A group study exchange team of six members, including team leader, Rotarian Karen Panietz, was hosted over a four day period by members of the Rotary Club of the Howe of Fife. Before enjoying the hospitality of the clubs members, the group from Phoenix, Arizona, had already visited Rotary Clubs in both Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy.
Since its inception in 1963, the Rotary Foundations Group Study Exchange has proved itself one of the most important programs in the Rotary movement. Through visiting other countries on a cultural and vocational exchange, the young people involved not only help build goodwill between nations, but also gain insights into the Rotary movement that will, it is hoped, encourage them to join the organisation and help promote its aims in the future.
A program of vocational visits was arranged for the group Catlin King, Kylee Seely, Heather Bilodeau, Levi Coffelt and Scott Turpin - in disciplines as diverse as jewellery-making, Information Technology and web design, hairdressing and beauty therapy, and medical insurance. Visits to places of cultural interest also took place, for example to Falkland Palace, the East Neuk, St. Andrews and, further afield, to Blair Atholl.
After an action-packed four days, the Rotary Club of the Howe of Fife bid farewell to their visitors at last Tuesdays club meeting at the Village Inn, Pitlessie, when the team gave an educational and entertaining presentation about themselves and their home city. The team left by train on Wednesday morning for Aberdeen, the next stage in their month long tour of Scotland and seven Rotary Clubs.
Although team members had endured lowering skies and frequent rainfall throughout their visit, team leader Karen Panietz said: Rain means green grass and vegetation to us; a welcome relief from high temperatures and desert! She also added that all seven members had received exemplary hospitality and that moving on is very hard as we feel we have made so many friends here, in a very short space of time.