Life lessons across cultures and around the world
Each year the Lions International Youth Camp and Lions International Exchange Program introduce young people to life in other cultures by helping them travel abroad. Each Youth Camp and Exchange program include an extended stay hosted by one of our many international clubs. The youths are from 13 countries across Europe and the Middle East: Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
As a participant in the international student exchange program for youth ages 15-21, they will live with a family in another country; meet people their age from around the world and learn about the bonds we all share — and the differences we respect in each other no matter where we live. More than 100 Lions youth camps are held each year in about 39 countries. Activities include visits to places of cultural or natural interest, sporting events and country presentations by the camp participants.
The Youth Camps ages 16-22 are arranged in hundreds of countries and geographic locations where there are Lions clubs. Most student exchanges last between four and six weeks during which the participants stay with one or more host families in another country. The actual camps are one or two weeks long and bring together young people from around the world.
Some camps may include a family stay with host Lions that last between one and four weeks following the camp. Lions across the state have opened their homes to these students and are showing off our great state. This past week 27 exchange students started their adventure here in Fairbanks. They were able to take to the “bush” with the off road clubs for a day of the real Alaska in 4-wheel drive vehicles. At the eye glass recycling center in North Pole, the youth camp students cleaned and sorted eye glasses to send around the world.
Local Lions Clubs will play host to these Youth Exchange Campers here in our area. The youth will be provided dinner and fellowship at Guidos by the Captain Cook Lions when they arrive on the Aug. 29. Mt. View Lions will have these youth staying at their clubhouse during their stay.
Their adventure has gone from Fairbanks to Denali National Park to Eagle River/Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. The youth enjoyed mountain biking, river rafting, hiking, shopping, bird watching, dog sled rides, gold panning, baseball, etc. – are you tired yet? They were amazed by the scenery, mosquitoes, moose, eagles, caribou, daylight and of course how wet and cold our state can be during the summer. Well needless to say, all that the great North has to offer was provided for the youth. They return to their respective countries with great memories and new friendships.
If you would like to learn more about being a lion, visit www.lionsclubs.org, www.eagleriverlions.com or www.sleepingladylions.org or give me a call at 242-1129.