Info night Monday, May 12

Summer host families needed

May 05, 2014

The public is invited to an informational night at Camden-Rockport Elementary School Monday, May 12, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Ever been interested in a cultural exchange program but thought a commitment of one year was too long? The Maine-French Exchange program may be the perfect fit for families.

Aaron and Angela Gilbert have been given the opportunity to direct a program in which young people from France can visit Maine this summer and gain a better understanding of the American culture. There are three groups of teens coming this year. The first group will arrive June 27 and return to France July 17. The second group of students will arrive June 29 and return to France July 19. The third group will arrive July 17 and will return to France Aug. 7.

The group is seeking host families who are willing to give one of these inquiring young French teenagers a peek into the unique, American way of life. These young people are coming to America to experience a family's lifestyle, and to enhance their English skills.

There are two programs available. The first is Full Immersion. This teen comes to the home and becomes a part of the family. They help with normal household duties and simply enjoy the wonderful Maine days of summer doing whatever it is the family normally does. Take them along shopping, to the beach, or on a special outing the family.

The second program is Family Helper. These are older, i.e. 16 to 19-year-old teens. They will help with the children while parents mow the lawn, paint the back porch, or get caught up on all those household duties, etc. Many families with little ones have found this extra set of hands and eyes a welcome relief during the long days of summer.

The teens are interviewed in France by the French exchange agency and must meet high character qualifications. Each French candidate completes a two-page comprehensive profile, with photo, which describes them, their interests, family size, likes and dislikes. Families are given the opportunity to review these profiles and select the young person who matches their family's interests. Families may choose boy or girl, and a preferred age. All teens arrive with pocket money and are fully medically insured. The only expectation from a family is that this new French friend will find love and acceptance in the home.

The Gilberts have hosted 20 foreign exchange students in the past 12 years. Sixteen of the students have been through this program. They feel honored to be given the opportunity to be able to share this experience with families in the state of Maine who may be interested.

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