Friendship Force pays a visit to California and Oregon

California host Sandee Lee (left) and Big Canoe resident Peggy Anderson toast the Friendship Force at a Sacramento wine tasting. (Photo by Bob Anderson)
By Mary Ellen Johnson and Bob Anderson

The Big Canoe/North Georgia Friendship Force completed a two-week journey in June hosted by our new friends from the Sacramento and Mid-Willamette Valley clubs.
Members from Big Canoe included Barry and Linda Kadechuk, Ray and Margie Bowyer, Bob and Peggy Anderson, and John Paolino and Aime’ Baars.
In addition to welcome, farewell, and home hosted dinners, our new friends arranged visits to Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Hatfield Marine Science Center, and several area wineries.

California host Sandee Lee (left) and Big Canoe resident Peggy Anderson toast the Friendship Force at a Sacramento wine tasting. (Photo by Bob Anderson)

Wayne Smith, founder of Friendship Force and a former Big Canoe resident, once said the best way to get to know someone is to put your feet under their table while sharing a meal. Today there are over 350 Friendship Force clubs all over the world!
We are welcomed in the homes of club members, both domestically and internationally, and share conversation while making life-long friendships. In addition to visiting interesting places, club members learn about the local residents themselves, including their language, culture, and customs.
In early October our club will be hosting 14 members from war-torn Ukraine, many of whom will be visiting the United States for the first time. In late October, we will be returning a favor as some of our hosts from the Mid-Willamette Valley will visit us. Visits to Big Canoe are approximately six days long and include day visits to local attractions in North Georgia including Gibbs Gardens, shopping and wine tasting in Dahlonega, the Booth Museum, apple orchards, local hiking, and perhaps a one-day trip to Atlanta. A pontoon boat ride on Lake Petit with fall colors in their majesty is always a highlight of any autumn visit.
The next Friendship Force meeting is August 20 in Jasper. We will meet to see the Tater Patch Players present “Man of La Mancha” followed by dinner and a short business meeting. If interested in joining us, contact Sherry Wileman at (404) 386-9224.
Friendship Force International is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2017. To celebrate World Friendship Day, our club members are hosting dinners and informational meetings in homes on Sunday September 17. If you would like to attend one of these dinners, let Sherry know.
In 2018 an outgoing “journey” is planned to Tbilisi, Georgia. We’ll also be welcoming incoming visitors from New Zealand, Japan, and Sacramento.
Contact Bob Anderson at (706) 579-1708 if you are interested in joining us for a dinner or attending a future meeting. Visit or to obtain additional information about Friendship Force.