What is the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Program?

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 it’s 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.


Who are the North Shore Lions?

In 1917 Melvin Jones, a Chicago business leader, suggested to members of his local business club that they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of not only their communities but also the world. Jones’ group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held in June 1917 in Chicago. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the “Association of Lions Clubs”, and a national convention was held in Dallas in October of that same year. A constitution, by-laws, objects and a code of ethics were approved. Within three years, Lions became an international organization. Since then, Lions have earned high marks for both integrity and transparency. We’re a well-run organization with a steady vision, a clear mission and a long (proud) history. Today, the 6 North Shore Lions Clubs represent just a small part of the 45,000 Clubs and more than 1.3 million members worldwide (making us the world’s largest service club organization).

If you are interested in more information or would like to become involved with a service club in your community please contact any one of the six North Shore Lions Clubs for further details.


Student Selection

When reviewing applicants the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Selection Committee is looking for ambassadors to represent not only the City of North Vancouver, but also Canada. Traveling to and around a foreign country with a culture different from our own takes a high level of maturity and responsibility. The selection process involves first scoring each written application received, then narrowing the field to 12 students who will be offered an opportunity to attend an in-person panel interview. From those 12 interviewed applicants, 4 students are selected to participate in this life altering experience.

Please note: We are not associated with the North Shore School Districts in any way except that we request the assistance of the school counsellors to promote the Program 15/16 year old students on our behalf.


I’m not currently in 15/16 years old but can I still apply?

No, applications received from students not aged 15 or 16 at the time of travel will not be considered under any circumstance.


I don’t attend a North Shore high school but can I still apply?

No, applications received from students not attending a North Shore high school and/or living on the North Shore will not be considered under any circumstance.

What are the chances I will be chosen to participate in the Program?

The odds of being chosen vary depending on the number of applications received.


What exactly are the Codes of Conduct?

Selected 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 links provided to view these documents prior to application.

Who is the chaperone?

An adult Canadian chaperone known to the North Shore Lions Clubs will accompany the selected students to Japan and will be with them for all group activities. The chaperone acts as a parent in the best interest of the students, and as such has final say on any issues which may arise in Japan. Although it has never been done in the history of the program, the chaperone does have authority to send any or all students back to Canada if an issue cannot be resolved. Needless to say it is expected that all students and their family members act in accordance with the laws of both Canada and Japan.


What are the costs involved?

To participate in the North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Program each selected student and/or parents are responsible for:

* Paying half their airfare (approx. $1000) upon acceptance.

* Bringing 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.


What about travel medical insurance?

The North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Committee does not purchase travel medical insurance for students. We will ask you to fill out a medical form available: YEP Medical Form so we can provide this information to your host family in case of emergency.


I’ve heard there’s a lot of smoking in Japan, is this true?

Yes, Japan does not have as strict rules regarding smoking as most of North America. For example, you may be in a restaurant with persons smoking at the next table or your host parents may smoke in the home. The North Shore Lions Youth Exchange Committee cannot guarantee a smoke-free environment so please consider this prior to application.