Mahoning, Columbiana, Portage and Trumbull county families will have the opportunity to welcome a young person from Japan into their home for one month this year as part of an international exchange program being offered by the County OSU Extension, 4-H. Last year, six youth and one chaperone were hosted in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Statewide, host families are needed for 100 Japanese youngsters aged 12-18 and their adult chaperones who will visit Ohio from July 23 through Aug. 18.
Host families provide the exchangees with room and board and a chance to experience daily life in America. Families are urged not to alter their daily routines or lifestyles during their visitor’s stay.
Exchangees provide their own spending money and the sponsoring organization furnishes comprehensive medical insurance.
The young Japanese visitors belong to the Labo Foundation, an organization which promotes the study of English culture and language in Japan. The other youth belong to organizations similar to 4-H in their country. Ohio 4-H has been conducting international exchange programs with these groups since 1949.
“Do you know what I learned from this child?” asked one host father. “That you can live together and not understand one word the other is saying and yet still communicate and learn to love each other.”
Comments like this from a local family summarize the joy which can result from participating in the Ohio 4-H International Exchange Program.
All types of families are welcome to apply to become hosts, including urban, rural, single parent, childless and non-4-H families. The only requirement is that for the month long exchange, hosts must have a family member of the same gender and approximate age of the exchangee, three meals a day and a separate bed for the visitor.
Those interested should contact Gretchen Kalinay at 330-799-8407 or Gary Reel at 330-533-7712 for an application form and more information about this and other 4-H international exchange programs.
More information and an application can be found online at www.ohio4h.org/youth/international.