Let the journey begin


GOSHEN COUNTY – “You see things typical tourist don’t see . . . like  the SAREC farm,” Glenn Tilton of the Friendship Force of Connecticut said. “The Holiday Inn isn’t going to have things like that, or little places like this (the Emporium restaurant in Hawk Springs) in their tourists stands. It’s about seeing things that a typical tourist doesn’t get to see.”

Some traveled more than 1,813 miles. Another couple traveled just over a 1,000 miles. Their common destination? Wyoming. On June 1, 2019, though, this group of individuals took a little trip around Goshen County.

Traveling, a brief handshake, laughs, making memories – all things we have heard of. For those involved with the Friendship Force International Organization, it is something they do often.

The Friendship Force of Cheyenne has been hosting the Friendship Force of Connecticut this past week. There is only one Friendship Force group in Wyoming, and several members happen to be from Goshen County. Marilyn Pettit is one of them, and she was part of the journey planning committee for the people from Connecticut.

Pettit said the Friendship Force allows people to travel domestically or internationally, while getting to know more about a specific area because they take part in activities that portray the historical roots of the area they are journeying to. For 10 individuals from Connecticut and two from Sacramento, Cali., it was about seeing historical roots in Wyoming.

While the Connecticut Friendship Force members stayed in homes of local Friendship Force members, they had a variety of activities planned throughout their stay. One of those days included adventuring through Goshen County, where they visited Ft. Laramie, the Organ Trail ruts, the UW Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) farm, did some shopping in downtown Torrington and enjoyed diner at the Emporium in Hawk Springs.

“It’s about getting to know people on a one-to-one basis, while seeing things even we may not see everyday,” Friendship Force of Cheyenne President John Lee said.

Many of the individuals in this group said they have traveled to more than 10 different countries with the Friendship Force. For Pettit, she has been to more than 60 countries in the 20 years she has been involved in Friendship Force.

“I’ve been so many places,” she said, as her face lit up with a beaming smile and nostalgia flooded her eyes. “Gosh, they’ve all been fun. I guess you could say my favorite journey or trip was when I went to Turkey. Lots of fun memories.”

Pettit said she also had fun planning the outing for Goshen County. She even was happy that Mayor Randy Adams wrote a letter to the group thanking them for coming and gave them all pheasant pins to wear.

“Our mission or purpose is to be friends and make friends throughout the world,” Lee said. “We can set an example of good citizenship, while taking an adventure. Later this year, I’m headed to England with Friendship Force, and that will be a
great opportunity.”

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