New York State 4-H is proud to partner with States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs to offer youth and their families a variety of opportunities to expand their 4-H involvement and experiences.
States’4-H International Exchange Programs
States’ 4-H is the sponsoring organization for the in-USA program. States’ 4-H works closely with State Coordinators and international partners, coordinating the exchanges and ensuring that all program policies, regulations and safety practices are followed. States’ 4-H oversees screening and selection for host families, provides handbooks for host families and state coordinators, provides on-program support for the duration of the exchange, and administers evaluations for the program. States’ 4-H provides leadership, guidance, management, and training to the member states. States’ 4-H develops, maintains, and enforces all policies and procedures to ensure compliance with federal regulations, standard risk management practices, and non-discrimination policies of the Cooperative Extension System, as well as ensures that programs meet the educational youth development objectives of the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Cooperative Extension System.
New York State’s Involvement
New York State 4-H has a long standing relationship with States’ 4-H International Exchange. Currently the program is overseen by the State 4-H Office. The State 4-H office works with counties to recruit and screen families to host a Japanese delegate for a period of 4 weeks during the summer, usually from Mid July thru Mid August. Every year New York requests a certain number of delegates to host and works to find Host families for those delegates within the 4-H population. Families may participate in any number of 4-H programs at any level to be eligible to host a delegate. Delegates range in age from 12-18 (most are 12-14) and do not speak much English. Traveling and staying with an American family is about the full immersion of the delegate into American Culture. Therefore, the Host family must have a child of the same age and gender as the arriving delegate.
Delegates fly into Syracuse, NY and participate in an Arrival Event and Orientation and are picked up by their Hosting Family in Syracuse. Delegates then stay with their families for the full 4 weeks and are a part of the family, participating in whatever activities the family has planned during the time of their stay. Delegates are honorary 4-H members and can participate in Fairs and other 4-H events and activities while here (with the exception of fire arms/shooting sports activities). At the conclusion of their stay delegates are transported, by their host family, back to Syracuse for a farewell event and debriefing, after which they will fly out of Syracuse and head back to Japan.
Delegates travel in a group and are accompanied by a chaperone/tutor who also requires a host family, or two, for the duration of their stay. Their job is to assist with international travel, check in with the delegates, to help with any challenges that might arise and celebrate the successes and accomplishments of their delegates while staying in the United States.
Application and Screening Process
The application for Hosting can be found on the States’ 4-H International Exchange Website. It is a web based platform and handled by the organization itself. All potential host families must successfully complete all parts of the application process before they are offered a delegate to host. All applicants must complete the following:
Online Application (Completed By the Applying Families)
Criminal Background Check (Completed By States’ 4-H)
Reference Checks (Completed Online and verified by States 4-H and the State and Local Coordinators)
In Home Interview (Completed by the Local 4-H Educator, Local Coordinator or State Coordinator)
Current Hosting Opportunities
New York State currently only participates with the Japanese Exchange Program but is looking to the future and is planning to add other countries to the list of options including Costa Rica, Finland/Norway, Taiwan, South Korea, and others as they become available.
New York State is looking forward to offering outbound options in 2020. Applications for outbound need to be to the State 4-H Office in the fall of the year prior to the youth participating in Outbound Opportunities. More will be posted about this opportunity in the very near future.