PAST EVENTS

Foreign Outbound Exchanges
Foreign Inbound Exchanges
Domestic Outbound Exchanges
Domestic Inbound Exchanges
Open Doors
Conferences
Special Events

Foreign Outbound

2015

HungaryPecs (pronounced pesh), Hungary
June 10-26, 2015.

Ambassador Linda Doyle had an experience on the Hungarian exchange that demonstrates what Friendship Force is all about. If you would like to read Linda's story, Click Here.

Jim Young was the Exchange Director for this Exchange.

2014

AustraliaAlbany and Perth, Australia
October 17-31, 2014

Randy and Jo Thomson led this interesting exchange to visit the Friendship Force clubs of Albany and Perth, Australia.

Jo and Randy also attended the 2014 World Conference, in Auckland, New Zealand.

The exchange also included optional stop at Alice Springs and Uluru (aka Ayers Rock).

2010

CanadaOttawa, Canada - September 7-14, 2010

Twenty-two ambassadors had a wealth of fun and developed many new friendships on this exchange to Ottawa. The exchange included nineteen members of FFFW, two non-members, and a member of the FF of Houston.

Ottawa is a beautiful city. Since it is the capital, there are many federally funded parks and green belts around the city. A canal, built to provide commerce between eastern and western Canada, in the event of conflict with the US, now has adjacent boulevards, and biking/jogging paths.

Ottawa's museums are very impressive, as well. We were given a tour of the Canadian Art Museum, which is not large by world standards for national museums, but is of extremely fine quality. It included a floor devoted to art of the indigenous peoples across Canada, and included videos of indigenous culture in the 1920s and 40s.

Since Ottawa is the capital of Canada, we were privileged to learn about the differences between the governing and legal process of Canada and the US, and were invited to the US Embassy for a presentation of the functions of the Foreign Service. We were privileged to tour the Parliament Building and the Supreme Court Building, and were presented with information about the political and legal systems at each of these buildings, respectively.

In addition to the city itself, we were treated to a boat cruise through the 1000 Islands on the Saint Lawrence River, the birthplace of Thousand Island salad dressing. A few members were treated to an overnight stay in a home on one of the small islands. Many of us also toured the Gateneau hills, in Quebec, which is just across the Ottawa River. We want to thank the Friendship Force of Ottawa for a wonderful cultural and friendship experience.

Several ambassadors took a train from Ottawa to Montreal for a post exchange tour of Montreal and Quebec City. We hope to provide an illustrated journal of this exchange and tour sometime in the future.

Barbara Worthley was the Exchange Director for this exchange.

If you would like to read a collective illustrated journal of this exchange, click here.

2009

Japan Miyagi and Osaka/Mie, Japan - May 14 - May 28, 2009

Ten ambassadors from Fort Worth were hosted on a one-week exchange with the Friendship Force of Miyagi in Sendai, Japan, May 14-21. Thanks to the hard work of FFI and Hiroshi Onishi, the Central Japan volunteer regional coordinator, the trip was expanded to include a second, 4-night, homestay with one of two different clubs. Six of our ambassadors were guests of the Osaka club, and four were guests of the Mie club. The homestay experience was followed by a 3-day hotel stay in Kyoto and tours of Kyoto and Nara led by members of the Friendship Force of Nara.

We had an additional, unique experience on this exchange. We had the added dimension of sharing our homestay in Miyagi, with ambassadors from the Friendship Force of Saratov, Russia. This was the first time that Fort Worth has shared an outbound exchange with a foreign club. While none of the Russians spoke fluent English, one or two had some English, and the Miyagi club invited a Ukrainian exchange student to participate, as an interpreter.

Miyagi is on the eastern coast of northern Honshu, Japan's largest island. It is primarily an industrial area, although there is also significant rice and livestock production, and fishing. It is noted for the high quality of the beef raised there. Sendai is known as "the city of trees", and it was easy to see why. Most streets were tree-lined, and there were many lush parks in the city.

Our first experience of Sendai was the Aoba Matsura Festival. This festival celebrates the Date Masumune, the warlord who converted Sendai from a sleepy fishing village to the capital of a thriving area. The festival included many groups competing in the traditional sparrow dance, as well as Japanese drummers and other musicians. There were also many booths selling traditional Japanese foods. Rain put a damper on some of the activities, but the second day parade was made a static exhibit, along a covered boulevard. Instead of the floats, dancers and musicians parading, they stayed in one place, and the spectators walked along the boulevard to view and hear each group.

