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    Newsletter   
January 2017 Quick Look Exchanges for 2018
Sydney AUS Inbound Exchange President's Letter Dallas Global Exchange 2018
Southern NJ Outbound Exchange Upcoming Meetings FFI News
Birmingham AL Inbound Exchange Past Meetings Shuttle Service
Saskatoon Canada Outbound Exchange Club News Other Clubs
Saskatoon Canada Inbound Exchange Officers 2017 Travel Insurance Update
Georgetown Outbound Exchange, 2016 Member News International Conferences

 
President's Letter

Hello everyone.

Friendship Force Dallas is starting its new year and, wow, is it going to be a busy year! You get letters like this the first of every year from every organization you belong to. So it should not be a surprise that you are getting one from Friendship Force Dallas. I hope you will take the time to read this one as next year will be a year of experimentation and growth.

Your Board spent last year developing a new Strategic Plan for our club and this Plan will soon be presented to the membership. We are finalizing the Plan and steps to implement it. We took all of your recommendations and suggestions into consideration. If you don’t see your specific recommendation in the plan, please do not think that we did not give it a great deal of thought; sometimes we received conflicting recommendations so the Board had to make hard decisions. But the Plan does allow for many ways for implementation with the idea that we will try many things; it’s not carved in stone but allows for flexibility so we can change as we need to take action to make our club stronger and better.

If you have not sent the Board your recommendations and suggestions-I know you had many obligations this year that prevented you from attending one of the small meetings the Planning committee held, but don’t worry—you still have a chance to let us know what you are thinking. Watch your inbox for a survey questionnaire. Please respond when you receive this questionnaire and tell us what you think will make our club better and more relevant to you.

The first thing we know we need to do is get more members involved. We have two exchanges coming up, an Inbound from Sydney, Australia in February and an Outbound to Southern New Jersey in April and Inbound and Outbounds with Saskatoon, Canada, later this year. If you have not already signed up to participate in either, do so now. Contact Sharri McIntosh if you want to home host, day host, host a small dinner, organize an activity or otherwise participate in the Sydney exchange. Contact Julia Cooper if you want to go on the outbound exchange to Southern New Jersey.

We do not set the number of people who can go on an exchange; the host club tells us how many they can home host. Julia says Southern New Jersey is filling quickly. Remember our club has a policy on who can go on Outbound exchanges if more people sign up than the host club can accommodate. Ambassadors will be chosen in part on their participation in the club and its activities, other than going on prior outbound exchanges. So if you want to go on an outbound exchange-Southern New Jersey or Saskatoon-- and haven’t participated in activities in a while get busy and get involved. You have the perfect opportunity with the Sydney Exchange.

Please make a New Year’s resolution to volunteer and participate in our club and follow up by actually volunteering so we can make our club the one all other clubs want to be like and to visit on exchanges.
Here is wishing you and your family and friends, Friendship Force Dallas and Friendship Force clubs and members all over the world, a joyous and prosperous new year.

In friendship,

Mary Latham

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Meetings

 
January Meeting – Presentation on Eastern Canadian Cities

Date/Time: Saturday Jan 14, 4-6 pm
Place: Renner-Frankford Library, 6400 Frankford Rd Dallas 75252
Program: Update on year's programs, get your yearbook
   Presentation on Eastern Canadian Cities: Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa,
   Montreal, Quebec City
   Presenter: Mary Williams
Dinner: On your own at nearby restaurants
Cost: Free, no reservations needed

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February Events

There wil be no meeting this month as we will be hosting Friendship Force, Sydney. See Exchanges for more information on schedule of events. A reservation form will be sent to members in mid-January which will include a welcome lunch and farewell dinner plus daily activities.

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Past Meetings

November Meeting – Presentation on Outbound Exchange to Birmingham AL

The meeting was held at Best Thai Restaurant where we enjoyed a Full Thai buffet.
Mary Williams gave a presentation on our Outbound Exchange to Birmingham, AL this past May/June where we toured two gardens, historic sights of the Civil Rights movement, the city's iconic Vulcan statue and Sloss Furnace, an antebellum house and sports stadium at the University of Alabama.

