August 1, 2020 Newsletter 
Dear Friends,
Jane Lee, President
I think that we all wonder, when will this ever end?  Even though we haven't been able to have meetings and socials, we have been kept in touch through our wonderful newsletter staff, Sandy Gourdine and Sue Olnick.  Each month they work together to put out a wonderful work of art.  Jan Means keeps our web page up to date, so please check that out from time to time.  This is a good way to connect with your friends who might be potential members to our adventures.  The board has met twice on Zoom, and Connie DuBois copiously keeps our minutes.  Now we invite you to our Zoom meeting on August 9th.
Check this newsletter for your invitation put together by Chris Michalek for more information.  As you have read in our newsletter, we have an energetic slate of officers who are bringing many new ideas to our club.  At our Zoom meeting you will see our new officers' wonderful faces.  Even though we haven't met for a while, you can read the summary of what we have been able to do from September 2019 until the pandemic came in March of 2020.  You can see how active we can be.  On August 11, one of our new members, Sharon Swallwood, will be using Zoom and teaching Friendship Force members around the world, How to Improve Your Travel Photography.  Sharon was to be our guest speaker at our May meeting.  When that was cancelled it was suggested that she teach everyone.  A special task group consisting of Jean Choong, who taught Law in the UK and Chris Michalek, with years of experience with FF, have updated and revised our bylaws.  Please read more about this and Sharon's presentation in this newsletter. If you are cleaning out, as I am, save your flower vases.  They will be used to spread cheer to those who can't get out.  
You are all special and important to our club.       Jane Lee, President          Click here to email Jane
Sunday, August 9th at 3:00 pm
To celebrate 
National Friendship Week 
and in honor of our
newly elected

Join Zoom Meeting
Topic: Friendship Force FL Suncoast
Time:  August 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern Time

- Meet the new board members
- Get to know the committee chairs
- Raise your glass toasting with a beverage of your choice

Note: We'll also spend some time sharing what we plan to do first  when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Joining a Zoom Call for the First Time; Fun and Easy Online Connection

If you need help with Zoom go to the or play this YouTube video.
You must register to use Zoom your first time  If you need further assistance contact Gena Cameron 727-666-2740 or at least the day before the meeting.  
At the end of each year our President  gives a report on the previous year's club activities.  Click here to read it.  
Jean Choong and Chris Michalek have updated our club's bylaws.  A draft will be sent to the Board and committee chairs for discussion and approval in August.  Then the document will be sent to you, our members, for additional comments and suggestions in September.   In the October newsletter you will be asked to approve the final copy.  You will email or send a letter to tell us if you vote for or against the final copy of the current bylaws.  
The July newsletter profiled our elected officers who will serve for one year beginning September 1.  Also serving on the Board are the Past President, Chris Michalek, and three Directors-at-Large:  Geri Espy, Sue Olnick and Art Worth, whose info was not made available..
Geri Espy
As a passionate traveler and learner, I've visited 85 countries on all seven continents and treasure every experience, finding something special about each place and its people. I've enjoyed six Journeys, national and international, with Friendship Force and frequently host incoming FF ambassadors. I've been happily active and found many friends in the Florida Suncoast chapter for about 14 years.
More than ever, I believe we need to learn tolerance, acceptance and appreciation of others around the world. To do that, we must get to know people different from ourselves in a personal way. Friendship Force gives us that rewarding opportunity.

Christine (Chris) Mocarski Michalek
Chris has been a member of Friendship Force since 1986 in Des Moines and Dallas, and served as our club President. As a professional and community activist/volunteer, she has worked for equality and inclusion, most often for women toward their economic self-sufficiency. Though retired from employment as an AARP Regional Director,  earlier with her own business, she provided English-Polish-Spanish management training for corporations.  She is a recognized conference presenter/meeting  facilitator. Starting with JFK, Chris has been a proactive Democrat, was a candidate for the Texas House, passionately works to "Get Out the Vote," currently for Joe Biden. Married to Rudy for 51 years, they have three adult children and one grandgirl.