The pine-clad islands of Matsushima, which dot the waters off the coast about an hour north of Sendai are one of Japan's greatest sites. The errosion of the rocks by the waves has left many interesting shapes, and the islands vary in size from those almost too small to stand on, to those with one or more buildings nestled in the pines.

Osaka and Kyoto toward the southern end of Honshu. Both are very historic cities. Kyoto was the capital and home of the emperor from 794 until 1868. It was removed from the list of potential atomic bomb targets and was spared from air raids during World War II, due to its historic significance. Osaka and Kyoto contain countless shrines, temples, and historically priceless structures.

Six of our ambassadors were hosted in and around Osaka, and had the opportunity to explore some of the many sites there.

Mie is the prefecture (political division equivalent to US state) immediately to the east of Osaka prefecture. Tsu, its capital, is on the coast. Four ambassadors were home hosted in Matsusaka, a suburb south of Tsu. They visited several interesteing and important sites with their hosts, including The Pearl Island Museum of Japanese pearl harvesting.

After our home hosting experiences, we spent three nights in a hotel in Kyoto, and were given tours of Kyoto and Nara, by rail and taxi, sponsored and lead by members of the Friendship Force of Nara. In addition to seeing some rather spectacular shines and temples, and getting up front and personal with the deer that freely roam the parks and streets of parts of Nara, we had the opportunity to make friends with members of a fourth Friendship Force club.

After saying goodbye to our new friends in Kyoto and Nara, we returned to Tokyo for two (or in some cases more) nights. All of our ambassadors took a full day tour of Tokyo, and three of us stayed a second day to take a tour to Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, the weather had turned cloudy an rainy by the time we had returned to Tokyo, and we were unable to see the summit of Mt. Fuji from the fifth station, which is as high as the road goes up the mountain.

Co-Exchange Directors Randy and Jo Thomson felt that, while this was one of the most complex and difficult exchanges in which they had participated, it was also one of the most rewarding.

A cooperative, illustrated journal of this exchange will be published on this web site in the future. Check back here for a link to the journal when it has been completed.

2008

New Zealand Taupo and Thames-Coromandel, New Zealand - October 2008

The exchange to Thames-Coromandel and Taupo, New Zealand was a wonderful experience. Our twenty ambassadors experienced almost an overload of wonderful people, fantastic scenery and interesting sites. Our third week tour of the South Island was graced with good weather on all but one (well maybe two) days. The fjords were awesome, as was the scenery around Queenstown. And, one of our members actually did a bungy jump from the original site. Click this link to see an illustrated account of our experiences prepared as a joint effort by all the ambassadors.

2007

Hertfordshire Inbound Hertfordshire, England - May 15-22, 2007

Nineteen ambassadors visited the enjoyable folks from Hertfordshire, England in May 2008, in response to their visit with us in 2005. The Exchange Director was Stella Norman.

Our first event was to meet the Mayor of St. Albans. She was dressed in all her royal attire and explained to us the history of St. Albans. Afterward, we took a walking tour of the city and St. Albans Cathedral.

Our next outing was to take the train to London where we toured the historic Lincoln Inn. Lincoln Inn began in 1422. The Inn houses those who are studying to become Barristers or Solicitors. We then took a tour of Parliament to see the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

The next day we took a motor coach to the Cotswold area of England. We toured Sulgrave Manor which is the ancestral home of the George Washington family. The home was furnished with period furniture and is jointly owned by the U.S. and the U.K.

2006

Mexico Chiapas, Mexico -- March 12 - 27

Twenty-two ambassadors, including two from Wisconsin and two from Florida visited the Friendship Force clubs in two charming areas in the state of Chiapas,Mexico. Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, bordering on the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Guatemala to the east. The two places we visited, are Tuxla Gutierrez, the captial city of Chiapas, and Comitán de Dominguez, a smaller town near the Guatemala border. They are about a 3 hour drive apart, over winding roads.

Interesting facts: Tuxla means "valley of many rabbits." The USDA sponsored a screwworm fly-producing facility there to produce millions of sterile male flies. The flies were used to successfully combat the screwworm epidemic of the 1980s and 90s. Maybe a more apt name would be The Valley of The Flies!

Between our two home-hosted exchanges, we took a four-day, three-night tour of the ancient site of Palenque.

