When looking at Mainland Youth Exchange orientation sessions for Outbound students, several things are readily apparent. First is that many more students are involved in these sessions than we have in Hawaii. That is, it's common to have 25-50 students at a session coming from several adjacent districts within a multi-district setting or within a single large district. In contrast, we have had between 2 and 8 students within recent years. A second observation is the relative ease of transport to get Mainland students to the orientation sessions - they mostly just drive there, an option not readily available in Hawaii if the students are coming from several different islands. A third point is that with Mainland orientations, because there are more students, the budgets are also much larger. Budgets in the $35,000 - $50,000 range are not uncommon.
     So in Hawaii we do what we can. In the past, students and parents have come from different islands to Honolulu for a day to go over the initial orientation. Then more training can occur at the District Conference. Finally several weeks before the students leave for their Host countries, a third orientation is held to summarize what has happened and what to expect. What follows is what I have come up with for the Spring of 2015 for the four Outbound students we have. I'm sure that some details will change as we go through the process so please expect content changes over the next few months.
     Orientation Session 1 - This is a session with both the parent(s) and the student. This year I held two separate sessions on the Big Island (Hilo, Kailua Kona) and one on Kauai (Lihue). Two documents were mailed to the parent(s) and student a week before the session:  2015 March Outbound Orientation Details DCH and the Outbound Student Agreement form. These documents are supposed to be read by both parents and students, then printed out for discussion at the orientation session. Basically we go slowly through the first document pausing to answer questions and expand sections where it seemed appropriate. At the end of the session, the student and parent(s) read the agreement form and if in agreement, sign. All did with no issues this year.
Orientation Session 2 - All Outbound students are required to attend the District Conference. Their room, board, airfare, etc. are paid for from a combination of funds collected from the parents ($800 from each family) and the sponsoring Rotary club ($300 from each club this year). The students will have two objectives to achieve. The first is a training objective which consists of discussing the questions given to them two months earlier regarding the book "The Exchange Students Survival Kit";  we will also be discussing sexual harassment and abuse issues, hopefully lead by Joanne Laird, District Youth Services Chair. The second objective is to have them begin their assignments as Rotary ambassadors. At all formal functions, the students will be wearing their Rotary blue blazers and business professional attire. The students will be encouraged to introduce themselves to as many of the attending Rotarians as possible and at dining functions sit at a table and enter into the conversation with the adult Rotarians present. Near the end of the conference, each student will briefly introduce themselves and say what country they're going to as part of the 15 minute District Youth Exchange presentation to the assembled.
Orientation session 3 -