Rotary youth exchange — one of the many programs for youths and young adults that we celebrate this month — was my path into true engagement in Rotary. My wife, Susanne, and I began hosting exchange students soon after I joined, and the experience helped me go from simply being a member of my Rotary club to being a true Rotarian. Now Rotary Youth Exchange is a family tradition, and a strong one: Over the past 24 years, we have hosted 43 students! From the start, we loved it so much that, in addition to hosting students in our home, we became involved with the program by helping to organize student summer camps. During one such camp, I met Christine Lichtin, who was a German high school student at the time and whose father is a past president of my Rotary club. To try something new during this year of embracing change, I am turning this space, normally reserved for the president of Rotary, over to Christine so she can share her story. My first contact with Rotaract was about 13 years ago, when I was with Susanne and Holger at a barbecue for the summer youth camp. Holger turned to me and said: “Why don’t you visit a Rotaract club? You’ll meet a lot of great young people who come together to have fun and to make a difference.” A few years later, when I was at Trier University, his words came back to me and I decided to give it a try. That …
The Rotary Club of Warrensburg recently received the attached letter from one of our past RYE students. I believe this letter embodies RYE better than anything I have ever heard. I also believe it epitomizes one of our reasons for existence as Rotarians.
This Rotary year we had a wonderful addition to our District—16 high school exchange students from a variety of countries and cultures!!! Each one of these individuals brought a new and unique dimension to our District, Rotary clubs, and local communities, all through the Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) Program.
Over 180 Rotary Youth Exchange students with counselors and Youth Exchange volunteers gathers in Tulsa for a weekend of cultural exchange and fellowship. The annual event, hosted by the South Central Rotary Youth Exchange (SCRYE) brings together students, Rotarians and volunteers from across 10 states.