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A Place To Be Me...

A Place To Be Me...

It is very often in our culture that we are confronted with different aspects of what other people think about masculinity. This is a problematic dynamic for gay men who bear the brunt of being questioned for their masculinity or are forced to internalize self-sabotaging feelings about male bonding. We constantly feel like we have to be on guard and these conditions are especially traumatizing for those trying to find their niche in spaces governed by prevailing norms and conventions. It creates a feeling that there are little to no spaces where men can freely explore their identities without reproach or questioning.

Here at A Celebration of Friends, we recognize the importance of gay male bonding and embrace the courageous inclination to boast with bubbling pride about it. Our existence is a resistance to some waning, but still stubbornly dominant ways of thinking and by providing a safe, warm space for unfiltered expression of love is extremely valiant.

This is why we look forward to this summer’s vibrant gathering of men July 14th-17th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Orlando by Sea World.

There is nothing more joyous than being able to come together as one, hailing from different cultures, professions, and lifestyles in a space dedicated to a celebration of who we are- unbridled by social convention and restraints. Heed our recruitment call: inquire within and join us this summer!

 


PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS


WHAT IS THE CELEBRATION?

Our yearly conventions are "Celebrations" of the mature gay man. We are a registered 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

ACOF MISSION STATEMENT: To provide warm, comfortable, safe and engaging gatherings recognizing and promoting self-worth, dignity, kindness and friendships within our senior population. To that end, we strive not only to host celebrations of our seniors, but family type reunions of our friends and brothers through supportive connections within our nationwide and international scope.


HOW, WHEN, WHERE?

Our next A Celebration of Friends weekend will be held this July 14 - 17 of 2016 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld located at 10100 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821, USA. To reserve your hotel room at the 2016 Celebration please call +1-407-352-1100 or click here.

Celebration Registration: To book your entrance for the 2016 Celebration, click here.

Hotel Rooms: To reserve your hotel room at the 2016 Celebration, click here or call +1-407-352-1100.

Registration
2016 A Celebration of Friends

Our next A Celebration of Friends weekend will be held this July 14 - 17 of 2016. To book your entrance for the 2016 Celebration, click here

Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton at SeaWorld

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld 10100 International Dr.,
Orlando, FL 32821
Tel: +1-407-352-1100

 

 

 
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Oh the times, they are a-changin’

“Oh the times, they are a-changin’”: these prophetic words of folk singer Bob Dylan couldn’t have rung more true in the celebration of equal love and rights in 2015. With the United States Supreme Court officially enshrining same-sex marriages as constitutionally acceptable, we are reinvigorated for what lies ahead. In spite of some hurdles and challenges to this ruling, we are confident that the fight for equal love (and the recognition of it) will overcome any and all obstacles. Still, we must continue our commitments to one another, to our community that still struggles for equality in all aspects of social life, including adoption rights, nationwide hate crime legislation, among other issues that are still just as important to us as ever before.

As we come together as brothers, we celebrate, in earnest, the right of everyone to freely identify and explore as they see fit in a world that often demands a certain type of behavior or lifestyle. Recognizing these accomplishments and challenges, we go forward with excitement for the upcoming gathering this July 14-17th 2016 at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Orlando by SeaWorld.

In the years before, our gatherings have been a tremendous success. Young and old alike are able to enjoy each other’s company in a safe, fun, and comforting environment. The purpose of this celebration is to support each other in our daily lives as we confront different challenges, but also to reignite what it means to us in being a source of undying friendship and love. As people’s attitudes continue to change for the better, we look upon this time as a reflection of how far we have come not only as a community, but as a society that is better today than before.

Join us for a series of contests, poolside fun, and loads of entertainment, and musical guests and leave that world you know behind for a getaway weekend of your life. The only regret you should have is not getting registered soon enough!

Each year presents us with this dazzling opportunity to be ourselves in joyous spirits. Each of us are the most important aspect of each other and this is why we organize events like this: for families and friends to make new connections, express themselves freely, and support each other in bond-forming ways. We look forward to another year of fun because there is nothing more momentous or earth-rattling than being our true selves.


PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS


WHAT IS THE CELEBRATION?

Our yearly conventions are "Celebrations" of the mature gay man. We are a registered 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

ACOF MISSION STATEMENT: To provide warm, comfortable, safe and engaging gatherings recognizing and promoting self-worth, dignity, kindness and friendships within our senior population. To that end, we strive not only to host celebrations of our seniors, but family type reunions of our friends and brothers through supportive connections within our nationwide and international scope.


HOW, WHEN, WHERE?

Our next A Celebration of Friends weekend will be held this July 14 - 17 of 2016 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld located at 10100 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821, USA. To reserve your hotel room at the 2016 Celebration please call +1-407-352-1100 or click here.

Celebration Tickets: To book your entrance for the 2016 Celebration, click here.

Hotel Rooms: To reserve your hotel room at the 2016 Celebration, click here or call +1-407-352-1100.

Tickets
2016 A Celebration of Friends

Our next A Celebration of Friends weekend will be held this July 14 - 17 of 2016. To book your entrance for the 2016 Celebration, click here

Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton at SeaWorld

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld 10100 International Dr.,
Orlando, FL 32821
Tel: +1-407-352-1100
 
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September 2015 Newsletter

Our 2015 Celebration is over and has proven to be the best one yet.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their visit and time with our special guest Ed Asner along with the entertainment provided by The Orlando Gay Men's Chorus, the Madonna impersonator and the group Beatlebeat. 

     

The informative Medicare presentation by Gary Kempler (garykempler@ffig.com) was well received, and he has written a letter for all to read, which can be seen by clicking here

Everyone seemed to enjoy the screenings of Flavio Alves' "Tom in America" (flavioalves.com). 




The documentary of one of our most beloved ACOF founders, Father John J. McNeill's "Taking A Chance on God" (www.johnjmcneill.com) was also well received. Father John and Charlie Chiarelli weren't able to make the Celebration due to illness. However, here's a picture of John and Charlie celebrating the good Father's 90th birthday last week. 

Many attendees left with some great shirts and swim trunks from our vendor, Bearwear (bearwearpalmsprings.com). 



We have also received some great comments on private pool time and visits to the theme parks.

Thank you for attending this year's Celebration and allowing us to share time with you, while creating new memories and experiences.  

Please Note: The Orlando DoubleTree Hotel is under new ownership and currently undergoing renovation. Consequently, at this time we are unsure of the date of the next Celebration. However, we have received many invitations to host the Celebration in several different cities: Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Palm Springs and San Diego. 

Along with that, we need more input from you:

  • Where would you like for the 2016 Celebration to be held?
  • When would you like the 2016 Celebration to be? 
  • What celebrity guest would you enjoy meeting at the 2016 Celebration?
  • What can we do to make your Celebration better in 2016?

Either send your answers by replying to this email, or by going to the ACOF website and then answering the survey.

The 2015 Celebration gallery is up! Click here to see how much fun we had. 

If you haven't already, please make sure to sign up to receive this free monthly newsletter. You can sign up on the ACOF website

Remember to be kind and love & respect each other. 

Lots & Lots of Love, 

A Celebration of Friends, Inc.
tomcat9722@aol.com

 
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June 2015 Newsletter

What are we going to do Mr. Asner?

Ed Asner
What does a person do when the one person they always dreamed of meeting, agrees to a date?

What do the thousands of people who’ve attended the past thirteen Celebrations do when the one person they voted they most wanted to meet at a Celebration agrees to attend?

Well, take this one off your “bucket list”: Highly Honored and Legendary actor Ed Asner will be our special guest at the 2015 A Celebration of Friends weekend.

Mr. Asner has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor and in 1996, was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. See, ask and discover from the man himself all about his life and career.


2015 ACOF Weekend
July 16–20 Hotel Information


Host Hotel:
The Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
10100 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32821

Make your reservations by clicking on the link in the upper right-hand corner on our website: celebrationoffriends.org or by calling 407-352-1100 (make sure you tell them you’re with A Celebration of Friends).

