Mahoning, Columbiana, Portage and Trumbull County families will have the opportunity to welcome a young person from Japan into their home for one month this year as part of an international exchange program being offered by the The Ohio State University Extension 4-H program.
In 2013, six youth and one chaperone were hosted in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Throughout Ohio this year, host families are needed for 100 Japanese youngsters ages 12 to 18, and their adult chaperones. The group will visit Ohio from July 23 through Aug. 18.
Host families provide the exchangees with room and board and a chance to experience daily life in America. Families are urged not to alter their daily routines or lifestyles during their visitor's stay.
Exchangees provide their own spending money and the sponsoring organization furnishes comprehensive medical insurance.
The young Japanese visitors belong to the Labo Foundation, an organization that promotes the study of English culture and language in Japan. Others belong to organizations similar to 4-H in their country. Ohio 4-H has been conducting international exchange programs since 1949.
''Do you know what I learned from this child?'' asked one host father. ''That you can live together and not understand one word the other is saying, and yet still communicate and learn to love each other.''
All types of families are welcome to apply to become hosts, including urban, rural, single-parent,childless and non-4-H families. The only requirement is that for the Japanese month-long exchange, hosts must have a family member of the same gender and approximate age of the exchangee, three meals a day and a separate bed for the visitor.
Those interested should contact Gretchen Kalinay at 330-799-8407 or Gary Reel at 330-533-7712 for an application form and more information. Information also can be obtained by visiting the website at www.ohio4h.org/youth/international.