Click here to see an illustrated journal of the trip.

The Exchange Director for this outbound exchange was Linda Doyle.

2005

BrazilBlumenau, Brazil -- Oct. 18 - Nov. 3

Our ambassadors were home hosted Oct. 19-26 in the German community of Blumenau, Brazil, where they attended a beerfest second only in size to Munich! The friendships made here were among the best.

During week two they toured Iquaçu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. Iguaçu Falls is seven times the size of Niagra Falls, so large that the only place you can see it all at once is from the air. The water was nearly triple normal flow while they were there, and three days after they left, the catwalk to the Devil's Throat was washed away.

A few of our members extended their stay to attend the Friendship Force International Conference, in São Paulo, November 3-6.

Click here to see a journal of the trip.

The Exchange Directors for this outbound exchange were Walter and Linda McConathy.

2003

AustraliaAustralia -- October 7-22

Our two-week outbound exchange to Ipswich and North Moreton, Australia, October 7-22, 2003 was wonderful. Despite tiring delays at LAX on our return flight, due to the California fires, our ambassadors were still beaming when we reached DFW. The folks down under know all about good old Southern hospitality. After all, you can't get much more southern than that! We experienced them as warm, open, and fun-loving. In addition to their cordial company, Brisbane and the surrounding area are beautiful. Ask one of the amassadors to show you a picture, or describe a jackaranda tree. They were in full bloom while we were there.

The optional third week to Cairns and Sydney was fantastic. Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, riding through the Rain Forest, and touring Sydney and the Opera House were all activities no one should miss. Five of our ambassadors took an optional fourth week tour of New Zealand. They have reported that the trip was very nice, but was dampened by rain most of the time.

Sunday November 16 was the first post-exchange get-together. Exchange Director Jerry Tuttle took a report from that gathering to the Board meeting later that evening.

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Foreign Inbound

2013

CanadaMedicine Hat, Alberta, Canada - April 8-14, 2013

We were excited to host an inbound exchange from The Friendship Force of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, April 8-14, 2013.

We shared the western heritage, of the city "Where the West Begins" with visits to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the longhorn cattle drive in the Stockyards District. Our guests also sampled true western cuisine at some of Fort Worth's TexMex and BBQ restaurants.

Our visitors learned more about our internationally known cultural side, by visiting the Amon Carter Art Museum, the gallery and gardens of noted Weatherford, Texas artist Douglas Chander, and the Kimbell Museum.

And, of course, we introduced our guests to "Big D" with a rail trip to visit the "Sixth Floor Museum" commemorating the life and death of President John F. Kennedy and the Dallas Aboretum.

By the end of the week, our acquaintences from Medicine Hat had become fast friends, whom we will cherish. And, that, after all, is what The Friendship Force is all about.

Photos of our activities are available on the club Facebook page.

2012

ColumbiaBogotá, Columbia - May 13-19 2012

Dallas and Fort Worth were joint hosts to the Friendship Force of Bogotá, Columbia, May 13-19, 2012. We each hosted 13 ambassadors from Bogotá from May 13-19. We joined together for a Welcome Ice Cream party and a Farewell Dinner, and for a day each in Dallas and one in Fort Worth. We each provided separate activities for the remainder of the week. Bill Worthley was the Exchange Director for Fort Worth's part of this exchange, and Ray Enstam was ED for Dallas.

The Welcome Ice Cream party included a Dixieland Jazz band as entertainment, and was a great opportunity for hosts and ambassadors from both Dallas and Fort Worth to get to know each other and our ambassadors.

Fort Worth unique activities included a Ranch Day, where the ambassadors were shown a cutting horse ranch, and a modern dairy farm. In addition we had a Museum Day, where members visited the Kimbell, the Amon Carter, and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. We also showed our guests the Japanese Garden, and ate lunch in the Garden Restaurant at the Botanical Garden.

On Dallas Day, everyone visited the Dallas Arts District, including the Winspear Opera House. The ambassadors enjoyed the Dallas Fountains, and ate lunch at Avati's.

Fort Worth Day included a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, a picnic lunch at the Water Garden, and a ride on Molly the Trolley, ending at the Sid Richardson Museum of Western Art.

The ambassadors and hosts were presented with a photo CD of the exchange when they arrived at DFW airport to leave. Select photos were posted on The Friendship Force of Fort Worth Facebook page.

