weeks! Friendship Force International is trying to negotiate more hotel space so more spaces might open up for registration. There is a waiting list, should you want to add your name to that.

I am receiving reminders from our Regional Representative about all the exchanges coming up this year. There are two particularly interesting trips to Jamaica in June involving both fun and service. Paula, Edward and Dale from our club went there last November and Edward and Dale will do a presentation about their experience at the upcoming Regional Conference. Don’t forget to check out all the exchanges at http://friendshipforce.org under the ‘Travel for Good’ tab.

I hope you have a good Spring season, and I will see you at one of the upcoming meetings. Don’t forget, there’ll be a meeting on March, 22nd (see the flier)

In friendship,




March Meeting

Date: Sunday, March 22
Time: 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Place: Chimneyhill Clubhouse, 9223 Emberglow, Dallas 75243
North of LBJ / Abrams Road
Presentation: Columbia Cascade/Olympia Exchange
Presenters: Mary Williams/Patty Niemeyer
Food: Bring finger food snacks; drinks will be furnished
Cost: Free; no reservations needed
We have some beautiful pictures of a wonderful exchange!
Plan to come and enjoy.


Past Meetings

January - Conference Report

Isabel Iverson attended the FF World Conference in Auckland NZ and gave a presentation at the club meeting in January. She showed some movie clips of the Maori dancers who were featured during the general sessions. She said that while she enjoyed the workshops, the real excitement came from meeting all of the people.


February - Jamaica
Dale Klosterman

Dale Klosterman and edward perez gave a slide presentation at the February meeting on their November exchange to Jamaica. There were 13 ambassadors from the U.S. and Canada on the exchange to help an agency called “One Love” build a seedling nursery and a shed for a toilet facility on a farm overlooking Montego Bay. “One Love” provides help for young men and women who need a job, wish to go to school, or need a place to live while they go to school. Several of the young men were majoring in agriculture.

There was a chance to help with work in the fields, and for those who wished to avoid the sun they could paint signs in the shade that identified the crops that had been planted. Learning how to weave palm branches so they could be used to make walls in some of the small huts was another way of avoiding the sun.

We met a very colorful and loving, Mama Ita, who was the matriarch of a Rastafarian Group. She was one of the organizers of the exchange along with Brenda and Tanya, the owners and founders of “One Love.”

Finally, we all brought books and school supplies for children who were attending an elementary school deep in the countryside.

No matter where we traveled, we could hear the characteristic Jamaican drums, and of course whenever we spoke with a Jamaican we had to begin our sentence with, “Ya Mon!”



Inbound Tashkent, Uzbekistan

After much rescheduling due to visa difficulties, Tashkent Uzbekistan IS coming April 25-30. Twelve ambassadors will arrive on April 25th and leave on May 1. There are 8 women and 4 men. All speak English.

The most immediate need is for one more home host for two ladies. Most Uzbeks would like to stay two to a home if possible. Paula Rose is Exchange Director for this exchange. Please contact her if you can help in any way: paularose2000@hotmail.com.

The activities are being rescheduled and a reservation form will be sent soon.


Inbound Vancouver, BC Canada

We have an inbound from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada October 17-24, 2015. Since the International Conference of Friendship Force will be in August, 2015 and many of us will be attending that, this inbound is of special significance. Pat Andeweg has been appointed Exchange Director.Contact Pat to volunteer to participate in this exchange - pja72@sbcglobal.net.  It looks like a great year coming up!


International Exchange Update
(Fourth revision 3.6.15)
Raymond Enstam, International Exchange Coordinator

Our outbound exchange to Tbilisi, Georgia and Baku, Azerbaijan is now filled and has a waiting list. We will be awaiting their return and some interesting reports. For more information contact Zia Shamsy at  zia_shamsy@yahoo.com.

We also have some more sad news. In the last issue we announced that the inbound exchange from Bandung, Indonesia scheduled for March of 2015 had been cancelled. The Bandung exchange was replaced by an inbound from Trujillo, Peru and that also had to be cancelled! Neither club was able to get enough travelers to meet the minimum.

But it looks like we will have an exchange after all! We have been offered an exchange from Tashkent, Uzbekistan to replace the prior two. The initial visit scheduled for March had to be postponed as they sought their visas. But we now have the final (we hope!) arrangements for their visit. Tashkent will be here April 25 to 30, so mark this on your calendar! We send special thanks to Paula Rose for accepting this on such short notice and enduring the hassle of the whole exchange being in doubt until the last minute.

Our remaining inbound for 2015 will be from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - October 17-24, 2015 and is looking good. The Exchange Director for this exchange is Pat Andeweg. If you would like to volunteer to work on the committee for this exchange, or simply know more about it, please contact Pat at pja72@sbcglobal.net.

Exchanges for 2016

We now have our exchanges for 2016. In February we will host an exchange from the Nor Peru club (located in Trujillo, Peru). In April we have our outbound for the year with an exchange to Santiago, Chile. We don’t have exact dates for those exchanges and it is a still bit early to fix the dates. But we will need Exchange Directors for these two exchanges to make contacts and start planning. Anyone interested in being Exchange Director for either of these should contact Raymond A. Enstam, the International Exchange Coordinator, at enstam@sbcglobal.net.

