Imagine the impact two weeks in Italy or Spain could have on the life of a 16-year old teenager who lives in District 5220. From the Central Valley or the Foothills of California to Northern Italy or Central Spain, some of our very own students could have a chance to interact with a global mix of similarly-aged youth.
Rotary’s Youth Exchange offers short-term, two-week camps for students every summer. Internationally, Rotary clubs host 1,200 camps every year. In Italy alone, clubs sponsor 100 camps every summer for students from around the world.
From Trekking to Sailing Italy offers over 100 camps throughout the country. Each camp is run independently by a club and district and has different themes. Last year, for example, some of the camp themes included tennis and trekking in Lombardy, culture of Milan, sailing in Northern Italy, and interacting with horses.
What is the Age Range?
Each camp specifies different age ranges. The total age range is 15-20, but some camps will break up the range by only accepting 16-17 year olds, for example. Where do Students Stay? Students stay with host families, or sometimes at a hotel owned by a Rotarian. If they stay at hotels, they will have a local chaperone/guide.
How Many Students Participate in Each Camp?
Each camp is different. Most range from 8-16 students per camp. They are evenly split between boys and girls, and most accept only one student from each country to ensure an international blend. English is the specified language for all of the camps. How Are Students Chosen? The selection process is the same as that in place for short and long-term exchanges. Students apply and are selected based on their leadership qualities and an in-person interview.
How Much Does the Program Cost?
Rotary makes the camps as affordable as possible to encourage participation. Students are responsible for airfare and spending money. Some of the camps ask for a fee of approximately $200 to cover activity costs. Rotary pays for and arranges accommodations and meals.
When Do the Camps Take Place?
The camps are held in the summer. Typically, the two-week range falls from late-June to July, though some are also held in September. Camps in Spain The camps in Spain have a similar format to the Italian camps. Students fly over and spend two weeks learning about the culture, trekking, or participating in sports with an international blend of students their age. They’ll live with host families or stay at hotels. Spain hosts four total camps and has more campers per camp than the Italian camps—over 20 students per camp. Students pay for the cost of the plane ticket, but Rotary carries the bulk of the costs for arrangements and activities.