Rotary Youth Exchange Story

Through the efforts of Rotary Clubs and districts around the world, more than 10,000 young people of secondary school age are learning firsthand about the cultures, problems and accomplishments of people in distant lands. The experience broadens and deepens their lives. As these young people mature and take up positions of leadership in their own communities, many of them will bring to their everyday tasks a sense of the variety and complexity of life which was enriched in their formative years by their youth exchange experience. Hence Rotary’s youth exchange program is a powerful ongoing force for understanding and peace around the world.
Long Term Youth Exchange
Steps to introduce Youth Exchange into the Rotary Club of Morialta were taken in 1985-86. Youth Director Ray Rosser set a goal to host a student in the club. In September 1985 Ray, Ken Robson and Kevin Roberts represented Morialta at the District 952 Youth Exchange Briefing weekend. It was essentially a fact finding exercise to gather information on the practicality and procedures for Morialta to enter the program. There was much hype at the sessions and enthusiasm from those people already involved in the program, but beneath this there was the realisation that for any club to enter the program there was considerable responsibility and expense. Returning from the briefing there was a great deal of apprehension, but Ray Rosser’s enthusiasm and capacity to organize carried the day. A recommendation was made to and accepted by the Board that “Morialta enter the Youth Exchange Program”. Jane Reddy was selected as Morialta’s first outbound student and departed for Sweden in January 1987. Annette Jaegerlund was accepted as the first incoming student and arrived from Denmark in August 1986.
The Youth Exchange Program is one of Morialta’s longest running projects that has involved many Rotarians, families and community members in selection, counselling, hosting and caring for all the young people involved. It continued without a break until 1991, when it was becoming apparent that difficulties were being experienced, and new host families were becoming harder to obtain. A decision was made at that point to pause the program, reassess it and develop Policy and Guidelines to Morialta’s needs. An excellent Policy Manual was developed by John Grivell, Trevor Stirling and Peter Flett, and the club re-entered the program in 1992 when it selected an outbound exchange student.
In the first ten years Morialta has sponsored nine outbound students and hosted nine incoming students. It was visited by the parents of Annette Jaegerlund in 1991 and revisited by Annette and her sister in 1992. Some of Morialta’s Rotarians Robert Brookes, Norm O’Flaherty and Peter Flett have also taken the opportunity to visit former students while overseas.

from page 100 A Ten Year History 1984-1994