2011-03-02, Dave Driscoll and Lorraine Huit, Rotary Youth Exchange

At 12:10PM, President Richelle Ponder called the meeting to order. Ivan Stubbs gave the invocation and President Richelle led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jim Maxon was song leader and did a good job leading us in “Don’t Fence Me In”…except for the fast parts. President Richelle asked the group to give our pianist, Anita Blackburn, a round of applause for the great music and another jolly meet and greet followed. Rick Jackson was the “Mystery Greeter”.

Our President asked members to introduce their guests, which they did. Our student guests from Las Cruces and San Andres High Schools were also introduced along with three visiting Rotarians. Jay Jordan recieves Multiple Paul Harris pin from Bill HartyBill Harty then presented Jay Jordan with his multiple Paul Harris Fellow pin. Jay had been unable to attend the “Official” ceremonies last December. Congratulations, Jay, and thank you! After the collection of several Happy $$$, Mel Parish, one of our sterling Club Directors, took to the podium. Mel discussed the possibility of our club again hosting an international student and asked that members fill out a survey form left on the table and return it to him.

The Program

Our March program chair, Jim Maxon, then introduced our guest speakers, Lorraine Huit and Dave Driscoll, who discussed Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program. Both Lorraine and Dave are members of the West El Paso Rotary Club. Lorraine is currently President of the club and Dave served for 25 years on the District Rotary Youth Exchange Committee. Dave noted that the Las Cruces clubs have not participated very actively in Rotary Youth Exchange. However he did note that the Rio Grande Club currently is hosting a student from Brazil and that our club was actively doing so several years back. He chided that as New Mexico’s second largest city, we should be doing more.

Dave DriscollDave then recounted his experience hosting exchange students and stated that it was a great way for club members to learn about another culture. He noted that the program is a reciprocal exchange so that our children also have the opportunity to experience life in another country. He stated that District 5520 works with 12 or 13 countries, mostly in Europe. The students who participate are generally juniors or seniors with reasonably good grades. The program is unique in that the host families are volunteers and they do not have to be Rotarians. He also noted that the volunteer host families do not have to have children of their own, although it would be helpful for the incoming student if the first host family did have at least one child near the student’s age. (Three families host the student over the 12 month program.)

Lorraine HuitLorraine reported that the District’s Youth Exchange students meet as a group four times over the year and that they met in Las Cruces late last year and had a great time. Most of the students come from European countries, so the American Southwest is a totally new experience for them. For the first 30 days this area is quite a “culture shock” for them, but they quickly become acclimated and by the time the year is up, most hate to leave. Some students come with images of the old westerns such as there will still be horses on the streets and Indians might be attacking them.

Both speakers strongly urged us to consider again hosting a foreign student.

After the Program

Amber Salazar, the sister of Azalea Salazar, our student of the month from San Andres High School, won the drawing. Congratulations Amber!! There was no can report. The meeting ended with our reciting the 4 Way Test. 

<prior week    following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
June Briggs Dinus Briggs
Marla Honeycutt Vic Villalobos
Don Tidwell (from Houston, TX) John Pickett
Amber Salazar Azalea Salazar

Visiting Rotarians

Rotarian Home Club
Mark Glenn Mesilla Valley
Wendy Beserra Rio Grande
Vic Villalobos Rio Grande

Student Guests

Student School
Chris Ericson Las Cruces
Azalea Salazar San Andres


Rotarian Date Club
Elaine Szalay 2/23 Rio Grande
Elaine Szalay 3/1 Rio Grande
Earl Phillips 2/23 Rio Grande

Submitted by Ron SalakRon Salak