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Sacramento Boomer

Friendship Force: Building Global Bonds

Oct 29, 2019 02:11PM

What if you were given a week to make meaningful friendships, learn about another culture, and spread peace through those friendships? It’s 100% possible—and it’s the number one goal of Friendship Force, a nonprofit that’s “committed to furthering world peace by forming international friendships.” It’s also a wonderful way to travel and help make the world a more peaceful place. 


This isn’t a “normal” vacation or travel experience where you book a hotel, map out what you’re going to see, and figure out what you should do; this is a true journey. Instead of being a traditional tourist, you stay with a host family and learn their culture firsthand by being part of their day-to-day lives. Instead of being a bystander, you’re a participant. Friendship Force says, “You may find yourself attending a wedding, visiting a school, or even observing a cremation. You may be taken to a spa in Japan, an underground salt cathedral in Columbia, or visit an ice palace in Sweden. You just never know…”

Friendship Force of Sacramento was started in 1988 and members have traveled to (or from) Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Italy, Peru, and more. Currently, there are 135 active members in the club, which was awarded the Club of the Year for 2018. The worldwide clubs have volunteers in more than 63 countries. Everyone involved, whether they’re traveling or hosting, has one intention: global friendship, which in turn contributes to global peace. 

Calligraphy lesson in Gifu, Japan


If you choose to go on a journey with Friendship Force, you have the honor of staying with a host family. They don’t get paid for opening up their home to you—they do so because they’re interested in learning about you and your country. You can also choose to be a host family and open up your home to someone on their own journey.

What’s more, you don’t have to belong to Friendship Force to enjoy your journey. “You may apply directly to the leader (coordinator) for any ‘Journey’ listed in the catalog. In some cases, your fee includes a one-year membership in the sponsoring club. You may want to consider joining, however, so you can participate in the ongoing programs that promote global understanding through friendship.”

By Julie Ryan

Creating art for a children's home in Sacramento

 


WHY IS IT CALLED A JOURNEY?

“Journeys were originally known as ‘Exchanges.’ Recently we transitioned to the term Journey, since it’s better suited to the amazing process our members plan and experience as they journey to become a temporary citizen for a few days through our home hospitality program.”

 

HOW DO YOU JOIN?

You can join online by going to ffsacramento.org/page-1669646 and filling out the membership form. You can also print the form and mail it in. An individual membership is $35 for one year; a family membership is $65 for one year.

HOW DO YOU APPLY FOR A JOURNEY?

Fill out an application at ffsacramento.org.