Covid-19 impact on Friendship Force International

A Note on COVID-19’s Impact of Friendship Force

Dear Friends,

The impact of COVID-19 on Friendship Force clubs and headquarters is undeniable. As an organization whose existence depends on members participating in Journeys, our income has very nearly been erased.

Furloughing staff, reducing hours, eliminating all expenses, and suspending our projects will help us continue without Journey revenue for a few more months, but it falls woefully short to see us through this pandemic.

In a massive effort to coordinate efforts between your Board of Directors, Field Representatives, club leaders and others, a fundraising initiative will be launching in your region soon.

A full report on the impact, including Journey cancellations, our financial position, and answers to all your questions, is a part of this effort.

In the days to come, you may hear from your regional leaders about ways in which you can support FFI through this difficult time, and I thank you in advance for taking the time to consider them.

As always, but especially now, stay safe, stay sane, and if there is anything our staff, Board, or I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

In friendship,

Jeremi Snook, President/CEO


Changes due to Covid-19

Notes from Bill Bertenshaw, president

 As all of you are aware, the spread of the Coronavirus has made significant changes in all of our plans.

Following is the latest news regarding our club activities.

1.  The March 14 luncheon was cancelled —  The speaker has been re-scheduled for the Nov. 14th luncheon

2.  FFI has cancelled ALL Journeys until after May 31

3.  Cedar Rapids Journey to FFNM has been cancelled

4.  The Wine and Cheese event scheduled for April 27 is cancelled

5.  Penticton-Okanagan, Canada, club has cancelled our club planned Outbound Journey to them

6.  Our Outbound Journey to Saskatoon, Canada, is scheduled for June 18-25.  All preliminary arrangements have been made and Saskatoon is hoping that the threat of the virus will have passed and they can host us.  Diane Rand, Phil Moskal and Lori Enright are our Journey  Coordinators and are staying current with the situation and in contact with  Saskatoon.

 7.  Nancy Galbraith is our Journey Coordinator to Bristol, England, September 9-16. No specific information on that trip at this time

 8.  Greater Hamilton – Burlington, Canada, is scheduled to visit us October 21-28 and go to  Phoenix for their 2nd week.  This is a firm trip and we NEED A JOURNEY COORDINATOR.

 9.  FFI has sent our club their Domestic Journey assignments for 2021.  They are Outbound: Southern New Jersey, USA, and Inbound:  National Capitol Area.USA

 The club will be in touch when there is more news.

Stay Well

Bill Bertenshaw  President

March luncheon

Friendship Force International was founded by Wayne Smith and introduced by President Jimmy Carter on March 1, 1977! FFI will be celebrating its 43rd year in March!
At our March luncheon, Ms. Camilla Dodson, a Chautauqua speaker, will be helping us celebrate with her African instruments.  Ms. Dodson is the daughter of a Lesotho (South Africa) chief.  For many years she lived in South Africa and Ireland.  She was one of 5 people invited to speak when Nelson Mandela returned to Cape Town after 27 years in prison!
Drums are probably the earliest musical instrument, common to all cultures.  Ms. Dodson’s presentation describes the role of music in traditional African society using drumming!
This program has been made possible by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities for funding of the program.
Please help us celebrate 43 years of journeys and  enjoy the entertainment, history, people and culture up close and personal!!  Bring a guest!

Please make your reservations no later than Tuesday,  March 10, 2019, by calling or texting Berta Wagstaff at 710-4448 or emailing her at
PLACE:       Ramada Midtown (formerly Hotel  Eleganté )

ADDRESS:     2020 Menaul Blvd. NE

DATE:             Saturday, March 14

TIME:              11:30 am

>COST:            $15.00 per person (Checks, made out to FFNM, are preferred)

NOTE:  The Club must pay the hotel for all reservations.  If you make a reservation and do not attend, you will be billed $15.00 for each reservation.

Berta Wagstaff

Friendship Force International: The uncertainty of Covid-19

Recognizing the uncertainty of COVID-19                           View email in browser
A Special Message From Friendship Force International

Friendship Force International recognizes the increased uncertainty that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may be causing. Please know that the FFI Staff and International Board of Directors are very carefully monitoring CDC guidelines and government travel advisories. Obviously, none of us can predict what will happen next—and travelers are questioning their plans. Most of you are continuing with your Journeys, while others are feeling more cautious. Whatever you personally decide, we encourage you to do your research, speak with your hosts and consult with public notices before making a final decision. And of course, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns. In the meantime, we hope that the following information helps with your decision making.

2020 Journeys through April 30
Based on the facts today, to ensure the safety of our travelers, we support any hosts or ambassadors who are feeling nervous about their planned March and April Journeys in heavily impacted countries. We are in the process of contacting the participants of all impacted Journeys in this category to offer assistance with the postponement of the canceled Journey or the refund of any FFI and host fees paid.

2020 Journeys for May-December
At the moment, we do not anticipate any changes to Journeys for the second half of the year. We will continue to review the official advice for all areas to ensure we protect your health and safety.

Going forward, we will continue to monitor the situation with our clubs and programs. If the authorities recommend against travel to a specific place, we will help participants postpone their Journey to another time or switch participation to another Journey of interest. If a travel ban is instituted, then FFI will refund to you any fees paid for a Journey to that destination.

Should you choose to cancel your own participation in a Journey that we are still planning to operate, then fees are non-refundable and normal cancellation penalties would apply.

General Advice When Traveling:
Stay informed about the situation, exercise sound judgment, and understand that by participating as an ambassador or host you agree to assume responsibility for your own welfare. As always, we strongly recommend travel insurance for the standard travel and medical issues.
Be sure you’re aware of cultural and religious differences, sensitivities, and general health and safety recommendations for each place that you travel. Consider using your government’s resources for safety alerts and advisories. Examples of these are:

Australian Government of Australia:
Brazil Government:
Canadian Government: Country Travel Advice and Advisories 
Deutsche Auswärtiges Amt: Reisewarnungen
France Diplomatie:
Japan MOFA:
Netherlands Rijksoverheid:
New Zealand Government:
Russian MOFA:
UK Government: Foreign Travel Advice
U.S. Department of State: Travel Alerts and Warnings
WHO (World Health Organization):

We live in uncertain times. Whether we are dealing with political unrest, acts of terror, natural disasters, or even COVID-19, as Friendship Force members we understand the importance of sound research and informed judgement in our decisions to travel and host.

If you have any questions, please email us at

Have you ever traveled during times of uncertainty? We’d love to hear about your experience! Email us your story at, subject line: Traveling in uncertain times. 

Journey to Saskatoon

Hello fellow Friendship Force New Mexico members,
The final day to join the June 18-June 25 Journey to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, is March 14. We still have open positions for two more ambassadors. If you are interested in joining this Journey please email your application by March 14, 2020 to
Applications for the Saskatoon Journey will not be accepted after the closing date of March 14.
Come join us.
Phil Moskal, Dianne Rand, Lori Enright