Our club has been active since 1984, hosting other clubs and visiting international Friendship Force clubs. Here is a brief history of these exciting and friendship-building events.
1984 - The Friendship Force of Austin, Texas, had its genesis in April, 1984 when ten families joined the Houston chapter in hosting an exchange from West Berlin, Germany. In August, our chapter was formally organized as the Friendship Force of Central Texas.
1985 - Our first outgoing exchange consisted of 25 ambassadors to Bangkok, Thailand.
1986 - Ambassadors from the Adelaide, South Australia, suburb of Blackwood, came to Austin for our first incoming exchange. In November, we visited Adelaide for a week and spent a second week in Alice Springs and Cairns.
1987 - 12 Austin ambassadors went to Mullingar, Ireland, on an outgoing exchange.
1988 - Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter met with officers and other members of our club. Forty-one "Brits" from Manchester and County Durham, England, visited us for a week in October, and 27 ambassadors from West Berlin spent six days with us in December.
1989 - 13 ambassadors from Tuxtla-Gutierez, Chiapas, Mexico, enjoyed six days of our Texas hospitality in August. Our club made an outbound exchange to Plymouth, New Zealand, where we were hosted by the Friendship Force of South Taramake in October.
1990 - In March, ten ambassadors from Tokyo, Japan, spent five days with us. Our club went to Chiapas, Mexico, for one week, followed by a second week in beautful San Crisobal de las Casas in November.
1991 - The Austin club spent one week each in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May. We hosted 25 ambassadors from the Tokai club from the Nagoya area in Japan for three days in October. We hosted another group of ambassadors from the Norderstedt- Homburg area of Germany in November.
The club changed its name in September 1991 from Friendship Force of Central Texas to Friendship Force of Austin, Texas.
1992 - Our club joined more than 400 ambassadors from across the U.S.A. during May Day in Moscow for a week of home-hosting.. Over the following several months, some of our Russian hosts made individual trips to the U.S., including to Austin, to visit their newly acquired American friends. In September, Austin ambassadors spent one week each in the Flanders region of Belgium and in Arnem, the Netherlands. Ambassadors from the Pisa and Livorno area of Italy spent a week with our club in October.
1993 - In April, we welcomed the "Geordies" from the Tyneside (i.e., the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne area) Club of England. Members of our club joined with other ambassadors from across the USA for weeks of home-hosting in St. Petersburg, Russia, to toast the midnight sun in June. Later in November, our club had an outbound two-week exchange to Chile, one week each in Santiago and Vina del Mar.
1994 - Our club participated in the "Carnival in Rio" festival in Brazil with ambassadors from all over the USA in February, followed by five days of home-hosting in the Sao Paulo area with visits to Manaus and Iguassi Falls. In March, we hosted 19 ambassadors from Minneapolis for two days to participate with the San Antonio club in one of the first U.S. domestic Friendship Force exchanges. Later that month, we hosted the San Jose, Costa Rica, club for a week. Shortly thereafter, we hosted the Kaohsiung, Taiwan, club for two days in May. We then joined the San Antonio club for five days of home-hosting in Minneapolis. Our next outgoing exchange was in October to Australia, spending one week each in Castorton, Victoria, and Hobart, Tasmania. Many of our group remained in the country for a third week to visit Ayers Rock, Cairns, and Sydney.
1995 - In late February and early March, we hosted 21 ambassadors from Lubeck, Germany, for a week. Our club made a two-week visit to Costa Rica in early May. The first week was home-hosted in San Jose, and the second week was spent touring the entire country and its fascinating diversity of ecological systems.
1996 - Our inbound exchange was from Tasmania, Australia, in October, and our outbound exchange was to Northumbria, England, and Bockhorn, Germany.
1997 - We had inbound exchanges from Irkutsh, Russia, in February and Arnhem, Holland, in October. Our outbond exchange was to Lima, Peru, in April.
1998 - We enjoyed inbound exchanges from Bockhorn, Germany, in April and Lima & Trujillo, Peru, in September. Our outbound exchange was to Kyoto/Fukuchiyama and Sapporo, Japan, in October.
1999 - Members of the Memphis, TN, club visited us in February. The Horowhenua, New Zealand club visited us in May. We traveled to Chang Mai and Phrae, Thailand.
