Summer 2012

August 17, 2012

Summer … August 17, 2012

Well it’s been nearly a year since my last entry… Lots of activity all year, will just summarize it.

Our Youth Exchange program was quieter locally with only one student, but we coordinated multiple activities throughout the year with neighboring districts and their exchange students. Jessie got to meet quite a few other exchange students, and also made a lot of friends in her high school.

Jessie stayed for nearly the entire year with the Malkins in Fair Lawn. I had the opportunity to take her on a few trips, the last one being a day at Mohonk, with some Rotary people, Larraine & Ben. She loved the rock scrambling, in particular the Labyrinth & Lemon Squeeze!

Jessie took the Belo USA West Coast trip after school ended, with a multitude of Rotary exchange students from around the country – this was the highlight of the year.

Before that she had graduation ceremonies at Fair Lawn High School – lots of pictures of her in her red graduation robe, with family and friends! And before that was Prom! I think that was the real highlight of the year!!

Jessie headed home to Switzerland mid July – almost had to leave some luggage behind (had 4 bags!), but made it OK. On her departure we were sad and happy at the same time.

Oh, then she went on vacation to Portugal after she got settled at home … I saw the pictures, it was beautiful, would love to go there someday… We’re keeping in touch.


Now the new exchange year!

We have some new committee members and a new Youth Exchange chair – Alicia Sansarricq is a whirlwind and the year is progressing rapidly and well… We will be doing a lot of exchange promotion this year, including visits to Rotary clubs & schools, and a new website. We will also try to do more with other districts, as that was a real help last year for Jessie to meet other exchange students.

I attended the summer ESSEX conference in Vermont in July – very informative, and a beautiful setting – really cool rides we had no time to take advantage of… (zip line, wheeled toboggan, high dive into a big bag, etc.)


We have two exchange students this year, and two new exchange towns! Emilie Henrard from Belgium will be living in Wayne and attending Wayne Valley High School, and Luis Palmieri from Brazil will be living in Teaneck and attending Teaneck High. Both first host families – the Schroeders in Wayne and the Pateks in Teaneck are wonderful people and really looking forward to the experience.

In fact, Emilie arrived yesterday at Newark, tired from her trip of course, and a delight to meet! Barbara Schroeder (host mom), Joe Graziano (Wayne YEO) and I were there with our Rotary banner. We got a few welcome photos and Emilie headed to Wayne to get settled and get some rest. Today she’s visiting the UN in NYC with Alicia, our YE committee chair.

Luis will be arriving in a week and a half, so we’ll have a nice group to greet him as well.

We have a good schedule of activities set up, so once the year begins, it should be pretty busy! I’ll try to write a bit more soon to fill in on everything we have planned.

So à bientôt, until next time…


Holiday lights in NYC


Passover at my house


Telling a German class all about Youth Exchange




Washington DC, our District Convention


Visiting Kati, a former exchange student, in school in MD


Our final BBQ – with Sandra from Germany & Alicia


Farewell to family & friends…


Bags checked, headed home…



Fall 2011

October 26, 2011

Hi again, it’s been quite a few months since the last blog!

We had a wonderful although wet summer… Two summer Youth Exchange students, Matt & Ashley, shared exchanges with their counterparts in Italy, and apparently had a very enjoyable time.

Jessie arrived from Switzlerland at the end of August and immediately settled in her home in Fair Lawn with her host family, the Malkins. Todd Malkin is an active Rotarian in the Fair Lawn club, so stays on top of everthing, even creating a nice room for Jessie where there was none before! Jessie now has two host sisters Diana & Kristina, host Mom Lisa & even a grandmother who bakes the best treats!

We all loved meeting Jessie – delightful, smart, cheery, and she speaks five languages!

Jessie was able to visit NYC in the week before school – which she loved! She then had the typical first day of school at Fair Lawn HS – the students of course had no idea she was an exchange student, as we have such a diverse population natively! But she quickly became involved in school activities by joining the dance team, so now has quite a few friends, even a best friend, important for lunch period…

We had a very nice welcome party at our YE Chair Gloria’s house at the beginning of Oct., then planned but had to postpone our usual Oct. weekend at Long Beach Island – it will be held in the Spring instead.

Jessie and Kei, who spent last year in Japan, met each other and they both helped with showing off Youth Exchange at our annual Interact Conference — what a terrific sales team! They also came with Larraine and me on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to visit the Storm King Art Center – quite a nice day and photo op!

Next to come is Rotary UN Day, on Nov. 5, always an eventful day… Jessie will finally have a chance to meet some of many Youth Exchange students in other districts – from even as far as Canada – all of whom travel to this special annual Rotary event. That evening is our contribution to the pasta dinner for the 20,000 runners taking part in Sunday’s NYC Marathon! More people to meet!

To be continued soon…

Spring 2011

June 19, 2011

Well, here we are at the end of the school year 2010-2011. It’s been a very eventful year for the Youth Exchange program as well as for Rotary.

The year started well for Manon, Sam & Jéssica – one of the first events was orientation weekend at Long Beach Island, which was fun for all, despite a bit of an accident where I tripped, cut myself and had to be taken to the hospital on Sat. night for stitches. But we didn’t let that damper our enthusiasm and everyone (Manon, Sam & Jéssica, as well as Rita Sista, an outbound potential student) had a great time.

