Rotarian roles and responsibilities
R otarian volunteers have helped build Rotary Youth Exchange into the world-renowned program that it is today.
At the club, district and multidistrict level, Rotarians take care of the logistics that make the exchanges happen. They introduce students to other club members and organize social and cultural functions for them to attend. For long-term exchanges, host clubs and districts arrange secondary school enrollment, tuition, and other educational matters, and Rotarian counselors maintain contact with host families and students.
Though RI offers support to local Youth Exchange programs, clubs and districts run their exchanges independently of RI. While each program has its own rules for participants to follow, all Youth Exchange volunteers are devoted to the safety of students, and host clubs and districts maintain policies and procedures to protect them. Read more about Rotary’s commitment to youth safety .
Below are resources that provide tools to make Youth Exchange a success in your district:
Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth
In 2002, the RI Board of Directors adopted a Statement for Working with Youth, which applies to all Rotary activities:
Rotary International strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouse, and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they come into contact with and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Adopted by the RI Board of Directors in November 2002; amended in November 2006
Youth Exchange Program Certification
In order to participate in the Youth Exchange program, districts must attain certification by establishing the following minimum requirements for youth protection and exchange program operations:
- Adopt the Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth and development of a district abuse and harassment prevention or youth protection policy
- Establish the district or multidistrict Youth Exchange program as part of an incorporated entity
- Obtain adequate general liability insurance with coverage and limits appropriate for the district’s geographic location
If you are unsure of your district’s certification status, please contact RI staff at email@example.com .
Role of the district governor
District governors are responsible for the supervision and control of the Youth Exchange program and should be familiar with program guidelines and youth protection requirements. The district governor carries out the following duties:
- Appoints a district Youth Exchange chair
- Oversees the appointment of a district Youth Exchange committee
- Supports and monitors club and district programs to ensure Youth Exchange activities are conducted appropriately
- Addresses problems when they arise and corresponds with counterparts in other districts on behalf of a club or district chair
District Youth Exchange chair and committee
The district chair coordinates and promotes Youth Exchange activities within the district and communicates with Rotary International, the district governor, and clubs. Committee member responsibilities are included but not limited to the following :
1. Work with Rotary clubs on the following activities:
- Train club Youth Exchange committees
- Establish expectations for inbound and outbound students
- Provide information on Rotary resources to help strengthen clubs' Youth Exchange activities
- Encourage clubs to involve alumni in all aspects of the program and organize ROTEX activities
2. Coordinate the following youth protection efforts within the Youth Exchange program:
- Train host families, students, and adult volunteers
- Screen all adult volunteers
- Ensure that any volunteers who has admitted to, been convicted of or otherwise found to have engages in sexual abuse or harassment is prohibited from working with youth in a Rotary context
- Develop a support system for students that meet all requirements for district certification
- Report all serious student incidents (including accidents, deaths, early returns, crimes, allegations of abuse or harassment) to RI within 72 hours
3. Manage the following outbound exchange activities:
- Establish international contacts with certified districts and communicate with them to place students
- Help clubs select outgoing students
- Provide student and parent orientation
- Coordinate all travel and visa arrangements for students
- Serve as liaison between students, parents, and travel agency to ensure that itineraries for exchange are established
- Review reports received from students abroad
4. Manage the following inbound exchange activies:
- Serve as liaison between the district’s host Rotary clubs and the students’ home districts
- Coordinate orientation for students upon arrival
- Assist clubs in selection and orientation of host families
- Meet arriving students at local airports and coordinate departure flights
- Submit inbound student data (found on the guarantee form included in sample applications) to RI before or shortly after the students arrive. Subsequent host family information for long-term students must be sent to RI when students change host families.
5. Implement risk management policies and put a crisis management plan in place.
6. Develop program guidelines and rules for students that comply with RI policy.
7. Promote the program through district and club websites, advertisements, and news stories throughout the district.
8. Maintain effective lines of communication between all program participants and designate one person, usually the district chair, to perform the following:
- Share success stories, interesting exchange ideas, and positive alumni experiences with RI for inclusion in Rotary publications and on the RI website
- Submit an annual program survey to RI.
Youth Exchange Handbook (PDF)
Current Rotary Code of Policies (Youth Exchange policies are found in sections 2.110, 17.060, and 41.080)
Abuse and Harassment Prevention Training Manual and Leader's Guide (775-EN)
Current list of non-certified districts
RI Visual Identity Guide
RI Programs Photo Submission Form
Program brochures and guides
Long-term Youth Exchange Brochure (PDF)
Short-Term Youth Exchange Brochure (PDF)
New Generations Youth Exchange (PDF)
A Guide for Exchange Students (PDF)
A Guide for Host Families (PDF)
Youth Exchange Poster (available for purchase on shop.rotary.org )
Youth Exchange Postcards (available for purchase on shop.rotary.org )
Youth Exchange Sample Presentation (PPT)
RI staff: Telephone: 1-847-866-3421 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org