Youth Exchange Counselor (YEC)

  • CANNOT be one of the Host Parents, the Student’s High School Principal, or School Superintendent.

  • Preferably, not required, be of the same sex as the Inbound Student.
  • Be a member of the Host Rotary Club, appointed to serve as the Inbound Student’s advocate when he/she is having difficulties at home or at school, additional contact, and friend.
  • Be willing to participate in appropriate training and orientation sessions offered at the District or the Club level.
  • Become familiar with the Rotary Youth Exchange policies to assist the Inbound Student with questions, without contradicting Rotary philosophies and expectations.
  • Meet with the Inbound Student at least once per month, to give sound advice and deal with any problems, fears and worries the Inbound Student may have.
  • Represent the Inbound Student’s point of view in case conflict resolution is needed.
  • Help with self-discipline if he/she goes off track.
  • Be familiar with the District 5470 Abuse and Harassment Policy and the action to be taken in the event of discovery of abuse/harassment.


Vetting Requirements

1. Volunteer Application

2. Annual Background Check

3. Volunteer Training
Adults (18+) who have frequent interaction with an Exchange Student must be trained. These mandatory trainings can be completed online as described below. While they can be completed at any time of the year, we suggest July to prepare for the August Inbound Student arrivals. The Youth Exchange Officer (YEO) will be tracking who has completed the trainings. The January Department of State Audits require this.

4. Department of State Training
Department of State online training will be automatically sent to all active Counselors once a year. Prepare for the test by reviewing the Department of State Regulations.

5. Online District Training
a. NAYEN Youth Protection Training (YPA)
: Volunteers who have frequent interaction with an Exchange Student must take an online training session and exam to help them recognize and deal with acceptable/unacceptable behaviors and signs of abuse/harassment. Even if your only contact is as a District Interviewer or volunteer at Orientation, you ARE required to take this training. Note* The training module and exam will automatically be emailed to you once you submit the Volunteer Application.

b. WESSEX Youth Protection Certificate (YPC): Volunteers who have sporadic (occasionally picking up from school, interaction at a social event, etc.) or one-time contact with an Exchange Student are NOT required to take this training. Note* The training module and exam will automatically be emailed to you once you submit the Volunteer Application.

Email our Compliance Officer (Dale Mullen) and District Chair (Jim Duke) with the names of ALL volunteers who have frequent interaction with Exchange Students. If you do not receive one of the above training modules, please email


Helpful Guidelines

Before arrival of the student:
• Establish early contact by e-mail or letter with both the student and his or her parents and give them some information on the area, the school and any information to assist in their final travel preparations. Club, District, School, and local newspaper websites can give the student a lot of information.
• Obtain details of the student’s anticipated date and time of arrival.
• Make contact or visit the school which the student will attend to make arrangements for education. Obtain term times and bus availability if appropriate.
• Have arranged at least the first host family.
• Make up a file of useful information for host families to be passed on as the student moves.
• Ensure that all adult host family members have submitted background check forms to the District Security Officer.
• Hold a meeting of Counselor, Club YEO, President and Treasurer to discuss finance and the schedule for the year.
• Decide how much allowance to give to the student on a monthly basis and how those funds are to be transferred to the student.
• Create a District events schedule and list of contacts (counselor, host families) with addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses and distribute to all  involved persons.
• Ensure that host families realize that if a club invites the student to an event, all costs are paid by the club. For required District events, the club is also required to arrange transportation.

