Posted by Granville P. Lawrence on Jan 01, 2014

Our speaker today was Lynn Keillor  who spoke on  “Rotary Youth Exchange  -  The Making of World Citizens”.  

Lynn is a freelance writer, a member of South Rotary and is passionate about the Rotary Youth Exchange.  The  Rotary Youth Exchange is also known as the North Star Youth Exchange because it combines Districts 5950 and 5960.  It involves youth ages 15 to 19, usually HS Juniors, but also Seniors and Gap youth  (between High School & College).  Harvard currently recommends that students take a Gap year to mature & grow up (great idea!).

Currently 45% of the Rotary Clubs sponsor youth, sending 65 students a year.  South has hosted 4 students over the last 3 years.  Visiting the club this day were Philipp Holz who is inbound from Germany, and Sam Langille who will be going to Columbia next year.  The stay is for one year, involves staying with 3 different families, and costs roughly $6,500.00 for the year.  Other programs often cost $12-20k.  Lynn suggested that the students have some “skin in the game” by helping to raise all or part of the monies.

It was said by someone famous “If all 17 year olds could spend a Rotary Youth Year there would be no more war.  Friends don’t bomb each other.”  To Youth Exchange veterans  it is described “not a year in a life, but as a life in a year”.  Lynn is eager to spread the program to other Rotary Cubs, and is especially in need of Host families, which need not be Rotarians.  She thinks that a cooperative between clubs would be logical.  The task for outbound students would be to find the candidate and fund them approximately $150 to 300.00.  Inbound students would involve finding 3 families, enrolling them in school, paying for lunches & an allowance, and a Christmas gift, for a total of about $3k.