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Youth Exchange Alumni Function

Discussion in 'General' started by Fred Walker on Oct 7, 2021.

  1. Fred Walker

    By:Fred WalkerOct 7, 2021
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    I'm president of my Rotary Club in 2022-23 of Burwood Sydney (recycled 1999-2000) and one of my goals is to organise an Youth Exchange (YEP's) Alumni Function for for all YEP's and their partners friends etc in my district say for the past 20 years.

    I'm also looking to have a Group Study Exchange (GSE) function in my year as president, where I would like to invite all GSE members, partners etc for say the past 20 years.


    Given the size of the Rotary ClubRunner community I'm hoping that a number of clubs have in the past organised such events as above, and therefore would not mind sharing their promotional material on which I could use as the base.

    The reason for the ambitious projects is that my club is in real danger of not being here much longer, due to the aging membership base, and the missed generations void, that has made it very unattractive for new members.
     
  2. Mickey

    By:MickeyOct 12, 2021 at 2:30 PM
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    Hello Fred,

    Thank you for posting, I hope you don't mind I've moved your posting into our General section where most of our subscribers will be able to see this.

    I hope you are able to speak with other Rotarians who have a background in Youth Exchange and GSE functions.
     
    Fred Walker likes this.
  3. Fred Walker

    By:Fred WalkerOct 12, 2021 at 7:08 PM
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    Many thanks Mickey.

    How good is Rotary Youth Exchange and is the reason for me wanting to create an Alumni YEP for my district 9675, to celebrate and keep alive those fantastic experiences.

    The attached letter from Ole Borregaard, sponsored in 1990/91 by Nibe Rotary Club, District 1440, is just one of many such experiences, and I would love to hear and receive more such letters.

    For me and my family, hosting 9 exchange students was the most rewarding experience, something we will reminder for a long time.
     
  4. Fred Walker

    By:Fred WalkerOct 12, 2021 at 7:09 PM
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    Rotary Youth Exchange –making a difference for life

    - Reflections from a Reunion 30 years later.

    The Year is 1991, two busses full of Rotary Exchange Students enter a parking lot in Sydney after 3 weeks around Australia on the “Capricorn Ramble Tour”. Saying goodbye was heart-breaking, knowing that we would soon be back home and maybe never see each other again.

    Jumping to September 2021, downtown Frankfurt on a Friday afternoon in brilliant weather. Stepping out of the car to greet 3 people I have not seen for 30 year in front of their hotel.

    Five Seconds of adjusting to the change in how people look 30 years later; a few wrinkles and some a bit of grey hair, but the eyes and the sparkling personalities have not changed – we all get in the car and then the conversations starts as we have just said goodbye to each other in Sydney.

    We are going to spend the weekend together at a place in the outskirts of Wiesbaden amongst vineyards and lush green forest, and importantly we have booked the whole place so we don’t disturb other guests. A “social experiment”, 16 people from 7 countries, one flying in all the way from US, gathering for a 30 year Rotary Exchange Students Reunion, most not having seen each other since we left Australia 30 years ago.

    It became a weekend with laughter, singing around the bon fire, renewed friendship bonds- updating each other on what has happened in the last 30 years and importantly a session reflecting on our individual year as exchange students, the ups and downs of the year and then what difference the year has made in the rest of our lives.

    There is absolutely no doubt that the opportunity which Rotary gave us has changed us for life, and at least for the ones at the reunion, in a very positive way. You could call us “Ambassadors of the world”; most have chosen an education which allows us to work around the world, many work in international jobs and quite a few have lived/lives and worked in multiple countries- the world is our “playground”. Our partners predominantly also have a global mind-set and maybe from another country than where we are born and the children is raised as global citizens.

    On behalf of our Reunion group we would like to say the deepest and most humble THANK YOU to all of you who make the Rotary Youth Exchange program possible. Our sponsor club and district in believing in that we would be good representatives for our home country, our Host club for taking us under their wings, host families for opening their doors to complete strangers; we know it was not always easy to put up with us, far from home teenagers, however do please know we are forever grateful for allowing us to be a part of the family- and we got better during the year to adapt to you circumstances fast. And to the current and future host families – please remember you are making a positive change to that student’s life forever, especially when they are a bit impossible! Finally to the host district(s) for making a forum, like the weekends and tours, where we meet students from all over the world, gain insights and perspectives into other cultures – knowledge we use today when wrestling with a cross border negotiation or managing people from many different countries.

    Back from the weekend, a lot of emotions and reflections on the weekend, our exchange year and its impact. A “social experiment” which developed to a great success with open atmosphere where parades were down, trust in the centre and some deep honest conversations took place. As one person wrote to me after weekend I think says it all “Wow. What a weekend! I’m still a bit blown away by all impressions, thoughts and feelings.”

    Thank you, Rotary, Thank you so much!


    On behalf of the reunion group

    Ole Borregaard, Sponsored in 1990/91 by Nibe Rotary Club, District 1440
     
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