By Ryan Horne
Guelph residents have the chance to experience a bit of European flair this winter. You just have to let them into your home.
Canada World Youth (CWY) is looking for hosts to accommodate pairs of young volunteers who are participating in the Youth Leaders in Action program. The international exchange will involve nine Canadians from across the country and nine Ukrainians visiting the Royal City from Dec. 1, 2012, to Feb. 25, 2013.
“It can be a really rewarding experience to show them the best parts of your city and to also learn where they come from,” Canadian project supervisor Steve Day said in an interview.
The hope is to find nine willing households in Guelph to host a Canadian and a Ukrainian during their three-month stay in the city.
“It’s always been an uphill battle to find hosts,” said Day.
This isn’t the first time Guelph has been home to the Youth Leaders in Action Program. The city was involved in exchanges with Cuba in 2007-08 and in 2008-09, with Indonesia in 2006-07, and with Kenya and Tanzania in 2005-06.
The youths in the program are university students, ages 18 to 22. They will be volunteering in the community through various work placements, including environmental organizations, charities that need a helping hand and leadership workshops.
“The biggest complaint I get from hosts is that they don’t get to see enough of their kids,” Day said with a chuckle. “They are very motivated when they come here.”
They will volunteer nearly 4,000 hours to the community during their stay. To help out with costs of hosting, CWY provides a weekly allowance of $180 a week.
Day said the hosts have enjoyed being part of the experience in the past and thinks it will be the same this time around.
“It’s really enriching if you have kids of your own,” he said.
Before their time in Canada, the group will spend three months in Ostroh, Ukraine. A major reason for the exchange with the small European nation is the National University of Ostroh Academy, which has a similar “green campus” agenda as the University of Guelph.
CWY, founded in 1971, offers international education to people ages 17 to 24. In all, nearly 35,000 people from 67 countries including Canada have participated. CWY is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.
Anyone interested in being part of the Youth Leaders in Action program as a host should contact Day at firstname.lastname@example.org or 226-203-7226.