The club also had an annual business meeting and elected officers for 2017.

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December Party

We met at Chimneyhill Clubhouse to socialize. Mary Latham presented thank-you gifts to the volunteers for 2016.

     
                Martha Durst and Sue Priest                                           Paula Rose, Sandy and Roger Kaiser

     

Art Cooper, Felicity Sentance, Al Mirabal, Lee Latham                  Al and Nancy Hicks, Ruth Barrow

    
       Isabella Iverson, Michael and Jackie Wald             Hilda Klosterman, Sharri McIntosh, Betty Mayeur

    

  Dale Klosterman, Julia Cooper     edward perez, Elizabeth Umana, Angela Salazar, Jim Bourn, Al Currie


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Past Exchanges

Georgetown Outbound Exchange
by edward perez, Exchange Director

In early November, 12 Dallas ambassadors went on a weekend exchange to FF of Georgetown, TX club (formed in 2015).

We began the exchange with a very informative walking tour of the Georgetown square and a visit around town, including Southwestern University, the oldest university in Texas (chartered in 1840).






Saturday evening, we enjoyed dinner and conversations with many of their members and learned about their recent outbound exchanges (even celebrated Paula Rose's birthday).

edward perez, Paula Rose, Alice Gardiner, Patty Niemeyer

On Sunday, we visited the German community of Walburg, TX, settled in the early 1880s, and enjoyed a delicious buffet at the Walburg German Restaurant.



Afterward, we visited the home and studio of Carol Light, an incredible artist. We ended the exchange on Monday with a farewell brunch at the home of Alice Gardner, one of the co-founders of the Georgetown club.









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Sydney inbound
Feb 22 - Mar 1, 2017 - Sharri McIntosh ED

Eleven ambassadors including two teenagers both age 18 are confirmed.

Schedule of Events:

Wed, Feb 22, 8pm – approximate arrival of Ambassadors from Winnipeg at DFW - times vary slightly

Thurs, Feb 23, 10 am - Dallas Day on Dart Bus--ride Dart to Union Station-- Bus stops include Pioneer Plaza, Thanksgiving Square, Arts District and Klyde Warren Park
1:30 pm Welcome lunch at Asian Mint (I-75 and Forest)

Fri, Feb 24, 10 am - Tour Stetson Hat Factory -721 Marion Dr.,Garland,Tx.:
12:30 –1:45 pm - Lunch in Garland (TBD)
2:00 – 4 pm -  visit Dallas Arboretum

Sat, Feb 25 - McKinney Day
9:30 am - Breakfast at Bill Smith's iconic diner - 1510 W.University; and architectural driving tour to view early-era homes
12:00 noon - Tubbs Brewery Tour, 721 Anderson, McKinney
2:00 pm - Visit to downtown square (walking)
4:00 pm - Dinner at Harry's On the Harbor in Adriatic Village, 6601 Mediterranean Drive, McKinney (pay on your own)

Sun, Feb 26 - Free day
6 – 6:30 pm - Small group dinners in members’ homes

Mon, Feb 27,  10:00 am - Top O' Hill tour, Arlington Baptist College, 3001 W. Division St, Arlington,TX
11:45 – 1 pm - lunch at Gilligan's on 400 E .Abram in Arlington 
2:00 pm - guided tour of Stockyards; meet at Visitor Center
4:00 pm - Stockyards cattle drive
5:30 pm optional happy hour at White Elephant Saloon in Stockyards
Dinner in the Stockyards, Sundance Square or home

Tues, Feb 28, 10:00 am - 12 noon - Sixth Floor Museum
Free afternoon
Farewell dinner at Mama Casa,19129 Preston Rd, Dallas

Wed, March 1 - Ambassadors depart.

