We Are Family
The Lions Club has the primary goal to inspire communities all around the world to take action. The Lions Youth Exchange located in Michigan is working at providing a new understanding of cultures around the world. For the second year, Triple L Youth Exchange Camp in Michigan is hosting a home stay exchange for the summer of 2018, in addition to a camp for ages ranging from fifteen to twenty-two, sponsored by the Lions Club. Partnering with over 200 countries in the world, Michigan has the opportunity to host exchange students; this outreach program is designed to serve and create an international understanding between distinct cultures to embrace their different aspects.
Triple L Youth Exchange 2017
In the summer of 2017, five students from Italy, two students from Michigan, and one student from Brazil, participated in the Lions Youth Exchange Program to kick off Michigan's first ever camp. Camp was sponsored by Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind. Throughout their four-day stay, the participants educated each other on their cultures and what their countries meant to them. In addition to educating each other, everlasting friendships were formed. From late nights singing around the campfire to early mornings conversing around the breakfast table, the participants embraced not only their cultures, but they learned about themselves as well. The collaboration of ideas between the participants encouraged the Lions' "We Serve" motto, stimulating a loving atmosphere. Michigan's first-ever camp, along with its youth exchange program, left students in awe. The students arrived in Michigan two-three weeks in advance and spent four days in camp before heading back home to their countries.
To fulfill the camp experience, participants found themselves engaged in assisting in the kitchen during all meals to complete tasks in a shorter amount of time as a collaborative force. Moreover, participants were also involved in managing the gardens for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind students who spend summer camp in the same facility. The management included weeding of the vegetable gardens and re-establishing space for the native plants that were overgrown by the weeds.
The Lions Club is the world's largest service club organization, and as a whole, they focus on serving local communities and also other communities around the world. The Lions of Michigan took the Lions' "We Serve" motto as an example by which to work during their sponsored camp for LEO's. To them, serving is beneficial: big or small. A small difference is just as important as a big difference, for they both inflict changes that serve others for the better.
Activities & Everlasting Friendships
Last summer, Triple L Youth Exchange students traveled lazily down the Rogue River in Rockford, Michigan. Although the water was chilly, the students had a blast with each other!
One of the most important aspects of understanding a person is learning how to cooperate effectively through teamwork. Being blindfolded allowed these participants to learn about communication from a sightless perspective; this exercise sprouted conversation and permitted assimilation between them.
Some of the most important memories made at any camp are the moments in between. All students participated in activities by teaching each other games and activities that entertained all involved. Students were seen participating in card games and balloon making activities. In addition to this, students took part in cooking competitions and building houses out of vegetables found in the kitchen area; these activities spurred creativity and imagination on otherwise boring, rainy days. On the sunnier days, students were seen taking hikes on the beaten trails and discovering bridges and waterways that ran through the Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind campground. Overall, the students were spotted having a great time!
How Can You Get Involved?
The Lions of Michigan are asking for participants to consider hosting students from other countries in order to implement effective communication between all LEO's and Lions around the world. The Triple L Youth Exchange is in need of host families within the community to provide a temporary home for those students visiting from other countries. The home stay lasts between three-six weeks; furthermore, those participating have the opportunity to spend a week in July of 2018 at Triple L Youth Exchange to form international friendships that can last a lifetime. Our goal is to increase the number of participants within the International Youth Exchange Program to engage in social and community service projects as a united force.
"Camp was life-changing! I had such an amazing time at the LEO International Camp this past summer! My experiences included tremendous amounts of fun activities with people from around the world. This camp was an experience that I think everyone should have."
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