2000 - Our outbound exhange was to Brasilia & Sao Jose Dos Compose, Brazil, in April. Our inbound exchange was from Sapporo, Japan, in September.
2001 - Our outbound exchange to W. Bay of Plenty, Horowehenua, New Zealand. Ambassadors had a wonderful time with hosts and a great South Island tour.
2002 - Our inbound exchange from Herne, Germany, was in September. Our outbound exchange was in March for a week in Prague, Czech Republic. After our wonderful home-stay, we enjoyed a bus tour of Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Krakow and Warsaw, Poland.
2003 - Our outbound exchange was to be China in March. With the news of the SARS outbreak, it was for the best that this trip did not go. Our inbound exchange was from Peru in August. We greatly enjoyed our guests from La Libertad Club of Trujillo, Peru, and the weather was very cooperative. On November 11th, we hosted seven guests from the Des Moines, Iowa, Friendship Force club. This was our first domestic exchange in several years, and we greatly enjoyed their visit and showing them Central Texas!
2004 - Outgoing exchange to Cornwall, Great Britain was 10-17 June. Everyone made his own travel arrangements and took various tours before or after the exchange. It was a terrific visit with the congenial folks of Cornwall. We expect Adelaide, Australia to viist in October. A possible outgoing exchange is planned to Des Moines, Iowa in September.
2005 - Outgoing exchange to Libertad/Trujillo, Peru. No inbound exchange this year.
2006 - Inbound exchange from Waikato, New Zealand. Outbound to Mt. Barker & Newcastle, Australia
2007 - Inbound from Merseburg, Germany. Outbound to Louisville, Kentucky
2008 - Hosted Ambassadors from Louisville, KY Club coinciding with the Texas Book Festival. Our Guests attended Seminars, Panels and Book Signings of their choice. This was a followup Exchange to a Louisville visit, September 2007. Also an inbound from North Bay, Canada. Outbound was a joint exchange with the Dallas FF club to Turrialba, Costa Rica.
2009 - Hosted Ambassadors from Australia taking a grand tour of the city and San Antonio. Outbound 14 Austin FF members were hosted at Krems, Austria in September with tours down the Danube, Train Trips to quaint mountain villages, and Luncheon with the Governor's office.
2011 - Inbound Burlington, Ontario will arrive February 28-March 5. We have great plans to show off our city and make our visitors feel welcome.
2011 - Inbound from Burlinton/Hamilton. Ontario
2012 - Outward bound for New Zealand, North and South Island. 19 days including week-long stay in Dunedin and Hamilton, plus on your own in Welllington and Auckland. The hosts were great and everyone had a wonderful time.
2013 - Our inbound trip was an open Birding theme exchange hosting 16 birders from around the country to bird Central Texas. We also hosted Calgary, Ontario. Our outward bound trip was to Russia and the Ukraine.
2014 - International outbound trip was to Calgary in September. We hosted Minneapolis and County Durham, UK. Southwest Regional Conference in Albuquerque.
2015 - The domestic outbound is to Minneapolis and Des Moines, The international outbound to Outbound to Sao Paulo and Maringa, Brazil. We hosted Napa/Sonoma and Aukland, New Zealand. Southwest Regional Conference in Houston, Texas.
2016 - Domestic inbound with San Diego and to Reno and Lake Tahoe, International outbound three clubs in Australia, Perth, Adelide, and the Gold Coast.
2017 -Outbound to San Diego, California Outbound to Manchester, UK, Inbound for Des Moines, Iowa. Inbound domestic from Izmir, Turkey.
2018 - International outbound to Bogota, Colombia, Inbound for Reno/Tahoe.
2019 - International outbound to Izmir, Turkey followed by a 10-day tour of the cultural and historical sites. Inbound from Niagara Falls, Ontario. Inbound for Sunshine Coast, Australia.
2020 - Unfortunately shut out for Covid-19 safety
2021 - Traveled with San Antonio FF to Northern Illinois and Knoxville, Tennessee.
2022 - Outbound Journey to Suncoast Florida, Incoming in Spring from Baton Rouge and Fall from Lower Columbia, Washington