January 1, 2021 Newsletter
Dear Members,

First, I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. This is a new beginning, and we can make our resolutions to experience new joys and hope for the future. I am very thankful for those who stayed with Friendship Force in the worst of times and for those who even introduced our club to their friends who are helping to make our club grow. Some of you have been very generous to help with our project, Raise the Roof, for Romania. So far, we have collected $5,060. We are short $440. One of our members put up his personal money, so the roof could be put on before winter. Our goal is to pay him back for his loan, since the gift of the roof is being given in the name of our FF club, Florida Suncoast. If you can help, we would appreciate the donation.
A well-deserved thank you goes to Sandy Gourdine for publishing our newsletter for four years and for training Sue to take on this job as well. We do need some of you to help with stories and items for the newsletters. If you have any thing that you feel would interest our club in the way of a column or article, please help. 

For those who enjoyed our December picnic in the park, 48 members were there. I would like to thank the Compass team for decorating, greeting, delivering the socks and underwear to Clothes to Kids and the toys to Toys for Tots, and especially Anne Burnham and Guenter Manczur who purchased and put together the 50 box lunches for us. Click here to see thank you letter from Clothes to Kids.

Once again, I can’t begin to thank those who have accepted jobs that are so important to our club. Sue Olnick has done a fantastic job in continuing to keep our directory so perfect and useful. A special thank you to Geri Espy who produced the directory for ten years and then was the guide who tutored Sue as she worked on the new one. Teresa Farr-Klinger is our new treasurer, and she had the job of collecting and recording all the dues, plus making numerous trips to the bank for deposits. Betty Oldanie is our new membership chair, and she has been working hard to welcome our new members and finding ways to recruit new members. She can always use suggestions. Gena Cameron is working with me and helping and advising me, as she gets ready to replace me in September.

I have been so blessed to have a great club helping me. Many leaders end up doing everything themselves, yet we see leadership in almost every member as each one steps up to help in every situation. Many of you step out of your comfort zone and expertise to do a needed job. 

So, what do we have to look forward to this year? In January we will celebrate our first Sunday/Funday (replaces 5th @ 5) on January 17 at Ozona Blue Grilling Co. in Palm Harbor. One of our very new members suggested this venue to us. You can read about it in this newsletter. It will substitute for a regular meeting and be a social. If I have any messages, I will put them on tables for all to read.

In this newsletter you can also read about FFI and their programs. Please take advantage and participate in these. I heard from my pen pal who is president of a Brazilian Club, and we are getting to know more and more about each other. I look forward to the day when I might meet up with her at a convention or an exchange. 

I am here for you and welcome any ideas or suggestions. What can we do in February to keep safe, yet meet up with one another? Would you be willing to try another Zoom meeting? Some think that you need to set up your computer for Zoom, but it doesn’t work that way. All that you must do is click into the given site at the time given, and you are done. Call us if you want to practice.   

With love,
Jane Lee
FF-FS President
Ozona Blue Grilling Company
January 17, 2021

2 o'clock outside by the tent

Come meet your friends, enjoy some food, find out what is happening with our club!

We encourage you to stop by to pick up your new directory even if you are not able to stay for socializing.

RSVP: Jane Lee 727-709-9470 or WLee315695@aol.com

We suggest facemasks (except when eating and drinking) and social distancing at all times.

Please Welcome Our New Members
Cindy Blocker
Kathleen Jamison
Meet Marilyn Pashkowsky
New member profile by Gena Cameron
Marilyn, one of our new members, ended up in Clearwater via Connecticut, New York, and Fort Myers. She has one son who lives in Boston. Marilyn has just spent five months, during this “COVID time,” renovating her new place at Top of the World, a major project.

Marilyn, in her younger days, was a professional dancer with the French Follies and performed in many places including California and Las Vegas. She has also worked as an electrologist and a massage therapist. She’s taught yoga for 30 years and told me that she can probably touch her toes with her nose, quite an accomplishment. Today, Marilyn teaches yoga at Top of the World and is active with line dancing, the art guild, photography and a Baby Boomer group. She keeps busy and fit.

A favorite quote of hers: “A man's reach should exceed his grasp,” Robert Browning. Marilyn has travelled in the Caribbean, Hawaii and countries in Europe. She hopes to visit Australia and New Zealand and perhaps take an Alaskan cruise or ride the train across Canada. We welcome Marilyn and look forward to her being able to experience a trip with our group; I know you will enjoy it.
Member Profile: Bill Lee
by Sue Olnick

Bill retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander with 22 years of service, and he spent most of his time on board a ship. After eight years enlisted, he was selected for officer training, went to college for three years, and was commissioned an officer. Bill was aboard the Frank Knox when the ship went aground during the Vietnam War, and he headed up the team that developed the Navy payroll system. Bill traveled all over with the Navy, but it was in San Diego where he met his lovely wife, Jane. After just four months of courtship, they were married and have been together now for almost 52 years. Bill and Jane have three children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Together, they have traveled to many places, including a 26-day excursion to his ancestral country of Ireland. Bill’s family name is Lynch, and he has done a lot of research on his homeland and his people. While in Ireland, he was able to tour Lynch Castle in Galway and travel from Shannon to the Blarney Stone. Bill says he didn’t have to kiss the stone because he already possesses the gift of gab, and he has many stories to tell. Just ask him!
Thank You!
Our members showed their kind generosity once again at our recent holiday picnic. Students served by the non-profit Clothes to Kids will be very grateful to receive the following FFFS donations. For girls: 125 underwear, 158 pairs of socks, 3 sports bras, 6 belts. For boys: 115 underwear, 99 pairs socks, 1 t-shirt, 1 pair shoes, a package of diapers and wipes. Thank you, Friendship Force members. 
Photography Tips
by Sharon Swallwood

Do you look at someone's photographic equipment and think, "That camera must take good pictures."? If you think cameras, cell phones, or tablets take great pictures, think again; they just record what they 'see'. It is the person behind the equipment who does the picture taking. You wouldn't think that a musician sounds good because the instrument is top of the line; you would notice how skillfully the musician plays the instrument. 

