Diane Ledoux, President of Les Diplomates (and ex-marketing director of our newspaper), takes stock of the start of the “season” with us.
MAIL FROM AMERICA: In the 2020-2021 season, far fewer Canadians came to Florida …
Diane LEDOUX: As you noted, maybe about 25% arrived by plane, but no one in the United States was vaccinated in the early winter, and although several were present here in Florida, it was not the usual atmosphere.
CDA: Will it be better this year?
Diane LEDOUX: The borders will reopen in November and I have learned Post that new airlines were created, so yes, it will basically be a return to normal. Travelers had time to learn the protocols to use so they could travel safely and stay here. Some Snowbirds were old enough and were afraid to come. But we should look forward to the addition of new Baby Boomers this season! Many were looking forward to coming!
THE CDA: Since then, you have been the president of Les Diplomates (French-speaking women in Florida). about fifteen years, had to leave a void in this season of absence.
Diane LEDOUX: Yes, and in addition, all francophone associations with a pandemic have ceased operations, we are not the only ones, but we still managed to organize a couple of Happy Hours so as not to break all ties. Our club organizes charity events every two years and this time unfortunately we did not manage to organize anything. We have helped a lot of homeless people a lot in the past and it will not be the same this year.
CDA: But will you come back stronger !? What news are you planning for this season?
Diane LEDOUX: It is difficult to plan fundraising. We have to wait a little longer to return to normal, but we will underline our 35E birthday before the end of the year. We will inform you. Who knows, maybe a couple of Snowbirds will want to join us and celebrate our 35thE !
CDA: How did the Diplomats Foundation come to be in Florida?
Diane LEDOUX: In 1986, about ten women decided to found Les Diplomates. Lorraine Fitzback-Couf, who then worked in the banking sector, was appointed head of the bank’s charitable operations, which supported Women in Distress. She suggested that these ten people come to help children and women in need. The first years of the Diplomats’ establishment thus helped Women in Need. Lauren was named chairman of the association. To name a few, Françoise Tremblay, Barbara Boutin and Cécile Morin are still involved in the group. Others, such as Mariette Miller and Chantal Dostie, who are no longer in this world, were also very involved in the group.
In 2011, Lauren became chairwoman of the board and then I became president of the association.
CDA: The younger generation must join you!
Diane LEDOUX: We have always been “transgenerational” to diplomats, and even “transnational” because we have Canadian, French and Haitian. We like to see new faces every season. Lets you create new links!
CDA: You worked for almost eight years Post and we didn’t even have time to tell each other about the pandemic on Assessment! What did you learn from this experience?
Diane LEDOUX: Okay, so let’s avoid saying goodbye: we’re all still in Florida and we’ll continue to meet often! Post it was a great human adventure, but also like s Diplomats, during all these years, we have supported the development of the francophone community in Florida and it is really fascinating, both through the meetings we could have, but also because of all the human relationships we have developed as partners. The pandemic has slowed the development of francophones in Florida a bit, but things are starting again!
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