Youth Educational Exchange Programme (YEEP)

The Beginning

The International Association of Y's Men's Clubs is probably unique as a service organisation in its extensive involvement of the whole family. Many delegates to International Conventions are accompanied by their children and life-long friendships are established between families during these brief contacts. The depth of a relationship sometimes led to informal exchanges of children for up to a year, motivated by the desire for new adventure and different cultural experiences. Those involved recognized the enrichment to their lives by these cultural experiences, and the benefits to the Y's Men movement itself through the promotion of better understanding among all those from different parts of the world involved in these exchanges. It was these informal exchanges that sowed the seeds from which YEEP eventually grew.

Purpose and Objectives of YEEP

The purpose of the YEEP programme is to arrange exchanges of sons and daughters of Y's Men on an international basis. Each candidate lives in a family, receives education at a local school and generally takes part in the normal everyday life of the community.

The objectives of this programme are to promote better world understanding among people of different cultures and to provide an international experience to future leaders of Y's Men International and the YMCA.

A totally new dimension is added to the life of all persons involved in a YEEP exchange, resulting in the establishment of many new and often life-long friendships. The benefits to both students and their host families are many:

  • Learning about the culture, customs and language of the people of another country, and of their economic and governmental systems

  • Learning to accept and adjust to close association with people of different cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds;

  • Experiencing at first hand the joys of world brotherhood, and the benefits of peaceful association among nations;

  • Becoming aware of the great similarities among persons associated with the world-wide fellowship of Y's Men;

  • Learning more about the operation and services of Y'sdom in other countries.

In addition, the student derives the following benefits:

  • The experience of living as an integral member of another Y's Men family;

  • Growth in self-confidence, self-expression, adaptability, responsibility and maturity;

  • Direct educational benefits, plus a knowledge of the educational system of another country through participation as a regular student and in school activities;

  • Proficiency in another language (in most exchanges).

The family, too, will derive an additional benefit: the deep personal experience of having someone from another nation and culture living with them as a family member, rather than just a guest, and sharing all the joys and sorrows of their family life.

Finally, the YEEP programme brings a share of these benefits to the host community, especially to the participating Y's Men's Clubs and their associated YMCAs, adding a very personal international flavour to their programmes, and helping to bring about the fulfilment of the ultimate purpose of the YMCA world fellowship "that they all may be one".

Eligibility

The YEEP programme is available only to families where at least one parent is a member of Y's Men International or an affiliated Y's Menettes Club. Since it is an exchange programme, the parents of an applicant should normally be willing to take into their home the child of a Y's Men family as their share of the programme. However, the exchange need not be simultaneous. In fact it is often better for the exchanges to be staggered so that two students taking part, or about to take part, in the programme can be together for a time.

Age

The students should be 16-18 years of age at the beginning of their exchange.

Application Procedures

Application forms should be distributed on request by Area or Regional Service Directors in response to enquiries from Y's Men's Clubs or individual Y's Men. Application forms completed by a candidate should be submitted to the Sponsor Y's Men's Club, i.e., that of the parents, which will then process the application and forward it to the RSD or ASD. The ASD, upon receiving the application from the Club or the RSD, will forward two copies to the ISD — one (preferably the original with a clear photograph of the student) to be forwarded to the ASD in the Area requested by the candidate. The ASD will then distribute the application to the RSD in the Region or Section of the country requested by the candidate. The ISD will maintain contact with the respective ASDs or RSDs until a host family has been found, helping to decide when a new country or Area needs to be tried if difficulties are encountered.

Payment of Participation Fee

It is the responsibility of the Sponsor Y's Men's Club to submit the Participation Fee in two cheques made out to Y's Men International, Geneva. A cheque for the Application Fee (SFr 50) shall be enclosed with the application and another cheque for the Placement Fee (SFr 80) shall be sent to the ISD by the RSD when the candidate is placed.

(Extracts from the YEEP Manual originally drafted by the YEEP Study TaskForce)