FFI: The Catalog of Virtual Experiences

July 2, 2020


We are pleased to introduce Friendship Force Virtual Experiencesa series of opportunities to meet friends, experience other cultures, or learn something new. With new experiences added regularly and curated by members like you, FFI staff, and special guests, the series offers something for everyone. Thanks to your recent contributions, FFI is still here and able to make all of this possible. Thank you for your generosity and for continuing this journey with us!

– Allison Lindsey, VP of Member Engagement

There are three main types of Virtual Experiences, indicated by the following icons:

Friendship Force Virtual Journeys 

A Virtual Journey is a virtual experience that would take place over the course of about a month. Clubs would be matched to “visit” one another virtually, with one club assigned as the host club and one club as the ambassador club. The members of these clubs would come together using online tools like Zoom. There would be a “welcome party” with participants from both clubs in a Zoom meeting, a period of 2 – 3 weeks when paired  hosts and ambassadors get to know one another through email, written letters, video chats and phone calls. The experience would culminate with a “Farewell Party” in which the ambassador club shares about their culture and country and participants share their experiences or impressions.

Friendship Force Learning Place 

In the “Learning Place”, you can take advantage of training materials designed to help you learn new skills and become more successful in what you do. Here you can find all kinds of resources, from best practices to help your club flourish, leadership training to support your members, technology tutorials to help you stay connected, and chances to learn about Friendship Force activities that support our mission. Connect with an online community, talk with other registrants and webinar moderators, and grow with us.

Friendship Force Members Connect 

This is where Friendship Force members come to connect to spend time online with one another, learn from our members about their home country, culture and traditions, and connect on a deeper level through interacting via Friendship Force Faces and PlacesFriendship Force Pen Pals, or Friendship Force Bridging the Gap experiences.

Friendship Force Faces and Places – In the “Faces and Places” series, you will have the opportunity to meet Friendship Force members from around the globe as they showcase their countries. These webinar-style events will give you a chance to learn firsthand about another person’s culture, community, and experience – all without leaving your home. Participants will be able to interact with hosts, ask questions, and gain more knowledge about destinations and travel options for the future.

Friendship Force Pen Pals  – FFI Pen Pals is a new way to “experience different views and discover common ground”. Get matched up with another FFI member based on your interests – shared hobbies, common interests, a specific region or city, or a foreign language you’d like to practice. Or simply be surprised and get matched randomly! Then sit down and start writing – all you need is a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp.

Friendship Force Bridging the Gap – Bringing people together to get to know each other in spite of their differences. – Coming soon!

Access Virtual Experiences Catalog Here!
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Virtual July luncheon

June 29, 2020



How is everyone?!  We are practically strangers; haven’t seen any of you since March!!!  That’s 4 months!!!
Most recently I and several of our members who home hosted the Australians from the Sunshine Coast met virtually!!! It was incredible!  We spent an hour “zooming.” Much information was exchanged and I was so disappointed I couldn’t come close to all of the gatherings their Club has had!
They have had virtual happy hours, teas, and most recently they were working on how they could actually get together for a picnic!!  My apologies to you for not having encouraged meeting virtually any sooner!!  Y’all surprised me when only 1 asked for assistance in preparing for the Zoom meeting!
I need your support, your enthusiasm, your determination to make our first virtual gathering a success.  A few weeks ago, I asked who had an interest and about 15 replied.  Friends, there are over 70 members!  I thought we had a “captured audience” for Zoom events!
We have Joseph Badal, an author of 16 award-winning suspense novels, including Payback, which was released May 12 as our guest speaker!!  He is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble Best-Selling Author, a two-time winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize, a three-time Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal Winner, an Eric Hoffer Prize Winner, and a two-time “Finalist” in the International Book Awards competition.
He must be good!!!
Mr. Badal will be talking about his most recent book, Payback, and how his characters evolve in his award-winning suspense novels!!  Join us for a Virtual Luncheon!!!

Please make your reservations no later than Tuesday,  July 7, 2020, by calling or texting Berta Wagstaff at 505-710-4448 or emailing her at vets4vets@aol.com.

PLACE:          In the comfort of your home!

