New Mexico Rotarians from District 5520 attending a youth exchange conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the January 8 weekend are, from left, are Richard Haas of Las Cruces, the District Governor-nominee; Los Alamos Rotarians Melissa and Rob Metcalf and Laura Gonzales; Cassidy Gardner of Albuquerque, Rotex (Rotary Youth Exchange intermediaries between Rotarians and exchange students); and Bianca and JP Cheney of Roswell. The Cheneys are District 5520 Country Coordinators; Ms. Cheney is also the SCRYE Secretary. Courtesy photo
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
Los Alamos Rotarians Rob and Melissa Metcalf and Laura Gonzales have just returned from a Rotary conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the South Central Rotary Youth Exchange conference, usually referred to simply as SCRYE. The SCRYE region includes 36 member districts in 15 states in the south and central part of the country and promotes Rotary International Youth Exchange within those districts. The Rotary Club of Los Alamos is a member of District 5520 which includes all of New Mexico and west Texas.
Although COVID-19 has curtailed inbound and outbound exchanges recently, the Rotary Youth Exchange program is one of Rotary International’s most recognized opportunities for young people to study abroad and is available to high school students in 86 countries. District 5520 exchanges with students from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Melissa Metcalf attended in her role as the SCRYE Responsible Officer, the Rotarian who answers directly to the Department of State regarding foreign youth exchange students’ travel into the U.S. This includes serving on a management team.
Rob Metcalf attended in his capacity as the president of the newly founded multidistrict Alumni Association for youth exchange students. The Alumni Association has over 60 members already, 22 of whom attended the conference and were invited to give presentations to the Rotarians who chair the youth exchange programs in their districts. Time was also scheduled to clarify and formalize the Alumni Association’s constitution, elect management positions, and decide future projects and activities.
Laura Gonzales attended training at SCRYE as the District 5520 Inbound Coordinator for students coming from abroad.
Founded in 1905, Rotary is the world’s oldest humanitarian service organization. Its 1.2 million members worldwide support basic education and literacy, maternal and child health, water and sanitation, peace and conflict prevention, economic and community development, environmental stewardship, and disease prevention and treatment, in particular the eradication of polio.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos meets in person Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00, in the Community Room, Cottonwood on the Greens, at the golf course. A Zoom option is available by contacting Linda Hull, Rotary Club vice-president, 505-662-7950. Hull is also happy to provide information about the Club and its humanitarian service.