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United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa Rica, and USA Exchange
September 11 – 18, 2014

Note: 2nd week with Madison, Wisconsin

 What started out as a simple incoming international journey with Wessex, UK turned into a global experience with 4 from Wessex United Kingdom, 9 from Heredia Costa Rica, 4 from Tuxtia Gutierrex, Mexico, 2 from District of Columbia, USA, and one from Santa Rosa, California.  Twenty great ambassadors enjoyed the following activities with our host and members:

September 11 – Pick Up Day

Our club rented 2 15-passenger vans and drove to Chicago O’Hara Airport to pick up 18 of our ambassadors.  All arrived on time and the only mishap was one of our ambassador’s suitcase was taken by mistake and wasn’t returned for about an hour. We arrived in Cedar Rapids at 10:00 PM to meet hosts and have a good night’s sleep.

September 12 – Cedar Rapids Day

We started out learning about Grand Wood by visiting his studio apartment where he painted “The American Gothic.”  A big influence on Cedar Rapids has been the Czech community so a visit to the Czech Museum was our next stop.

After getting a little rest we headed to Pinicon Ridge Park to enjoy an evening of meeting more of our members, having a great meal, listening to music by Clyde Meyer and his wife, and making friends.

September 13 – Free/wish Day

September 14 – Road Rally Day

We met at Sally’s in Springville to start our Road Rally around northeastern Iowa.  Along the way they needed to find items, count things, and take pictures.  After 90 miles we ended the Road Rally in Independence with a prizes for winners and dinner.  Great day for ambassadors, hosts and club member’s and, of course, more friendships were made.

September 15 – Amish Day

The Amish community around Kalona was our day’s activity.  We started out with famous glazed donuts, visited Amish stores, had a home-cooked lunch at a Beachy Amish home, toured the quilt museum, and of course, made more friends.

September 16 – Dubuque Day

Today we headed to Dubuque to take a cruise on the Mississippi River and enjoyed a lunch while cruising.  Our next stop was a church that is home to over 100 original Tiffany Stained Glass windows.  They were amazing.  We headed back to Cedar Rapids for a little rest before ambassadors and host went to hosted dinners by other members.

September – 17 – Out West Day

Since Iowa is famous for John Deere tractors we decided to tour one of their plants to see how they are made.  While in Waterloo we had lunch at a Market Coop so we knew the food was fresh and good.  Gladbrook is home to Matchstick Marvels – everything is made out of matchsticks: the White House, an eagle, Battleship Iowa, and more – unbelievable.  We headed south to visit the Meskwaki Museum and visit with Judy Bender, Tribal chairperson for the Meskwaki Tribe.  Irvin (tribal member) and Tressa Youngbear welcomed everyone into their home for an Indian Taco dinner.  While there we celebrated the Independence Day (Sept. 15th) for both Mexico and Costa Rica – great dancing and music.

September 18 – Farewell Day

A farewell breakfast was held at Cooper’s Mill.  After a great breakfast we had time for ambassadors to share what they liked best and what improvements we could do for future journeys.  Overall it seemed they really enjoyed the journey and having multiple counties included in the journey.

After our farewells 5 cars headed to Dubuque to meet the Madison Wisconsin club to transfer our ambassadors to them for another fun-filled week.

Note: Our club got an “Honorable Mention” at the World Conference because of this journey.  There were 32 members directly involved in the journey and more members participated in some of the activities.  This was a great experience for both our ambassadors and our members.

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