Resident Jaime Smith, who is going into her graduating year at Strathmore High School come September had a chance to go to Germany as a part of the Youth Camp and Exchange (YCE) program this summer.

Travelling is something that Smith has wanted to do her entire life and into her future. She noticed that a friend of her brother was a part of the YCE program when he was in grade 11 and wanted to apply for it herself.

"That was 5 years ago (When her brother's friend went). I've been keeping an ear out for when I would be able to go on it as well." 

Joining the Leo's club at the high school is something that Smith has wanted to do considering she can't join the Lion's club as of yet because she isn't 18 years old. The Leo's club has been running all summer and doing events around the community, but she wasn't able to partake due to her adventure in Germany. 

Smith was in Germany for three weeks, and two weeks of that she spent it with a host family. 

"They were the sweetest and they were so excited to have me there. They showed me around where they lived, and they just walked me through kind of their day-to-day lives which was really cool."

For the final 10 days of her journey, Smith spent her time at a Lion's Camp with a bunch of other youths. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Smith but her favorite memory of her adventure was getting to know the other Youth Exchange students. 

"It's just all the inside jokes that I made with all the other kids from the camp and it was great getting to know them. I would definitely like to travel some more and make new friends again. Maybe not with the Lions but I would like to visit outside of Canada again."

In the 2023-2024 school year Smith is headed to Europe with students from the Strathmore High School and when she reaches Italy, she will be meeting up with some of the students that she met on her Germany trip. 

"I am really hoping to get that opportunity to meet up with some of them even if it is for a bit when I go to Italy." 

The biggest takeaway that Smith got from this experience is how to foster a sense of self. 

"I think all the cultural stuff was really cool to learn about but the biggest I thing I learned to was to grow into myself more because this is such a big experience, and I grew from that." 

Youth Camps and Exchange (YCE) has programs all around the world and is designed for young people between the ages of 15 and 22 to create and foster a spirit of understanding among peoples of the world.

By providing an avenue for global fellowship, the YCE program aims to help youth initiate, grow and maintain international relationships promoting cultural education and international peace.

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