Friendship Force International (FFI) initiated a cultural exchange program in 1977 under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter. Since then, FFI has earned recognition for its people-to-people diplomacy with a Nobel Peace prize nomination. FFI has also gained the respect of governments around the world for its ground-breaking home hospitality program as an effective means for promoting international understanding at a personal level. There are currently Friendship Force (FF) Clubs located in over 50 countries around the world. An ‘exchange’ is typically seven days in length with 15-25 ‘ambassadors’ who travel to another part of the world to see and learn about a new culture. Traveling ambassadors receive home-host hospitality and the hosting club organizes daily program events to share their community. Seeing a culture up close, through the eyes of local residents, takes you straight to the heart of a country and its people.
Friendship Force (FF) of Greater Harrisburg Club Membership:
The Greater Harrisburg Club was founded in 1983 and is currently the only FF club in Pennsylvania. Each year we typically host one foreign inbound exchange and travel on one foreign outbound exchange. Our club can host between 20-25 incoming ambassadors depending on the time of year as many of our club members spend winters in warmer climates from December through mid-April. You can be part of the FF experience by traveling on an outbound exchange or by participating in some capacity when our club hosts an inbound exchange.
Our club has over 100 members and is led by a board of directors who meet bi-monthly to make decisions related to exchanges, activities and events. An e-newsletter announces these decisions to our members. Activities include social events, new membership opportunities and semi-annual general membership meetings. We raise funds to augment exchange fees from incoming Ambassadors by volunteering to work at concession stands at Hershey Resorts and Entertainment and by ticket sales to an annual community theater performance. If you are interested in people and in learning about new cultures, we encourage you to contact our president or membership coordinator for more information about how you can become a member of Friendship Force.
An Inbound Exchange with Greater Harrisburg
Capital Building - Harrisburg
Pennsylvania's nickname is the Keystone State. The Greater Harrisburg Area is approximately 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. It reaches from Carlisle on the west to Hershey on the east. We are located between the Blue Mountain Range to our north and Gettysburg and to our south. We experience all four seasons. Pennsylvania has 67 beautiful counties and many cultural events occur throughout the year. More information about Pennsylvania can be found at Wikipedia Geography of PA and Visit PA.
A typical inbound exchange program includes:
a welcome reception, day trips to:
Harrisburg to tour the state capitol building,
Hershey to learn about the life and contributions of Milton S. Hershey which could include a tour of the Milton Hershey School, Hershey Theater, Hershey Rose Garden, Chocolate World or Hotel Hershey,
City Island - Home of the Harrisburg Senators
Lancaster to tour an Amish farm, quilt shop and experience PA Dutch cuisine,
Options: depending on the interest of your club, a day trip can also be planned to see historic Gettysburg or to tour manufacturing plants in the area such as York Harley Davidson, potato chips and pretzels or to local wineries. One evening during the exchange, non-hosting club members will host an evening meal for small groups. A day or two is allocated for free time with your host family and a reception is planned at the end of the exchange to bid each
other farewell – until we meet again.
Theme: A Nation Divided - America’s Civil War Dates: 9/20/16 – 10/9/16
Experience a historical adventure on this 20-day exchange where you will learn about both sides of America’s Civil War. 5 Friendship Force Clubs from the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA will host this exchange. for details
NOTE: We are located near the center of the Appalachian Trail, so if hiking or another type of themed exchange such as quilting, railroads, fly fishing, or the American Civil War is of interest to your ambassadors, our Exchange Director (ED) will try to coordinate a program that allows you to experience these things.
Our location in South Central Pennsylvania is a great place to visit for a 3 or 4-night stopover exchange. Harrisburg is within a few hours’ drive or Amtrak train ride from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York City and Washington, DC should you want to see these cities either before or after an exchange with our club. The closest airport is Harrisburg International (MDT) and others are JFK
(190 miles- 3 ½ hours); Newark (165 miles – 3 hours),
Dulles (115 miles – 2 hours 20 minutes), BWI (90 miles-
1 hour 45 minutes), and Philadelphia International Airport
(115 miles- 2 hours).
Washington DC - Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blossoms
Mt. Vernon - George Washington's estate
Ambassadors arriving at Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) or the Amtrak Train Station in Harrisburg will be met by Greater Harrisburg Club members. Groups arriving at JFK, Newark, Dulles, Philadelphia or BWI must make arrangements for transportation to the Harrisburg Area. Exchange Directors will work together to make those arrangements.
As president of The Friendship Force Club of Greater Harrisburg, I’d like to personally invite you to come and experience the beauty of Pennsylvania and the many interesting sites of the place we call home.
In friendship and with best regards,
Karen Marrero, President
Friendship Force of Greater Harrisburg
Flag of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Website Master Jason Baker