Rotary Youth Exchanges on Covid pause

Tom KingFarragut

The Covid-19 pandemic, early in its second year now, has again shut down Rotary International’s worldwide youth exchange program. This wonderful opportunity for high school students in Knoxville and Knox County is off the table until June 30, 2022 – at the earliest.

The Rotary Club of Farragut annually sponsors one or two high school students on year-long exchanges to countries around the world and also hosts inbound students from abroad. Farragut Rotarian Bill Nichols, who chairs the Outbound Youth Exchange Committee for District 6780 (East Tennessee), made the announcement.

“Each of our district’s proposed exchange students for 2021-2022 has received an email informing them of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program cancellation for 2021-2022,” Bill said. “My heart aches for the last two proposed exchange student classes since they were not able to go on an exchange due to Covid.”

Nichols is already reaching out to those sophomores who were to go out this year to see if they want to go out on an exchange in 2022-2023. “We need Bill to begin looking for potential exchange students for 2022-2023 now,” he said. So, prospective Rotary Exchange students can start applying in August 2021 for the 2022-2023.

“World Rotary Day” in the U.S. and around the world is two days away on Saturday, March 27, and that means Knoxville’s six Rotary clubs will come together for a workday at Westview Elementary School, 1714 Mingle St, NW.  Work will begin at 8 a.m. and should end around noon. The rainout date is April 10. Rotarians will be doing a variety of jobs on the school’s grounds – general trimming, mulching, and planting trees and bushes.  They also will assemble soccer goals and do some touch-up painting.

Covid-19 vaccinations: Another group of Farragut Rotarians will be working on Saturday, assisting Summit Medical Group’s vaccinations of their patients at a weekend clinic. The vaccinations begin at 7:30 a.m. at their headquarters at Summit Landing, 1275 Dick Lonas Rd. Summit has extended the drive-through shot project into May. Farragut Rotary has been working at the clinics since they began in late February and will continue as long as the club is needed.

To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email Tom King here or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.

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