THE SISTER CITY CONCEPT
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the people-to-people concept that lead to the development of Sister Cities International. It was Eisenhower’s belief that strong relationships established between cities in the United States and cities of the world would lessen the potential for world conflicts. Based on this concept, in 1991 local Longmont businesses and city government joined together to establish Longmont’s first sister city relationship with Chino, Japan. Longmont’s second sister city relationship with Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico was formed in 1998.
STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM
The purpose of the Longmont Sister Cities Association's Student Exchange Program is to provide an opportunity for Longmont students and families to develop understanding among the people of Chino, Japan and Ciudad Guzmán, México and visa versa, through a family living experience.
Student applicants must reside in the St. Vrain Valley School District attendance area or attend school within the boundaries of the school district and must be currently enrolled in 8th - 11th grades. Students may attend public, private or charter schools or be home schooled. Students must also expect to live in the St. Vrain area in the year following their summer travel.
STUDENT’S TIME AND COMMITMENT
A good deal of time is required to be a student ambassador. During the selection process, absence from a scheduled informational or interview session will disqualify the student’s application.
Once selected, all Ambassadors are required to attend various training sessions prior to departure; participate and play an active role in the Longmont Sister Cities Association and its activities; work at organization fundraisers; and in general promote the program.
Attendance at training sessions and other informational meetings is critical. Missing more than 20% of required sessions will be grounds for dismissal from the program.
A time commitment (estimate) of 2-3 hours twice a month is expected. Upon return, the Ambassadors are required to participate in the activities scheduled for the Japanese and Mexican students visiting Longmont; assist in preparation of a presentation to share with the community; and give at least three talks about the exchange experience.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY ABROAD
Students selected to participate in the Longmont Sister City exchange program serve as ambassadors and representatives of Longmont, Colorado, and the United States. While participating in the exchange, students must be respectful of their host families and must be willing to be helpful with the household and family duties and to assume the same responsibility as other members of the family. The student is expected to participate in all scheduled activities in his/her sister city.
Travel costs to Japan are approximately $2200 and $700 for Mexico, per student. This cost does not include spending money or gifts.
Costs may fluctuate depending on currency exchange rates and airfare at the time of travel. Parents and Sister Cities Board members will develop fundraising opportunities for delegates in spring and early summer so that each delegate might raise some of his/her own money for travel.
The Longmont Sister Cities Association needs the support of parents and guardians. Parents of ambassadors are interviewed and membership in the organization is required of the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the students selected for the program, as well as participation in the organization’s activities, including home-hosting delegates from our sister cities. Family membership fee is $25.
The foreign students generally arrive in the first week of August for a 10-day stay. Many activities are planned for the students during their stay in Longmont.
It is expected that ambassadors and their families will host the delegates of our sister cities; however, if this is impossible for your family, we request your assistance in finding an appropriate home stay family. Parents should be aware of the need to have their student available for meetings and speaking engagements, upon their return as well as helping in the organization’s major fundraising activities. Obtaining a passport, as well as travel and health documents and/or insurance, is the responsibility of the delegate and his/her family prior to departure.
All applicants and at least one parent or guardian must complete an individual interview. You will need to bring with you to your interview a copy of your school attendance record and the signed ‘Program Expectations’ form that will be given to you.. The interview panel will make the final selections, and students/parents will be informed of their status within one week of the individual interviews. The selected ambassadors and at least one parent will be expected to attend an orientation meeting for more specific information and to begin planning fundraising, training sessions and other activities.
Dates for the above listed meetings and interviews will be sent via e-mail, once your application is received. A program fee of $150 is due following the selection process.