We're taking over the entire east wing of the hotel with our own private pool and business area. Don't wait, make those reservations now – rooms are going quickly!

While staying at the Doubletree Hotel, registered ACOF guests will receive these benefits:

  • High Speed Internet
  • Daily Full American Breakfast Buffet
  • Daily Full Open Bar and Happy Hour
  • Daily Shuttle Service to Disney World, Universal Orlando and Sea World
  • Daily Access to our "Private Movie Screenings", Pool Parties and Entertainment on Hotel grounds.
  • Daily Discounted $5 Self-Parking
  • ...and most importantly, the opportunity to meet, mingle and spend time with mature gay men from around the world.

YOUR INPUT IS DESIRED:

Remember, the A Celebration of Friends weekend is YOUR weekend.

That's why we constantly seek your ideas and input to make each celebration better than the last. It was you who let us know which celebrity guest to get this year, so please take a few seconds and let us know how we're doing.

Complete the survey located on the bottom of The Event page on the website or click here: http://www.celebrationoffriends.org/ahof-survey.

Just sign into your account to complete the survey. Make sure you’re registered first! All information shared is completely confidential.

Remember – we have some outstanding events planned this year:

FRIDAY NIGHT is our Hawaiian Hula Skirt Dancing contest, so start getting your skirts and dance moves ready!


We will also be screening several movies:

THURSDAY NIGHT - We'll be screening the short film “Tom In America” by writer-director Flavio Alves, starring Academy Award nominees Burt Young and Sally Kirkland.

Winner Best LGBT Short Film at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Winner Best Short Film at the 30th edition of the Torino Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. (TIA’ first international award.)TIA’ first international award.

Winner Best Short Film at the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

FRIDAY NIGHT - The documentary “Taking a Chance on God” the life and times of Father John McNeill founder of Dignity New York and one of the founding fathers of A Celebration of Friends. Father John and his partner Charles Chiarelli will be present to answer your questions.

FRIDAY NIGHT is also our Hawaiian Hula Skirt Dancing contest, so start getting your skirts and dance moves ready!

FRIDAY NIGHT - Ed Asner look-a-like contest – winner will receive one-on-on time with Ed for photos and conversation

SATURDAY NIGHT - is Ed Asner Night – He will attend a Q&A at 7PM in the Ontario Room. (Special note: Mr. Asner will be around for a couple of days and during most of that time, he’s got his freedom. If you cross paths, please show him all the respect and honor you would normally give an honored guest.)

There will be a private dinner over the weekend with Mr. Asner, our Board, qualified sponsors & vendors, and lucky event winners during the weekend. For information, please contact Tomcat at tomcat9722@aol.com

SUNDAY NIGHT - is our Closing Ceremony where we put the 2015 A Celebration of Friends weekend to bed. So Sunday night will also be the night for our traditional Pajama Party. Make sure you dress appropriately with your teddy bear and PJs. (ACOF Teddybears will be available for purchase during the Celebration.)

Free popcorn will be available at all screenings.

A Couple of Reminders:

  • Book your room SOON, they’re going fast.
  • If you are having any difficulty getting registered or booking your room for this year’s Celebration, send an email to tomcat9722@aol.com. Remember: When you book your room, make sure you say you’re with “A Celebration of Friends” to get the special room rates; Give the hotel all your special requests at this time.
  • Day passes for this year’s Celebration include access to the pool, our movie screenings and nightly entertainment, but does not include the daily breakfast buffet or Happy Hour.
  • If you are considering getting your room through Expedia or any other discount change, BE AWARE: you will not be eligible for the daily buffet breakfast or Happy Hour and will have to pay the regular parking fee, so getting your room through the hotel is the best deal!
  • Lastly – once more, if you see Mr. Asner enjoying the sights or in the pool at the Double Tree, please be respectful and give him his space – remember, he is our guest.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Double Tree on July 16 – 19 for this year’s Celebration!!

 
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