1992 - 2017

Friday 17th March 2017

We invited them, they came, and now "The Party's over!"

Friday evening was a combined 25th Anniversary and Farewell dinner at the Southport Yacht Club where nearly 70 of us enjoyed a lovely meal together with singing and dancing in a stunning setting overlooking the million dollar views of the Marina.

The event was a very happy one with past members, current members and guests from Columbia Cascade USA, Tweed Valley, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Hobart FF in attendance.

"On behalf of the Friendship Force of the Gold Coast, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our overseas Ambassadors, guests and all the members of Friendship Force in Australia who have joined us to celebrate our Club's 25th Anniversary.

As we celebrate our Club's 25th Anniversary, we also acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of our parent body, Friendship Force International, founded by Wayne Smith and announced by President Jimmy Carter at the White house on 1st March 1977. It's single mission was:

To create an environment where personal friendships can be established across the barriers that separate people, thereby changing the way you see the world.

Reflecting on that mission written 40 years ago, with the turmoil we have in the world today, these words and the message that they carry are even more important than ever. Our mission is shared by over 16,000 people worldwide all spreading the message of peace, tolerance, understanding and friendship.

Our club began in 1992 with just the 5 members as mentioned in "The Origins" in the booklet that you received. The first inbound Exchange from Orangeburg, South Carolina, USA took place in March 1992. Other members soon joined in that first year. A number of these members have served the club with prominence and are still active members today. These includes Life Members, Brian and Beth Hallam who in fact started the club and have remained faithful members whose contribution can never be underestimated. Thank you both for all the work you have done to make our club what it is today. Many thanks Brian for your assistance with organising the event and compiling the 25th commemorative booklet.

Brian and Beth Hallam
Cutting 25th Anniversary Cake

During our 25 year history, we have hosted many Ambassadors from all over the world resulting in lasting friendships with people from all walks of life, all religions, races and cultures. Our Domestic Exchanges have given us the opportunity to experience the diversity of our own wonderful country and share experiences with others who believe in our mission.

Tonight we have Friendship Force Ambassadors from Columbia Cascade, USA to share our Anniversary and celebrate a Farewell Dinner.

It has been a busy week, and one that we hope you have enjoyed as much as we have. We have shown you our home, the Gold coast, made new friends and shown you some of our outback culture. Unfortunately our marketing tag of "Beautiful one day and perfect the next" couldn't be lived up to, the much needed rain decided to arrive with you.

I would like to thank all the members of our club for their efforts in putting this journey together and to all those who opened their homes and everyone who was involved no matter how small. These wonderful journeys would not happen without the co-operation of everyone."

President and Exchange Director (Host Co-ordinator) Janette McKeon.