Outgoing Exchange to China in May 2014

Outgoing Exchange to China in May 2014

By Marge Terdal

We are going to Nanjing, China, for five days in May. Nanjing is located on the Yangtse River about 150 miles inland from Shanghai. Because in China ‘clubs’ affiliated with FFI are not legal, the program in Nanjing is called a partnership. It is partnered with an NGO that the Nanjing president is connected with.

Read moreOutgoing Exchange to China in May 2014

Outgoing Exchanges to New Zealand and Australia

Our Tour Group for the South Island of New Zealand

Exchange to Wellington and Thames/Coromandel, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia

February 26 to March 21, 2013

By Bob Porter & Laural Engeman, Co-Exchange Directors

Thirteen Columbia Cascade club members spent from 3 to 5 weeks enjoying a pre-exchange tour of New Zealand’s South Island; Exchanges in Wellington and Thames Coromandel, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia.

Eleven adventuresome souls began our 9-day tour of the South Island that was organized by NZ Scenic Coach Tours, Geoff and Margaret Smith. They specialize in providing tours to Friendship Force Clubs traveling to New Zealand for exchanges.

We started in Christchurch, a city devastated by earthquakes two and three years ago. We had a brief tour of the City where much damage is still evident, and then headed away from the East coast of the island through Arthur’s Pass to the West coast and Franz Joseph Glacier. We had views of temperate rain forests (ferns, lots of ferns) with snow capped mountains as a backdrop.

We saw thousands of sheep, beef cattle, dairy cows, red deer, and elk that were being raised for food. Douglas Fir and Monterey Pine trees are grown on tree farms for their wood.

We enjoyed seeing mountains, valleys, lakes, fjords, glaciers, rivers and forests. Milford Sound was a favorite along with the city of Queenstown with it’s coal fired steam boat and a gondola that took us to the top of the mountain.

We felt right at home where everything was familiar, but at the same time everything was different. The landscape reminded us of the Pacific Northwest, but the native plants and animals were very different.

Our final activity on the South Island was a swim with dolphins and viewing cruise out of Picton. We were able to view Hector’s Dolphins, the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world. However, we were not allowed to swim with them and the dolphins we could swim with were not to be found. Spending all morning dressed in wet suits was for naught.

A two hour ferry ride took us to Wellington, where we were met by our hosts for our week long exchange. We were joined by Pat and Lori who flew in to Wellington that morning. So we became an exchange of 13.

The Wellington club visited us in 2011 and it was good to renew friendships and make new friends.

We had an active week of bus rides, walking tours, potlucks and barbecues. Favorite activities, other than eating and visiting with our friends, were the Te Papa Museum, “Zealandia by night” tour, a forest walk at Kaitoki, World Friendship Day shared with both the Wellington club and the Kapiti club, and a meeting with the Mayor and school children of Porirua.

We were impressed with amount of interaction and cultural exchange we received with the Maori native population.

After Wellington, Jim and Gwen went to visit friends in Nelson and then returned home; Pat and Lori went to the South Island to ride a train; and nine of us took the Naked Bus to Rotorua. We were happy that we could keep our clothes on while we rode the bus.

At Rotorua, we were met at the bus stop by the Rotorua Friendship Force Club that is no longer an official club. They loaded our luggage into their cars and vans and took us to our hotel. After check in, they took us to a potluck dinner. We were overwhelmed with food, friendship and information about what to do in Rotorua.

The next day, all of us went to Whakarewarewa, a Maori village where we learned about their culture and how they integrated the hot springs and thermally active areas into their lives.

Our second day in Rotorua, our new Friendship Force contacts showed up to haul our luggage back to the bus stop and wish us well as we continued on our bus journey.

Pat and Lori joined us again, as we all arrived by bus in Thames. Our hosts greeted us, and we were off on another busy week long exchange. We had a wonderful time of bird watching, beach combing, potlucks, take aways (take out meals), barbecues and sightseeing. Favorites were the Hot Water Beach, the Driving Creek Railway, Miranda Seashore bird sanctuary, being welcomed into the Wharekawa Marae, and visiting the Mayor.

