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The Business of Rotary Youth Exchange presentation

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Presentation at Rotary Zones 25/26 Institute

Presentation at Rotary Zones 25/26 Institute

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  • Good morning. It is my privilege today to turn your focus to one of Rotary’s most visible, most personal, and most successful programs, Rotary Youth Exchange.  In districts throughout the world, Rotary Youth Exchange is an ongoing effort that involves some of the most dedicated Rotarians, individuals who are motivated by their belief in young people, and who take great pride in providing teenagers with unique experiences while truly breaking down barriers between countries. Rotary Youth Exchange is, for so many Rotarians, a labor of love. But today, we’re going to look at it from another angle. With all the paperwork, all the governmental and organizational requirements, and all of the effort required to keep this program going each year, Rotary Youth Exchange is more than a project, more than a program. So let us explore together, the business of Rotary Youth Exchange.
  • It’s safe to say that businesses are comprised of several elements, components like ideas, investors, suppliers, customers, products, and marketing. How do these apply to Rotary Youth Exchange? Well, let’s start at the top.
  • The ideas behind Rotary Youth Exchange include helping cultures to learn about each other, bringing the world into our schools and communities, and opening up the world to our citizens. It provides us with an opportunity to invest in our young people, and, in a very direct and personal way, to promote Rotary’s goals of international understanding and peace. Perhaps a mission statement would be appropriate, and for that, we turn to past Rotary International President Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammer.
  • When President Carl-Wilhelm was asked why he felt that Rotary Youth Exchange was so important, he responded by saying, “One of our goals is to create peace and better understanding between people. I think Rotary’s Youth Exchange program is the best way of doing that. My dream is for every 17-year-old to become a Youth Exchange student. If we could achieve this, there would be no more wars.”
  • So it is clear that the ideas behind the Youth Exchange business are truly the ideals of Rotary. What about the other components?We believe that there are two groups of investors. The first group is the parents, who, after all, are usually the ones who write the checks. But District Governors and their leadership teams are also investors, providing financial and organizational support for the program. So let’s say that the parents own the common stock, and the DG’s the preferred. Our suppliers are the districts and clubs who provide students to us, who go into schools and promote the program, and then interview and prepare those students for the opportunity that awaits them. Our customers, in turn, are the districts and clubs that will host our students. Some of you may be surprised at this definition, because it’s easy to think that the students are our customers. But that line of thought turns Youth Exchange Officers into little more than travel agents. If our ideas are truly to promote international understanding and peace, then our efforts must be continuous, year after year, and we must strive to satisfy our customers … our exchange partners … so that we can continue to do business with them year after year. And that brings us to our products, which are, in fact, the students. These are the products that we provide to our customers, and receive from our suppliers. These are the products that we hope will help us fulfill our goals, and on which we focus our energies. Those energies define our marketing efforts, in the way that we select and prepare our products to be as good as they can be. So now, let’s take a closer look at those products.
  • Our products come out with new models every year. They are bright and shiny … And they often consume a lot of fuel … These products are exported all over the world, and they’re imported too. In many places, especially in the USA, we’ve noticed a bit of a trade imbalance, with imports outnumbering exports. In fact, I must admit, the imports are often of better quality than the exports. And, it’s true that our exports often have features that are not well suited for the international marketplace. What does it sound like our product might be?
  • Well, yes indeed. I think we’ve defined our product pretty well. But to become even more familiar with our product, we’d like to take you on a short test drive.
  • The primary route for our test drive will be the website of our program, Rotary Youth Exchange Florida, where we proudly publish journals from our inbound and outbound students. Those journals give us an intimate look at the Youth Exchange experience, so let’s get started.
  • First, I’d like you to meet Mackenzie Laporte, who spent last year in Lithuania. Mackenzie reflected on the impact an exchange year has on the exchange student:“I like the person I'm becoming, and as every day passes I feel that person growing. I am somehow more sure of myself, more sure of what I want. But in other ways, I am just as lost as anyone else, and I question everything I do. I guess that transformation will never be complete; how could it be? Since I've seen a little more of the world, I have realized that with each new person I meet, I gain new perspectives, and in each new place I see, I can always find wonder.”“I am developing a thirst for new experiences, and I am not the scared little girl who arrived in Lithuania seven months ago. I am no longer intimidated by what I don't understand. I have found such a good place inside myself, that I don't need to be afraid. I am now aware that the only person in charge of how I feel is myself. And I am constantly surprised by just how good things really are.”
