By Logan Johnson, Youth Exchange and Youth Protection Staff
After a two-year hiatus, Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE), Rotary’s exchange program for students aged 15-19, has resumed in-person exchanges. As we came to terms with the realities of the pandemic in early 2020, new in-person exchanges were paused indefinitely. With the development and distribution of vaccines worldwide, the Rotary International Board of Directors allowed exchanges to resume in the 2022-23 Rotary year.
You might be thinking, “Rotary Youth Exchange seems to be a great opportunity for young people and students, but what can I do to assist the program?”
As it turns out, there are many ways you can participate in Rotary Youth Exchange! Here are just a few examples:
- Host students on exchange. Rotary Youth Exchange is an amazing opportunity for students, and being a host family is just as rewarding! As a purely volunteer effort, RYE programs rely on host families who can host one or multiple students through a typical exchange year. To put it in perspective, three to five different host families are needed for every student that goes abroad. With thousands of students going abroad each year, thousands more host families are needed to provide a safe environment for them while they learn and explore.
- Volunteer with nearby clubs or district. If your club or district already has an established Rotary Youth Exchange program, they likely have volunteer roles that they need filled. They may need people to organize events for students, language tutors that can help students acquire the local language, or any number of other roles. Reach out to nearby club leaders or a district Youth Exchange committee to get started as soon as possible. If your club(s) or district does not participate in the program, offer to take the lead on helping your district become certified and help increase the number of opportunities for students worldwide.
- Promote the Rotary Youth Exchange program! Talk about the program with potential students, their parents, host families, and volunteers. Share the video below to inspire all those key contributors for years to come. And share the video with your friends and family to show them the truly transformative ways that Rotary makes an impact on the next generation of young adults and those that support them.
With so many ways to give back to the program, which will you choose to help make Rotary Youth Exchange a success?