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 Youth Exchange Program - Guidelines for Host Clubs





If a Rotary Club decides to participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program then it is necessary for the Club President to appoint:

  • A Club Youth Exchange Officer and/or Club Counselor

** Often the YEO and Counselor is the same person but it is encouraged that clubs have two positions



The Counselor – The Counselor selected should be one who is genuinely interested in youth and the Youth Exchange Program.   The Rotarian should be able to relate to young people easily so that he/she can gain the student’s confidence and respect and be in a position to assist and give advice.   The Counselor should fully understand his/her responsibilities and have the time to attend to them.    Because of the role the Counselor plays in the program, he/she cannot be one of the host families.

Of Note, it sometimes happens that the Counselor and the student cannot get along.  If this happens then the Counselor should step aside in favor of another Counselor, where there can be a happier relationship.   The Counselor should not take this as an indication of his inefficiency as there can be times when personalities clash for no apparent reason.


The Youth Exchange Officer -  The YEO is typically the liaison for the Host Family.  Secures the required documents and follows up with the Host family through the exchange.




For the INBOUND Student

  • CERTIFY THE YEO and/or Counselor.

ü  Complete and submit the Youth Volunteer Application/Affidavit (A link to a portal will be sent to you once you have been identified as the YEO/Counselor for your Rotary Club.)

ü  References will be sent to the people you identified on the Volunteer application immediately upon completion of the application.

ü  A waiver will be emailed to you to complete for background check.

ü  Required by the Dept of State you must complete and pass the Dept of State Online Training (test) (To pass the Online test you should review the DOS - 22 CRF Part 62 regulations for Exchange Visitor Program Secondary School Students – a copy is enclosed) You will receive a login and password once you are confirmed as the Counselor/YEO.  This online test is an annual requirement.



1.     Receive and process the application including the guarantee form, school letter and electronic hosting form in a timely manner     

2.     Secure, at least, two host families (per RI) living in your school District.  The Host Family cannot be a relative to the inbound student nor can it be the Club Counselor.     Host family must not have access to an exchange student’s application until the Host family is approved.   You may, however, provide general information that in no way identifies the student (age, hobbies, country they are from, etc)

3.     Identify a High School in your area to host the student.





1.     The following must be done to certify/Approve Host Family:   

·       Host family should be interview and inspection of the home done

·       If HF is accepted by you then:  direct the family to the following link/Portal to complete the Host Family Application -   ESSEX Host Family Application  - http://bit.ly/ESXhfa

·       References:  families will have to identify two references with emails during the application process.  An email will automatically be sent to the names the family identifies as references asking them to complete a short reference questionnaire on line.

·       Background checks:   Once the HF application has been completed and submitted the family will receive an email to complete waivers for anyone living in the household over the age of 18.  (waivers should be forwarded to Sharon Rittenhouse – YEP Admin for process)

·       HOST FAMILY CHANGES – must be submitted via the ESSEX YEO Portal when the student switches families.



  • Establish contact by email with the student and give the student information to assist in their final travel preparations.   This information will already have been provided by the District Inbound Coordinator in correspondence made once the student has been officially accepted; however, you should confirm this information and/or provide additional information. 

ü  Introduce yourself as his/her Club Counselor and/or YEO.

ü  Provide Information on their host family, hosting community, hosting school district, and hosting club and District.

ü  Encourage the student to make contact with his 1st Host Family.

ü  Provide information to the student on any fees (club or school) that are not covered under the guidelines of the program

ü  Confirm details of the student’s anticipated date and time of arrival.

  • Be aware of the student’s responsibilities to the District.   When needed support the host family in getting the student to required District and Club meetings.
  • On the student’s arrival in the country the Club Counselor must.

ü  Must meet with the student in person upon arrival (within the first week), going to the airport along with the host family to welcome the student is a good idea.

ü  Ensure that the student receives his/her monthly allowance on a timely manner.

ü  The Counselor or Host Family should accompany the student to school for enrollment purposes, along with the host family.   The Host schools MUST be provided the contact information for the Club Counselor/YEO including name, direct phone number and email address.

