Welcome To Another Way To
Friendship Force, as the motto on the home page says, is about “changing the way you see the world”.
We travel in the company of fellow Ottawans to visit other people, and not simply to visit places.
We, in turn, host in our homes and community, others from the 350 Friendship Force clubs on six continents around the world. These visits, whether outbound or inbound, are called “Journeys”.
A Friendship Force Ottawa group in a famous place
We have found from experience, that the best guides to the understanding of another culture are the people who live it, and who are prepared to invite others to live it with them for a while, sharing insights, experiences, fun, and friendships, many long lasting.
It is also travel with a purpose: to promote understanding across the barriers that can separate people, toward the acceptance of a common humanity.
It appears to have worked. The Friendship Force was nominated in 1992 for the Nobel Peace Prize for its initiatives between the United States and the Soviet Union.
A Friendship Force club doesn’t just promote friendships with people in other places. Interactions within the club, especially working together on journeys, develops a network of local friendships.
Apart from journeys, friendships can also develop from participation in the club’s social activities. In the Ottawa Club these include art appreciation, a walking group, a bridge group, a dinner group, a friendly wanderers group, as well as club-wide social events including Friendship Day activities, an annual Golf Day and a Christmas Party.
The central activity for the Ottawa Club, as with the others, is nonetheless the inbound and outbound "Journey". On all Journeys inbound from elsewhere, “Ambassadors”, as they are called, live with their “Hosts”, and the Host Club provides a program for a typical 6 or 7 day sojourn. Home hospitality is coupled with cultural exploration. Many club members participate to support the hosts, spelling them off in the day, hosting dinners, and preparing the program, among other activities, and making new friends in the process.
Ottawa Hosts Making Music with the Russian folk group Zabava at a welcome party for an Inbound Journey from Moscow, October 2010
As Friendship Force Ottawa is the largest of the 18 Canadian clubs, and with about 160 members, one of the largest in the world, it normally hosts four “Inbound” journeys each year and runs four “Outbound” journeys.
Journeys can have from about 15 to about 30 ambassadors, and Outbounds, like Inbounds, require a commitment from many toward the host organization before departure and after arrival.
Outbound journey opportunities exist apart from those of the local club’s journeys. Some global journeys are organized by Friendship Force International in Atlanta, Georgia and members can also join journeys from other clubs where participant numbers are low, the so-called “Undersubscribed Journey”.
By way of some history, The Friendship Force was founded by Wayne Smith and introduced March 1, 1977, by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Early exchanges (original terminology) involved large groups of 150 to 400 people travelling by chartered aircraft.
In 1982, smaller groups began exchanges by commercial carriers, permitting a major expansion world wide. Friendship Force Ottawa began in 1995, and the first exchange was with New Zealand. For information on on the international organization, visit the website at http://friendshipforce.org/ .
The Ottawa Club is a voluntary, non-profit organization, managed by a Board responsible to the membership at General Meetings.