Later in the year the three students attended UN Day with Rotary, followed shortly by Pocono Weekend with exchange students from several other districts and Zoë Bergin, who had spent 2009-2010 in Italy.

Then holiday time, and I had the honor of accompanying Manon, Sam and Jéssica around NYC for the holiday store displays and lights. As it was one of the coldest days of the year, Manon & I were pretty used to it, but Sam & Jéssica appreciated being inside – definitely not their home weather! Regardless we had a great time and took LOTS of photos.

Then we had one of our snowiest winters – a nice surprise for Sam & Jéssica, but as the winter progressed, even they got a bit tired of all the snow. But it was beautiful and I got a lot of good snow photos.

The 3 students attended two more weekends with exchange students in other districts – Verona NJ and Valhalla NY – and apparently made lots of new friends!

The culmination of the year was the International Dinner at the Ridgewood Y in May, planned and executed by Manon, Sam & Jéssica, with the help of Alicia from the exchange committee. It was a marvelous success! Host families, YE committee members, Rotary officials, friends and teachers all attended!

The one sad point of the year was that Jéssica had to go home early, for a few weeks first when her dad became ill, and then finally when her dad sadly passed away. But she attended the International Dinner in virtual mode via Skype, so everyone was able to talk to her.

Finally RYLA came at the end of May and Manon and Sam attended, really enjoying and gaining from the experience. Steve, Art & I visited midweek to talk about Youth Exchange, and Sam gave a presentation that captivated the audience, had them in stitches, and was one of the best advertisements for Youth Exchange I’ve ever seen or heard!

Now we’re winding down. Jéssica is home but stays in touch, Sam is leaving at the end of June, and Manon is going on the West Coast trip for two weeks, returning mid-July – her parents will be arriving from France to visit and they’ll head home the end of July.

Alicia has interviewed and approved two summer students, both exchanging with Italy – more about that later.

And finally, we will have one inbound exchange student next year 2011-2012 – Jessica Füglister from Switzerland, who will be living in Fair Lawn and attending Fair Lawn High School, hosted by the Fair Lawn Rotary Club.

That’s all for now – back soon.


End of the Summer … Our new Youth Exchange students are arriving!

September 6, 2010

Well it’s been an exciting few weeks winding down the summer! The weather’s finally broken and we have cool nights and beautiful days.

Anne-Sophie left for home last Tuesday, after an aborted attempt to fly out on Monday night … It seems the fates wanted her to stay in the U.S. another day! But she’s back in Colmar and has already started school.

We had two of our long-term students arrive last week: First, Manon from France, who arrived on Tuesday and joined her host family in Paramus on Friday (thanks, Steve, for providing temporary housing and some nice activities during the week!). Manon will be in Paramus HS with her host sister Olivia.

Then Sam, pronounced ‘sahm’, from Thailand, arrived Wednesday and joined her host family in Wyckoff that day. Sam will be attending Ramapo HS with her host sister Rebecca. Both students have gotten settled in, registered for classes, and are ready to start school tomorrow…

Our last long-term student, Jéssica from Brazil, arrives tomorrow morning, and we will have our customary banner greeting for her, with a nice photo-op! Her school, Glen Rock HS, doesn’t start until next week, so she’ll have the week to get rested, visit the town (with the help of some fellow students), tour a bit and get registered for classes.

On Sunday we’ll have our initial Youth Exchange get-together, a BBQ at Alicia’s house, and a chance for everyone to meet!

So it’s the end of summer and the start of an eventful autumn and school year… :):)

Olivia & Anne-Sophie

August 21, 2010

Party today at the Yings … Will get to meet Anne-Sophie staying here for the month! … Olivia was at her house in Colmar (in Alsace), France last month. The summer Youth Exchange program is quite marvelous!

Update: BBQ was fun! Steve, Nandy, Alicia & Scott were there – had a lively discussion & good food. Got a photo tour of all the places Olivia & Anne-Sophie saw in France and the US during their stay in both countries, and had a chance to practice my French (even ran through some French/English flashcards!). Anne-Sophie has quite a photo collection and a good eye for great shots.
Colmar is beautiful! – I’d love to visit sometime; and the Cognac beach was impressive, with a tree line right by the beach.
The summer program showed another benefit: Olivia’s French is much improved from just 4 weeks, and Anne-Sophie’s English is excellent…
I hope Anne-Sophie enjoys her last week here, and has a chance to come back again!

Rotary scholarship recipients came to our meeting today

August 17, 2010

We had an enjoyable visit by our three scholarship recipients at our weekly lunch today!

Danielle, Leanne & Mohamadia all spoke of their college plans, how they chose their respective colleges and majors, and their anticipation for their Freshman year. Several Rotary members gave advice on what to expect, how to enjoy school and learn at the same time, and notes of encouragement in general.

We discussed Roteract, the college branch of Rotary, recommending that they check it out at their schools.

We also had a nice photo op! I’m glad they came to our lunch and hope to make this an annual event!

Ridgewood G&S at Gettysburg !

March 4, 2010


First Blog!

March 4, 2010

Just getting started, using Blogo for Mac.