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High school students invited to apply for Rotary Youth Exchange

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Applications are now being accepted from high school sophomores, juniors or seniors to apply for student exchange through Rotary International to one of 200 countries for the 2020-2021 school year.

Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace and understanding, one young person at a time. Students learn a new language, discover another culture and truly become global citizens.

Since 1963, clubs in the local Rotary district have participated in international youth exchanges with well over 1,000 students having been hosted and sponsored, here and abroad. The “long-term” or academic year program lasts from 10 to 12 months and the “short-term” exchange program is a family-to-family exchange that typically is for four weeks in the summer.

In addition to sponsoring the youth exchange, Doylestown, Warrington and Central Bucks Rotary clubs offer an abundance of other activities for youth in Bucks County. Interact Clubs, Camp Neidig Leadership Camp, the 4-Way Test Speech Competition, and annual scholarships are offered to all youth.

Jo-Anne Atwell, Doylestown Rotary Youth Programing coordinator, encourages young people to “try something new and make yourself stand out in the crowd.” Most of these opportunities allow students to develop themselves and show their talents toward higher education and career paths.

The youth branch of Rotary International are the Interact Clubs. Interact Clubs exist or may be established in high schools and middle schools. Interact Clubs bring together young people ages 12 to 18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of “Service Above Self,” a byline of the Rotary Club worldwide. Interact Clubs exists at Central Bucks High Schools South and West and welcome high school students from the community for comradery, services and friendship.

For those youth who wish to strengthen leadership skills, a Rotary Leadership Camp takes place at Camp Neidig in Berks County over a four-day weekend at the end of the school year in June.

The camp is sponsored by a number of Rotary clubs in the Rotary District 7430. Its purpose is to provide exceptional young men and women with the opportunity to live, work and socialize together in a dynamic leadership environment. Applications are available through school guidance counselors or the website address listed below.

Any youth who is passionate about practicing public speaking or similarly about persuasive speaking can engage in the 4-Way Test Speech Contest through the Doylestown Rotary Club. Students receive coaching and present a debatable topic and persuade the audience with oratorical skill and will. Public speaking proficiency and good critical thinking skills are important leadership attributes.

The contest kickoff is in October, with preparations managed within each school (homeschooled or private school students welcomed) and offficial competitions begin in March.

Doylestown Rotary’s first prize for this contest is $500 plus the opportunity to move to the district competition. Information can be found at the website listed below or by contacting Inge Stannik at istannik@cbsd.org.

Doylestown Rotary also offers a $1,000 annual scholarship (renewable for four years) to a deserving candidate who is a current senior at one of the three Central Bucks high schools or a private high school or homeschool within the Central Bucks attendance area and also is eligible for acceptance to an accredited college or university.

Candidates will be considered who apply and demonstrate qualities including potential to contribute to society throughout their lives, with community involvement and work experience, outstanding character with evidence of compassion, selflessness, passion, commitment, integrity, and knowledge of the role of service organizations, specifically the role of Rotary International in the local and world communities.

The Rotary Club of Doylestown will recognize scholarship winners at the Awards Night at each school and at a Rotary Club meeting.

For information on youth programs, visit portal.clubrunner.ca/3052/page/youth-programs or contact Atwell at joanne.atwell@gmail.com.


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