Joyce Bagwell's picture

Welcome to Huntsville Area Friendship Force Club !

The Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.

THE FRIENDSHIP FORCE OF THE HUNTSVILLE AREA was founded in 1991 as a spin off of Birmingham members living in Huntsville. The club has had 19 Outbound Exchanges, 20 Inbound Exchanges, and 13 Domestic Exchanges. We have partnered with Birmingham, Alabama and South Central, Tennessee Clubs to host ambassadors to their clubs overnight or for their clubs to host our ambassadors overnight. We have participated in four Bridgebuilder programs in our area. Every three years we host the statewide picnic. The club has a reputation for exceptional cohesiveness and being demonstrably appreciative. We love to host and travel together as FF Ambassadors.

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA Huntsville was settled in 1805 as a community called Twickingham. In the 1700’s this area was part of Georgia and was sought out by settlers because of the river and prized farmland. In the 1800’s and until 1950’s the area was known as cotton mercantile and transportation center. In 1950, the little community exploded from 10,000 people to 125,000 in 10 years because it became the space and rocket center for the United States. It is now the center for Research and Development of Army Aviation, Missile Defense, Missile Offense and Space Systems and Army Material Command. The area now has a metroplex population of 500,000 and the city about 225,000. It is one of three centers for biotechnology in the United States. Huntsville is one of the top ten places to retire in the USA according to Forbes annual surveys.

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David Lambert's picture

Outbound exchanges

Example of Outbound exchange:

How do you explain the experience of a lifetime that can be repeated 13 times in 20 years? One can’t explain it with words or pictures and one can’t convince others who haven’t be on the identical trip. The purpose of Friendship Force is a World of Friends is a World of Peace that is established by staying a week in a new friend’s home, their city and by delighting in learning a little of a new language, culture and much about their family and life history. It does not always work as expected or it works better than expected or tops every previous Friendship Force Exchange. Such was the Huntsville Alabama Friendship Force exchange to Karsiyaka Bay Turkey that most of us from Alabama, Kentucky or Michigan said was the best home stay in our experience. This was an exchange in April 24 to May 7, 2012.

The Karsiyaka Bay club has a wonderful reputation of hospitality and very friendly interesting hosts who really know how to entertain and befriend. We do not give names or addresses or family pictures of our friends but we choose pictures that represent our experience in the exchange and the tour afterwards. It is just a tease of what one might experience.

The tour of Turkey included a tour of the travertine water falls and Roman resort at Pamukkale, the geology and underground cities of Cappadocia, and finally the old city of Istanbul. A week tour was of a few of the great sites in Turkey and most took at least 500 pictures and an hour of video. A year later what we remember and like is our ability to communicate with our Turkish hosts by email or Skype and not the pictures we took.

Outbound to DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND and tour of SCOTLAND

David Lambert's picture

Inbound exchanges

Example of Inbound Exchange: May 2014 Canada
Recent inbound exchanges:

The 2005 Open World home hosting of 10 women entrepreneurs from Russia, two Russian coordinators and one professional translator. This was an unusual Friendship Force experience because the rationale was to train and share our culture to support this diplomatic program established by the US congress and led by the Library of Congress.

The hosting of Ambassadors from Japan was a 2006 Inbound Exchange that was a wonderful example of what a wonderful club Huntsville has and why our reputation for hospitality and club cohesiveness is well deserved and known thru the world of the 360 clubs in the 76 countries of Friendship Force International. You can see from the sample agenda that an exchange is a busy and exciting week and Huntsville is a special area. Still what counts seven years later is the friends we made and the Christmas cards and emails we exchange. Also, we look for and get news about Japan and our friends in Saitama.

Chartered as a Friendship Force Club
Hosted dinner EASTERN EUROPEANS (from B’ham)

Typical Agenda for Home Hosts


Sunday, September 10
Arrive at the airport by 4:00 p.m. - no later than 4:15. I will be at the foot of the escalator to hand the welcome bags to each host family; you will give them to the ambassadors. We will go to the 2nd floor, and be to the right in the area near hotel check-in (with our banner) to wait for arrival.
Evening for meal with family and early to bed.

Monday, September 11
Drop off your guest(s) at the Japanese Bridge in Big Spring Park by 10:25 a.m. (nearest point is to drop off on Monroe Street close to parking garage) In case of rain, drop off at Municipal Bldg., 308 Fountain Row, for the Mayor’s office. Pick up at 2:30 at Huntsville Botanical Gardens.
WELCOME DINNER, 6:30 p.m. @ Faith Presbyterian Church (bring a potluck dish)

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