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YMCA offers youth summer exchange program

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Island youth are invited to travel to communities across the to gain employment experience, improve their French skills and develop new friendships.

The YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange (SWSE) is a six-week national summer program for youth aged 16 and 17 and runs from June 30 to Aug. 11.

With financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the program is entering its 12th summer and includes more than 650 young people from across the country.

Each participant is matched with a community where the other official language is spoken and are hosted in each other’s homes to deepen their cultural experience.

Youth are also provided with a full-time summer job in the non-profit or public sector of the local community in which they are being hosted.

Christelle Thibault, SWSE national program manager, said the program gives young people a chance to learn about and appreciate a new culture and gain skills for today’s workplace.
“It’s also amazing to see the friendships that evolve once everyone gets to know each other a little better,” she said.

“In this exchange environment, we empower youth to learn about themselves, feel more confident, and build community.”

Parents and guardians play an essential role in the exchange as they act as hosts to youth from another community. Due to the reciprocal nature of the program, the YMCA also recruits volunteer alternate hosts for youth whose families cannot participate.

Throughout the youth’s journey, hosts share their local knowledge and provide lodging, meals and support within a safe and healthy living environment. In turn, hosts receive support from a

YMCA local coordinator who also helps organize activities every week.

For more information call 1-877-639-9987 or visit

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