Posted by Pete Leenhouts on Aug 20, 2019
The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is an important part of the Rotary Youth Avenue of Service. Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through Rotary leadership development programs. The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County enthusiastically supports this program, as do members of our communities. 

Exchanges for students 15 to 19 years old are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries. Long-term exchanges last a full academic year. Participating students attend local schools and live with multiple host families, usually for 3-4 months at a time.


This year, we are proud to host a young woman from South Korea, and to send a young man abroad to Croatia for the year.


Past exchanges have seen students from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Thailand,  and many other countries spending time here in the Chimacum area, and students from Chimacum and the area heading overseas to Belgium, Chile, Poland,  and Spain,  and many other countries around the world.  The students arrive somewhat bewildered by the long trip from their home country and leave as family members. Many stay in touch with their host families - in fact, it is not at all unusual for exchange students and host families to stay in touch with each other and to exchange visits for the rest of their lives. 


Ned Luce is the Club's Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) Officer, Terry Umbreit is our Youth Protection Officer, and Linda Kostenbader is our Youth Counsellor. Pete & Helen Leenhouts are the first host family for this year's inbound student, Nakyoung (Jennifer) Kim, who will arrive from Pusan, Republic of Korea Friday morning, August 23rd. During her year with us here on the Olympic Peninsula, Jennifer will live with two other host families while attending Chimacum High School. She will depart for home in July, 2020.  Nathanael Radetski is our outgoing student; he will be spending a year going to high school in Croatia.


This video, Seeing the World Through Rotary Youth Exchange, in which a young Canadian Rotary Youth Exchange participant talks about his experience, underscores the value of the program.


Rotary Youth Exchange is a wonderful program, and accomplishes all that can be hoped for it - the exchange students step outside their comfort zone to further enhance their potential, develop lifelong leadership skills, learn a new language while immersed in a different culture, and build lasting friendships with people from around the world. Each student returns home immeasurably enriched by the experience.   Club member support is extremely important within this program.


Club members can help to support the Rotary Youth Exchange program by interacting with Jennifer, and taking her on day trips to places around the Puget Sound, keeping Ned Luce and her host family informed. Our goal is for her to experience a wide range of the best of American culture and life in the Pacific Northwest.





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