If you are interested in planning a day activity, home hosting, day hosting, helping with the welcome and farewell dinners, hosting a small group dinner, or helping in any other way, please contact Sharri McIntosh at mcintosh.sharri@gmail.com.

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Southern NJ outbound
April 22-29, 2017 - Julia Cooper ED

Located in the Delaware Valley in Southern New Jersey across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, the region features historical sites such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Valley Forge and excellent art, natural history and science museums. We are requesting exposure to a combination of history and nature including a day or two in Philadelphia. Home stay capacity of 15 to 20 Ambassadors. Only 6 months away!! Only two places remain.

See Exchange flyer. Contact Julia: Acjc1804@hotmail.com

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Birmingham, AL inbound
June 3-9, 2017 – Cathy Ignatin, ED

Inbound Domestic Exchange (return visit) only 6 months away!!!
Contact Cathy: cignatin@hotmail.com to volunteer.

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Saskatoon, Canada outbound -  UPDATE
Aug 21-28 2017 [CHANGE DATES] – Paula Rose, ED
The homestay will cost $425 US.
Application deadline – Feb 15th, 2017

Homestay will include:
• Native World Heritage sites (Wanuskewin Heritage Park)
• Market Day - gourmet delight and crafters market
• Remai Modern Art Gallery - largest collection of Picasso
   linocut prints
• Western Development Museum - archivist tour behind the
   scene
• Welcome/farewell parties and time to bond with great
   Canadian FFers
 High temperatures reach the 70s there in August sometimes!!!

An optional tour of Lake Louise, Banff, the icefields and Glacier National Park booked separately through Caravan Tours will be offered after the homestay from August 30-Sept 7 including 2 free hotel nights in Calgary Aug 28 and 29. The tour (9 days 8 nights) will be $1,695 US double occupancy plus $289 taxes and fees.

Only two places remain. Contact Caravan Jan 4, 5 or 6 to book one of these space.

Contact Paula Rose ED:  paularose2000@hotmail.com

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Saskatoon, Canada inbound
October 2017 (during State Fair) - Patty Niemeyer, ED



To volunteer to be an ED or Co-ED for an exchange, please contact Patty Niemeyer (peanutpatti1@gmail.com). (If you have not been an Exchange Director before, give it a try. You will get lots of help and training. Plus there are some financial incentives – see our Policies.)

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Exchanges 2018

Southern New Jersey inbound
Dates TBD in 2018.
Exchange Director needed.

Requests
The Board has voted to request the following destinations for 2018 for outbound exchanges:
Israel or Australia or Japan

Dallas Global Exchange
The Dallas club Board has voted to sponsor a Global Themed Exchange in spring of 2018 (with FFI approval) which will focus on the arts, architecture and culture of our city. The planning group has been meeting and exploring possible activities. If you would like to be involved in more planning contact Felicity Sentance - fsentance@gmail.com  / or Mary Latham - mary_m_latham@yahoo.com. Dallas has so much to offer – it will be great to show off our city to the world!
 



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Travel Insurance Update
By Ray Enstam, International Exchange Coordinator

There has been a major change I want to alert you to on travel insurance. I include a few tips but want to make clear that neither I nor the Friendship Force of Dallas can give you any legal advice on this. You should be sure to read carefully any policy you buy.

Friendship Force International requires the purchase of travel insurance, but you are free to choose your own company. The following commentary applies only to the official sponsored insurance.
That said, Friendship Force International has now switched its sponsored insurer and links to this can be found on their website. You should be aware that the form of policy will vary from state to state and as a resident of Texas you should click through to get the proper form. To help you I include a direct link. Read the policy carefully:

http://www3.thefriendshipforce.org/downloads/Massachusetts_Oklahoma_Tennessee_Texas.pdf

In view of the current interest in “pre-existing conditions,” I have copied below some provisions of the policy. You should note that “pre-existing conditions” exclusion can apply not only to the Trip Cancellation, but can exclude payments for Medical Expenses. In view of the fact that Medicare does not apply to treatment outside of the US, travelers on international exchanges should pay close attention to this. And note in the last paragraph that you can get a waiver of these exclusions by early purchase of the policy.