Sue Olnick
I joined FFI in 2019 and have a lot of enthusiasm for the organization. I love the diversity and the idea of bringing people from around the world together to learn more about each other. I have been getting to know our members by interviewing individuals and writing profiles for our newsletter. My background is in writing and publishing. For about 25 years, I managed large design and publishing departments for several US corporations, mostly in the financial sector. I have also served on the BOD of a volunteer fire company auxiliary for 15 years as financial secretary, and our main responsibility is to hold fundraisers. I look forward to using my skills and knowledge for the benefit of our club.
Do You Know Our 
Mystery  Member?
When I was four years old, I needed surgery twice. Back then it meant at least a week in the hospital, and my parents could only visit on Sunday for two hours. Pretty traumatic for any child. But I found a silver lining - during my second hospital stay I met the "red haired nurse." She made me her little assistant, and I helped her pass out juice and crackers, clean linen, water pitchers, etc. By the time I went home, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up - a NURSE! And I never changed my mind.
I apologized to my father because I chose the most expensive Diploma nursing program in Philly. Can you believe the cost back then was $900 for the entire three years - and that included room, board, uniforms and books! The only thing I had to buy were my nursing caps!  By the time we graduated, my three best friends and I decided we wanted to go to New York City!  We were ready for some excitement! And excitement we had!  Our first day at work, we were robbed! Welcome to NY!  But we stuck it out and loved every minute!
And it was nursing that helped lead me to Friendship Force. I started going on People to People trips with nurses and other health professionals, where we met with and visited health facilities throughout the world. I visited China, Russia, Poland, Egypt, and South Africa with PTP. I learned how valuable and enriching it is to travel not just as a tourist, but to really interact and get to know the people, their lives, culture, and food, and make friends all over the world and learn that we are all one world. So when I learned about Friendship Force, I was IN!     Who Am I?      Click here for answer.
Meet Susan Hawley
A New Member Profile by Sue Olnick

Susan Hawley
Susan has led a multi-faceted life. While she has already seen and done many things, she wants to do much more. Susan is interested in exploring her artistry by going even further as a water colorist, photographer, and landscape artists, and perhaps even study additional forms of art. She loves to cook-especially bake, and her favorite foods are pasta and, of course, baked goods.  
Susan joined FFI in 2020 to meet people and do a lot more traveling. Her love of travel began at age 19 with a trip to Switzerland, and then to Colombia the following year. Recently, Susan unexpectedly spent four months in Dubai; she went there to visit her daughter and two grandsons and was unable to return home. She has traveled to at least half of the states and has lived in various parts of the country from the east coast to the west coast. Susan's favorite places are the Tetons in Wyoming and Switzerland because she loves being up high and looking out into the majesty of beyond.
Susan worked as a physical therapist; she loves meeting and helping people. She believes in the goodness of people no matter how they are behaving. She is interested in the world and is very optimistic that we will find our way.

Friendship Force Virtual Experiences

by Sue Olnick
  • Virtual Journeys 
  • Learning Place
  • Members Connect

If you haven't had time to read the email dated July 2 from Friendship Force International, you may want to take a look. FFI is offering three types of virtual experiences: Friendship Force Virtual Journeys, Friendship Force Learning Place, and Friendship Force Members Connect. All you need to do is click the link  Friendship Force Virtual Experiences  (click here to view)   to find out more about each program and register.
Friendship Force Journeys are held via Zoom and are set up similar to in person journeys. They include a host club, an ambassador club, and a welcome party. During a 2-3 week journey, individual members will get together and exchange experiences. At the end of the journey, there will be a farewell party.
Friendship Force Learning Place has everything from live performances, culinary diplomacy, and technology/leadership skills to an interactive trivia game. Members are encouraged to host their own virtual experience if they have a skill to share. Sharon Swallwood  from our club will present "Improve Your Travel Photography-Tips, Tricks and Gear" on August 11. Don't miss this presentation, and you'll never be disappointed with your travel photos again!
Friendship Force Members Connect is where members can attend a webinar to learn firsthand about another person's culture, community, and experiences. Participants will be able to interact with the host. Another way to connect is through the pen pal program. You can get matched with another FFI member based on interests, hobbies, or even a foreign language you would like to practice. You can even get matched with someone randomly, if that's what you prefer.
Don't worry about the time zone differences; each event has a button to click to convert to your own time zone. These great opportunities are available to all FFI members.
From the FFI Learning Place:  A Virtual Learning Experience Presented by Our Member,
 Sharon Swallwood!
 Improve Your Travel Photography -  Tips, Tricks & Gear

