Club is looking for outbound exchange student
This past weekend the Rotary District 6290, which Rockford is part of, sponsored a conference for all inbound exchange students for orientation, learning, and a chance to get to know each other. The event was held on beautiful Walloon Lake at Camp Daggett, Petoskey, Mich. Rockford’s inbound exchange student from Germany, Julius Loebbecke, attended along with the Rockford Rotary Exchange Officer, Tony Astras. Also attending were 34 other inbound exchange students from 22 different countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
The conference included training workshops for the Youth Exchange program presented to over 20 Rotarians from the various clubs. One unique situation that our district has is that our district is international in that it crosses over into Canada. Consequently, there were inbounds being hosted by clubs from Sault Sainte Marie, Blind River, and Wawa, Ontario in Canada. These international students (all of high school ages from 15 through 18) have an excellent support system not only of their school, but of all Rotarians, their clubs, their communities, and these students who are bonded together in this experience.
This system continues. There will be additional conferences for these kids at the Kettunen Center in Tustin in November, in Wawa, Ontario in February, again at the Kettunen Center in April. Finally, before their departure home there will be a multi-district multi-state final conference at Calvin College with over 1,000 students. These students will consist of the inbounds leaving, our outbounds getting ready to leave, and rebounds which had been previously in the Exchange Program.
Rockford Rotary also has an opportunity upcoming for new outbounds for the school year beginning in 2011-2012. Rockford Rotary has an opportunity for a prearranged exchange with the group’s “sister” club in Germany, where Julius is from.
In addition, Rotary offers opportunities available to other countries as well. Not everyone might qualify, but an earnest desire is a prerequisite. The student also should be in the top fifty percent of their class. There is some financial help available to those that may need it. This program is one of the best kept secrets of Rockford. Rockford Rotary hopes someone will take advantage of it. As a community someone always knows someone who can benefit and make our world a better place. The deadline for applications is September 30. Please see the Rockford Rotary website www.rockfordmirotary.org and click on the Activities to take you to the Youth Student Exchange site.