Therefore, before you can take a good photograph, you must know what your photographic equipment can do. Each device handles differently and wise photographers are very familiar with their equipment's capabilities. The first thing you need to do is read your manual. If you don't have a manual, you can find it on the internet or probably from the manufacturer. The manufacturer might even be able to send you a print copy of the manual. This will help you to understand the camera settings, video function, and customization options. Memorize the picture icons to quickly find the settings you want. You do not want to press the wrong button and ruin your picture or not know how to get back to a setting you need. Make sure your time (adjust for time zones) and date are accurate to help identify photos. It is essential that you know what you can and cannot do with your chosen photographic equipment.
Update on Friendship Force International
by Jane Lee

You have been invited to view two updates of FFI presented by the CEO, Jeremi Snook. For those of you who would prefer a summary, we have put this information together for you. It was highly recommended that each club encourage their members to take advantage of FFI's virtual programs, newsletters, pen pal program, and other tools that they have to offer-especially since members are not physically interacting with one another currently. 

Jeremi is calling his talk Building Bridges of Understanding. He tells us that FFI is not closing. We need to move closer to the future by being more organized, by using technology and building tools that people expect today when they join a club. FFI is also developing promotional materials for the clubs to use. 

In the future, members will have IDs, and they will register on a Portal. There will be global security with basic security. The hope is to have the Portal in place by March or April. They are using a company in North Carolina to put this Portal together.  

Jeremi also explained proposed fees for members. A club will have the choice to pay the dues the way that it does now, or it can choose to pay more money, such as $80, but then those traveling do not have to pay the fees that FFI charges for nights spent in exchanges. Each club decides what is best for them.   

Jeremi also talked about affiliate partnerships with other organizations such as the Rotary Club that has changed their mission from helping polio victims to their mission now which is world peace. Our club was mentioned when Jeremi talked about our partnership with Habitat for Humanity and our build in Romania. 

For more information click on the photo above to view videos regarding questions and answers put together by FFI.  
Theatre and Music Venues
by Jean Pellegrini
Good news. The Straz Performing Arts Center is finally opening an outdoor production of "GILBERT VS. SULLIVAN" on their Riverwalk stage. It sounds delightful and will be one hour long and cost $50 for a table for four and $25 for a table for two. Dates are January 22 through 24th, with performances at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm, except for Sunday which will be 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm; food and drinks can be purchased. Call 1 800-955-1045 or visit Strazcenter.org to make reservations. 

For a little more local flavor, SAGES THEATER (Senior Actors Guild and Education Services) writes and produces Plays with a Purpose for community awareness. Please click on the link below to see a five minute You Tube production of "THE TRIFECTA" starring Jean Pellegrini. On the same link is another short called "OH, MOTHER", which is also fun, interesting and informative.
These are short films being presented in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging of Pinellas and Pasco Counties.
What Made Their Bucket List?
by Sandy Gourdine

Our last newsletter asked members what was on their Bucket List for post-COVID travel. Here's what we heard:

Karen Sherrets wants to go to the Galapagos and Machu Picchu with her son and his girlfriend.

Ellen Henderson wants to take a river cruise in Europe or on the Mississippi River.

Terry Gourdine wants to visit Australia.

Geri Espy says Papua New Guinea has been at the top of her list for several years. She's itching to see those body-painted dancers at a sing-sing. But that list contains a couple dozen more places, at least. As the t-shirt my daughter gave me says: "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."

Jean Pellegrini has so many places on her list. She listed them in the order that she thinks about them, but says that changes frequently: animal migrations in Africa, Greece, panorama train trip across Canada, France and river cruises in Europe.

Gena Cameron wants to spend a month in Spain to see as much as she can.

Marilyn Whelan would like to visit Poland and do all the things planned on the journey that could not be. Also on her bucket list is to live to 116 and still be traveling.

Francine Silberman's first choice is Italy and then Greece. She wants to spend several days in Padua to finally see the great Giotto frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, and Venice is only a hop away by train. Then maybe a drive into Puglia, and she wants to spend at least two weeks on Crete plus northern Greece and a return to Athens.

Mair Murphy would love to go to the top of the tallest building in Dubai and see the palms development and all the amazing sites in what was a desert. She also would like to go on an African safari before all the large game disappears!

Sharon Swallwood would like to take a photo safari.

Catherine Conover wants to visit her family and close friends in Australia and UK. Her brother, six nieces and nephews and their families, three first cousins and their families live in Australia. Four cousins and their families and close friends from elementary, grammar schools and university live in the UK.

Linda and Randy Mills will have visited every continent once they visit Australia and New Zealand.

After COVID, Ruth Whitney hopes to travel to see her sister and her family in Atlanta and her sister in Denver.

Jane Lee
Marilyn Whelan
Betty Oldanie 
Teresa Farr Klinger
Connie DuBois
Gena Cameron
Board Members

Geri Espy
Sue Olnick
Art Worth

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