Unfortunately our perfect week was marred by a traffic accident. Kathie Kimmy and her hosts’ car hit a van that abruptly turned in front of them. Kathie was rushed to the hospital in Thames and then sent to the regional hospital in Hamilton for more tests. The worst of her injuries was several cracked vertebras in her neck. Fortunately there was no spinal cord injury. She ended up staying in the hospital for several days and then resting with a host family (Elizabeth Jones) for another week before she was able to fly home. The FF Thames club took very good care of Kathie.

Ten of us left Thames and on a hour and a half van ride to Auckland. Hedy stayed in Auckland for a couple of days before flying home and nine of us continued on to Sydney, Australia.

We were meet at the Sydney airport by our hosts and whisked away to their homes.

Favorite activities in Sydney were the walk across the Harbour Bridge with views of the Opera House, a train ride to the Blue Mountains, the Reptile Park, and various river and harbor ferry rides. At the end of the week, five of us returned to the USA, while Emily and Bonnie went north to Cairns and Pat and Lori went to Canberra for a few days of sightseeing.

The weather for our whole trip was spectacular with sun and warm temperatures almost every day. We got to experience late summer instead of the late winter we left back in Portland.

Outgoing Exchange to Mispah Club in Cape Town, South Africa

Mispah Exchange in Cape Town, South Africa

September 29 to October 9, 2012

By Marge Terdal

Eighteen members of FF Columbia Cascade traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, in late September for a one-week exchange with FF Mispah. We met new people, experienced another way of life, and visited many famous sites.

The Mispah club members, whom we would call mixed race, refer to themselves as colored. Their families were removed from their homes in District Six in the early years of Apartheid and forced to relocate further away from the central city. Some of our hosts live in modest houses, surrounded by brick walls, often topped with barbed wire. The member who hosted the farewell dinner for at least 50 people, lives in a much larger house with a covered patio and huge barbecue grill. The Exchange Director, and our tour guide each day, Brenda Hull, was very open about the difficulties she experienced during Apartheid.

Each day was full of sightseeing opportunities. For example, Monday started with a boat ride to see seals sunbathing and swimming in Houk Bay; next we visited the World of Birds, and then on to a tea bag factory. In the afternoon we took a funicular to the top of Cape of Good Hope, and then walked on the beach among the penguins. The next morning we had a guided tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, where 95% of the plants are native to South Africa. From there we took a revolving cable car to the top of Table Mountain for spectacular views of the city below. Other days included visits to a winery; two schools where we donated school supplies that we had brought from the US; Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned; and museums about District Six and slavery.

Dinner each evening with our hosts and usually several other members of the Mispah club gave us opportunity to get better acquainted and to share experiences and stories.

At the end of the one-week exchange, twelve of the group flew to Johannesburg, and from there visited Kruger National Park, Pretoria, and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Others saw more of the southern tip of Africa., including game drives, whale watching, and even zip lining.

Outgoing Exchange to Los Angeles & San Diego January 18-31, 2014

Outgoing Exchange to Los Angeles and San Diego

January 18-January 31, 2014


By Carol Taylor

We will be visiting clubs from Los Angeles and San Diego who visited our club in 2012 and 2013. We first go to Los Angeles, on Saturday, January 18. We will leave for San Diego by train, on January 24, and return to Portland January 31.

If you are interested in this exchange, attend the Information Meeting, Nov 3, following our Annual Meeting at the Vancouver PUD.

LA–January 18-24 Cost: $150 + $50 FFI Fee = $200

Amtrak trip from LA to SD Cost: $31.45 for seniors 62+ or $37 for those under 62 (cost not included)

SD—January 24-31 Cost: $100 + $50 FFI fee = $150

FFCC Club fee $25 per person (for one or both exchanges)

Maximum number of Ambassadors for each exchange is 20.