  • Here is TajahSchroff, who went to Ecuador, and found some cultural differences: “Hector gave another introduction speech, explaining the role of the medicine man in a society, his duties and responsibilities, his training. Domingo then lit the fire in the middle of the hut, and rolled a couple of cigar-type things. One by one, we took our seat on the chair in the middle, and Domingo performed the traditional cleansing ritual on us, brushing us with a small bunch of leaves, and blowing smoke down our backs and around our faces.”“With every hug from a family member, every outing with friends, every kind word or encouragement, I create a new voice, one that says that even though my time here will end, my impact here never will. I might be gone, but I am damn sure taking a part of the heart of every person that I have met here with me when I go, and I’m leaving behind a million parts of my own.”
  • Next, please meet Mike Williams, who was an inner city kid living with his grandparents when Rotary Youth Exchange changed his life: “Believe it or not, I think I am enjoying myself more on this farm then I ever have in the city. Maybe it's the smell screwin' with my thinkin' juice, or maybe I'm just havin' the time of my life.”“Now I have a new feeling in my soul, I am not sure if I know exactly what that is. It's a strange feeling, unlike anything I've ever felt before. One day I will wake up and it will be July 14th, the day I come home. And then I have to say goodbye to it all, My families, My new friends, My new life, I don't wanna go home... if you ask me, I feel as if I am already home.”
  • This is Ariana Stark, who began her exchange less than two months ago. But she seems to have a pretty good handle on what may lie ahead:“I’ve decided that I want to make this year extraordinary. So far, I’ve worked to embrace what may seem strange, solve possible communication problems, and have begun making those connections that make this very large world seem so much smaller.” “I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown. The first step is always the hardest, but it’s the one that’s most worth the taking.”
  • Here’s Matt Hagler, born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, we sent him to northern Siberia! Hey, you have to have a sense of humor in this business, right?“After the play ended our group of five went to a nearby café. We were constantly being watched since we also represented five different countries. After all, one foreigner in Yakutsk is unreal enough but five means we must have been banished here.”“The raw horse didn’t taste so strange anymore. It wasn’t much different than reaching into a bag of potato chips or popcorn; doubts only arose in me after seeing the occasional purple vein emerging from a chunk of the frozen meat.”
  • I’d like to take a little detour, and visit for a minute with AndrijanaKrasnec, a former inbound from Croatia, whose story was shared by your own Craig Nelson from District 5030:“The year I spent as an exchange student turned out to be much more than I had possibly expected. Growing up in communist Yugoslavia, I was brought up not to trust strangers. My family lived in a constant state of fear from the Communist party that was involved in all the aspects of our lives.”“My involvement with Rotary members showed me a different side of human nature, one I had previously experienced only in my family. I was deeply touched by the sincere interest of my host families, counselor, and Rotarians about the political situation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially by their willingness to help.”
  • “Today, fifteen years later, I am Advisor to the Vice Prime Minister in the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Two months ago I graduated from Harvard Kennedy School. I doubt I would have the courage to apply to Harvard, had I not had the experience of being a Rotary Exchange Student.”“The idea of service and care for the world I live in was sparked in me by the Rotary Club when I was a teenager. I am living the mission of service ever since.”
  • This is Jacob Dobbs, who was hosted in Phuket, Thailand, when the tsunami struck in December 2004: “Now, as I write this report, the death toll climbs to about 70,000. I have been trying my best to take advantage of the situation that I was put in, especially since so many families and local people were not as lucky as I had been. Yesterday I spent the entire day at City Hall, where over 30 representatives of Embassies from around the world tried to help the victims fix their passport or money problems, and send them straight to Bangkok. The area was filled with boards of fliers with the faces of missing loved ones, and a large hospital board posted pictures of people that were too mangled to recognize. I was an English – Spanish – Thai translator for the tourists, basically escorting people through the whole process of getting enough paperwork done to get sent back to their countries.”
  • How does an experience like that impact someone’s life? Let’s catch up with Jacob…After his exchange, Jacob went to Florida International University, majoring in International Relations and Finance. He then was awarded a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, and studied for a year in China. He recently told me,“Right now I'm still in Shanghai, finishing my thesis for my Master's degree in Chinese Economy at Fudan University while developing an Experience gift company that I started about a year ago.”“I also just got engaged to Lana Yang, whom I actually met in Thailand about 6 years ago and have been keeping in touch since getting to China (pretty sure this says enough about Rotary's influence in my life!). We're having a Chinese style wedding in her hometown in Kunming, China this January.”
  • “In terms of Rotary, I just finished my year as President of the Rotaract Club of Shanghai and now sit on the board as a director. We have been doing food and clothing drives, orphanage trips, projects to help migrant schoolchildren, and even a project to renovate a hospital in the DPRK.”“Perhaps the biggest message I can give is this: Beware - becoming part of any Rotary program means a lifelong commitment to an open mind and desire to help others. Take every challenge as an opportunity to serve and give without holding anything back - you will build some of the strongest lifelong relationships in the process.”