The following exclusions apply to Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Emergency Evacuation, Repatriation of Remains and Missed Connection:
 
Loss caused by or resulting from:
1. Pre-Existing Conditions, as defined in the Definitions section (except Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains);

The following exclusions apply to Emergency Sickness Medical Expense and Emergency Accident Medical Expense:
Loss caused by or resulting from:

1. Pre-Existing Conditions, as defined in the Definitions;
Pre-Existing Condition means an illness, disease, or other condition during the sixty (60) day period immediately prior to the Effective Date for which You, a Traveling Companion or a Family Member booked to travel with You: 1) exhibited symptoms that would have caused one to seek care or treatment; or 2) received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment; or 3) took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine. Item (3) of this definition does not apply to a condition that is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the sixty (60) day period before the Effective Date.

The Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion is waived if You (a) purchased this Policy at the time You pay the deposit (to Friendship Force) for Your Trip (or within 15 days of the initial trip deposit); and (b) You are medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid.

A FEW COMMENTS:
I have spoken with Friendship Force International (FFI) and have some additional information about travel insurance and the question of covering “pre-existing conditions.” This only applies if you buy the official policy from FFI. You are on your own if you buy with a different company.

Deal With FFI not Insurance Company. If you buy the official travel policy you will buy from FFI and not deal directly with the company. You will make payments to FFI so they have more control over when you need to buy and when you get a refund.

Purchase Cut Off Date More Flexible. Even though the policy says you must buy within 15 days of the first payment to “Friendship Force” this is not clear which Friendship Force is referred to and if a refundable payment is a payment. The key time to buy insurance is when you make the first non-refundable payment. In the case of travel fee payments to FFI that is 60 days before departure. When you make a deposit to the Dallas club it is not a payment if it is refundable. The first payment date is the date the club makes a non-refundable payment and can no longer refund all your money (ie, payment to FFI or to a travel agency or such). But it also means that if you buy a plane ticket or pay some other travel expense to an outsider that is non-refundable, that is when you need to buy your insurance.

Insurance Premium Refundable. If you buy insurance when you make your first refundable deposit, such as to the club, and then cancel, you can also cancel the policy and get a refund of your premium. This is handled by FFI so you don’t have to deal with the insurance company.

Buy Insurance in Installments. It was also suggested that you can buy insurance in stages. When you make your first refundable payment to the club you can buy $1,000 worth of insurance for $38 (which is the minimum policy amount) and add on to this as you commit more money. And if you cancel, that first premium is refundable. If you buy insurance because you have made a non-refundable payment, it is not clear if you can cancel the policy. Of course, you cannot both make a claim and cancel.

If you have further questions on this you can call Allison Lindsey at Friendship Force International at 404-965-4342.

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Dues

THANKS to those who have paid your dues and renewed your club membership for 2017!!!
To renew your membership, print out a Membership Renewal Form (get a copy here) or contact edward for a paper copy), fill it out and mail it with your check for $35.00/person to edward perez.
erperez54@gmail.com


Friendship Force Dallas - Member Idea Meetings
By edward perez, Vice President, FFD Board, Chair of 2016 Strategic Planning Committee

As mentioned in previous newsletters, your board voted this past spring to define and implement strategic plans for our club - to involve more members, to attract and retain new members, and to interact with our community. We've held several meetings and gathered ideas on membership, club programs and activities, exchanges, and more.

This is your club. Your concerns and suggestions are important and appreciated. If you prefer to discuss these issues with a member or members of your board, fee free to contact any Board member. We are eager to receive your ideas.

We will hold a few more meetings in early 2017 and send a survey to gather more ideas and comments. Based on the information gathered, in 2017, we'll propose and put into action several objectives and strategies.

