homepage logo

Rotary Club seeking host families

By Staff | Apr 26, 2013

The Rotary Club of Shepherdstown is looking for three local families who would like to expand their cultural horizons by hosting a Danish student who will be living here during the next school year through Rotary International’s Youth Exchange program.

The student, Camille Thomsen, is a 16 year old from Almind, a small town on the Danish section of the Jutland Peninsula. She will arrive next August, attend Jefferson High School for all of the next school year and return home during the summer of 2014.

Camille speaks English and German, as well as Danish. She enjoys running, handball and Zumba, and plays the piano.

The Rotary Youth Exchange program is more than 75 years old. Each year, some 8,000 students from more than 80 different countries participate.

Participating students are 15 to 19 years of age and their stay abroad usually lasts 10-12 months. Each student attends local schools and typically lives with three different families during their stay, which means their time with each family is 3-4 months.

Host families need not be Rotarians or non-Rotarians. They may include young children, older children or no children at all.

In this case, the families that agree to host Camille need not be located in Shepherdstown, but they must reside in the Jefferson High School district of Jefferson County.

Host families neither pay nor receive any fees. Their primary responsibility is to provide a safe and comfortable place for the student to live, healthy meals, and a loving and supportive family environment. The students and their parents pay for travel costs and insurance and provide spending money, sometimes with help from their hometown Rotary club or the Rotary club in the area they are visiting.

The Rotary Club in the area they are visiting, in this case the Shepherdstown Club, helps coordinate arrangements for their stay and generally watches over them.

For the past year, a student from Peru, Christian Zeballos, has been attending Jefferson High School and living with three Shepherdstown families through this Rotary program.

To volunteer to host Camille or get more information contact Shepherdstown Rotary Club member Paul Kradel at 304-267-2520 or paulkradel@aol.com.

For more general information about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program go to www.shepherdstownrotary.org/youth_exchange.