Posted by Kevin D Hilgers, Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside on Dec 08, 2018
Where in the world do YOU want to travel? We're looking for ideas. Please provide comments. Would love to hear from you and potentially open the world to more Rotarians experiencing the gift of Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE).

By Kevin D Hilgers, Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside


The Rotary Friendship Exchange Committee has been chaired well for the past years by Linda Krahn. She retires from RFE end of June, I get to take over as Chair July 1. I have chaired RFE in another District so hope to keep the program as vibrant as ever with our current team. We are now discussing future opportunities and this is where you come in.

Rotary Friendship Exchange is when a group of Rotarians from one Rotary district in the world travel to another for fun and fellowship. Rotary Friendship Exchange is a great way to travel. Learn about how the locals live in their land, make lifelong friends, and discover cultures and communities in a unique way. And of course enjoy Rotary fellowship. Often you share Rotary projects and ideas. Exchanges are usually reciprocal.

Do you like to travel? Enjoy meeting Rotarians from other countries? Want to get more out of touring? Want to learn more about Rotary in other regions? A RFE may be for you.

Rotary International has documents that explain the program, although each district does it a little different, District 5020 follows the below pattern.

• There is a RFE District Chair that communicates with potential districts to travel to in communications with the District RFE Committee.

• Once a district is chosen to partner with, word is distributed.

• Each participant funds his or her own way. Couples or singles are welcome. All Rotarians are invited and their partners. (I.e. partners do not have to be Rotarians friends of Rotary may also apply through their local Club).

• Youth can also be a part of RFE, and will be considered on a case by case basis. Please ask.

• Generally a RFE lasts 2 weeks.

• Around a dozen form the team, which includes a team leader.

• The team lands at the pre-determined date in the host country. From there the team is hosted by local Rotarians.

• The RFE team is home stayed, usually changing host homes every few days. Several communities are visited.

• The host Rotarians show their guests local sights of interest, parks, museums, things they are proud of. There are often Rotary hosted parties. Rotary projects may be toured.

• The hosts generally cover lodging and home meals. Transportation within the district is provided by the hosts but admissions or extraordinary costs such as restaurant meals are covered by the guests.

• The visit is then reversed with the foreign district visiting our district.

• RFE participants are expected to host for a few nights and participate when they visit here. (I.e. volunteer to host them for some or all of their days in the 5020 community you reside in. A typical tour may be 3 days in Nanaimo, 3 days in Sooke, 3 days in Poulsbo, 3 days in Olympia.

• The pace is usually brisk. Get up in the morning, maybe tour a Rotary project, and then maybe see a point of interest or two. In the evening there may be a Rotary meeting or party in the teams' honour to attend.

• The visiting Team are asked to provide a short presentation at the Hosts Rotary meetings.


• Make lifelong friends

• Live "with the locals".

• Certainly cost efficient

• Expand your Rotary knowledge

• See parts of the world you may otherwise never see.


• If you go on an exchange, you may get asked to host when their team visits us. This usually means 3 nights in your town. Or you can help in other ways - transportation, coordinating the return visit, etc. Ideally you would participate in their 3 days in your community.

• We would ask you to be active in your club and community seeking host families from your club or towns' clubs, and being active in the planning of their days in your town when they visit. Be an RFE ambassador

• You will travel with a group and your tour will be mapped out by the hosts. We often give input to preferences but generally what they plan is what we do.

District 9640 (Australia) has accepted our invitation for 12 persons, either couples or singles to visit for 14 days from July 2nd to 16th, 2019. In November 2019 our US American-Canadian Team will visit D9640 in Australia, specific dates to be determined. This team is now full. Watch for future opportunities.

For more information, the current Chair is Linda Krahn, (Rotary Club of Campbell River). 250-203-5476. Effective July 1, 2019 the Chair is Kevin Hilgers (Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside). call or text 780-518-5672.

The Rotary Friendship Exchange Point of contact in the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County is Betsy Pentz, whose contact information is in our Directory.







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