Host family opportunities available through 4-H

Staff report

Short-term host family opportunities are now available through 4-H. Families in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties will have the opportunity to welcome a student from Japan into their home for one month as part of an international exchange program offered by the OSU Extension, 4-H. Statewide, host families are needed for 100 Japanese youths age 12 to 18 and their adult chaperones, who will visit Ohio from July 23 through Aug. 17.

Host families provide the students 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. Students provide their own spending money, and the sponsoring organization furnishes comprehensive medical insurance.

The visitors belong to the Labo Foundation, an organization that promotes the study of English culture and language in Japan. The other visitors belong to organizations similar to 4-H in their country. Ohio 4-H has been conducting international exchange programs with these groups since 1949.

The program allows children to live with an American family as a way to expand their English skills and learn from each other with children of about the same age. Chaperones also live with adult families as a way to be available to the visitors and help with homesickness, health issues and language barriers. Each family chooses the activities and experiences they want for their new family guest, so each youth can have a unique adventure to share with peers.

All types of families are welcome to apply to become hosts, including urban, rural, single-parent, childless and non-4-H families. The requirements for the exchange are that hosts must have a family member of the same gender and approximate age, provide three meals a day and have a separate bed.

Anyone interested can call Gary Reel at 330-533-7712 for an application and information or visit

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