Please complete the FFI Application Form and bring it to the Information Meeting on Nov 3. Bring a check for $375, payable to FFCC, if you want to be included in both exchanges. If you are requesting only one exchange, write your check for the appropriate amount.

Additional information will be distributed a few days prior to the information meeting. The planning committee will meet the week following the meeting to evaluate the applications.

Last Chance to sign up is at the Annual Meeting on November 2, 2013. The informational meeting will be held after the Annual Meeting at the Clack County PUD Building.


Incoming Manitoba, Canada Exchange September 20-26, 2013

By Sharon Dawson and Emily Smith, Co-Exchange Directors

It is almost September and the Manitoba club will be here, Sept. 20-26. We have a fun filled week planned and would like to invite Columbia Cascade members to participate. Some activities require a reservation and cost that need to be received by Saturday September 7.

Friday Sept 20 – WELCOME DINNER

At Emily Smith’s. Grilled salmon provided with our club members bringing a side dish, salad or dessert along with drinks to share.

RSVP required to Emily Smith IF YOU WANT TO EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be sure to state what you are planning to bring

Sunday Sept 22

COLUMBIA RIVER CRUISE on the Sternwheeler from Cascade Locks, leaving the dock at 12:45 with picnic lunch at 12:00 provided by yourself. We will continue after the cruise to the Bonneville Dam and Multnomah Falls.

Cost of Sternwheeler $17.50

Monday Sept 23

11:30 Tour of BOB’S RED MILL followed by lunch there on your own.

3:00 HOP WORKS TOUR of the brewery on SE Powell

Tuesday Sept 24

BUS TOUR TO NEWPORT and the OREGON COAST leaving the Tualatin Fred Meyer parking lot at 9AM, returning at 6:00. Bring money for lunch at Mo’s in Lincoln City.

Cost $23

Wednesday Sept 25

1:00 Ft Vancouver tour

3:00 Chipolte plank house tour

6:00 Catered Farewell dinner at Donna Egan’s in Vancouver.

Cost $24

Please send your check to FFCC for the events you wish to attend to Laural Engeman.

Remember to get your money to Laural by Sept 7.

For those HOSTING or DAY HOSTING do not forget mandatory meeting Saturday Sept 7 at the Midland Library in SE Portland from 2 – 4. We will start promptly at 2:00 since we have the room only until 4:00.

We hope that you can participate in some or all of the events. Welcome to the Canadians!!

Incoming Global Exchange Featuring Northwest Gardens

The Friendship Force Clubs of Columbia Cascade (Portland, Oregon & Vancouver, Washington) and Southern Oregon are hosting a Global Exchange to showcase the gardens and natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

May 28-June 11, 2015

Join us for a visit to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to see outstanding gardens, experience NW hospitality at its best and much more.

The exchange begins with a one night hotel stay in Portland, Oregon where introductions are made and friendships begin. The next morning after a short flight to Medford in Southern Oregon the exchange begins with a bus tour to the Oregon Coast through the awe inspiring California Redwoods; the earth’s oldest and tallest trees. Included will be stops at Azalea gardens and a Pacific Ocean beach. There will be visits to four private gardens in the Rogue Valley. Beautiful Crater Lake National Park is one of the 7 wonders of Oregon and one of the deepest lakes in the world. Included in the exchange will be a visit to Ashland’s Lithia Park, designed by the same landscape architect as San Francisco’s fames Golden Gate Park.

After returning to the Portland area, you will participate in Portland Rose Festival activities including the Grand Floral Parade.

Visit the acclaimed International Rose Test Gardens, the oldest public garden of its kind in the US. Join us for a bus tour to a variety of beautiful gardens starting with the Oregon Gardens which will include a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Visit peony and iris gardens and also a stop at a local winery for some wine tasting.

