The philosophy of the Lions Youth Exchange Program is to give exchange visitors the opportunity to live in a new culture as members of a family. It is participation in family life that distinguishes a Lions exchange visitor from an ordinary tourist.
Family life in a new culture can be very different from what you may be accustomed to in your own home. You will undoubtedly find yourself in unfamiliar situations that will challenge your assumptions about things and put your adaptability to a test. As it would be unreasonable to expect your host family to adjust to your habits, it will be your responsibility to maintain a flexible attitude and an open mind. Although adjusting to new situations may seem difficult at first, in the long run it will provide you with a better appreciation and understanding of our richly diverse human heritage.
Standards of Conduct
The degree of formality within families varies greatly by culture. In some families it may be the norm to address one’s elders by first names or nicknames, be casual about punctuality and appointments, wear whatever clothes happen to be comfortable, and display affection openly. In others, however, these same modes of behavior may be regarded as taboo and consequently avoided.
Since accepted forms of conduct are so diverse from one culture to another, this will be a topic of discussion at Camp. It will allow you to take note of standard rules of social behavior, and be guided accordingly.
One of the most difficult adjustments you will have to make as an exchange visitor may be dietary. Perhaps the best advice is to be adventurous and try everything that is offered to you. Your hosts will be delighted by your willingness to share their tastes, and you may even discover that some of the foods, which you might never have dreamed of eating, are actually quite good. However, if you have legitimate dietary restrictions, whether for medical or religious reasons, you should make them known to your hosts and to camp staff.
Alcohol and Smoking
Once in the host country you will be bound by its laws, which include restrictions on the consumption of alcohol by minors. It is not acceptable for minors to drink alcoholic beverages with meals or socially. As a Lions exchange visitor you will be expected to abstain regardless of the position on alcohol in your home country. Smoking is not allowed on college campuses and in most public places in Massachusetts. If you smoke, you will need to discuss with your host family the house rules for smoking.
Romantic attachments are not the purpose of your exchange visit, and you should therefore avoid them.
The illegal use of drugs is strictly prohibited.
You are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle during the exchange. This restriction includes any type of motor vehicle, whether it be a snowmobile, motorcycle, motorboat, go-cart, tractor, etc.
You may travel with your host parents or in connection with Lions-sponsored functions. Other travel must be approved by the host Lions District Youth Exchange Chairman, the host Lions Club, and your parents in writing. You will not be permitted to travel alone.
If you wish to return home by an indirect route after the exchange, written consent from your parents will be required in advance; and you will no longer be considered a part of the Lions Youth Exchange Program after departure from the youth camp.