In 1969 the City of North Vancouver, Canada and Chiba City, Japan entered into a Sister City Pact. As part of that relationship the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Program began in the spirit of strengthening the bonds of cultural understanding and friendship. While the Program itself has undergone many changes since sending its first student groups in the summer of 1970, this exchange is regarded as the most valuable result of the Sister City Pact both here in North Vancouver and across the Pacific Ocean in Chiba.
In its current format, the Program sends 5 students (15 or 16 years old) selected from North Shore high schools along with an adult chaperone to Chiba City for 2 weeks every summer. While there, students are provided with a Japanese host family and participate in a variety of cultural and educational experiences. The highlight of the program in Chiba is without a doubt the Three Generations Summer Festival; students wear “happy coats” in the afternoon while carrying a traditional shrine, then beautiful yukatas (a gift from Chiba City) all evening while dancing through the city streets to the beat of taiko drums. Upon their return to Canada, the students are required to attend approx. 3 exchange committee meetings to provide their input into the activity program being planned for the Chiba students and their chaperone the following summer. In addition, the retuning Canadian students are required to act as a host family to 1 Japanese student for 2 weeks the summer following their visit to Japan.
- To be considered for the program students must be a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, reside on the North Shore and be attending a North Shore High School.
- Canadian students unable to host a Japanese student the following year will not be eligible to participate in this exchange program.
- Successful Canadian students are required to sign and abide by a Code of Conduct at the time of accepting participation in the Program. Their families will also be required to sign a separate Code of Conduct prior to hosting. Please refer to the link provided in the “Codes of Conduct” section to view these documents prior to application.
- To participate in the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Program each selected student and/or their parents are responsible for:
- Paying half their airfare (approx. $1000) upon acceptance.
- Bringing their own personal spending money for souvenirs etc. (approx. $500)
- Covering all costs related to meals, “free day” activities etc. when hosting a Japanese student the following year.
Note: In North Vancouver the activity schedule for the Japanese students and their chaperone will be similar to that experienced by the Canadian students in Chiba. All costs related to official program activities will be covered by the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Committee while “free day” activities are to be at the expense of each individual host family. The hosting Canadian students will be welcome to join their Japanese guests in some official activities, while other activities will be only for the students and chaperone from Chiba.Please have a look at the side bar for more information on the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Program.