  • Ensure that the student attends Rotary meetings as a Club guest on a regular basis and is invited to special club occasions.  The student should be introduced at each meeting they attend and encouraged to mingle with other Rotarians in the club.
  • Promote interest among as many Club members as possible to host the student for a meal, overnight stay, outing or holiday.     NOTE:    Background checks should be done for all District adult volunteers and hosts who will have direct, unsupervised one-on-one contact with exchange students.”          Definition of Volunteer:   any adult involved with Rotary YEP activities who has direct interactions with students.   This includes, Club and District YEP Officers, Rotarians and non-Rotarians (their spouses or partners) that host students for activities or outings or who might drive students to events and functions regularly.       In general, background checks need not be conducted for adults who will have ONLY casual or occasional group interactions with YEP students.     Any volunteer adult taking the student away or overnight should be background checked.
  • To remember the student’s birthday
  • Monthly visits to the student and host family must be documented via the ESSEX YEO Portal (you will be triggered to complete monthly)  http://bit.ly/EssexPortal
    1. Organize 2nd sponsor representative visit to home 30-60 days into hosting (representative other than the local coordinator that recruited the host family).  Document on the ESSEX YEO Portal
    1. Secure Post-evaluations from the Host family at the end of hosting and local High School representative at the end of the year.





Problems with the student occasionally occur.  The club should seek assistance from the District Committee for all but the smallest problems.   Small problems should not be allowed to grow into big ones that result in the termination of the student’s exchange.   The Counselor should contact the District YEP Chair for additional assistance.


Serious Incidents should be reported to District YEP Chair immediately.      Any sexual or harassment incidents reported to the District Youth Exchange Officer – Ron Smith at 215-896-6870….immediately.



The host Club has an obligation to arrange suitable host families of good character.   At least 2 host families should be sought for each student.   It is not necessary to have the names of all the prospective families available when it is decided to host a student, nor it is essential that all the hosts be Rotarians.  In fact, Clubs are encouraged to seek non-Rotarian families.   An excellent source of these families is those whose children have been or are current Exchange Students abroad.


Host Families cannot receive compensation for hosting a student as per the Dept of State Regulations.


All members of the Host Family household, residing in the home, must attend an Orientation prior to the student arrival in the home.     The District Youth Exchange Committee will hold two host family orientations in July and then throughout the year… one in the Northern part of the District and one in the Southern part.      If your families do not participate in the District Host Family Orientation then it is the Clubs responsibility to orient the family.   Host Family Handbooks are available upon request.



Some students do not need credit from the US schools as they have completed their high school education just prior to coming or will repeat this year when they return to the home country.  In these situations it is recommended that they follow a course of study which involves subjects or projects not normally available to them in their home country, such as music, art, computer science, typing, auto mechanics, etc.      Students are expected to maintain acceptable grades.   Poor marks and lack of participation reflect negatively on the Exchange Program.


Host Clubs should not enroll students in college or university should they be requested to do so by the student’s family.  The Youth Exchange Program is a HIGH SCHOOL program and high school attendance is a prerequisite to selection. 


The following form MUST be completed either when the original Guarantee form is completed or at the time of the students registration.     A copy of this form must be filed at the District level.    Form #IB29 – school checklist



The success or failure of a student exchange often hinges on communication between student and the host Rotary Club.   To often the student feels that the Rotary Club has little or no interest in him or her, with everything being left to the host families.   It is absolutely essential that continual and friendly contact be maintained between the student and the Counselor so that the student is given a feeling of belonging in the community and of being a part of an exchange experience in international understanding.   



In addition to monthly allowance, there is a District fee for hosting of $700.    The club should expect to cover all Rotary Club Functions that the student participates.



ESSEX YEO PORTAL:   http://bit.ly/EssexPortal

·       Submit Host Family changes

·       Submit Monthly Counselor Report





  • Rotary Club should take steps each year to publicize the Youth Exchange Program by making announcements to the Club, through the local High school.   Most school principals will cooperate by allowing announcements on the school PA, posting on the bulletin boards or assemblies.   It is strongly suggested that club YEO personally visit each High School to make a presentation on the Exchange Program to the interested students.   Foreign language and Social Studies teachers make excellent recruiters.
  • Host interview sessions for potential candidates for Outbound exchange. 

Selecting the Ideal Candidate:  

-        Above average academic qualifications,

-        Possess well-rounded personalities with an ability to think through their problems and to cope with the many problems and stresses of living in a foreign environment

-        Good Ambassadors not only of their own town, but also Rotary and their country

-        Have an inquiring mind and be actively interested in their own environment and the world in general

-        Active in their community through sports, hobbies, youth activities and church affairs.

-        Should be well adjusted.

-        Have the ability to cope with changing situations on a continuing basis.

  • Once the club identifies a good candidate, review the applications process and have the student complete the Long-Term Application located on website www.exchangestudent.org     Follow your District’s Long-Term Application instructions.
  • Once the student has been selected and endorsed by the District Committee, the Rotary Club should invite the student and parents to several Rotary meetings to meet the Club members and gain basic knowledge of Rotary, invite the student to present a short speech on their upcoming exchange and provide the student with an adequate supply of Club banners.
  • Plan to stay in contact with the outbound student periodically throughout the year.