Other days will include visits to the Portland Japanese Gardens, Chinese Garden, Rhododendron Gardens, botanical gardens, and a sustainable farm. Learn what makes Oregon unique as a leader in sustainability.

Cost of the exchange is $1200 USD which includes FFI fees, hotel expenses first night, roundtrip airfare between Portland and Medford, all entry fees, tours and most meals.

The exchange is limited to 20 Ambassadors.

Link to Special Invitation

Incoming Exchange fron Los Angeles, CA

Incoming Exchange from Los Angeles, CA

September 5-10, 2012

Twenty fun-loving, energetic ambassadors from the Los Angeles area visited us for a week. We started the events with a Welcome Pizza Party Event at the home of Donna Egan, even though Donna was out of town at the time.The ambassadors started arriving as early as 3:30 PM, but most of the ambassadors were stuck in the Los Angeles Airport and had not left by the time they were supposed to arrive in Portland. The pizza and long delayed ambassadors both arrived about 5PM.

On Thursday, late morning, we had a tour of Mercy Corps and the Chinese Garden with a walking tour between these locations. Lunch was at the Alexis Greek Restaurant, and we had some impromptu entertainment by a few ambassadors and restaurant staff performing a Greek dance. We ended the day with small group dinners.,

On Friday morning we climbed on our bus for a Mt Hood Loop excursion. We stopped at historic Timberline Lodge for a guided tour to help celebrate the Lodge’s 75th year anniversary. We had a picnic lunch at Parkdale and then boarded the Mount Hood Railroad for a scenic train ride to Hood River. Stops at the Bonneville Dan Fish Hatchery to see Herman the Sturgeon and Multnomah Falls completed the excursion.

Saturday was a non-group activity day with most ambassadors being shown our local Farmer’s Markets in the morning. It was suggested that the evening be devoted to the once a year Historic Fort Vancouver “Campfires and Candle Light” event.

Sunday evening came much too soon. It was time for our Farewell Dinner Party held at Willamette View Manor. Tours of Willamette View to see the extensive grounds, artwork, Harmony Garden, and fitness center were held before dinner. Then came the feast of NW Cuisine Buffet Dinner. The menu included barbecued ribs, fried chicken, corn-on-the-cob, salads, baked beans, and dessert. Bob Porter provided a multimedia show of all the great events of the past week.

Incoming Exchange from Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia Visit Report

August 6-12, 2012

By Bobbie Klabin-Smith

The week with the Aussies flew by. We started their visit with a 2 hour cruise and luncheon aboard the Portland Spirit followed by a guided walking tour of Portland with historian Richard Engeman. The Australians were fascinated with the floating homes on the Willamette. Rick Smith, being a retired engineer, explained how they were kept afloat.

Tuesday, the great trip up the Gorge provided our guests with wonderful photo opportunities. Our generous members Roz and Norm Luther met us at the Gorge White House and provided us with lunch and homemade fruit cobblers. A highlight of the trip was our stop in Stevenson, WA to watch the wind and kite surfers who were eager to tell our Aussie friends about their sport.

On Wednesday we enjoyed a guided tour of the Japanese Garden. Then on to the Portland Rose Garden. The evening was spent at Emily Smith’s home enjoying a delicious salmon dinner, cooked by her brother Charles, along with all the yummy dishes our members brought.

Thursday the group spent the day exploring the Oregon Coast. That evening they had dinner and a guided tour at Camp 18.

Friday was a day of activities of choice.

On Saturday many of our hosts took their ambassadors to their local Farmers Markets. That evening our farewell/annual club picnic, organized by Doris Moore assisted by her husband David and Joyce and Ryan Collins, was a great success. Jerry Bacon donated his time and energy to cooking the burgers and hot dogs. Fred Rauch cooked corn on the cob completing our typical American BBQ. As usual, we had lots of delicious food. There was entertainment provided by both clubs.

The Sydney club has generously donated $100.00 to our local food banks as thanks for the wonderful time they had in the Pacific Northwest. Many “THANKS” to all who participated or volunteered to participate in this exchange.