Both ambassadors and hosts had a great time on this unique split exchange, shared by sister clubs Dallas and Fort Worth.

2011

CanadaManitoba, Canada - May 15-22, 2011

Fort Worth had a great time hosting the Friendship Force of Manitoba, Canada, May 15-22. Deb Buresh was the Exchange Director at our end for this exchange.

We had seven ambassadors from Manitoba. Activities included a tour of the stockyards, and a "Dallas Day."

Everyone had an opportunity to meet the ambassadors at the farewell dinner, at Chadra Mezza and Grill, which profived a very good Mediterranean buffet.

Several of our members accompanied the Canadians to their next exchange, in Memphis, TN, and learned a lot about Memphis and Tennessee hospitality.

2010

BrazilBelem, Brazil - October 23-30, 2010

Nine ladies and one man from Brazil enjoyed being hosted in Fort Worth during October 23-30, 2010. We enjoyed getting to know them, and showing them around the area. Our itenerary included the museums, the botanical garden, the stockyards, and a day in Dallas. A unique place we visited was a cheese factory, near Dublin, Tx.

Several of the ambassadors had come from the World Conference, in Washington, DC, where Randy and Jo Thomson had the opportunity to meet them, before their arrival.

Close friendships were developed over the week, and we were all invited to come to Belem in the future, either on an exchange or on a personal visit.

Our farewell dinner was held at Trinity Towers. We had a very good dinner, and entertained each other in conversation and song. Many of the Brazilian ladies attended in their native costume, very full flowery dresses.

2008

BrazilBlumenau, Brazil - April 30 - May 6, 2008

We were very pleased to have two inbound exchanges this year, and that the second one was a reciprocal visit from our dear friends in Blumenau, Brazil. The hosts in Blumenau gave our ambassadors a royal welcome, in 2005, and we did our best to provide them an equally rewarding experience.

Co-Exchange Directors Taylor Stephens-Parker and Stan Parker did an excellent job of coordinating the events.

The Welcome Dinner, Ranch Day, Cultural District Day, Dallas Day, Small Dinners Day, and Russell Farm Art Center & Picnic Day -- all were special hits that seemed to touch our ambassadors interests. For example, we enjoyed hearing a Brasilian cowboy talk about training cutting horses. Rain shortened some of our activities, but not the enthusiasm for them!

The Farewell Dinner was catered by Mijo’s Fresh Mexican Food and was highly praised by our Ambassadors. Guess what -- they had NEVER before eaten fajitas!! For dessert, authentic Mexican Flan, specially prepared by Mijo’s, was as good as Linda Williams had promised. Surprise entertainment was produced by Howard McMahan when he introduced a local cowboy who not only did rope tricks, but who also attempted to teach us to do them! Many members and Ambassadors tried this skill and found they could actually keep the rope circling! Jair Vianna, Outbound E.D., and Taylor and Stan Parker, Inbound Co-EDs., exchanged mutual and heartfelt appreciations at the end of the evening. Then the entire group sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

Special thanks go to Linda Williams for opening her beautiful home and gardens to us for BOTH the Welcome and the Farewell Dinners.

Canada Niagara, Canada - February 21-28

We were pleasantly surprised to hear, at the International in Atlanta, from the ambassadors of Niagara, Canada, that we would be hosting them in early 2008. This was quite a surprise, as Atlanta had not previously coordinated the exchange with us.

Twenty three ambassadors from the Niagara Canada club arrived on Feb. 21. Twelve drove and met us at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. The remaining eleven flew, and we met them at DFW. Due to a full plane two were forced to arrive on a later flight from Chicago than the majority.

After an evening of rest, the ambassadors enjoyed a full day of activities, on Friday, visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This was followed by a Welcome Dinner of fajitas, at the Coors Distributing facility.

Saturday was Dallas Day, and the ambassadors took the Trinity Railway Express to Dallas where they were introduced to the Fifth Floor Museum, site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as well as other Dallas sites. Saturday evening the ambassadors, hosts and others had the option of attending either a performance at Stage West Theatre, or going to the Fort Worth Rodeo in the stockyards.

After a free day to enjoy the company of their hosts on Sunday, and having ranged to the east on Saturday, ambassadors looked to the west of Fort Worth, with the option of visiting either Clark Garden to see the daffodils and tulips in bloom, or Fossil Rim Wildlife Park, for an up close view of the giraffes, ostriches, zebras, and other animals resident there.