Facebook

We have a Friendship Force page on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, you can type FriendshipForceDallas in the search line and get our page. Then LIKE us and you will receive regular notes, news and photos from our page. Most important: SHARE these notices with your own contacts to spread our message.

Election of Officers for 2017

The election took take place at the General meeting in November and the officers voted in are as follows – Congratulations to all of you and thank you!:

President - Mary Latham
First Vice President - Sharri McIntosh
Vice President Membership - edward perez
Treasurer - Lou Ann King
Secretary - Patricia Andeweg

Committee News

Here are the names of the committee chairs for 2017:

Communications Committee – Mary Williams
Ways and Means Committee – vacant
Telephone Committee – ulia Cooper
Newsletter Committee – Felicity Sentance
Yearbook Committee – Edward perez
Sunshine Committee – Cathy Ignatin
Finance Committee – LouAnn King
Exchange Treasurer – Edward perez
Exchange Committee – Ray Enstam (International Exchange) and Patty Niemeyer (Domestic Exchange)

Communications Committee
By Mary Williams

With reorganized committees, a group known as the Communications Committee has been formed. Mary Williams is Chair and committee members are Ava Blais, Carol Chapuis. Mary Latham, Sharri McIntosh and Pat Peters.

The purpose of this committee is to involve more members in contributing to the running of the club; to take the burden off some who do many things; and to train people to take positions that at some point will be vacated.

The scope of this committee includes coordinating with the newsletter publisher, including some “reporters” to help write articles; publishing and maintaining a club website, updating as new information becomes available; designing and publishing meeting flyers to announce upcoming meetings; and to disseminate Information to the membership and community through a club Facebook page.

We encourage every member to help in the Facebook project – set up your own Facebook page if you do not yet have one. Search for friendshipforcedallas.org – then LIKE this page. You will then receive emails about FFD events past and future. Please SHARE these emails so that all your contacts know what our club is doing. This is a great way to get interest in our club through our own friends.

This committee is also working with the Membership Committee to attract new members through Meetup groups and other possible methods. Ideas for this committee are always welcome.

Ways and Means Committee

Ray Enstam has agreed to be on this committee. We continue to need a Chair for that committee.

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Other News

 • The next Board meeting will be Monday January 16th, at 1 pm at Mary Latham’s. All members are welcome to attend.
• When you get mail from our FFD e-mail address, please do not hit REPLY; that mailbox is not monitored every day. Reply to the person organizing the meeting or exchange..
• Patty Niemeyer is heading a search for volunteers for our unfilled positions. If you are interested in any of these positions, please contact Patty at peanutpatti1@gmail.com
• edward perez is assuming maintenance of our database due to ill health of Bill Pierce. Send any changes of address or email to him - erperez@acm.org
• When you receive changes, please update your yearbook
• Groups have been meeting to discuss needs/wishes/goals of club. These discussions will continue and a survey will be sent out to all who were not able to attend as noted by Mary Latham, our president.
• Lost and found - To the person who left a large pink plastic bowl at Chimney Hill, Mary Williams has it and you can claim it from her.

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Shuttle Service

If you want a ride to an airport or other location or a pickup:
• Look in the back of your FF Dallas yearbook. You send an email with the place, date and time you need to go - to the Shuttle Drivers list. If someone is available, they'll contact you. When your ride is complete, make a donation to the club. Easy!
• How do you know if you have a driver? Since all of the drivers get your request, the person who can drive you will Reply to All including you so the other drivers know you have a driver. Respond (Reply to All) accepting the ride.

If you want to volunteer to drive:
• Contact edward perez at erperez@acm.org to volunteer.
• What do you need to be a shuttle driver? Email (to receive requests and post replies) and a car (to take people places).
• How many times do you need to shuttle? As much as you're comfortable with, once a year, once every few months or whatever.
• What if you cannot do it anymore? Contact edward perez at erperez@acm.org and let him know.
• Do you need to collect any money/checks? No, the rider(s) is/are on their honor that they will send a donation (recommended $30) to the club's treasurer. If the rider wants to give the money/checks to you to mail/deliver, that's up to you. The rider may offer you toll fare or gas money. It's up to you to accept or decline.

