The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is best described by Rotary International President, Sakuji Tanaka, in the March 2013 issue of The Rotarian magazine as playing an essential part in Rotary’s global mission of building peace by helping to build, one exchange at a time, good relationships between nations.
Margarita & Josh.
Margarita Bengoa, left, from Argentina and Josh Badger.
Mr. Tanaka says, “Youth Exchange opens minds, builds confidence and communication while bringing together people from different countries and backgrounds. Every young person who goes on a Rotary Youth Exchange will learn a great deal. They learn how people who seem so different are really the same. They begin to appreciate what unites people everywhere. They have a broader understanding of the world. They come back as different people.”
“Youth Exchange students no longer know only one language. They have connections with their host country, and with their fellow participants from other countries. At the end of their exchange, they are part of their host families. They are also part of the Rotary family - the largest and most international family in the world.”
“Rotary’s Youth Exchange program has continued for more than 40 successful years. When we focus on young people we are focusing on building the future of Rotary and a more peaceful world. When we serve youth, we help to bring Rotary to a new generation. We spread understanding among nations and cultures. We teach the importance of service to others and pass on Rotary’s core values. And, by doing this we help to build peace.”
The Rotary Club of Parry Sound has been an active participant in the Youth Exchange program for a number of years. Our inbound, long-term exchange student, Caitlyn Miekle, recently returned to her home in New Zealand and Jennifer Gill has returned to Parry Sound after spending a year in Ecuador. At a recent Rotary meeting we enjoyed a presentation from two short-term exchange students: Josh Badger, who was in Argentina staying with the family of Margarita Bengoa during the summer of 2012; and Margarita, who then returned the visit spending January and February of this year with Josh and his family. Both stated what a positive experience the exchange was for them in meeting life-long friends, learning new languages, experiencing new cultures and seeing not only the differences, but the similarities they had in common.
For more information about the Rotary Youth Exchange programs, please contact any member of the Rotary Club of Parry Sound, we’d love to help your son or daughter experience the world and become a part of our Rotary family.
This year’s outbound, long term, exchange student is Bronwyn Cowan, who will be traveling to Austria and Adain Demenjian will be going on a a short-term exchange to France.