Spring Newsletter 


President’s Message

“In war, everyone loses”

This is the crux of the message sent to President Biden and Russian President Putin via the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. by Friendship Force International’s President Jeremi Snook (FFI)as well as the Friendship Force club presidents in Russia and Belarus. FFI has halted all travel to all travel to and from Russia and Belarus, where the invaders are basing their attacks on Ukraine. FFI is making a necessary distinction between Putin’s actions and the people of the country, especially our FF friends. Dan’s and my first hosting experience was an interesting couple from Kyiv, Ukraine. The wife was a judge, and the husband was possibly retired from KGB.

When President Jimmy Carter launched Friendship Force in 1976, it was with the great hope that person to person friendships across the world would lead to greater understanding and less hostility. Sadly, our efforts are needed more than ever now. There are many ways to support the people of Ukraine and the refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. The International Red Cross is helping with the refugee. Other charities are also appealing for help.

The war in Ukraine is also affecting our club’s activities. The Russian National Park manager delegation we expected in May will not coming. The ambassadors from Cornwall, U.K. who were willing to brave Covid , have cancelled due to the war in Europe. Their invitation to Olympia and Seattle is still extended for a future visit.

Friendship Force has travel opportunities, but we are not a travel club. Friendship Force has social activities, but we are not a social club. We are a peace club. Travel, parties and hospitality are the way we work for peace through international friendships. Laughter builds more bridges than lectures.

Sunday April 24th Quarterly Meeting

Hurray! This our first in person meeting of the year. We will meet in the Coffee Room in the Quinault Building at Panorama at 1:00 PM. This is the second business meeting of the year so we will be discussing hosting needs for the Open World and this year’s Mountains to Ocean to Sound Journey, among other topics.

Bruce Wells will speak about his experiences in international home builds with Habitat for Humanity. He has also been involved in local housing needs since he and his wife Maureen moved to Olympia from Denver several years ago.

Light refreshments will be provided by our “Cookie Lady”, Donna Connors. Coffee. Tea and water will be available. Vaccinated people can attend mask free. Unvaccinated people are asked to wear a mask for the safety of everyone. There will be sign-in sheet at the door to indicate your status. Our vaccination rate is very near 100%. You’re welcome to invite and interested friends to join us. PLEASE remember to wear your name tag.  (watch for signs to find the coffee room)

THE REVOLVING OPEN WORLD

The Congressional Office of International Leadership (COIL) has officially canceled the long-anticipated visit to Western Washington of 5 Russian conservationists, originally scheduled in October of 2020 and re-scheduled for May 20-27, 2022.

But there may still be a delegation of conservationists coming to us, this one from the Republic of Georgia.  Dates will be June 3-11,2022 and we hope to be able to provide names and positions of the group soon.  From information researched and provided by Jim Sweeney, Georgia has one the largest proportions of land dedicated to national parks (25%) in the world (by contrast the USA has only 4% of its land protected). Fully 40% of Georgia's territory is forest, a good proportion of it genuine old growth virgin wood. Georgia has 31 National Parks and Protected Areas identified for conservation.  Given the increasing evidence that preservation of old growth is important to slowing climate change, the USAID mission in Georgia is eager to send as many Georgia conservationists to the USA as possible, so it is highly likely that FFGO, in partnership with FF of Lower Columbia, will receive a 


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delegation from Georgia this year since we have a "turn key" natural resources conservation program all ready to launch. 

Home hosts are an essential element to the success of every Open World delegation, so be sure to attend our April quarterly meeting where we hope to have definitive information about the composition and personal interests of the group.  Sign-up sheets for hosting will be available at the meeting.  Or reach out to Teresa Wilkin (teresawilkin@gmail.com for more information.  

Oceans to Mountains to Sound Journey August 3-7, 2022

Olympia has joined with 3 other regional clubs to provide a unique journey from Portland to Seattle with stops in the southwest Washington lower Columbia area with stops here in Olympia. 

Each club will host the group for about 4 days. There’s a maximum of 14 Ambassador from the U.S including one member from England. Leslie True is the Journey Director for the Olympia leg. This is a great way to showcase our beautiful Northwest and our warm hospitality. 

This 17-day journey, July 27 to August 12, is a genuine bargain, $805.00, as advertised in the Journey Catalog at my.friendshipforce.org

This trip begins in Portland/ Vancouver with the Lower Columbia Cascade club, the overall organizers. The Lower Columbia FF will feature Mt. St. Helens. Our club is assigned Mt Rainier. We’ll host from August 3rd to 6th or 7th when we transfer the ambassadors to Seattle club. How will you support the journey? We need home hosts, day hosts, friendship dinner hosts and participants. Whether you are hosting or not, everyone is urged to participate in the activities and enjoy meeting our guests.

 

                          Member Spotlight

Ted Samland has been a pillar of the Friendship Force of Greater Olympia since January 2005. He has been an active member; holding many offices, both incoming and outgoing Journey director. His first few journeys with FF of Olympia were domestic journeys to Boston/ Connecticut and Mobile Alabama. Since joining he has traveled to many continents and countries including: Japan, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Canada, Korea, Chile, Columbia, Panama. He hosted ambassadors for every inbound journey since 2006 welcoming friends from: Egypt, Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, and many states. His fondest memories from hosting are shared conversations around the breakfast table, learning that no matter where people are from, we share much in common as friends and ambassadors for peace. Ted has also been an active volunteer Kiwanis and Elks of Olympia. He supports youth programs at the Washington Center for Performing Arts and other local theater groups, Harlequin, Olympia Little Theater. 


Sunshine Corner-Member News

Karen Langlois, a long-time member, and Barbara Hodgboom have suspended their memberships due to ongoing health issues. 

Klaus Hartmann has recently received a cancer diagnosis and is frustrated by the lengthy delays getting information and treatment.  

Dan Filip is recovering at his Florida condo after successful and long-awaited hip revision surgery in Tampa.

Troyce Warner and his wife Tiny are staying safe at home after his second bout with liver cancer and an almost miraculous treatment and recovery.

Dave and Laura Andersen are enjoying a long-delayed trip to Norway to visit relatives and tour the country.

Ted Samland overall health has declined during the past 2 years. He still wants to be as active a member as possible with FF of Greater Olympia club.