Randy Seager is the chair of the District Group Study Exchange committee and came to tell us about this programme.

GSE is an educational programme of the Rotary Foundation.  An exchange is between 2 districts. The District Governor   decides which district  his district will  pair with.

GSE began in 1965 as ROTA. Since 1965 12,000 teams (57,000 individuals) have taken part in the programme.

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GSE began in 1965 as ROTA. Since 1965 12,000 teams (57,000 individuals) have taken part in the programme.

Our contributions to the Foundation are a major part of the funding for the GSE programme, as well as monies from our district dues.  All travel costs for the groups are covered by the Foundation. The cost to the district is approximately $16,000 for  inbound and outbound teams.

Our Inbound teams are put up in a hotel for the first day after arrival. This is to allow them to recover from what may be lengthy travel. There is a Welcome Reception and a Farewell reception. In the middle of the visit, there is a weekend retreat to allow them to recover from often 12-15 hour days.

The host Club is responsible for all expenses for the time they host the team except for personal expenses. The GSE team should not pay for anything other than personal items.

Members of the GSE team are responsible for the costs of travel insurance, passport & Visas, transportation to and from originating airport, personal gifts & souvenirs, personal travel at the end of the visit before returning to their original airport (some team members extend their stay to explore more of the country they are visiting at their own cost).

Team leaders are experienced, confident Rotarians who can use their management and people skills to provide leadership and guidance to an enthusiastic and focused group of 4 non-Rotarian team members.

Team members must be 25-40 years of age, in their job for at least 2 years, live or be employed within the District sending them, be a Canadian citizen, and be prepared to spend considerable time preparing for the trip. Team members cannot be a Rotarian or be related to a Rotarian.

Randy advised that , as a small, fairly new club who does not have the funds to support a GSE team for the whole of their visit, we may be interested in sharing a team, or just hosting a team for one of the days during their visit.

Randy concluded his talk with a slide show of his exchange team in 2005 between SW Ontario and New Zealand & Samoa