DATE:             Saturday, July 11, 2020

TIME:              11:30 am – 1:00 pm

COST:              FREE!!!

LUNCH:           Whatever you have been craving for!

Notification of the Zoom link will be sent out to all who have RSVP’d.

I look forward to virtually seeing you!  Let’s make our first virtual gathering a success!



FFI: The friendship connection

June 18, 2020


In this issue…

  • Virtual Events: Connecting on a Theme
  • 2019 Annual Report
  • A Heartfelt “Thank You” to Our Generous Donors
  • Planning 2022 Matching Timeline
In case you missed it…
  • Embrace This Moment
  • “Continuing Our Journey” Campaign Update
Virtual Events: Connecting on a Theme

If you’ve got a webcam and an internet connection, a whole world of friendship is open to you

Read more…

2019 Annual Report

A year-end snapshot of 2019 for Friendship Force International

View Report…

A Heartfelt “Thank You” to Our Generous Donors

We sincerely appreciate all who donated for Friendship Force’s future

Read more…

Planning Department’s 2022 Matching Timeline

A schedule of important dates to remember while planning for 2022 Journeys

Read more…

In Case You Missed It…
“Continuing Our Journey” Update
Embrace This Moment
Friendship Force has a NEW mailing address!

279 West Crogan Street
Lawrenceville, GA 30046 USA

The Friendship Connection is a new periodical email newsletter focused on keeping our members informed with up-to-date happenings from the organization. 


FFI: Faces and Places in Brazil

June 12, 2020

Faces and Places in Brazil


WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2020 at 8:00 PM EST


Please join us as we explore “Faces and Places” in Brazil! Thiago Lorena from the FF of Ribeirao Preto will take us on a virtual trip through Brazil, giving us highlights of the sights and sounds of his home country. He’ll share about his life and culture, as well as what you can expect when you visit this beautiful country.
Meet the Webinar Host:

My name is Thiago Lorena.  I’m 38 and have lived most of my life in the Southeast region of Brazil, in the São Paulo State. I teach English classes and love it! It’s the best job I’ve ever had! I have been a Member of FF Ribeirão Preto Club since 2017. In November, 2018, I coordinated a global Journey to Brazil (Fortaleza and Amazon Village) with 15 ambassadors: 10 Americans and five Canadians. It was an amazing experience to share some of the most beautiful landscapes of my country with them! In September 2019, I also led a Journey to Canada (Calgary/Toronto/Haliburton) which I really enjoyed. Some of my additional interests include nature, sports, music, art, hiking, rafting, history, and geography.

First time using GoToMeeting?

Download the app now to be prepared for your first meeting:


We know that, unfortunately, not every webinar is a convenient time for all of our members in different time zones around the world. If this one is not at a good time, check out our Events Calendar for other webinars that might work better for you!

This email is being sent to all Friendship Force members and subscribers to our mailing list.

July and August events

June 8, 2020
It seems like a loooooong time since we have made contact!
No doubt there have been changes in all of our lives.  I’m known to have a black thumb; however, I have a beautiful blooming garden and green grass!  No doubt you have an idea of where I have been spending some of my down time!!!
We have 2 events scheduled for the months of July and August.  The success of these events are dependent on the participation of our members.  We would appreciate knowing whether you would support the events.  Your feedback is needed!!!
The Board would like to offer a Zoom Luncheon Meeting:
Date:  Saturday, July 11, 2020
Time: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Guest Speaker:
Our anticipated guest speaker is Joseph Badal, a published author who recently had his 16th novel released, Payback, a suspense novel.  He is a two-time winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize.
1.  How many think they would be available for the July Zoom Luncheon?
2.  How many need instruction in setting up the computer for the Zoom meeting?
PLEASE reply to Berta Wagstaff, by Saturday, June 13.
August is our social event and a progressive brunch.
Date:  Saturday, August 15, 2020
Time:  11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Place:  Appetizers & Main Entree’ at Ginger Grossetete’s home
            Dessert at Judith Mead’s home
A limit of 24 members would be necessary and preventive measures would be applied regarding Covid-19.  RSVP will be on a first come basis.
PLEASE let Berta Wagstaff know whether you would have an interest in participating by June 13.
Currently we need a TENTATIVE headcount.  Your replies will determine whether the July and August events will occur.
Any questions, please contact Berta Wagstaff by text/phone – 505-710-4448 or reply to the email.
Friendship Knows No Distance!  Remain healthy & safe!
Berta Wagstaff

FFI: Continuing the journey

For subtitles, click on the “Settings” gear icon at the bottom of the video, select “Subtitles/CC”, and then choose your desired language. 