On the student’s arrival, the YEC or YEO should:
• Welcome the student at the arrival airport, with the first host parents and/or members of the hosting Rotary Club. If the Counselor cannot do this, then arrangements should be made for another member(s) of the club to do so.
• Visit the school with the student and introduce him or her to the school personnel, guidance counselor, principal, superintendent, etc. Ensure that the student is aware of the choice of subjects available.
• Make and keep a photocopy of the student’s passport. The student should keep the original passport.
• Check the student’s airline tickets to be sure he or she has a round-trip ticket. An open return ticket is necessary in emergencies or if the student must be returned home for disciplinary reasons. The return ticket should be retained by the student in a safe place, but the Counselor should take photocopies for use in case of emergency.
• District 5470 requires inbound students to have medical, sickness and liability insurance which is purchased by District 5470 and reimbursed by each inbound student (except those from Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand who carry their own insurance from their home country). The student should give funds to pay for the insurance to the Counselor, who will send it to the District Chair. The insurance card will be returned to the Counselor to be given to the student.
• The student is required to bring emergency funds of US$500, which must be given to the counselor and deposited in a local bank with Counselor/YEO as co-signer on the account. Additional funds and monthly stipend checks can be deposited into the student’s account, but at no time should the funds in the account go below $500. If at any time there is not $500 in the account, the Inbound Coordinator and District Chair should be notified.
• Arrange for a bank account to be opened for the student (may be the same in which the emergency fund is deposited) and agree on payment dates for monthly allowance from the hosting Rotary Club. Consider arranging for a debit card for use by the student at the same time.
• Establish contact with a local doctor for the student. This is most often done when the student completes a Sports Physical required if he or she is participating in a school sport.
• Outline what is expected of the student by your Rotary Club and District. For example, attendance at Rotary meetings, regular reports to the club, attendance at District Conference, District RYE meetings, etc. As soon as possible, take the student to a local Rotary Club meeting and ask him or her to introduce him/herself to the club.
• Ensure that the student knows how to contact the Counselor and Club YEO. Give him or her phone numbers and e-mail addresses. He or she should also be furnished with local safety and law enforcement contact information.
• Hold a meeting of all host families and counselor shortly after the student has arrived to cross refer all information.

During their year in this country, the YEC or YEO should:
• Know where to contact the student at any time – consider providing him or her with a “pay as you go” mobile phone (Net 10 available at Wal-Mart is recommended) that you can program with important contact numbers (counselor, Club YEO, Club President, Inbound Coordinator, District Chair). Give host families the student’s mobile phone number. Ensure it is agreed with the student who will pay for the phone (many clubs have taken on this responsibility as an added measure of safety for their student).
• Meet or talk regularly with the student (recommend at least twice per month /once in person and once by phone or e-mail) to discuss any problems he/she may have.
• Contact host parents and the school guidance counselor to ascertain there are no problems in the home or in the classroom. A scheduled home visit at least once per semester is recommended.
• Ensure that the student sends regular monthly reports to the District Chair and Inbound Coordinator as well as to their D5470 Country Contact.
• Contact the student’s natural parents from time to time informing them of their son or daughter’s progress.
• Approve any travel the student wishes to make outside the State of Colorado. If the student will miss school for a Rotary District event, the Counselor or YEO should be responsible for informing the school of same.
• When the student changes to a new host family, the Counselor or YEO should facilitate the move and ensure that the District Chair is advised of the change of address and given contact numbers at the time the student moves. A new Host Family Application and required background checks must be completed before the move takes place and copies of same submitted to District Chair.
• Encourage the student to attend as many Rotary meetings as possible. The more contacts they make within the host club, the more opportunities he or she will have. Ensure that the Rotary Club does not forget the student’s birthday and also remembers him or her at Christmas.
• Start a wish list of what the student would like to do or where he or she would like to go during the exchange year and encourage club members to help the student to fulfill his or her dreams.
• The Counselor/YEO should be acquainted with the rules of the exchange program and should ensure that the student abides by them; however, the Counselor/YEO is there to guide and assist the student rather than to dictate each move the student makes.
• There are occasions where host families may have a pre-arranged time away or an event requiring absence of one night or more where it is not possible or practical for the student to attend. Host families must advise the Counselor/YEO of this, and it is the responsibility of the Counselor/YEO to arrange temporary accommodation.
• When a student moves from one host family to another, hold a meeting of both host families and, if possible, future host families to discuss any problems that may have arisen.
• Write to each host family after they have completed their term of hosting, thanking them for their undertaking and enclosing the Post Exchange Evaluation, asking them to return it to the Counselor/YEO. This is useful feedback to the Counselor/YEO and to the hosting Rotary Club, and gives a “feel good” opportunity for hosting families who may well consider a repeat performance in the future.