Exchanges for 2016 or 2017

We are also working on some additional exchanges for 2016 or 2017 that are being planned by two of our members with contacts in other countries. Michael Wald is working on creating an inbound and an outbound with Panama. He has already led two Discover outbounds through FFI to Panama and has many contacts there. These exchanges involve working with the people in Panama to form a new club in Santiago.

In addition, Haiya Naftali has contacts in Israel and is working to create both an inbound and an outbound exchange with Israel. Members of the existing Friendship Force club in Israel are very interested in working out the exchanges with Dallas. They both would welcome any help or answer any questions about the plans. It is too early to have any dates, so stay tuned! We could have an active year or two.


Panama Discover Exchange

Club members Jackie and Michael Wald led a very successful Discover trip to Panama in January, 2015 that resulted in the formation of a new club in Santiago, Panama.

The nine day trip was with a hardy group of 14 including people from around the US and one from Moscow. The group visited sites in Panama City before heading to Santiago for a 3 night home stay which both the ambassadors and Panamanian hosts thought was not enough time!

Highlights of the tour included witnessing traditional pollera dressmaking, Panamanian dancing, majorana music, and diablico mask making as we delved into Panamanian culture. While in Panama City the group visited one of the oldest settlements in the new world, Tobago Island, with its beautiful beaches. On the way to Santiago the group hiked in the cloud forest . On the way back they visited what is reputedly the oldest church in the new world, started 30 years after Columbus discovered America. They also stopped to learn how the vast fields of cane visible from the highway for miles--in the height of harvest season-- are converted to molasses for rum and unrefined table sugar at a huge sugar-processing plant. For detailed information see Michael’s blog at www.untroddenla.com. Michael encourages comments to be posted there.

Jackie and Michael hope to do another trip to Panama in early 2016 to visit the Western part of Panama—the most beautiful part, cool and mountainous. It is a part of the world not frequently visited. Meanwhile, all the participants have lifetime memories of one of the best exchanges ever.


2016 Exchange from Columbia Cascade

This planned exchange is a return visit from a club we visited this year. We do know that they are interested in going to the Texas State Fair, so the exchange will probably occur in early October of 2016. Contact Patty Niemeyer, Domestic Exchange Coordinator, if you are interested in being the Exchange Director. Also suggest to Patty any other U.S. clubs who might be interested in an mutual exchange with the Dallas club. Contact her at: peanutpatti1@verizon.net.


Exchanges with Other Clubs

Remember that you are welcome to join other clubs on their exchanges if there is room. Please contact clubs well in advance, as an exchange may cancel if the Exchange Director doesn’t know about your interest.

See where some clubs are going on the Other Clubs page.

“Friendship in Action in Jamaica” Exchange has recently posted two more options:
June 10 - 16 or June 16 - 22, 2015.

Friendship Force is again joining friends in Montego Bay, Jamaica for a fulfilling experience of culture, community service and fun. We will return to the One Love Farm, a 7-acre organic garden that serves the youth of Jamaica, where we built a seedling nursery last year. This year, the One Love learning foundation farm is in need of an outdoor facility to assemble their production of produce for delivery. We will work together to put in sinks, plumbing, and tables for prep, as well as an outdoor stove for cooking demonstrations for the students.

Live like a local by waking up each morning to the smell of fresh Jamaican coffee – the perfect way to prepare for a day of work and lots of fun. Get to know the local people that make up the “One Love” team. Enjoy farm to table dinners with dishes provided by local friends of the region. Be treated to a performance of traditional music and dance by the “One Love Tribe Drummers and Dancers.

Accommodations are at the beautiful and luxurious Hammerstein Highland House, former home of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. Enjoy stunning views of the tropical hills that overlook Montego Bay. Visit the local Straw Market or raft down the Martha Brae River. Experience Rastafarian customs.

Mary Mwambay, FFI Staff is currently accepting applications. She can be reached at 1-404-965-4349 or mary@thefriendshipforce.org. Cost is $1960 for the week and includes six nights, transportation throughout the week, all meals, welcome and farewell parties, gratuities for One Love staff and driver, and cost of materials for the project.

For more information go to:


International Conferences

2015 International Conference

The 2015 World Conference to be held in Vancouver, Canada August 28-31, 2015, has registered 400 applicants in the first month and is full. FFI is negotiating with the hotel for more rooms.

The application form is now ready on the Friendship Force webside:


2016 International Conference

The 2016 International Conference will be held in Marrakech, Morocco. We will have more information about this conference in the future, as well as pre and post trips.


