Eleven Rotary Exchange Students gathered at Summit Events Hall in Sioux Falls, June 11-13, for a weekend of sharing, fellowship, team-building, service and leadership training.
The students were greeted by District 5610 Governor Steve Sikorski who shared the importance of the journey which will provide an opportunity for understanding and in turn develop peace, one relationship at a time.
Teambuilding activities and leadership training included the circle of trust, Simon Sinek’s lesson “Your WHY”, go carts, Roman Catholic Service at St. Joseph Cathedral, Festival of Cultures, Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream and a tour of the city!
All this fun was balanced with “Service above Self”.  On Saturday the students volunteered at Bishop Dudley Hospitality House (BDHH); cleaning rooms, picking up garbage and learning about the important service BDHH provides.
Saturday evening, the students assisted with a quinceañera; a cultural celebration of a Latin American girl's fifteenth birthday.
On Sunday, over 2,000 backpacks were packed in 2 hours and 5 minutes in support of Feeding South Dakota School Back Pack Program.
To conclude the weekend, the students prepared an eclectic flavor of dishes to share with over 40 friends, families and Rotarians!
With permission, Doha, exchange student from Brookings heading to Austria, shared this a few days after:
Dear Tony,
As I thought about the inbound outbound weekend, something that really stuck with me was when you told us, when we were saying our why's, some of us were actually saying what's. After thinking about it, I too had stated a what. I was really thinking hard about what my why is. Then it hit me, lying in bed, thinking:
My Why...
Going on exchange is a big challenge for me. It is going to be hard to get there but I know in my heart I CAN do it. I come from a family where if you want something you go out and get it by hard work and dedication. Why? Why would I go on an exchange? To prove something. To prove to myself and everyone else that coming from a lower, middle, or upper class means Nothing. That no matter who you are, what country you come from, or how much money you currently have, you can do ANYTHING! So chase after your dreams that you thought were impossible! I did. And I'm loving every second of it. I am going on an exchange to show and make others believe that just like when you were in Elementary School, anything is still possible. "She believed she could, So she did." And my journey is just beginning.