Also attending were 7 Rotexes and 5 Rotarians. Gary
and Kit Aguren (Willowbrook), Birda Gaskin (D5910), and Alan (Space Center) and
Gaye (Pasadena) Wylie.
The camp name, "Cho Yeh", is an Indian phrase which means "where tall trees grow".
The camp name is used to reflect "where young people grow tall" through the
inspirations at the camp. The camp was ideal for our needs. We plan to return
there next year.
We arrived Friday at noon and
conducted training and team building activities until Sunday noon. The students
were very much motivated and bonded together like you would not believe, unless
you have attended such sessions before. They are now ready to go abroad and be
The 7 Rotexes, as always, were the
key to the camp. They told their stories - what worked for them, what were the
challenges, etc. Because of the Rotex students, the outbound students now have
a much better understanding of the "Magic of Rotary Youth
The students and their parents had
already attended two orientation sessions back in January and March. During the
camp, we told stories, showed videos, conducted Role Plays, etc, to more deeply
reflect the importance of adapting and being members of the host families, doing
well in school, getting to know their counselors and Rotary clubs.
cultural awareness games (Ba Fa Ba Fa, Barnga). We went over the rules - the
joy of naturally integrating into the rules environment, and the problems that
would occur if they had to go home early. We addressed how to react to the
unlikely event of abuse or harassment. We discussed the features of Rotary
(Paul Harris, the foundation, ambassadorial scholars, etc.).
We discussed the
importance of discuss, not debate. The importance of smiles and good body
language. The importance of observing the features of the new culture before
making unintentional cultural mistakes. The importance of asking for help when
help is needed, knowing that Rotarians will always be available to help.
suggested that they learn the four way test in their new language and ask their
clubs if they could lead the four way test (an idea to consider for next year's
inbound students). We discussed questions of international interest. We
discussed how homesickness would be natural at the beginning, the importance of
finding the right set of friends, and how difficult it will be saying good-bye
at the end.
Sunday, we handed out certificates
to each of the students and to the Rotex students. Then
we cleaned the camp and said good-bye, which took a while. Lot of hugging going