Incoming Exchange from Southern Sydney, Australia

Southern Sydney, Australia, Friendship Force club will be here Saturday, September 6, to Friday, September 12. Hedy Griffiths and her planning committee have organized a variety of activities, and have invited FFCC members to participate in three of those. The welcome dinner will be held at Donna Egan’s Columbia River home on Sunday, the 7th. On Wednesday, the 10th, the ambassadors and hosts will enjoy an all-day bus trip on the Mt. Hood loop, including stops at Crown Point, Multnomah Falls, Panorama Point, Gorge White House, Packers Orchard and Bakery, Pioneer Woman’s Grave and Timberline Lodge. FFCC members should already have signed up, and paid for those events.

Everyone is welcome—and encouraged—to attend the Thursday, September 11, Farewell Party for the Australians combined with the FFCC Annual Picnic. This will take place at the Fort Vancouver picnic site, which has been reserved from 2:00 PM until closing at 9:00 PM. We will probably be eating about 4 PM. Pulled pork, coleslaw and buns will be provided. Bring a potluck dish as well as desired beverages, and your own table service. Jerry Bacon will entertain us by playing a Didgeridoo. Australian Clapsticks will be available for those who would like to accompany him. Come to the picnic to meet our new friends from Southern Sydney.


Monday, September 8 – Coast Trip by Car Caravan

Meet at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR. Caravan to South Jetty, Various listed options to do as you want.

Tuesday September 9 – Free Day for Ambasssadors and Host to spend time together doing what is of interest to them

Mary Dickson has offered to give a tour at Japanese Garden from 10:45 a.m. (suggest you arrive by 10:15 a.m. to assure you get parking).

Wednesday September 10 – Mt. Hood Loop by Bus

Trip includes stops at Crown Point, Multnomah Falls, Panorama Point, Gorge White House for your picnic lunch, Packers for ice cream, dessert and fruit stop, Pioneer Woman’s Grave and Timberline Lodge.

Thursday, September 11 – Farewell Party and Annual Picnic

Farewell Party for Australians is combined with the FF Columbia Cascade Annual Picnic at the Fort Vancouver Picnic Site. Picnic Site is reserved from 2:00 p.m. until close at 9:00 p.m. Pulled pork, coleslaw and buns provided. Attendees are requested to bring a pot luck dish as well as desired beverages (beer, wine or soda). Also bring chairs, plates, cups and utensils for yourself and guests.

The starring headliner is Jerry Bacon playing a Didgeridoo. Australian Clapsticks will be available for anyone who would like to accompany him.

Friday, September 12 – Australians Depart

Incoming Exchange from San Diego


By Faye More, Exchange Director

Seventeen Ambassadors from San Diego arrived on June 3rd to attend a potluck welcome party at Willamette View Commons. Thus began a week of Exchange Activities in the Portland/Vancouver area blessed with unexpectedly wonderful Northwest warm weather.

Scheduled events included a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mill factory in Washougal, Wa, and Ft. Vancouver tour. Wednesday brought a visit to Portland food carts, Powell’s bookstore , and for some Ambassadors, visits to the Japanese Garden and the Washington Park Rose Garden.

Washington and Oregon coasts were the destination on Thursday with visits to the Cape Disappointment Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Cranberry Museum, Astoria Column and Camp 18 for dinner. Friday brought a visit to Washington wineries Bethany and Three Brothers. Saturday was the culmination of the trip with attendance at the Grand Floral Parade and Sunday a Final Farewell celebration with a potluck dinner at the Vancouver PUD.

The San Diego Ambassadors were a most genial group. The FFCC hosts supplemented many of the planned activities with additional events to address the specific interests of some of the Ambassadors. All in all, it was a most enjoyable exchange enhanced by the great good nature of our visitors and the wonderful hospitality shown by FFCC members. And, in my opinion, a great good time was had by all.


Photo of our group at the Astoria Column