Student Exchange

This is one of the best Rotary programs and many, many clubs in the district are involved. There is a district committee with their own list of wants and needs, the club members, the inbound students, the outbound students, the host families and others that involved in the exchange.

One of the problems is that e-mail addresses are not forever. A 16 year old student may have an e-mail address that they will be embarrassed to use when they are 20. If they drop that e-mail address, they may lose contact with many of their friends and Rotarians. Remember that outbound students that return are future Rotaractors or Rotarians and it would be wise to keep a mailing list of these people for our own selfish reasons in addition to helping them keep in contact with host families, Rotarians, etc.

The following databases should be kept on the system with each record having the year and links between important records would make reconnecting in the future easy for everyone.
Inbound Students
Outbound Students
Host Families
Rotary Clubs
Key people, district executive, etc.
Background Checks

From each club’s point of view, having a list of host families from over the years could be invaluable for many different purposes. Often, the people in the clubs working with students change from year to year and the repository of information is lost or unavailable easily.

This system will allow host families to access the system, update their address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other details to make it easy for past students to keep in contact with them.

Past exchange students too can access the system and update all their details and allow host families or other students from the same year or Rotarians from the host club to reconnect over the years.

It’s easy to say “Let Facebook” do the job for us as most students are now on Facebook. Yes they are. How long has Facebook been around and how long until the next best thing grabs people’s attention? This database could link to each student’s Facebook page or a link to the next new thing. The Rotary Database could be the stable database available for many years or decades to come if done well, regardless of the current hot system that people may be using.

Think of a classic yearbook that students get in school when they graduate. It contains information about the school, the teachers, the other students and activities during the year. This database could supply this to the students at the end of their year on the web, as a PDF file or printed on paper if they wish. BUT it could also be used several years after the fact with updated pictures, facts, family and work information, addresses, phone numbers, etc. All done automatically with no work required by a website administrator.

From the District Committee point of view, there are a lot of requests. First, is a private, password protected area where important documents, notes, comments, thoughts and so on can be stored and retrieved. The District committee communicates not just with each other but other Rotary districts around the world.

Some of the databases that are important include:
District contacts in other countries for inbound students
Club representatives in other countries
Country consulates and passport offices
Insurance brokers for health care and injury
Travel agents
School contacts

It would be great if all of the executive on the district committee guaranteed to hold that position forever. But that is a bit of a dream and having an organized database of information, policies, procedures and contacts would make it easy for someone to step in and help and eventually take over. If Carter loses at dice one more time, he may just quit.

Other items that require a lot of coordination are activities. A common calendar of events could be created on the system for the Student Exchange program. Instead of a stand alone calendar, it could optionally be merged with other club and district calendars to show an entire view of all activities based on the user’s interest.

It appears that the organizing of the various events such as those at Naramata, Silver Star, Revelstoke, etc. have a lot details that need to be attended too. There are documents and check lists for this, but having all these in a central system accessible by all of the committee members is important.

Currently, many of these documents are stored in Google Works. It’s a good second option, but it still makes it more difficult to log in and access and the documents are not well organized as a database would allow for.

HOST Family Record
Main header that ties to the student
Link database to family record and all the adults in the home - people database
Stay dates - tied to separate file each with start date and end date
Host Family Interview Date
Host Family Training Date
Host Family home inspection date(s) up to 3
Notes - expanding file by date

Note that one family may host more than one student during the year and over the years. But a new record should be created for each year because different adults may reside at the home each year. Also allows for current interview, inspection and training dates.

Background Check
Person Unique
Acceptable true/false
Entered by
Entered date & time
IP Address