Southwest Conference

Hosted by FF Houston, Texas
March 27 – 29, 2015

Join us at the luxurious South Shore Harbour Resort & Spa on Clear Lake
2500 South Shore Blvd, League City, 77573
Close to Hobby Airport (Shuttle available)

Keynote Speaker Anna Smulski - FFI
Leadership Training, Breakout Sessions

Conference Fees
Fee includes Friday reception, Saturday continental breakfast, coffee breaks and lunch.
Registration fee $150 per person if postmarked on or before February 15, 2015
Registration fee $165 if postmarked after February 15, 2015

Optional Dinner Cruise on Clear Lake on Saturday evening, March 28th
Cost: $80 per person, includes dinner, dancing, cash bar and guest speaker
See a link for SSH’s video promo:
and a link to the cruise boat company: http://www.majesticventures.com/

Room Rate
$99/night - make reservation directly with hotel: Call South Shore Harbor at 800-442-5005 or 281-334-1000.

Optional NASA VIP Tour on Sunday, March 29th (9:30 – 3:00)
Cost: $40 per person, includes admission, bus & picnic lunch

Get a pdf file of the Registration Form.
Get a pdf file of the
Conference Schedule.


Member News

Guests at our February meeting were:
Adriana Cobo - guest of Brud Kisner
Jain Li - guest of Zia Shamsy
Nishi & Joti Bhati - guest of Zia Shamsy
Beverly Luttrell - guest of Lee and Mary Latham

Jackie and Jerry Bluhm have moved to an independent living apartment. Jerry's health continues to deteriorate and he is now in the Memory Care unit. When Hilda and Dale visited Jerry, the two of them immediately began speaking German. A physician from India heard the commotion and came in laughing and enjoyed listening to the loud conversation.

Bill Pierce is going through chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow). He says: "I've been very fortunate I've not experienced any of the nasty side effects they warned of, but the one side effect I am experiencing is a loss of energy. I get very weak and tired in the afternoons and have to rest. There is no known cure for MM but we are hopeful we can at least arrest it somewhat."

Changes in these members' information can be obtained from the president or webmaster:
Carolyn McMurray - change of address 
Jim Kerr - house number correction and work number
Al Currie - e-mail is Big_al_in_big_d@sbcglobal.net (note the underlines)


Send your news to the Newsletter Editor daleklost@gmail.com


Let Cathy Ignatin know who needs a card or a call.

Shuttle Service

Remember to support our airport shuttle service. The passenger(s) make a donation of $25 per ride ($30 north of Plano), helping our club. See page 42 in the Yearbook for detailed information or to be a driver. Or, just go to ffdallas-shuttle@googlegroups.com

If you would like to be a shuttle driver, send an email to edward perez (erperez@acm.org) and he'll add you to the list. Take this opportunity to help out your club while meeting and learning about your fellow club members. You are not obligated to handle every request, but please do what you can. We are in need of more drivers.


Club News

New Publicity Project Task Force

At the February Board Meeting, Mary Latham proposed forming a task force that would “advertise” Dallas to other clubs who might be wondering why they would want to have an exchange with us.

What is special about Dallas? Why would other Friendship Force clubs want to come to Dallas?

If you have any ideas on how to promote Dallas to other clubs we would like to hear from you. So far, we have asked several FF Dallas members to serve on a team to explore possibilities: Mary Latham, Michael Wald, and Robin Yaklin. Michael has agreed to be the leader of this group. If you would like to be part of this team or have some ideas, contact Mary Latham – mary_m_latham@yahoo.com or Michael Wald - mwald999@gmail.com.


FFI News

F.F. International Strategic Plan, 2015-2018
Thanks to you... we have a plan!

Over the last 18 months, your FFI staff and Board of Directors have been working hard – listening, asking questions and talking to as many of our members around the world as possible - asking you what you want out of the organization we all hold dear and share. With your collective voices, ideas and information in mind, we have developed the new 2015-2018 Strategic Plan for Friendship Force, in order to define a new direction with bold, clear initiatives that will help to focus us all toward our goal of building a bright future for our legendary community - and for the next generation.

As always, our first and most important goal is to engage as many people as possible in our movement of friendship and in our signature programs. Each of the eight initiatives was written with this goal in mind.

Many clubs and volunteers, as well as the FFI staff, have already begun implementing new and creative strategies to include more people in our important mission. These efforts in the year 2014 form the foundation for this new strategic plan.

Your determination and your creativity have kept our organization strong and have inspired this plan. We thank you for your feedback and terrific ideas, as well as the many
Your determination and your creativity have kept our organization strong and have inspired this plan. We thank you for your feedback and terrific ideas, as well as the many solutions you yourselves have offered us.

From here, we will need your help to make this plan a success. We will be calling upon the many people who have already raised their hands and said, "We want to help." We are grateful for your support.

We look forward to working together with you throughout the 2015-2018 period. With an esteemed legacy behind us, we are committed to paving the way for a vibrant future ahead - a future of more friendship for all.

In friendship,
Joy E. DiBenedetto


Contact Information
Postal address: P. O. Box 551151, Dallas, TX 75355
Phone and fax: 214- 699-7574 
Electronic mail
General Information: friendshipforcedallas@yahoo.com
Webmaster: mwilliamstxtravel@yahoo.com