Thanks to all drivers and riders who help support our club.
This is a great fundraiser for our club but we need MORE DRIVERS.

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Newsletter 

Send your news to both Felicity Sentance, our Newsletter Editor at fsentance@gmail.com by Feb. 22 for the March/April Newsletter. Share changes in address/email and tell us what you are doing with your FFD friends.
By Felicity Sentance

A reminder… the newsletter is for you and by you with my (hopefully) light editing touch. I’d like to be able to publish at least one member submission per newsletter so feel free to email me anything you feel would be of interest to fellow members…. Travel news, special escapades, etc. The deadlines for submissions for the next newsletter will be February, 25th.

Remember to use our website for your club questions, meeting and exchange dates, online newsletter, opportunities to travel with other clubs, photos, articles and much more.

This Newsletter will appear on our website below within a few days.
Friendship Force of Dallas, P. O. Box 551151. Dallas, TX 75355
http://www.friendshipforcedallas.org
Our general email box is friendshipforcedallas@yahoo.com
 
Sunshine

Contact Cathy Ignatin to let her know about members who could use a little sunshine - a call or card. cignatin@hotmail.com

Website and Email

Remember to use our website for your club questions, dates, opportunities to travel with other clubs, photos, articles and much more.

When you get mail from our FFD e-mail address, please do not hit REPLY; that address is not monitored every day. Reply to the person organizing the meeting or exchange. Our address and email:

   Friendship Force of Dallas
   P. O. Box 551151
   Dallas, TX 75355
   friendshipforcedallas@yahoo.com

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Gaby McKenzie – from Mac Mackenzie and family – We’re sorry to say, Gaby’s health is deteriorating. She is, now, in hospice care at Suncoast Hospice Center, 164 West Lake Road, Palm Harbor, Florida 74684.
Contact the webmaster or president for home address for B.E. (Mac) & Gaby Mackenzie in Clearwater.

UPDATE:Jan 4: Gaby passed away in her sleep in the early hours of Jan 4. Our condolences to the Mackenzie family. 

Bill Pierce had fallen and broke his shoulder, but is now recuperating. Cathy Ignatin, our Sunshine Committee chair says he’d love some visitors. Cathy also says that she mails get-well cards to those members who are sick but that Gerry Arens has volunteered to work with her to form a group to visit those who are sick, as well.

VOLUNTEERS PLEASE CONTACT CATHY OR GERRY.

Ed and Marge Edgren have discontinued their FFD membership but would be really happy to see us. They are at Presbyterian Village North. Contact the webmaster or president for their new address and phone.

Please welcome the following new Member:

Franda Hayes
email: frandasue4u@gmail.com
 
Franda was introduced to the club by Sue Priest and joined a couple of months ago. She was born in Texas and raised in Massachusetts and led a varied work life including working as a flight attendant for N. E. Airlines before it became part of Delta, courier for Fedex for whom she also worked with customer service and quality control, designing packaging that ‘wouldn’t be broken by an elephant walking on it’ and as a courier for Greens Keepers Indoor Plants. She says her apartment is full of plants. Since retirement from Fedex she says she likes to travel, read, paint with water colours and do volunteer work with children particularly with Children’s Theatre and with Vogel Alcove, a non-profit childcare centre for the homeless.

Changes to contact information for present members:

Sandy Kaiser’s new email address is coachs@grandecom.net

Brud Kisner has moved to Temple TX to a really nice retirement apartment. edward and Paula visited with him in late December and he is doing well there. Brud’s son, who is a nurse, lives in nearby Salado about 20 minutes from Brud. His email is the same - bkisner@sbcglobal.net. Contact the webmaster or president for his new address and phone.

