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Lions Multiple District 5M
Youth Exchange Program

MD5M Youth exchange Program, of which District 5M-9 is a participant, offers three  (3) programs during the year.

  • Winter incoming hosting program.  The youths arrive normally from the second week in December, to early January, and the visits last from three to six weeks, depending on the country the hosted youths are from.
  • Summer incoming hosting experience. The youth arrive late June or early July.  Normally the summer exchange last from four to six weeks, depending on which country the hosted youths are from.  The incoming youths are required to attend one week at a Lions International Youth Camp during their visit.
  • Summer outgoing exchange.  The youth from MD5M may choose their country and time of travel.  The normal length of time is 4-6 weeks with a week of Lions International Youth Camp.


Belgian Student comes to the U.S.

The purpose of the programs is to give a cultural experience where a youth lives with another family(s), participates in their every day lives, as well as special activities, and gains an appreciation of the worth and dignity of people who may be of a different race, creed or religion.

The Youth Exchange Program is not work-related, youths involved are not allowed to work for money, or otherwise.  Nor is the program intended to be a sight-seeing tour, although often the Host Family uses the occasion as a excuse for taking a trip to a place(s) they've wished to visit themselves.

Being a cultural exchange, the main objective of the Lions Program is to give the Youth an opportunity to literally become a part of the Host Family.

The Lions Youth Exchange Program reaches out to all interested youths.  In either program, coming in to Host Families or going out to another country, the Youth must express an interest in the country they wish to visit, and that they will represent their own country with dignity, cordiality and intelligence.  In short they will be "Ambassadors of Good Will".  Good citizenship is a requirement.

LOCAL LIONS CLUB PARTICIPATION:

The local Lions Club should contribute finances towards the Youth's trip abroad.  However, it is recommended that the Youth's family provide the greater share of the cost in order to better appreciate the opportunity to travel.  Lions/Lioness Clubs are, of course, expected to provide the Youth with pins/banners for presentation to the clubs that they may visit while abroad.  Shortly after the Youth returns home they should be asked to give a program to the hosting club.

Remember the Exchange Program's success is geared directly to the involvement of the local club.  Hosting or sending a Youth, is a club project.  Members may invite the Youth to their homes for dinner, take the Youth shopping, or ball games or another activities that may be of interest.  All of these things should be done in coordination with the Host Family to avoid conflict and misunderstanding.  The Youth should not be expected to be entertained at all times and should have free time to write letters, for reading and simply relaxing.

The Lions Club also plays an integral part of the selection of the Host Families.  Youth should be hosted in a friendly, compatible atmosphere, clean, providing some privacy, but not necessarily luxurious.  The home should be that of a typical family, if such a thing exists.  Before agreement to be a Host, be sure to discuss the possibility with all members of the family---husband, wife, and all children residing in the home.  All must be in agreement that the small sacrifices which each have to make will be greatly out weighted by the rewards to be gained.

The Youth should pay for all incidental, phone call home (which should be limited), postage and their own personal shopping.

Open a door.  A whole new world is waiting on the other side.  Many times, deep friendships form which surpass national boundaries.  Host families and exchange visitors enjoy sharing customs.

Impressions:

  • "I think the Youth Exchange Program of lions Clubs International is the best program anyone could offer.  If gives the world a chance to unite in friendship.  I think it's the most beautiful thing anyone could experience."
  • "The Youth Exchange Program is very special.  Being able to come to a different country, learn some of its culture and understand the people, is an education that is impossible to get at any school."
  • "If you are wondering, 'Should we be a host in the Youth Exchange Program?' please tell yourself "YES!"  Never have we been so happy with new adventure as with the one we experienced this summer.  Our six weeks were unforgettable.  We are richer and happier because of having the privilege of being a Lions Youth Exchange Host."


For more information on the Lions Youth Exchange Program or contact either of your Lions 5M-9 Youth Exchange Chairpersons.
 



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