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Japanese and Korean teens live with local families this summer

Japanese and Korean exchange students, ages 12 through 16, are staying with St. Croix County families for four weeks this summer. The young people all have studied English and are here to experience American life as a part of an area family.

This is the twelfth year that St. Croix County has hosted these teens. The goal of the program is to give young people from both counties the chance to know each other on a person-to-person basis. The Japanese/Korean youth become part of the lives of their American families sharing chores and everyday activities with them. The students are here for four weeks and will be here until Aug. 22.

The home-stay program is part of a two-way exchange sponsored by 4-H. Since the program began in 1972, some 40,000 Japanese and Korean teenagers have stayed with families in 51 states and provinces and more than 6,800 American students have made reciprocal visits to Japan.

Halfway thru the exchange hosting families and the visiting students meet for the opportunity to visit with the other hosting families, discussing the challenges and rewards of hosting. There is always at least one chaperone for the delegates in attendance, so she/he can visit with the Japanese/Korean teens to hear how their stay is going, and discuss any concerns they may have, also. It also gives the American teens the same opportunity.

The St. Croix County families use Farm City Days as their meeting point. It is an opportunity for families to visit a farm and learn about it, while providing lunch and fun activities for the entire family.

St. Croix County host families are Larry and Laura Brown, Darrell and Nancy Burman, Bill and Kim Dailey, all of Hudson; Greg and Jenny Hojem of Downing; Dick and Wendy Kohls of Baldwin and Todd and Tracey Petersen of Emerald.