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Conferences

2016 International Conference - Marrakesh, Morocco



Charlene Clements, one of the FFD delegates to the FFI Conference in Morocco in September, reported to the club on her experiences. The full text is here:

As soon as I learned the 39th World Conference of Friendship Force International  would be in Marrakesh, Morocco, I wanted to go. I also decided to sign up for a 7 day tour after the convention that included a homestay. I kept checking flights to Morocco and discovered it would be best to fly to Casablanca which has a large International airport, and alsonbecause my 7 day tour would end there. I didn’t book my flight right away. I bought my ticket in April when I suddenly came upon and unusually low fare--$675. Air Canada was the airline and the route going was a bit long since I had to change planes and airports in Toronto and then change planes in Montreal. The return was easy with Luthansa. I flew to Frankfurt and then directly to Dallas.

I decided not to reserve a flight to Marrakesh but to take the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh. My only mistake was not asking enough questions at the ticket office for the train. I bought a 2nd class ticket and didn’t realize there were no seats in 2nd class until the train arrived and I had to get on. I stood in the aisle for the first 1.5 hours. When the train stopped a lot of people got off who were sitting in a compartment with a shelf about 4 feet high, I quickly grabbed a seat on the shelf. An hour and a half later we arrived in Marrakesh and I got a taxi to Kenzi Farah, the convention hotel where I was sharing a room with the FF president from Orlando.

After checking in Thursday afternoon there was time to meet other attendees at the bar near the pool and make plans for dinner. On Friday the first large group meeting began with a local band playing some wonderful local music. I learned that a friendship force convention was much different than attending an academic conference. All kinds of activities were scheduled throughout the day. I could have gone hot-air ballooning at 5 am, taken a bellydance class by the pool fro 8-8:45 and then gone to unconference workships from 9:15 – 10:15.

After lunch the first round of afternoon workshops began at 12:45 and included topics such as Best Practices: Club Recruitment and Rentention & Marketing and Communications as well as Moroccan Argan Oil presented out in the Gardens.

Friday night was an optional evening in the Medina with dinner. I added it to my schedule after I realized there wasn’t anything else scheduled for Friday’s dinner and evening. We gathered at the hotel entrance at 6:30 pm to board our horse-drawn carriage that held 4 people. We made quite the grand entrance at the medina with 40-50 carriages in procession. Walking across the open space of round medina, we were met with exotic animals, people in costume and various little side shows all intended to tempt you into taking a picture. We were warned that taking any pictures of these people would require a donation. Some people tried to sneak a picture but they were always caught. So instead of trying to get a free picture, just pay for one. It was a pretty long walk to the restaurant and difficult for some people who were escorted to a bench to wait for the rest of us to enjoy the amusements taking place all around us.

The restaurant was very atmospheric: It was an old Riad with the open center covered over. Groups of 8-10 were seated at low round tables. The food included delicious tagines. This Moroccan national dish consists of dried fruits, spices, vegetables, with or without meat or fish baked in a conical clay pot. Drinks could be ordered and paid for separately. After dinner there was various entertainment and dessert. We went home by large buses rather than by horse drawn carriages. It was well worth the $80 price tag.

Shopping for a traditional tagine pot in the various souks was what Jim [Kerr] and I did on the last afternoon of the conference. Rather than going with a group the three of us hired a guide and walked to some wonderful souks and shopped.

Food was abundant and delicious at this conference. We had a fabulous breakfast buffet every morning which included fruit, pastries, bread, assortment of cheeses, juices, eggs prepared individually for you, and abundant coffee. Themorning coffee break came at 10:15 and included delightful pastries, juices, fruit and coffee. Then another buffet for lunch and another coffee break in the afternoon more spectacular than the morning break. Delightful tarts, cakes, puddings, and chocolates were beautifully displayed out in the garden with coffee, tea and juices to choose from.