June 8, 2020

Over the past two months, members from around the world have shown amazing solidarity and support for the ongoing mission of Friendship Force beyond the pandemic. Collectively, you have raised more than $300,000 USD.  Although fundraising will continue through the end of the year, we are asking those who have been considering a monetary gift to FFI to make one in the month of June. This will give the Board of Directors a clear picture for financial planning in 2021 and beyond as we assess recovery. It will also mark a shift in communications as we retire the formal drive for donations and focus more fully on virtual activities and programs to support club cohesiveness.

For all who have given already to Friendship Force, THANK YOU! For those who have been considering a gift to FFI, I hope you consider one today!

This email is being sent to all Friendship Force members and subscribers to our mailing list.

FFI: Embracing this moment

Embracing This Moment
A Personal Message from FFI President/CEO Jeremi Snook

Life is filled with moments. There are moments that bring so much joy to our being that just a fleeting thought of them brings a smile to our face. There are moments too that have left scars so deep that we wince at their recollection. All of these moments contributed in some way to who we are today. ‘Building bridges of understanding across the barriers that separate people’ is the call-to-action that has brought thousands of people around the world to join Friendship Force. The stories from our FF experiences continue to prove that the moments we create, the moments we embrace, change us. But change can only happen when we set our own preconceived ideas and judgements aside in order to be fully present in the moment.

While we wait for a vaccine, for international flights to resume, for our next Journey to take place, and to hear from our news and leaders what will happen next – a bigger journey continues, filled with moments that will define us. Right now is one of those moments.

The protests taking place in the United States – and indeed around the world – are a sobering reminder about why our organization remains relevant, and they are proof that you don’t need to get on an airplane to be changed by an experience. For many of us in the US, teaching our children or our grandchildren about institutional racism, health, and income disparities – and the long road ahead for our country to heal from its racist past – is a choice each of us must make. Unseating generations of prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination is a daily practice of making a conscious decision to be better today than we were yesterday.

For Friendship Force members, we know all too well the power of embracing the diversity that exists in the world. We understand that in order to expand our world view and build connections with countries and cultures different from our own, we may feel uncomfortable when faced with something new. But we embrace the discomfort, because we know in the end we will be better for it. However, our mission doesn’t start when we go through customs at the airport; it starts as soon as we open our eyes in the morning. We make a conscious decision to open our minds and our hearts so that we can better understand the world around us and allow that understanding to change us.

As a member of the Friendship Force, I recognize that I can make a difference. I recognize that I have a mission. That mission is to be a friend to the people of the world. As I embark upon this adventure, I know that others will be watching me. I know that through my example to my fellow citizens and the people of other countries, the cause of friendship and peace can be furthered.

This moment in the United States is about a long unresolved undercurrent of institutional racism, sparked by the unnecessary death of George Floyd. Although what we see on the news and in cities around the world is a collective response, it is an individual choice to change the world around us. This is what Friendship Force, at its core, is about. I challenge each of us to look for ways within our own communities and countries where the mission of Friendship Force can further humanity.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and just as importantly, stay committed to the bigger journey and embrace this moment.

– Jeremi Snook
This email is being sent to all Friendship Force members and subscribers to our mailing list.

FFI: The Friendship Connection

In this issue…

  • FEATURE: New Sri Lankan Club Makes Lasting First Impression
  • Special Message from the Chair of the FFI Board of Directors
  • FF Leicestershire Hosts Afternoon Tea!
  • Tips for a Productive Online Meeting
  • “Continuing Our Journey” Campaign Update
In case you missed it…
  • Planning for Travel in 2021: FAQ
  • Faces Not Places: Meet Your FFI Staff Members
  • Friendship Force 2020 Financial Overview
Social distancing does not require social isolation. Although we must stay two meters apart physically, this is the time to draw closer, strengthening existing global connections and building new ones. Our current shared situation reminds us that at the heart of Friendship Force is our mission “to build bridges across the barriers that separate people.” Though we may feel more separated now than ever before, we do not have to travel to build new experiences. Now is the time to retool, readjust and reimagine the possibilities. Thank you for continuing this journey with us.