Tuesday was our traditional Museum Day, when the ambassadors were introduced to some of the popular cultural facilities in Fort Worth, including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Kimbell Museum, and the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum. Some ambassadors also went to the nearby Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, the ambassadors enjoyed a visit to the Shadow Oak Farm, home of a National Cutting Horse Champion, and then optionally proceeded to historic Hico, Texas, or to two renewable energy facilities, returning just in time to prepare for a covered dish Farewell Dinner at the home of Linda Williams.

On Thursday morning the ambassadors were seen on their various ways, some to tour further south in Texas, some to Florida to visit friends and family, and the remainder to Los Angeles for another week of Friendship Force activities.

2007

Our inbound exchange in 2007 was not viable.

2006

MexicoComitán de Dominguez, Mexico - July 17-23

Comitán paid us a return visit four months after our visit to them in March 2006. Exchange Directors were Bill and Barbara Worthley.

The exchange opened with a pot luck Welcome Dinner at the home of Linda Williams. The Comitán enjoyed getting to continue their recently establshed friendships, as well as meeting new friends and seeing the Fort Worth/Dallas area. The farewell dinner was pot luck on a ranch home neighboring Linda Doyle, in Gordon, Texas following tours of working cattle and horse ranches in the area.

2005

EnglandHertfordshire, UK, April 5-12

We hosted the Hertfordshire, UK club in April of 2005. Hertfordshire is the county immediately north of the greater London area. Members are from several of its nine districts.

Activities included visits to horse and cattle ranches, a trip on the Texas Railway Express to Dallas to the Kennedy Museum, a tour of the historic Fort Worth North Side, and a delicious barbecue dinner at one of our member's ranch.

By all reports this was a very successful and enjoyed exchange, despite the airline and traffic snags experienced when arriving and departing. Rumor has it that the Herfordshire club considers this their best exchange ever!

Thanks to Jayne Naff for organizing such a quality exchange.

2004

Australia/Tweed Valley, Australia - March 7-14

The Friendship Force of Tweed Valley, Australia visited us, March 7-14, 2004. This was a really fun-filled inbound exchange. Linda Doyle was the Fort Worth ED, ably assisted by Jerry Tuttle.

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Domestic Outbound

2017

PensylvaniaHarrisburg, Pennsylvania
July 10 - 15, 2017

The Harrisburg Journey more than met expectations. They have an active busy club, and kept us busy the whole week with very interesting activities.

On the first day, we visited an Army museum with exhibits of every armed conflict the US has been in, from the French and Indian war, to WWI, to Afghanistan. This was followed by a welcome picnic on the grounds of Dickenson College, complete with a Bluegrass Festival.

Our second day was spent in Hershey, PA, the chocolate capital of the US. We learned a lot about Milton Hershey, the founder of the Hershey Chocolate industry. He was a very benevolent philanthropist, who was always generous with his employees, and established a school for children that is still in operation. We took a tour bus and learned a lot about the town and Milton Hershey.

On our third day, we visited Amish and Moravian country, and took a ride in an Amish buggy. Our driver was very interesting and open concerning her personal life. We also visited an Amish demonstration farm, and had a fantastic buffet lunch that tasted like home-cooked food.

The following day we visited Gettysburg, where we toured the National Monument museum and took a very intersting bus tour of the battleground.

Our last day, we toured the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg. It is on of the finest and most beautiful state buildings in the country.

By the time we left the next morning, we had a new appreciation for the beautiful country in eastern PA, and had made many new friends.

2011

TNMemphis, TN - May 24-30, 2010

The Friendship Force of Memphis, Tennessee us to join the Manitoba club on their visit to Memphis, when they left Fort Worth. Seven of our members accompanied the six ambassadors from Manitoba to Memphis. Jim Young coordinated our pariticaption.

2005

Virginia State MapRichmond, VA - April 18-24

Have you ever been to a shad planking? The men in our exchange to Richmond have. THE shad planking is an old Virginia custom. Shad are fastened to a board and cooked on an open fire, but that's just an excuse for the politicians to come together and make speeches. And, there seems to have developed some sort of campaign sign contest over the last few years. It was quite an interesting experience.

We had a fantastic time, and southern hospitality was at it best. The women got to see some exquisite private gardens in the height of the flower season, as this was the week of the Virginia Garden and Plantation Home Tours. And, we all had the chance to become steeped in the culture and history of the South. Richmond also has some excellent art museums, and the tulips were really showing off in the botanic garden. An added bonus was a full day tour to Historic Williamsburg.