Since this was my first FF conference, I don’t know how typical this conference was. I know that as a relatively new member of FF, I was more a listener than a participant at the small group discussions. In one discussion about ED’s needing to screen participants more carefully, especially as it concerned the physical abilities of participants, I could really begin to understand the problem from the view of ED’s and hosts as well as participants of all abiltiies. My group concluded that clubs could do more individualizing of activities for physically limited participants in addition to better screening. The reality is that as we age we are less able to do the physically demanding activities, but we still want to continue being ambassadors of peace around the world. I noticed that participants were very willing to accommodate slower walkers especially for those older participants who had given 20 or more years of their lives to organizing FF trips and now weren’t quite as able as they once were. Finding younger members will never be the only solution to our problem of an aging population.

More information about the workshops of the conference can be found in the notes under Conferences on the FF website. After the conference I went on a 7-day tour which included 2 nights of homestay in Azrou. As usual, the homestay gives the participant so much more than a place to sleep. I was fortunate enough to be placed in Lofti Lamrani’s home. He is the founder and Managing Director of Friendship Force Morocco.

His group has implemented ideas which brought over 1500 students from American universities as well 300 FF ambassadors from 18 clubs from the US, Canada, Belgium, Germany Costa Rica, Japan and Romania to Morocco from 2007-2014.

I found every part of my trip a wonderful education. In addition to the wonderful people we met throughout Morocco, we visited Fez, Rabat and Casablanca. Although the largest place we visited was the mosque in Casablanca, third largest in the world, the highlight of the trip was going to Rick’s Café with a couple of friends our last night in Casablanca. We sat at the bar right next to piano and bass players. The atmosphere was wonderful, the Casablanca beer, bartender, the small tables, and the lighting memorable.

**

In relation to Charlene’s comments, Paula pointed out that March 2017 is the fortieth anniversary of Friendship Force. Paula is planning a special program involving a mixer and a video on Friendship Force.

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2017: International Conference

August 24 (6 pm) to August 28 (12 pm), 2017
Midland Hotel
Keynote Speaker: Benedict Allen, TV Presenter, Explorer and Author
Manchester day tours, including: a Beatles tour, indoor skydiving, the Imperial War Museum, the National Football Museum, a private canal cruise, city walking tours, an English Manor House and gardens, the BBC headquarters, and a local brewery.

Travel back in time! Our opening night party takes us back to 1977 when the Friendship Force began. The music, costumes, dancers, decor, food and atmosphere will have you waxing nostalgic about the ‘70s. It’s time to celebrate 40 years of this great organization...and time to put on some bellbottoms.

Gateway to Europe at Your Doorstep! Pre- and Post-conference homestays and tours in Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Scandinavia, Croatia, France and UK.

Flyer: http://www3.thefriendshipforce.org/downloads/Manchester_Flyer.pdf

Online registration opens December 2016.
Please contact Debbie Powell to be personally notified on the day of launch: debbie@friendshipforce.org


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Friendship Force International

Stories of Friendship

This is a new feature on the FFI website. Send stories of your experiences that have helped eliminate barriers that separate us and bring us closer together. Send to: http://storiesoffriendship.org/

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Remember that you are welcome to join other clubs on their exchanges if there is room. When you travel with another club you help fill their seats and make new friends in another club as well as your destination club. See the FFI World of Friends Catalog for a list of all exchanges with openings: http://www2.thefriendshipforce.org/catalog/ffi_listonly.aspx.

If you are interested in any of these exchanges, contact the Exchange Director ASAP. The decision for an exchange to go or to cancel occurs at least 90 days preceding a scheduled date. Notice of remaining seats can be out of date as exchanges fill and there are cancellations. Contact the ED for the most current information.

Please contact clubs well in advance, as an exchange may cancel if the Exchange Director doesn’t know about your interest.

See where some other clubs are going on our Other Clubs page.

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Contact Information
Postal address: P. O. Box 551151, Dallas, TX 75355
Phone and fax: 214- 699-7574 
E-mail: friendshipforcedallas@yahoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendshipForceDallas/
Webmaster: mwilliamstxtravel@yahoo.com