2017 Hiroshima Exchange

Our club hosted 17 ambassadors from the Hiroshima, Japan club from March 1-7, 2017. Cheryle Phelps did a wonderful job as our club's Journey Coordinator (AKA Exchange Director). Toshiro Inohara represented the Japanese Club as their Host Coordinator.

The Japanese guests were treated to a lovely Welcome Party in Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers. The next day was spent visiting Babcock Ranch, a working preserve, that featured a ride through the diverse natural habitats of the area with “up-close” viewings of gators and other Florida wildlife. They were treated to a wonderful chicken taco lunch at our President, Sue Linehan's, home and a fun-filled catamaran ride on s/v Catalyst of Charlotte Harbor.

Saturday was spent touring the Edison Ford Winter Estates and viewing the famous Edison banyan tree, said to be the largest in the continental United States. Dennis & Jule Yemma hosted a home-made pizza lunch after the tour. Sadly, this was the club's last visit here because the Yemmas sold their home and have relocated north to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Sunday was Everglades Day. The group had the ultimate Florida experience of riding on an air boat rapidly through the glades. They arrived back in time for dining at club members' small dinner parties.

Monday featured a tour of Echo, a one-of-a-kind resource for teaching farmers around the world to produce crops that will grow in their areas. A rousing Farewell Party occurred at the home of 1st Vice President, Michelle Kemps. Our guests had the opportunity to dress up in clown costumes and enjoyed Karaoke and Line Dancing. A catered filet mignon meal was served by Wood Street Grill of Punta Gorda. Fifty-two people participated in the fun. Check out the pictures below.  - Joanne Collins