As usual, Rotarians make it work!
We're excited you want to sponsor an exchange student. It's really easy. You just need a couple people who are willing to put in a little bit of work
Youth Exchange Counselor
Your Club fills this position. The Counselor stays in touch with the exchange student throughout the year with one, in-person visit a month to make sure things are going well. The Rotary provides $100/month for the kids and you make sure they get it. The Counselor has the students' best interests at heart and must commit to 10 hours of training.
Youth Exchange Officer
Your Club fills this position. The Representative finds local students who want to travel to participate in the exchange. You will do preliminary interviews with kids and families. Each family takes about an hour. This takes place in September/October. You probably won't have to do more than 5 interviews. This is the best job!
Youth Exchange Committee Chair
Hal Beals is District 5030's Youth Exchange Chair. He conducts interviews and keeps the program running.
Youth Exchange Inbound Student Coordinator
Geoff Owen is District 5030's Inbound Coordinator. He manages the paperwork to bring students to the United States. He has a big job in the spring and summer.
Youth Exchange Officer and Counselor
If you wanted to be a super dooper Youth Exchange person
So, you are the new YEO (Youth Exchange Officer) for your club. Now what? This position is one of the most important roles in our Youth Exchange Program, it is up to this person to both recruit potential outbound students, place inbound students with host families, monitor the progress of both students throughout the year.
On this page there is a lot of great information to assist you with your job. Review it and ask questions of the Youth Exchange Committee if you have any. A great resource for you is the Club Coordinator, they can answer so many questions for you while you are learning the job and beyond.
The easiest way is to ask at a club meeting who would be interested in working with you in the program. You may be surprised how many want to help out; they just don’t want to be the “leader”. Get the names of those interested and set up a meeting with them, individually or in a group setting, to find out their desire; what would they like to do? Would they be most interested in working directly with the student? Do they like handling paperwork and working with the database? Perhaps they would be happy to be the “events planner” – getting club members involved with the student for fun activities or even a dinner at home – helping the club get to know your student.
Recruiting Outbound Students
In early September you can make arrangements with the school to talk to students about the program. This can take place in several ways; a school assembly; a class of 10th graders with a sympathetic teacher that will allow you to take up time in their classroom, flyers; interact club; and many other possibilities. You will need to introduce the program to these students; we say 10th graders because although a student can choose to go out in their 12th grade year, it is ideal for them to go in their grade 11. There are many reasons for this but a very important reason is they will be there to help you talk to the students about the program after their return. In fact using the current inbound and the most recent rebound to talk about the program is the best sales tool we have. You should be there only to advise, let the students do the talking.
Finding Host Families
Time and time again we hear that this is the hardest part of the job. It is your responsibility, along with your entire club, to find appropriate host families for your inbound student. To get a view on best practices and how to vet your families review the process under “Host Families”. Ideally you should have three qualified families, but two will suffice. All families do not need to be selected prior to the student’s arrival, however a first family must be previously vetted in the spring prior to the student’s arrival in August in order to fulfill Guarantee Form requirements.
Monitoring Student’s Progress
Maybe take your student to lunch once a month to see how they're doing.
Manage Students Travel Requests
Familiarize yourself with the student travel policy and make sure the student and all host families are familiar with the requirements. When a student requests travel make sure all the information is there before sending it on up the chain for final approval (if it is needed). All students must submit a Travel Request form for any travel that requires more than the Host Family approval.
Keeping In Touch With Outbound Students
Try to keep in touch with the outbound student, this can be easier said than done because they are so busy in their new life but many clubs require their students to send home monthly reports.