Thanks Bob Urban and Stella Norman for coordinating our end, and kudus to the Richmond club for making this one of our very best domestic exchanges.

2004

OklahomaOklahoma - June 4-6

On the weekend of June 4-6, 2004, twenty of our members, of whom eighteen were home hosted, attended a reciprocal visit to Oklahoma, during the Red Earth Festival. In addition to seeing and hearing the Native American dancing, and viewing and purchasing from the displays of the many talented artists, we were privileged to join the Oklahoma Friendship Force club in their annual volunteer service activities at the Festival. We were also treated to two delicious and entertaining group dinners, and were taken on a guided tour of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, which features a large permanent exhibition of fabulous Dale Chihuly blown glass art. As with the Oklahoma inbound exchange, the efforts of Linda McConathy as ED made our end of this exchange go off without a hitch.

These two activities have further strengthened the bond that has grown between our two clubs over the past several years.

Austin, Texas Austin, Texas - April 1-4

Several members, including a first-timer or two enjoyed a long weekend with the Austin, Texas Friendship Force, April 1-4. The wild flowers were in full bloom, and they took full advantage of them by visiting the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Park. An Austin FF member also took them on an enlightening tour of our State Capitol building. Everyone was smiles during the visit, as can be seen from the photos in our Photo Gallery.

North CarolinaNorth Carolina - April 27 - May 4

Eight Fort Worth ambassadors shared a visit to the Charlotte, North Carolina club with the New Mexico club, April 27 through May 4.

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Domestic Inbound

2015

Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Pikes Peak Region, CO - November 4 - 11

We received a reciprocal visit from 18 members of the Pikes Peak Region club, in Colorado Springs. Dave and Jean Frick did a good job of organizing this exchange. This was their first experience as Exchange Directors.

2006

Virginia and North Carolina Charlotte, NC and Richmond, VA - September 28 - October 5

We received a combined domestic return visit from these two great clubs which we have visited in 2004 and 2005. Exchange Director for this event was Bob Urban.

2003

OklahomaOklahoma - September 26-29

We had a mutually great time with twelve ambassadors from the Oklahoma City club Friday afternoon, Sept. 26, 2003, through Monday evening, the 29th. The Oklahoma club travelled by AmTrak, and had an enjoyable trip. They were shown two of our great show places, the Bass Music Hall, and the Cowgirl Museum, among other places of interest. Our favorite entertainer, Laurie Simmons, lead a songfest, Sunday evening, at Los Vaqueros restaurant in the Stockyards area of North Fort Worth. Linda McConathy was the Exchange Director, and with the help of June Chavern and many others did a bang up job of organizing and executing the whole affair.

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Open DoorsOpen Doors

2005

Fort Worth - Sept. 7-11

Fort Worth hosted ambassadors from Austin, Houston, and Oklahoma City on the weekend of Gallery Night, the evening of open house at many of the city's private art galleries.

Some ambassadors arrived early in order to take advantage of the opportunity of free admission to the Modern Art Museum, on Wednesday afternoon. The exchange began officially with a dinner on Wednesday evening at Linda William's beautiful home and lush gardens.

The exchange continued on Thursday with a trip to Dallas on the Trinity Railway Express for a walking/rail tour. On Friday we took a tour of the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, which many of our local members also had not seen. Saturday morning included a tour of the Bass Performance Hall, and a walk to Billy Minor's for sandwiches.

Some ambassadors were treated to small dinner groups on one or more evenings, and we bid our ambassadors farewell during a brunch at the Garden Restaurant in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

We all appreciated the opportunity to further build our relationships with other members of the Southwest Region, which is the purpose of these Open Doors exchanges.

Austin, Texas - April 21-24

Fifteen ambassadors from Fort Worth, Dallas, Oklahoma, Baton Rouge, and the Rio Grande Valley got the opportunity to see the Texas Hill Country in the height of wildflower season. On Friday, the group toured the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and saw an Omni presentation entitled "Forces of Nature." In the afternoon they walked through Zilker Park Garden, and later went to Mount Bonnell for a view of Lake Austin and the city. Saturday started with a scenic drive to Fredericksburg, with a stop at the Wildseed Farm. After a picnic lunch, the group drove the Willow City Loop, a 13-mile road noted for its wildflowers. The Farewell Dinner included fajitas at a local Mexican restaurant.

