Bartram Trail Rotary Club:  Focused on Youth Since "Day 1"

by Al Kalter

Youth Service is one of Rotary's five Avenues of Service, and the Rotary Youth Exchange program is the unquestioned star in that category. In a typical year, Rotary clubs around the world sponsor almost 10,000 young people for an unforgettable, life-changing adventure. And Bartram Trail Rotary has been a leader in those efforts since its beginning.

On July 1 of this year, Bartram Trail Rotarian Scott Burgess became the Youth Exchange Chairperson for District 6970. This is a very demanding and time-consuming position, but Scott may take some comfort in knowing that there are no fewer than three former District Youth Exchange chairs in our own club. Scott can draw on the experience of Cassie Moyers, Jack Murray, and this writer for assistance during his term, although he may also feel some pressure from that trio looking over his shoulders!

That’s just one example of how Bartram Trail Rotary has been a leader in Rotary Youth Exchange for 20 years, beginning even prior to its official charter date! Consider these statistics:

  • The club has hosted 22 foreign students (“inbounds”) from 18 countries who spent a year in the USA, attending either Creekside or Bartram Trail High School.
  • We have also sponsored 37 local high school students (“outbounds”) who went abroad for a year, doing their exchange in one of 16 different countries.
  • Four children of BTRC members have participated in exchanges, and the club has also inducted two former District 6970 exchange students as members (Mark Mimms and Halie Mosher).
  • At least 9 of our current club members have hosted one or more inbound students, in addition to a few former members. And there are a handful of club members who became Rotarians directly because of their families' experience with Rotary Youth Exchange.
  • In the state of Florida, only two other Rotary clubs have hosted more inbound students than Bartram Trail, and only one other club has sponsored more outbounds.

As mentioned in last month’s article on the history of our Rotary Club, we were officially chartered in November 2003. But Bartram Trail’s involvement in Youth Exchange did not wait until that paperwork was official. Three months prior, as a provisional club, we welcomed the first of our inbound exchange students, Janka “Jane” Sklenarova. As this was several years before the opening of Creekside, Jane attended Bartram Trail HS, where that fall she assisted in a school presentation that led directly to our club’s first two outbounds. The following year, no fewer than 5 students from that school were sponsored by our club for their exchanges, a group that included Jack Murray’s son Mike.

With all this history, it was quite disappointing to have the Rotary Youth Exchange program go on hiatus for the past couple of years due to the pandemic. But we certainly expect that our club and our district will come charging back in 2023-24, as once again we send and receive these amazing international ambassadors who truly promote Rotary’s goals of international understanding and peace.

Inbound Students Hosted by the Rotary Club of Bartram Trail
Jane Sklenarova, Slovakia 2003-04
Nick Melgaard, Denmark 2004-05
Livi Zimmerman, Switzerland 2004-05
Dana Alessi, Argentina 2005-06
Zsolt Szöke, Hungary 2005-06
Roman Karkosch, Germany 2006-07
Akemi Saito, Japan 2006-07
Yudi Ishikawa, Brazil 2007-08
Agnete Horup, Denmark 2008-09
Isabel Chen, Taiwan 2009-10
Yash Silhar, India 2010-11
Jodie Stainier, Belgium 2010-11
Przemek Gorbat, Poland 2011-12
Sophie Juge, France 2012-13
Evamarie Banschbach, Germany 2013-14
Christina Scharitzer, Austria 2014-15
Annika Leino, Finland 2015-16
Rajvi Jariwala, India 2016-17
Rachele Pirisino, Italy 2016-17
Ana Alves, Brazil 2017-18
Àngela Pérez Crespo, Spain 2018-19
Martina Agu, Italy 2019-20 (summer)
Maddalena Lovati, Italy 2019-20 (summer)
Sarah Zandvliet, Netherlands 2019-20

Outbound Students Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bartram Trail
Michael Criswell, Poland 2004-05
Megan Headle, Denmark 2004-05
LeslieAnn DeLeo*, Finland 2005-06
Kerry Elison, Norway 2005-06
Dominique Ghirardi, Japan 2005-06
Hannah McKinney, Switzerland 2005-06
Michael Murray, France 2005-06
Phillip Cardona, Turkey 2006-07
Katie Quinn, Belgium 2006-07
Ramsey Wilcox, Denmark 2006-07
Pat Murray, Hungary 2007-08
Brad Patterson, Germany 2007-08
Heath Smith, Sweden 2008-09
Alex Britto, Finland 2009-10
Elizabeth Earnhart, Thailand 2009-10
Luba Ayzenshtat, Ecuador 2010-11
Heather West, Taiwan 2010-11
Christi Leonard, Brazil 2011-12
Alayna Mobley, Hungary 2011-12
Kaylin Burgess, Switzerland 2012-13
Kendall Hale, Poland 2012-13
Sarah Wiegreffe, France 2012-13
Erica Burns, Taiwan 2013-14
Mark Mimms, Brazil 2013-14
Sydney Hale, Peru 2014-15
Cameron Wellington, Taiwan 2014-15
Emily Benson, Denmark 2015-16
Cassidy Johnson, Denmark 2015-16
Emma Risner, India 2015-16
Anna Thompson, Norway 2015-16
Audrey DuBose, Peru 2016-17
Megan Radney, Brazil 2016-17
Julia Voss, Japan 2016-17
Annie Rementer, Thailand 2017-18
Sandler Upton, Italy 2018-19 (summer)
Taylor Brown, Thailand 2018-19
Mallory Moyers, Italy 2019-20 (summer)
Paola Camacho, Denmark 2019-20
Amelia King, France 2019-20

Current & Former Club Members who have Hosted Exchange Students
Michael & Alison Andreoni
Mike & Amanda Birch
Scott & Kristee Burgess
Joe & Abigail Carnley
Douglas & Stella Hayes
Frank & Gail Gwaltney
Candace & Chris Jackson
Brad & Penny Johnson
Denise & Stephen Jones
Al & Sue Kalter
Jeremy & Trish Mackey
Cassie & Tim Moyers
Jack & MaryBeth Murray
Rose Marie & Lewis Preddy
Dan & Michelle Voss

(Apologies if we missed anyone)

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