Q: I don’t see myself traveling in the next year or so, should I still join?
A: Certainly. Friendship Force is not a travel club; there are many other aspects of involvement. The mission of Friendship Force is building global goodwill through personal friendships. This can be accomplished in other ways. You might consider being a home host, a day host, a small group dinner host, or someone who attends social activities to build friendships with individuals who have an interest in the goals of Friendship Force International.
Q: What do you mean by the term “home host?”
A: You agree to share your home for approximately 7 days and nights with someone from another country or state, learning about another culture without even leaving home. You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of club outings so you won’t have to plan everything for you and your guest. There will still be time to share your special interests and places with your guest.
Q: Since I am single, would I be matched with someone of the same sex?
A: Yes, that is usually the situation. Couples are normally hosted by other couples. There are exceptions, but it is your decision. Frequently, the number of bedrooms and type of bed(s) available play a part in matching hosts and ambassadors, as do interests & occupations.
Q: Will we have the opportunity to communicate ahead of time?
A: Usually that is the case. It is amazing how many guests and hosts have email.
Important: As soon as possible, contact your host/ambassador by email, letter, or phone. Friendships, communications, & private visits often continue for years and even a lifetime.
Q: What are the responsibilities of a “home host?”
A: Home hosts invite their guest(s) to be a part of the family for the time the exchange is in your community. Involve your guests in the activities of your family. Participate in all official functions that are planned and attend all scheduled workshops. If you have an obligation during the exchange that is of such a nature that you are unable to take your guest, inform the Exchange Director and a “day host” will be arranged to accompany/entertain your guest on your busy day.
Q: Exactly what is a “day host?”
A: It is someone who wants to participate in the exchange but, for whatever reason, is unable to home host. This individual volunteers to escort an ambassador for one or more days to a scheduled activity or, if it is a day when no group activity is planned, decides how and where to spend the day with the guest. It is ideal for those still working who can take a day off.
Q: What would be expected of me if I volunteer to be a “small group dinner host?”
A: You decide how many guests, in addition to your family, you feel comfortable having for dinner on an evening specified by the Exchange Committee. The menu is your choice and you may ask your invited guests to bring a salad, dessert, appetizer, or wine. It is entirely up to you. The evening is for you to plan whether you play a game or just visit. The idea is to share the culture of your guest and give them the opportunity to visit another home & meet others. When space allows, new and potential members are included as guests. Of course, the guest’s host family accompanies them to your dinner. Sharing, fun, laughter and conversation are the goals for the evening.
Q: Do you plan visits to clubs in the United States?
A: Yes, there are 107 clubs in the United States and clubs can arrange what are called “Domestic Exchanges” with a club where there is a mutual interest in such a visit.
Q: What do you mean by the term “Exchange?”
A: An “Exchange” is a visit to or from a club in another part of the world or another state. This involves home hospitality and is the heart of a Friendship Force Exchange. It provides people of different countries and cultures an opportunity to connect at a personal level. We refer to it as an Outbound Exchange when we visit another club. An Inbound Exchange occurs when a club visits us.
Q: Do you travel as a group?
A: Yes and no; the group usually consists of 20 to 25 individuals, known as Ambassadors. Travel arrangements vary from departing the local airport as a group to some, or all, of the individuals making their own travel arrangements & meeting at the departure airport or a specific location and time in the host city. The latter provides more flexibility but group travel can contribute to a more rewarding experience. The method of travel is a decision made by the Exchange Director.
Q: What is an “Exchange Director?”
A: An Exchange Director (ED) is an individual who has applied and been approved by the Board of Directors to plan, organize, and lead an Exchange. This is open to anyone who has the desired leadership qualities and can make the commitment of time needed for adequate planning and recruiting of Ambassadors with a 9 to 12 month lead-time. Our club has some great experienced Exchange Directors who are more than willing to mentor a first time ED.
Q: What is involved in becoming a member of The Friendship Force?
A: Join The Friendship Force IF: you believe in the goals and mission of the organization; you like the challenge and excitement of new people, places and experiences; you believe that friendship among people of different countries and cultures can make the world more peaceful; and you have a curiosity about the world and enjoy learning about cultures and ways of life. Send your personal check or money order, made payable to Friendship Force of Lincoln, along with the enclosed Application for Membership, to the address listed on the application form.
Q: How do I find out what is happening in the club?
A: You will receive periodic newsletters and emails about activities, new members, and exchanges. The FFGA website, www.friendshipforceatlanta.com, is an excellent source of information and the FFI website, www.thefriendshipforce.org, is a great source for news on the international level.