2004

Fort Worth - September 16-18

Fort Worth hosted ambassadors from Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma and Kansas for a long weekend event. Visitors got a taste of what Fort Worth and Fort Worthians have to offer with a welcoming potluck dinner, a visit to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and Jazz on the Boulevard, as well as several other activities.

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Conferences

Southwest Regional Conference - Wichita, Kansas - March 23-24, 2012

The 2012 Southwest Regional Conference of Friendship Force International was sponsored by The Friendship Force of Kansas. It was held in the Hotel at Old Town, in Wichita, KS, March 23-24, a very historic part of Wichita.

Regional Conferences are always a great place to renew old acquaintances, and this was no exception. Stan Parker, Taylor Stephens-Parker, Randy Thomson and Jo Burleson-Thomson represented the Fort Worth club. With the exception of the Baton Rouge club, all clubs in our five state region were represented. George Brown, FFI President spoke on what is going on at our international headquarters, and the plans for adding new clubs in both the US and several foreign countries. There are now 360 clubs in 55 countries. George also had a question and answer session.

As the newest club in our region, this was the first time for Kansas to host the Southwest Regional Conference, and the did a fantastic job. We all have a new hallmark to match.

The guest speaker was Claude Puntel. She is the owner of the Cross Cultural Assimilation Institute where people and businesses are taught how to work and relate with people of other cultures. Her talk was invaluable in sharpening our skills in interacting with ambassadors and hosts of other countries and cultures.

Your webmaster Randy Thomson gave two presentations, one on using Facebook to promote your club, and one on using Yahoo! Groups to manage a club.

Make plans to join the fun in Wichita in March 2012. Click here to download the registration form, and here to download a flier with more details.

2007 Friendship Force International
30th Birthday Gala and International Conference

Atlanta, GA
March 1-3

Four members of FFFW, Jo and Randy Thomson, Dorothy Wicker, and Jim Young, attended the 30th Birthday Celebration and 2007 International Conference. Randy and Jo extended their stay to include a three day home hosting in Montgomery, AL after the conference.

The opening celebration on Thursday evening, was held in the ballroom at the Atlanta Aquarium, said to be the largest in the world. During the dinner, a large curtain was drawn, showing a huge window from the ballroom directly into the beluga whale tank. Ambassador Andrew Young and Mayor Shirley Franklin, both strong supporters of FFI, were in attendance and spoke briefly.

The conference which lasted all day Saturday and Sunday morning, consisted of opening and closing plenary sessions, with smaller group presentations and panels inbetween. George Brown gave an upbeat opening presentation, explaining how the frugal staffing and spending efforts of the last three years have brought FFI back to a healthy financial condition.

Between the two plenary sessions, a number of informative and interesting classes were held, including ED training, using music in the exchange experience, and effective communications and publicity.

In the closing session, a number of groups and individuals were recognized for their outstanding work within Friendship Force. We were delighted that Lesley Pratt, president of the Hertfordshire club, was named one of the outstanding volunteers. Australia's Gold Coast club invited everyone to join them for the 2008 International Conference. Several clubs presented gifts representative oftheir cultures to FFI.

2007 Southwest Regional Conference

San Antonio, Texas
January 26-27

The Friendship Force Club of San Antonio, Texas, hosted a bang-up conference. The theme for the conference was "Friendship, Deep in the Heart of Texas". There were excellent speakers on global environment issues and global marketing. While the topics were not directly Friendship Force related, there were many points brought up that were very relevant to the Friendship Force experience.

Entertainment included a wonderful buffet dinner, dancing, and a former member who impersonated an early 20th century cowboy trail boss.

Thanks to Conference Coordinator Donna Stewart for organizing such a great event.

International Conference - Dublin2006 Friendship Force International Conference

Dublin, Ireland
October 12-15

Seven Fort Worth Ambassadors attended the international conference in Dublin, Ireland, and many participated in one or more of the Ireland tours before and after the conference. We were fortunate to spend some time with Janet Gow, the Hertfordshire Exchange Director for our exchange to Hertfordshire in May 2007.

Our ambassadors appreciated the opportunity to meet people from many parts of the world, and enjoyed the colorful costumes that some wore to the opening banquet.