–Jeremi Snook, FFI President/CEO

New Sri Lankan Club Makes Lasting First Impression

Doug and Les Buchanan, FF North Moreton, led 26 Australian ambassadors on a Journey to Sri Lanka

Read more…

Special Message from the Chair of the FFI Board of Directors

A video from Bobbie Mulholland, FF Adelaide

Watch now…

FF Leicestershire Hosts Afternoon Tea!

Club celebrates 21st anniversary virtually with friends around the world

Read more…

Tips for a Productive Online Meeting

Resources to help you stay digitally connected

Read more…

“Continuing Our Journey” – Fundraising Campaign Update

Friendship Force members around the world have stepped up in a big way

Read more…

In Case You Missed It…
Planning For Travel in 2021: FAQs
Faces Not Places! Meet Your FFI Staff Members
Friendship Force: 2020 Financial Overview
The Friendship Connection is a new periodical email newsletter focused on keeping our members informed with up-to-date happenings from the organization. 

FFNM members — Help

Friendship Force International is asking all members of all clubs to help at this time. Because of the COVID-19 almost all activities have been cancelled or put on hold. Please take the time to read the following letter.

Friends,                                                                                                         5/7/2020

Each of you have received several e-mails from Friendship Force International (FFI) stating that FFI has been significantly impacted financially by the global pandemic.  Its life support is dependent upon Membership dues and journey fees.  With cancellation of the majority journeys this year, FFI is striving for sustainability and is hoping the Fundraising Campaign will help.  Their goal is $340,00.00 and thus far they have collected $184,456.00 as of 5/2/20.

All clubs affiliated with Friendship Force International are encouraged to make a donation to help FFI continue to operate and function as the point of contact in coordinating and assisting in all upcoming and future journeys.

The Board is asking all members to participate in this campaign.  Please donate (any amount is appreciated), recognizing how important FFI is and has been to you as a member.  Several members have already sent their contribution directly to FFI (thank you) and these will be individually acknowledged by FFI.

For those of you who wish to donate and have not yet done so, Berta Wagstaff has offered to collect your donations, consolidate them and  mail one check to FFI indicating that this a gift from FFNM members towards your fund-raising campaign.  Please be advised that a check written to FFNM is not tax deductible but one sent directly to FFI is. I am requesting that any donation be made on or before May 25, 2020

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

In Friendship

Bill Bertenshaw, President

Rocky Mountain Region Campaign

Rocky Mountain Regional News — 4/22/2020
RE: FFI Fundraising Campaign in US
Greetings – I hope this finds you and your family well and safe.
The COVID-19 has affected every person all over the world. As FFI club members this has
created a terrible financial situation for the FFI organization.
Jeremi Snook CEO; the Board of Directors and Field Representatives are working on the
Friendship Force Campaign by contacting every club in the US.
The FFI Website is being updated daily with information regarding the Fundraising efforts;
there’s an on-going list of donations from individuals and clubs from all over the world. The
website includes a Blog that has been added for Jeremi to keep all clubs informed with updates.
Check it out: www.blog.friendshipforce.org
I held a President/Leaders Meeting in April and invited Marilyn Petersen, Vice Chair on the FFI
Board of Directors, to join us. FFI Board members have been appointed to provide regional
support. Marilyn is the support for the Rocky Mountain Region along with the other regional
clubs on the western part of the US.
Campaign Giving to reach GOAL of $340,000:
– $170 equivalent of FFI fees for one journey per individual
– Monthly recurring donations
– Any amount is appreciated from clubs and members
If you have questions — I’m available along with Marilyn Petersen and Jeremi Snook to answer
questions; and we would be happy to attend Virtual Meetings with clubs.
Thank you
—– In Friendship, Sue Palmer, Field Rep –Rocky Mountain Region
e-mail: alfshouse12@hotmail.com