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February President's Message

Carol Babbitt
FEBRUARY GREETINGS TO SAN DIEGO FRIENDSHIP FORCE MEMBERS Thanks to Sandra Williams, Mike Brown and Carol Tatum for launching the first 2017 meeting of the year on January 21st. We have a calendar full of events and a very dedicated board hoping to involve all of our members. March is the 40th anniversary of Friendship Force and we would like to celebrate it by our members hosting small dinner parties in their homes while recruiting new members to the club. Please consider hosting such a dinner in early March, (before our March 18 meeting) and inviting friends who have expressed interest in our Friendship Force concept of "Faces, Not Places”. The FF training manual states “What sets Friendship Force apart from other exchange organizations is the focus on a 5-7 day ‘home-stay’, the purpose of which is to promote global understanding by bring-ing people together across the barriers that normally separate them. More than 600,000 ordinary citizens in 70 countries have learned that sharing a home for a few days is an ideal way to create new friendships. In the process, stereo-types that can lead to misunderstanding, fear, hatred, and even war, give way to understanding and goodwill.” We will have sign-up sheets for Member’s Dinner parties at the February meeting.
Final arrangements have been made for those traveling to Vietnam in March. Brenda Pearson, the ED for this out-bound, has worked very hard in organizing this exotic adventure. Nancy Alongi, ED for Madison, has accepted the ambassadors for the outbound Madison, Wisconsin exchange in May and is requesting the exchange applications and medical forms to be sent to her ASAP. The incoming domestic exchange from Austin, Texas begins on August 1st and the incoming international exchange from Leuven, Belgium starts on September 25th. Please mark your calendars and be prepared to sign up for planning, hosting, helping, etc. We encourage all our members to volunteer for committees and of course, for exchange responsibilities. Don't forget to log into our new website and sign up for committees.. You joined FF because you like to learn about new and different cultures, because you like to travel and because you find that people who travel are never boring. Hosting in-bound exchanges is not only our obligation, but another way of expanding our horizons. Sandra Williams, our President Elect, is actively researching monthly programs for the coming year. This will be one of the topics of the next board meeting (to be held at the home of Pat Rudner, Feb. 6th at 1:00 PM). Please offer your ideas for programs to Sandra. Our next meeting will be Saturday, February 18th at Joyce Beers Community Center at 1:30 PM. Ellie Elphick, one of our members, will speak about her fascinating adventures on the Friendship Force “Discover Vietnam” Global Exchange last November which mirrors the March Exchange upon which our ambassadors are about to embark.
We will be presenting a prize for the best appetizer/dessert at this meeting.
Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Carol Babbitt