  • And to conclude our road trip, we will circle back to Mike Williams, who summarized his year like this:“I get it now... I understand what this program is all about... understanding... An exchange never ends, it continues forever, because the only thing guaranteed in life is change, the only thing to satisfy change is understanding, and the only way to truly achieve understanding is adaptation.“Rotary gives you an opportunity to WITNESS change in understanding through adaptation, first hand. And that is truly a miracle. That is how and why world peace can be achieved... We are all so different, yet so alike, that it is actually possible to change the world, one person at a time, one year at a time... So... who's turn is it next?”
  • The answer to that question, fellow Rotarians, is in your hands. There are Mikes and Jacobs and Arianas and Mackenzies in all of our communities, in all of our schools. It is our privilege and our responsibility as Rotarians to reach out to them, to open the doors to this amazing opportunity, because Rotary Youth Exchange is truly open for business.And now, it is my pleasure to introduce you to one more of our products. This young lady’s words have been part of my presentations many, many times. But today, you did not see her on one of the slides. Instead, we brought along a “real product” for all of you. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to introduce to you one of our finest former exchange students, one that I am very proud of, and one which I think you will enjoy meeting. She was sponsored by Rotary District 6970 in northeast Florida, and spent her exchange year near Tokyo, Japan, in District 2770. Please welcome Hannah Klein.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Business of Rotary Youth Exchange
      A Global Venture
      Building Vehicles of Peace
      Al Kalter, Chairman
      Rotary Youth Exchange Florida
    • 2. Components of any business
      Ideas
      Investors
      Suppliers
      Customers
      Products
      Marketing
    • 3. Ideas …
      Help cultures to know each other
      Bring the world into our communities
      Building Communities
      Open up the world to our citizens
      Bridging Continents
      Invest in our young people
      Build international understanding and peace
    • 4. Ideas …
      Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar
      Rotary International President, 2005-06
      Why do you feel the Rotary Youth Exchange program is so important?
      “One of our goals is to create peace and better understanding between people. I think Rotary’s Youth Exchange program is the best way of doing that. My dream is for every 17-year-old to become a Youth Exchange student. If we could achieve this, there would be no more wars.”
    • 5. Components of any business
      Ideas
      Investors
      Suppliers
      Customers
      Products
      Marketing
      Ideas = Rotary Ideals
      Investors = Parents and District Governors
      Suppliers = Sponsor districts/clubs
      Customers = Host districts/clubs
      Products = Students
      Marketing = Selection/Preparation
    • 6. Defining our product …
      New models every year
      Bright, shiny, with lots of energy
      Often consume a lot of fuel
      Exported all over the world; imported too
      Imports usually outnumber exports
      Imports often better quality than exports
      Exports often have features that are not really suited for the international market
    • 7. Defining our product …
    • 8. How about a test drive?
    • 9. www.ryeflorida.org
    • 10. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Mackenzie Laporte
      Outbound to Lithuania, 2009-10
      “I like the person I'm becoming, and as every day passes I feel that person growing. I am somehow more sure of myself, more sure of what I want. But in other ways, I am just as lost as anyone else, and I question everything I do. I guess that transformation will never be complete; how could it be? Since I've seen a little more of the world, I have realized that with each new person I meet, I gain new perspectives, and in each new place I see, I can always find wonder.”
      “I am developing a thirst for new experiences, and I am not the scared little girl who arrived in Lithuania seven months ago. I am no longer intimidated by what I don't understand. I have found such a good place inside myself, that I don't need to be afraid. I am now aware that the only person in charge of how I feel is myself. And I am constantly surprised by just how good things really are.”
    • 11. The Youth Exchange Experience
      TajahSchroff
      Outbound to Ecuador, 2005-06
      “Hector gave another introduction speech, explaining the role of the medicine man in a society, his duties and responsibilities, his training. Domingo then lit the fire in the middle of the hut, and rolled a couple of cigar-type things. One by one, we took our seat on the chair in the middle, and Domingo performed the traditional cleansing ritual on us, brushing us with a small bunch of leaves, and blowing smoke down our backs and around our faces.”
      “With every hug from a family member, every outing with friends, every kind word or encouragement, I create a new voice, one that says that even though my time here will end, my impact here never will. I might be gone, but I am damn sure taking a part of the heart of every person that I have met here with me when I go, and I’m leaving behind a million parts of my own.”
    • 12. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Mike Williams
      Outbound to Italy, 2005-06
      “Believe it or not I think I am enjoying myself more on this farm then I ever have in the city. Maybe it's the smell screwin' with my thinkin' juice, or maybe I'm just havin' the time of my life.”
