East Maitland Rotary - Youth programs
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Youth programs

 Youth Exchange

The Rotary Clubs Youth Exchange is one of the most popular programs to promote international understanding and develop lifelong friendships. It began in 1927 with the Rotary Club of Nice, France. In 1939 an extensive Youth Exchange was created between California and Latin America. Since then the program has expanded around the world. In recent years more than 7,000 young people have participated annually in Rotary Club and district sponsored exchanges.

The values of the Youth Exchange program are experienced not only by the high school aged students involved but also by the host families, sponsoring clubs, receiving high schools and the community at large. Youth Exchange participants usually provide their fellow students in their host schools with excellent opportunities to learn about customs, languages, traditions and family life in another country.

Youth Exchange is a highly recommended program for all Rotary Clubs as a practical activity for the enhancement of international understanding and goodwill. Outbound students are responsible for the provision of round trip airfares, clothing, health insurance and incidental expenses. The host Rotary club accepts the responsibility of food and lodging with arrangements made for regular monthly living allowance and schooling requirements. It is usual for hosting over a 12 month period to be shared by several families with the Rotary club offering support and guidance throughout.

The district Youth Exchange Program committee provides an overall support structure to assist club exchanges. It initiates international contacts, selects and briefs outbound students, welcomes and orientates inbound students, provides district counselors and much, much more.

East Maitland Rotary Club has participated heavily in the Youth Exchange Program, receiving their first inbound student, Elaine Watson from Canada in 1970-71 while the first outgoing student, Anne Leverett participated in 1971-72. Since then the club has had both incoming and outgoing students by the dozens, each one a credit to their respective country and culture

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)

Each summer thousands of young people are selected to attend Rotary sponsored camps or seminars in the United States, Australia, Canada, India, France, Argentina, Korea and numerous other countries. In an informal atmosphere, groups of outstanding young men and/or women spend a week in a challenging program of leadership training, discussions, inspirational addresses and social activities designed to enhance personal development, leadership skills and good citizenship. The official name of this activity is the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program (RYLA), although these events are sometimes referred to by other names such as Camp Royal, Camp Enterprise, Youth Leader Seminars, Youth Conferences or other terms.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program began in Australia in 1959, when young people throughout the state of Queensland were selected to meet with Princess Alexandra, the young cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. The Rotarians of Brisbane, who hosted the participants, were impressed with the quality of the young leaders. It was decided to bring youth leaders together each year for a week of social, cultural and educational activities. The RYLA gradually grew throughout all the Rotary districts of Australia and New Zealand.

East Maitland Rotary Club first began sponsoring local youth for RYLA in 1963-64 up until 1972, then sporadically throughout the 1980's, 1990's up to the present day.

National Youth Science Forum

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is a 2-week programme for students who have just completed Year 11, and would like to pursue a career in science, engineering and technology.

The Forum takes place in January of each year at the University of Canberra where all facilities are provided for the full 14 days. All activities are supervised by University staff and Rotary counselors. The programme is extremely intensive with little time for outside activities except for meeting those people already in the programme.

Probably the most important aspect of all regarding the forum is the network of friends, colleagues and support groups throughout Australia which will be of value to participants for the whole of their lives. The NYSF continues after the initial 2-week period, firstly in the form of University seminars followed by industry site visits in March and April.

The NYSF helps students by encouraging their pursuit of excellence in all their undertakings, whilst helping to develop their communications and interpersonal skills. It also fosters discussion and interest in national and global issues as well as maintaining active interests in everyday things such as sport, arts and music.

The 2-week January programme deals mainly with pure research, applied research and engineering in both the physical and biological sciences. In the human biology fields the emphasis is centered around biomedical research and biotechnology rather than medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy and similar professions.

 Australian Rotary Clubs, in conjunction with the NYSF select participants to attend the January forum. NYSF participants are selected mainly on the basis of interviews, as well as resume, letter and an application form. Selection is very competitive. Of all the students that apply, approximately only 1 in 6 will be chosen for the programme. The selection process includes a series of interviews and assessments by the nominating Rotary Club. Acceptance is not based on examination marks, although good marks may be beneficial in the initial selection process.

The only requirements are that you are currently in Year 11, a permanent resident of Australia, and are interested in proceeding to tertiary studies in Australia to do either a science, engineering or technology course. Applications are to be received by a nominating Rotary Club by the 15th of May. Should you have any difficulty selecting a club, simply write to:

The Rotary Secretary


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