Welcome Home Dinner For Rotary Youth Exchange


On Friday 8th February 2019, Rotary Club of Carlingford hosted the Returning Rotary Youth Exchange Students for the 29th year. 

Our MC, Rod Jolly introduced our distinguished guests: District Governor Susan Wakefield OAM and her husband PDG John Wakefield OAM, who are both Past District Youth Exchange Chair, PDG John Dodd and Janelle, Immediate Past District 9685 Youth Exchange Chairs.

In his Welcome to Country for the Returning Outbound and Inbound Exchange Students, Barry Seach spoke of his family’s Aboriginal and convict ancestry and of local Dreaming stories which taught respect, responsibility and family values. He noted how in the 1800s, some family men played for Windsor Cricket Club and some family women competed for the local rowing club, to emphasise how his Aboriginal family members “got mixed-up with the newcomers early on”.

Having emphasised the importance of families and friendship, Barry concluded by asking us to remember the traditional Toongagal family upon whose traditional lands we were meeting and then welcomed us to Aboriginal Country in the name of the Darug Nation, (the Aboriginal people of the Sydney Basin.)

President Trish Wetton OAM welcomed our guests including:

Ray and Sue Rice (District Co-Chairs of the Youth Exchange Committee), David and Maureen Rayner, Pam and Tom Bennett, John and Dee Brown, Maralyn Arnott and Winnie Yip. Winnie is a former Carlingford Youth Exchange student, RYLArian, Rotaractor and currently a member of the Rotary Club of Macquarie Park. She has joined our Rotary family.

A total of 114 attended the meeting. 

District Governor Susan proposed the Toast to Rotary International and the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. 

Ray Rice, Co-Chair of the Youth Exchange Committee spoke of the debriefing of the returning outbound students and he skills that they had developed during the exchange, especially in public speaking, community service and promoting the values of international peace. The Committee was proud to send out 13 well-prepared students to their host clubs and host families. He thanked the sponsoring and hosting Rotary clubs.

The Rotary Youth Exchange Program celebrated the 60th anniversary of Youth Exchange in Australia in Australia at Sydney Olympic Park last year. Since 1987 we have sponsored 800 Australian students and connected and reconnected with these students through their involvement in Interact Clubs, RYLA, RYPEN, National Youth Science Forum, ConocoPhillips Science ExperienceScience and Engineering Challenge, Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA), Road Safety Education (RYDA) and Rotaract. At the District Changeover on 29th June the Inspirational Youth Awards will be announced. We are fortunate that all these glorious youth programs are available in our Rotary District.

Ray thanked District Governor Susan for her continuing support, Carlingford Club for hosting this function for the past 29 years and Colin & Lyn Booth for the eucalyptus blossoms featured in the Australian themed table decorations. Ray then invited 3 returning students to speak about their experiences.

Alice Morgan sponsored by Lane Cove went to Taiwan and spoke about turning a I00km Typhoon catastrophe into an adventure in Taiwan. Without the darkness, you can never see the stars.

Alicia Humphrey sponsored by Belrose went to Norway with its 600 mountains. Everyone loves to climb mountains in spring and summer. Eventually she climbed the highest mountain near Bergen, which was a great accomplishment – mentally and physically. The view from the top is now the metaphor of my life.

Heidi Green sponsored by Hornsby went to Brazil and being tall stood out in a crowd. She learnt meditation, to clear her mind, patience the mindset to learn a new language and acceptance of others. In essence, I learned to be myself.

Inbound student Helmiina Salila from Finland, hosted by North Ryde thanked members of the District Youth Exchange Committee and the host clubs and host families for their support.

Sue and Ray Rice together with DG Susan presented the Certificates to the returning students and Barry Seach took the photos that are featured in the gallery below.

Sue Rice asked the Rebounds How can you continue with your Rotary sponsored experiences? Take the initiative by asking your sponsor/sponsoring club to invite you and your family to future Rotary events.

During the evening our MC Rod Jolly kept us all amused with his jokes and riddles which sequel into the next item on the program.

President Trish thanked everyone and expressed Carlingford Club’s enjoyment in hosting the evening.

In particular, she thanked:

Susan & John Wakefield, John & Janelle Dodd, Ray & Sue Rice and the Youth Exchange Committee who provided the information for the program.

She wished the Inbound students a wonderful experience in Sydney and Australia.

She also thanked our Youth Director Colin Booth who, with Mike Morgan, liaised with the Youth Exchange Committee, Barry Seach our club photographer, Joseph Mack our Rotaspoke editor, MC Rod Jolly for his wonderful jokes and Muirfield Golf Club catering staff and bar staff.

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