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 11:00 a.m.  
Host: Dr. Sharon Swallwood, FF Florida Suncoast and Allison Lindsey, FFI Staff

Sharon Swallwood
Bring your camera, smartphone, or tablet to this interactive "How-To" photography presentation.   In this hands-on demonstration, Dr. Sharon Swallwood will present tips, tricks, and gear to help capture the beauty around you. The focus of this presentation is to take more powerful photographs and communicate your vision and ideas. (Note: our main focus will be improving your composition and not on technical topics like shutter speed, ISO, or aperture.) You can check out Sharon's work on her  website .
Here is the link to register:    
 Favorite Travel Memories From Our Members
We're all itching to travel again. Until then, let's share in each others' travel experiences. Please submit a favorite photo from one of your past trips, and it will appear in a future newsletter. Send it to Sandy at   
Darlene Kalada
Being at home has given me a great opportunity to go through  pictures I have taken over the years, clean out and categorize the ones to keep.  I found one of my favorites from a trip my husband and I took in December 2002.  We visited Palau for a live aboard diving adventure with a planned side trip to the island of Yap.  These areas of the Federated States of Micronesia are extremely rich with underwater life.  We wanted to visit Yap as it is known for being the home of manta rays which feed daily in the nearby channels, as the tides change and get cleaned by small fish and shrimp in shallow areas resting over coral beds. It was an amazing trip, and we were greeted one day by a small parade and dance performance by the Yapese who still cling to their traditional culture.  This young Yapese girl was participating in the dance in traditional costume and stopped to rest while others performed.
Francine Silberman   

I'm a fan of street photography - candid photos that are real and capture un-posed moments. 
These illustrate one experience and theme and were taken in Moscow in July 2013. I was on a 
two+ week trip with a girlfriend (not FF), and the trip was put together by a Russian travel agency called "Travel all Russia."  While in Moscow it seemed as though there were young people everywhere.  When in Red Square, I sometimes thought I was on a college campus.  I was struck by the universality of young love. Hence these photos.  
Youth, with their hopes and dreams, are the same everywhere on the globe. The couple were sleeping on the famed Moscow subway late at night.  And I love the
girl cradling her boyfriend's head in a quiet moment.   

Chris Michalek        
I've just completed our 50th  Anniversary Year Journal to include memories of our "own" designed trip by airplane, chauffeured limo, taxi, van, bus, subway, train, boat and ship. We started in Prague with a wedding of friends, continued to Budapest, Split, Dubrovnik, Neum, Rome, Civitavecchia, ending with a Greek Isles Cruise: Messina, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, Naples. 

A never-to-forget highlight was a Chapel Mass and a blessing by our Papa Francis of four St. Anthony medals for our three kids and our grandgirl.

Email Chris



Social Distancing - by Steve Stewart & Don Stewart

Social Distancing - Jane says this is her theme song
Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in a whole new way at the Amsterdam Light Festival

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in a whole new way at the Amsterdam Light Festival

Sawing a Baby in Half!

Sawing a Baby in Half!

For more funnies from Art Worth, Click here
We're trying to keep the newsletter informative as well as fun during these strange times. We really do want your suggestions, photos, and comments.  What do you like best or dislike or ignore?  Are you even readying this stuff?   Give us some feedback!    Take a minute NOW, click on a name and send us an email before you close your computer or phone!  Thanks.
                                   Sandy Gourdine      Sue Olnick
Club Leadership & Click On Links
Jane Lee
Marilyn Whelan
Gena Cameron 
Petra Gonzalez
Connie Dubois
Board Members

Geri Espy
Chris Michalek 
(Past President)
Betty Oldanie
Art Worth