Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) is a Rotary International student exchange program for students in secondary school. Since 1929, Rotary International has sent young people around the globe to experience new cultures. Currently, about 9,000 students are sponsored by Rotary clubs every year. Typically, students are sent to another country for a year-long stay, generally living with multiple host families during the year and being expected to perform daily tasks within the household as well as attend school in the host country.  Short term exchange programs are also quite common. These typically involve direct student exchanges between two families arranged through Rotary to coincide with major school holiday periods.
The Rotary Club of Copenhagen, Denmark initiated the first Rotary exchange in 1927, and the Rotary Club of Nice, France followed suit soon after in 1929. Although exchanges today usually last ten months, the first exchanges took place during school vacations for only a couple of weeks. The year-long Rotary Youth Exchange program was created in 1958 in Lake Placid at a Rotary Governors assembly. Here, many rules and procedures were established that still exist today. The first year-long exchange conducted by Rotary under this new framework involved a student leaving from Scottsbluff, Nebraska to live in Myrtleford, Australia for 10 months, and two Australians from Myrtleford arriving in Grand Lake, Colorado. In the following years more and more countries became involved in the program. In 1962 the first involving Japan and Germany were arranged after tense relations between them and other Rotary International Clubs following World War II. Since its conception 80 years ago, the Rotary Youth Exchange program has expanded rapidly to exchange 9,000 students annually between 80 countries.
Through the Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary International hopes to create a more interconnected and understanding world. One of Rotary's primary goals is promoting peace around the world, and through the Rotary Youth Exchange, it aims to make the world a more peaceful place one exchange at a time. This rationale follows the logic that if a students experience different cultures and meet people from all around the world, they will be more understanding of foreign people and countries in the future. Rotary expects that this understanding will lead to a more interconnected and peaceful world.
Tom Brooks, District Governor Nominee and District Youth Exchange Chairman, will discuss the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and answer any questions we might have.  Tom is a long time member of Loves Park Rotary and a Past President of that club.  He makes up at our club so often that he has better attendance than a majority of our own members.  Elise Cadigan will introduce Tom and act as Rotary Host.