Newsletter April & May 2014

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General Meeting - this Friday, 5/16/14

11 AM

Robb & Stucky Community Room

13170 S Cleveland Ave

Fort Myers, FL

Lunch to follow

Costa Rican Inbound Exchange

Add a descriptionJohn Jensen, ED, receives Costa Rica Flag at Farewell Party


Thirteen Costa Rican Ambassadors plus 2 Japanese guests (visitors from our Japanese Outbound Exchange last year) were hosted in style by our club from March 30-April 4.  The festivities began in Bonita Springs with a sensational Welcome Party hosted by Luvvy Kovacik.  It continued at Lovers Key Beach, then onto Shark Valley, a tree planting in their honor at Freedom Park, Naples - and even a pizza party hosted at the Yemmas home.  It concluded at Lakes Fairways Community Clubhouse (thanks Judy Carson!) at a memorable Farewell Event.   


John Jansen said, "having NICE people like the Costa Ricans makes the biggest difference in having a great exchange."  He's already received a gracious Thank You Letter from Maria who said that she wished they spoke better English, but everything worked out well.  Cheryle and Lou mentioned that the Translation Buddy app on their phones was used constantly - what a great asset to communication!   


H U G E thanks goes to John Jansen, our ED, and to the last minute van drivers, Dennis Yemma and Reta Lanning and the hosts for their kindness in opening their homes!  It takes help from everyone and you, the membership of FF SW Florida, came through! 

Friendship Force




To promote global understanding across barriers that separate people




   Mutual Respect   

  Cu ltural Diversity   Cultural Exploration 



  Tell Your Friends


Your friends and the public are always welcome at our meetings.  Keep your friends informed about our happenings by forwarding this newsletter to them.

  Elected Board



      Joanne Collins


1st VP       

      Pam LaFontaine


2nd VP

      Dennis Yemma



      Rob Linehan



      Jule Yemma

Welcome New Members


Welcome to our newest members, Robert & Eleanor Hill, 3222 Cerrito Ct, Naples, FL 34109, phone 609-519-4198, email  Their permanent residence is Lumberton, New Jersey, but they will be Associate Members with us for 5 plus months of the year.  After their other house sells, our club may be their primary.  Lou Rizk recruited them when he recently sold them a home.  They are currently in Friendship Force and look forward to participating with us when they are in Florida.


We've heard from  Linda Sadler who now resides in Lancaster, PA that she wants to retain her primary membership with our club.  Her new contact info is in the directory that was recently emailed to you.


Oh My - Our International Pot Luck

Twenty-Two Friendship Force members celebrated World Friendship Day at Sibby's!  Wow what a gastronomic delight.  Some highlights follow...

  • Sue Linehan demonstrated sushi making!
  • Jules Yemma's goulash that she learned to make in Germany
  • Israel food complete with a picture of the Israel exchange courtesy of Cecilia Bridge
  • Pam LaFontaine's homemade English Trifle with pudding filling - just delish!
  • Ellen Derickson's fabulous Irish Stew
  • Cape Town Africian Delight courtesy of the Thompsons, Gloria and Frank
  • Joanne Collins' Mediterranean Greek Pastistio
  • Cheryle Phelps' chicken & rice Spanish dish - yum!
  • Sibby Yemmas' great Italian Salad
  • The best carrots I've ever tasted, courtesy of ?


Sorry if I left anyone's creation(s) out.  It was A LOT to take in and we sure enjoyed dining and visiting with everyone.  Just a perfect way to spend a Sunday.  Thanks so much, Sibby, for hosting a spectacular event!

BRAZIL - On Your Horizon

Save the dateS - Mark your calendar for June 19 and 20th, 3 PM for a wonderful look at Brazil. Location and final date to be determined and communicated to you. Members of the Sarasota Friendship Force are visiting our club to tell us all about their recent visit to Brazil.  Bring your friends!  Let's use this to recruit some new members.  When they hear about all the FF great South American adventures, how can they resist?      

From the President, Joanne Collins

  • I'm B A C K -  Richard and I sailed across the Gulf Stream in our 35 foot sailboat, EaglesWings, to the Abacos, Bahamas for 7 weeks. We particularily enjoyed the Sunday church services because it provided us a way to meet the locals and visit with them.  Not to mention, the sailing is great in turquoise, crystal clear water and there is nice snorkeling and fresh seafood.   

  • 2015 Outbound Exchange Info - As of today, we have not heard from Noord Netherlands as to whether they have accepted our outbound exchange.   Our Atlanta rep is checking with them and we should have an answer soon!

  • 2015 Inbound Exchange Into - It's a Match!  We will host Auckland-North Shore and Gisborne, New Zealand next fall.   We are 3rd on their stops in the US.  They will first visit Austin, Texas and then Baton Rouge, Louisiana chapters of Friendship Force.  If you are interested in being the ED for this exchange, please contact one of the members of the board.

  • Lincoln, Nebraska Inbound Exchange and Other - 

    A group of 17 Nebraskans are headed our way on November 16 - 22, 2014.  Sue and Rob Linehan will be the ED and they are looking for home hosts. (It helps to know ahead of time for planning purposes).  Also, we need 2 people to arrange activities and group meals.  Please let them know if you are "IN" for this fun exchange!

  • All Florida FF Conference - Orlando, September 6, 2014

In conclusion...


Do you like our newsletter?  If you've read it to the end, email me at  with your comments and suggestions.   For those who do so, I will put your name in a bowl and draw for a prize at the June meeting.  Hope to hear from you soon!



Costa Rican Ambassadors2014 Inbound Costa Rican Ambassadors

Friendship Force of Southwest Florida | 281-543-9018 | |
257 Lido Drive
Punta Gorda, FL 33950

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