Local students to travel to Newfoundland through exchange - July 13, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Twenty-one young people from Huron and Perth Counties will be heading to Newfoundland on July 17 as part of the YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada program. Two local participants and one of the chaperones were in Blyth on Monday to discuss the upcoming trip with Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson.
Kathy Douglas of Blyth, a youth minister with the Huron-Perth Presbytery, spearheaded the visit that brought Blyth’s Ella Sawchuk and Bluevale’s Peter Snyder to Thompson’s office for the meeting.
The program will be bringing 21 youths between the ages of 12 and 17 to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland for the exchange. The young people are part of the Huron and Perth Presbytery Youth (HAPPY) group.
To round out the exchange, a number of Newfoundland residents will then be travelling to Huron County in October.
In Newfoundland, the group will be visiting Signal Hill and The Rooms, which is an innovative and culturally-relevant institution that showcases Newfoundland and Labrador to the world.
In addition, the participants will be learning about the importance of the fishing industry of the province and how important it is to the viability and daily life of Newfoundland.
The week-long trip will also include a community outreach element and a clean-up of the Waterford River Valley.
Sawchuk, in an interview with The Citizen, said that she wanted to take part in the program in order to learn about different cultures. After hearing about how different things are in Newfoundland, she was immediately interested in learning more.
Snyder said he wanted to travel throughout the country as well, and the program would give him that opportunity. Snyder, whose sister is also taking the trip, says that it will be the first time he has left the province and the first time he has ever flown in a plane.
Douglas said that she hadn’t heard about the program until recently, but said that what she has since learned is that the program is a very important one for the YMCA organization.
When the exchange rounds out in October, Douglas says that the Newfoundland participants will focus on farming for their trip, visiting various local farms, farmers’ markets, farm machinery dealers and conservation areas, as well as the Stratford Festival.
Douglas said that Kate Monk of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority will be making a presentation to the participants and they will then plant trees at one of the authority’s conservation areas. They also hope to attend the St. Jacob’s farmers’ market and perhaps tour the University of Guelph.
Thompson offered a tour of Queen’s Park when the students are in Ontario, which Douglas said could be a possibility.
The YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada program has been running since 1976 and since then thousands of young people have travelled across the country as part of the program.
To read about the trip when the local students return or to follow the October portion of the exchange, be sure to read future issues of The Citizen.