      “Now I have a new feeling in my soul, I am not sure if I know exactly what that is. It's a strange feeling, unlike anything I've ever felt before. One day I will wake up and it will be July 14th, the day I come home. And then I have to say goodbye to it all, My families, My new friends, My new life, I don't wanna go home... if you ask me, I feel as if I am already home.”
    • 13. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Ariana Stark
      Outbound to Hungary, 2010-11
      “I’ve decided that I want to make this year extraordinary. So far, I’ve worked to embrace what may seem strange, solve possible communication problems, and have begun making those connections that make this very large world seem so much smaller.”
      “I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown. The first step is always the hardest, but it’s the one that’s most worth the taking.”
    • 14. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Matt Hagler
      Outbound to Russia, 2004-05
      “After the play ended our group of five went to a nearby café. We were constantly being watched since we also represented five different countries. After all, one foreigner in Yakutsk is unreal enough but five means we must have been banished here.”
      “The raw horse didn’t taste so strange anymore. It wasn’t much different than reaching into a bag of potato chips or popcorn; doubts only arose in me after seeing the occasional purple vein emerging from a chunk of the frozen meat.”
    • 15. The Youth Exchange Experience
      AndrijanaKrasnec
      Inbound from Croatia to Lancaster, PA(courtesy of Craig Nelson, D5030, Issaquah WA)
      “The year I spent as an exchange student turned out to be much more than I had possibly expected. Growing up in communist Yugoslavia, I was brought up not to trust strangers. My family lived in a constant state of fear from the Communist party that was involved in all the aspects of our lives.”
      “My involvement with Rotary members showed me a different side of human nature, one I had previously experienced only in my family. I was deeply touched by the sincere interest of my host families, counselor, and Rotarians about the political situation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially by their willingness to help.”
    • 16. The Youth Exchange Experience
      AndrijanaKrasnec
      Inbound from Croatia to Lancaster, PA(courtesy of Craig Nelson, D5030, Issaquah WA)
      “Today, fifteen years later, I am Advisor to the Vice Prime Minister in the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Two months ago I graduated from Harvard Kennedy School. I doubt I would have the courage to apply to Harvard, had I not had the experience of being a Rotary Exchange Student.”
      “The idea of service and care for the world I live in was sparked in me by the Rotary Club when I was a teenager. I am living the mission of service ever since.”
    • 17. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Jacob Dobbs
      Outbound to Thailand, 2004-05
      “Now, as I write this report, the death toll climbs to about 70,000. I have been trying my best to take advantage of the situation that I was put in, especially since so many families and local people were not as lucky as I had been. Yesterday I spent the entire day at City Hall, where over 30 representatives of Embassies from around the world tried to help the victims fix their passport or money problems and send them straight to Bangkok. The area was filled with boards of fliers with the faces of missing loved ones, and a large hospital board posted pictures of people that were too mangled to recognize. I was an English – Spanish – Thai translator for the tourists, basically escorting people through the whole process of getting enough paperwork done to get sent back to their countries.”
    • 18. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Jacob Dobbs
      Outbound to Thailand, 2004-05
      Graduated from Florida International Univ.
      Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in China
      “Right now I'm still in Shanghai, finishing my thesis for my Master's degree in Chinese Economy at Fudan University while developing an Experience gift company that I started about a year ago.”
      “I also just got engaged to Lana Yang, whom I actually met in Thailand about 6 years ago and have been keeping in touch since getting to China (pretty sure this says enough about Rotary's influence in my life!). We're having a Chinese style wedding in her hometown in Kunming, China this January.”
    • 19. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Jacob Dobbs
      Outbound to Thailand, 2004-05
      Graduated from Florida International Univ.
      Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in China
      “In terms of Rotary, I just finished my year as President of the Rotaract Club of Shanghai and now sit on the board as a director. We have been doing food and clothing drives, orphanage trips, projects to help migrant schoolchildren, and even a project to renovate a hospital in the DPRK.”
      “Perhaps the biggest message I can give is this: Beware - becoming part of any Rotary program means a lifelong commitment to an open mind and desire to help others. Take every challenge as an opportunity to serve and give without holding anything back - you will build some of the strongest lifelong relationships in the process.”
    • 20. The Youth Exchange Experience
      Mike Williams
      Outbound to Italy, 2005-06
      “I get it now... I understand what this program is all about... understanding... An exchange never ends, it continues forever, because the only thing guaranteed in life is change, the only thing to satisfy change is understanding, and the only way to truly achieve understanding is adaptation.
      “Rotary gives you an opportunity to WITNESS change in understanding through adaptation, first hand. And that is truly a miracle. That is how and why world peace can be achieved... We are all so different, yet so alike, that it is actually possible to change the world, one person at a time, one year at a time... So... who's turn is it next?”
    • 21. Our product catalog
      Open for Business
    • 22. Hannah Klein