Spring 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.



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