What a great attendance we had at our “Together the Third Thursday” luncheon on September 15, 2016 at Mimi’s Restaurant with 15 members and guests getting together for fellowship and fun. It was great seeing long-time members, Al and Joy Ayers, and their houseguests from New Zealand, Irene and Reg Clothier who were ambassadors when New Zealand visited FFO in 2005. We look forward to our next luncheon on October 20th.
Andy Eastwood!!! Who’s that you may ask? Everyone who attended the Banjo Fest on Sept. 10 will know. Andy is a phenomenal ukulele banjo player from the UK. He was one of four great banjo sets featured at the first annual Banjo Fest sponsored by the American Banjo Museum. The audience was treated to bluegrass, jazz, folk and even classical music as they learned just how versatile the banjo is. Cynthia Sayer Gary “Biscuit” Davis, Mark Johnson and Emory Lester kept those strings humming with rousing banjo playing and lots of rib tickling comments along the way.
FFO members will recall enjoying being host to many exchanges that included a visit to the American Banjo Museum in Bricktown Oklahoma City. The banjo museum extended an invitation to FFO members to have a complimentary ticket to attend the final concert of the Banjo Fest. Darlene Browers and Ruth Green were among those who attended. Their review of the evening can be summed up as “WOW.” “Never knew a banjo could sound like that” and “never saw a ukulele banjo OR player before.”
Darlene reported that she was lucky enough after the concert to buy the last available CD of Andy Eastwood’s music. It included the showstopper William Tell’s Ukulele. It’s a whole new experience of William Tell’s Overture when you hear it played of the ukulele banjo.
Submitted by Darlene Browers
We are excited to report that Baton Rouge will be visiting our club in 2017. We are working with the Baton Rouge club to select a date for the inbound exchange.
Our club is pleased to report that Sacramento, California plans to visit our club next year. We are excited to host their club and details will be available later.
Our Semi-Annual General Membership Meeting was held on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at the UCO International House in Edmond, Oklahoma. Members brought finger food to share and there was a good attendance. We had two guests with one joining at the meeting. The Nominating Committee Chair reported on the selection of officers for 2017 and there were no nominations from the floor, so the following officers will be installed at the January 2017 General Membership meeting: Geneva Hancock, President; Beth Allen-Eden, Vice President; Bob Byrne, Treasurer and Darlene Browers, Secretary. We discussed ideas for World Friendship Day which will probably take place in March 2017 and upcoming luncheons for the remainder of the year. A report was given on the recent outbound exchange to Oregon and the clubs in San Francisco, California and Baton Rouge, Louisiana plan to visit our club in 2017. We also discussed our selections for an outbound international exchange in 2018 that will be submitted to FFI.
If you didn’t join us on our outbound exchange to visit the Mid-Willamette Valley Oregon club, you really missed a good exchange. Twenty ambassadors traveled by air and car and met at the home of Ted and Rita Powell for the welcome party where we were entertained by two ladies playing the guitar and accordion. We met our hosts and traveled to their home. The next day, we enjoyed the tour of the Thyme Garden and the special lunch that was prepared for us using many of the herbs and flowers in the garden. Then, we were off to the coast for an overnight stay at the Shilo Inns in Newport, OR. Jackets were needed for viewing the Yaquina Head lighthouse and we were excited to see the many whales in the area.
Our visit to the Hatfield Marine Center and museum was very enjoyable and our hosts drove us around to see the beautiful scenery in the area. The next day, we visited Talking Water Gardens, where there are many varieties of wetland plants, had lunch and small group dinners were planned for the evening so everyone could get better acquainted.
The next couple of days was spent with our host with some of us traveling to the town of Sisters to see the twin peaks and the lava fields. We also enjoyed seeing covered bridges and Sahalie Falls.
Thanks to the Mid-Williamette Valley Oregon club for a wonderful exchange.
Our quarterly newsletter is now available.
On July 19, 2016, 10 members from the Friendship Force Oklahoma club will travel to Oregon for an exchange with the Oregon Mid-Willamette Valley club. Also, participating in the exchange will be 4 ambassadors from Montana, 2 from Tennessee, 3 from Colorado and one from Florida. An overnight stay in Newport, Oregon on the coast is planned as well as a visit to the Hatfield Marine Center and Museum and a visit to Talking Waters. Small group dinner parties in the evening are also planned. The exchange is over on July 25th and several ambassadors have plans after the exchange.