2006 Southwest Regional Conference

Oklahoma City
February 17-18

The 2006 Regional Conference was held in Oklahoma City. Conference Coordinator Geneva Hancock and her conference team lead an excellent conference, despite Geneva's developing a bad case of laryngitus just leading into the conference.

Two excellent speakers were selected for the conference. George Brown, the Director of Friendship Force International emphasized the mission of Friendship Force over the ways we implement the mission, and cautioned that we must not let the means become the end. Former U. S. Ambassador Edwin Corr, who currently is the Assistant Director of the International Center at the University of Oklahoma spoke on the deteriorating world image of the United States, its causes, what needs to be done to raise the image, and how we as members of Friendship Force can help.

2005 Southwest Regional Conference

Fort Worth
February 11-12

The Friendship Force Club of Fort Worth, Texas, hosted the 2005 Southwest Regional Conference on Friday and Saturday, February 11-12, 2005. The theme for the conference was "Extending our Reach".

Friday evening was spent getting to know one another through a lively and educational round of "Friendship Force Jeopardy" the four top notch teams showed their expertise and competitive edge by all ending up with negative scores.

Saturday morning, Debbie Powell, Program Services Coordinator from Friendship Force International, provided us with an update us on what’s happening at FFI. Among other things, she reported that FFI was solidly in the black, financially, at the end of 2004.

Our Keynote speaker Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, a noted speaker and editor of dfwinternational.org, presented an enlightening and entertaining interactive talk on some of the unexpected situations one might run into when cultural differences are unknown or misunderstood.

Presenters from different clubs lead sessions on a wide range of topics.

2004 Southwest Regional Conference

Austin
January 23-24

The Friendship Force of Austin Texas hosted the 2004 Southwest Regional Conference on January 23-24 at the Drury Inn and Suites in north Austin. Twelve Fort Worth members were in attendance. The conference was very informative, and we had a great time. This is was the one and only regional conference that our president, Susie Smith will attend prior to her resignation in April. She gave us a very good perspective on what is happening at the staff and Board of Directors level.

While it was really tentative as to whether FFI was going to survive the year, in 2003, by making staff and program cutbacks, the office is in a much more financially healthy condition this year, and barring other international disasters, we can be confident that Friendship Force International will continue a long life. FFI can still use our help, and donations will be gratefully received.

Congratulations to Virginia Bryant who received the Friendship Force of Fort Worth Member of the Year Award for her many and continuing contributions to the club.

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Special EventsSpecial Events

2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit - August 28 - September 3

We hosted six Japanese citizens for three nights, as part of the Japan-America Grassroots Summit.

The Japan-America Grassroots Summit is an annual gathering of Japanese and American citizens -- held alternately in Japan and the U.S. -- which aims to strengthen the peaceful relationships between the two countries by fostering friendships at the grassroots level.

FFFW hosted six of fifteen Japanese guests who were part of the Summit. Other organizations involved included the Japanese Society and Sister Cities. We cooperated to show our guestssome true Texas hospitality. The first part of their visit, the visitors were housed in the Hilton Hotel, in downtown Fort Worth. From their they were introduced to "Cowtown" and our western culture. We will picked visitors up at the downtown Hilton Hotel on Thursday, August 30, and expaned their earlier experiences, by showing them the cultural side of Fort Worth. An abbreviated schedule of events follows:

Thursday, August 30
1:00 PM -- Picked up guests at Hilton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth
1:30 - 2:30 PM -- Toured Amon Carter Museum of American Art
3:00 - 5:30 PM -- Japanese guests got settled with their hosts and prepared for the Welcome Party
6:00 - 7:00 PM -- Guests toured the botanical gardens
7:00 - 9:00 PM -- Dinner and entertainment in the Rosebud and Camellia Rooms
Friday, August 31
8:15 - 9:45 AM -- Toured the Japanese Garden with home hosts
10:00-11:45 AM -- Toured Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
12:00 -2:00 PM -- Toured Kimbell Art Museum and ate lunch in The Buffet Restaurant
Afternoon -- Free time with host families
Evening -- Dinner with host families
Saturday, September 1
10:00-12:00 AM -- Toured Russell Farm Art Center
1:00 PM -- Optionally Toured the Lost Oak Winery
6:00 -- Farewell dinner at Harvey Yamagata's home
Sunday, September 2
Our guests left for Dallas, where they toured the Dallas Arts Center and were hosted at a farewell dinner, attended by guests and hosts from all of North Texas.

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