The Thursday luncheons were moved to Tuesday to see if we could improve on our attendance. On May 17th, members enjoyed “Let’s Do Greek” and on June 21st, members enjoyed “On the Border” Mexican Restaurant. Thanks to all of those that participated. We know summer is a busy time and we only have the luncheons on months there is no activity planned. So, our next luncheon will be on September 15th, with the place to be announced later. Our last luncheon for the year will be on October 20th. Everyone is welcome!
Our quarterly newsletter is now available.
The “Together the Third Thursday” Luncheon was held on April 21, 2016, at Johnnie’s Charcoal on Britton Road. Our guest speaker was Jared Scism from the University of Central Oklahoma who shared his experience while teaching in Japanese schools and talked about other cultural differences in our two countries.
We are changing our luncheons to the Third Tuesday, so the remaining luncheons for the year will be on: May 17th, June 21st, September 20th and October 18th.
Several members from the Friendship Force Oklahoma club attended the Southwest Regional Conference in Austin, TX on April 1-3, 2016. Also attending were members from Friendship Force Baton Rouge, Dallas, Fort Worth, Georgetown Houston, Kansas, New Mexico and San Antonio. Workshops were held on Saturday and we enjoyed the fellowship and good food. Entertainment was provided by Southtown, a San Antonio Central Texas band at the dinner on Saturday evening. The conference gives us the opportunity to discuss Friendship Force going forward and retaining membership, also, who do we vet on exchanges and learn about members experiences traveling to other countries.
Thursday, March 17th, has been selected for our “Together the Third Thursday” luncheon. We will meet at Tommy’s Italian Grill for fellowship and good food.
I told you we were going to celebrate World Friendship Day on March 5th at Ingrid’s Kitchen and we had a great time. Over 20 members and friends attended. Food was ordered from the menu and we enjoyed Sahar Aldurobi sharing a fascinating story about her family’s journey from Iraq to America a few years ago.
On Saturday, March 5th, members and friends will gather at Ingrid’s Kitchen in Oklahoma City from 10:00 a.m. to noon to celebrate “World Friendship Day.” The selection of March 1st was officially designated as the anniversary date for the entire organization which is comprised of over 377 clubs in 60 countries. It is a tribute to founder Wayne Smith and acknowledges the original founding day of the Friendship Force on March 1, 1977, when it was announced in a White House ceremony. As members of Friendship Force we serve the cause of friendship, and we serve our organization with our time and effort. We believe that through our example, the cause of friendship and peace can be advanced. We believe we can change the world, one friendship at a time.
We are continuing the “Together the Third Thursday” luncheons in 2016 and our first gathering was on February 17th at Jamil’s Restaurant. We look forward to future luncheons throughout the year. We hope to have a speaker at an upcoming luncheon. The luncheons are scheduled in months we do not have a conflict with exchanges, etc.
Members attended the General Membership Meeting on January 24, 2016 at the UCO International House. We installed our new officers for 2016: Geneva Hancock, President; Beth Allen-Eden, Vice President; Darlene Browers, Secretary and Bob Byrne, Treasurer. We discussed our past and current exchanges and welcomed new members that joined at the meeting.
On December 12, 2015, thirty-two Friendship Force members and guests attended the FFO Christmas luncheon at Charleston’s Restaurant. Each person answered questions: Where were you born and as a child, what is the Christmas present you remember the most. Everyone had a great story to share and favorite presents ranged from train sets to velvet dresses.
Guests then ordered from the menu so everyone enjoyed their favorite food. After lunch, the Two Nice Girls trio: Joan Ackley, Suz Ogden and Nina Wegrzyn Vanzant entertained everyone with various Christmas songs.
The Christmas program concluded with everyone singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
There was standing room only at the “Champagne and Cupcakes” new membership reception held at Vintage Gardens club house on November 14, 2015. The club house was made available courtesy of Roy Poston (not yet a member). There was good attendance by our members and their guests. Geneva Hancock gave a very interesting talk about her experience when she first joined Friendship Force on a trip to Japan. Darlene Bowers spoke about England and the pretty gardens and good food. Beth told of the friendships and lasting bonds she had developed over the years due to her Friendship Force participation. It was entertaining and I think a good time was had by all. It was especially nice to see some members that have not been active the past year. Hope to see more of them at our January Meeting. Many thanks to all the members who brought a guest with them.