Rotary Trips Emails

Western Trip 

Florida Trip (Restricted to Certain Districts in Ohio Erie)

Eastern Trip

Western Trip

June 12 - CHAPERONE PHONE NUMBER:   Bill McMurray 614-517-7702.  There is not much I can do, you have to fix it or call our office 614-899-1979 and Jeanne will be able to work on it and help you.     If you have a delay of cancellation, get to the customer service representative of the airport and get it fixed.  If there is a problem, text me before calling me.

If you owe money (and about 10 of you do) please give it to designated chaperone in the airport on Tuesday.

On the confirmation letter I emailed you about your flights, your confirmation number is called "Record Locator"  That is the same thing.  Confirmation numbers are usually 6  letters or letters and numbers.  That is the number you need to get your boarding pass.

Reconfirm your flights tomorrow morning. That means checking to make sure the planes are leaving at the same time. Flight numbers sometimes change, don't freak out.   You don't actually have to reconfirm, just make sure nothing has changed.  Some airlines will allow you to issue boarding passes and print them 24 hours before flight time.   You can do this is you want.  You can also issue them at the airport.  Printing them early might save you some time.  If you are with a group (Columbus, Detroit, Cleveland, Charleston) they may not let you print boarding passes.

Arrive at airport 3 hours before flight time.   Also allow time for traffic delays and car problems on your drive to the airport.

White Water rafting requires that your wear shoes. No flip flops or shoes which will slip off your feet if you fall out of the raft.  Old tennis shoes or cheap water shoes are the best.  The two reasons is the river we are in is protected and they don't want trash in the river, the 2nd reason is there are rocks and they don't want you to damage your feet.

2 Liter water bottle (or two 1 liter bottles).  We don't want you sick or dead on the trip. Sick because it's a pain in the butt for chaperones.  Dead because after a couple days you'll smell bad.

10PM rule. We are really serious about it.  Just saying. That means that once you are in the room (at 10pm) you can't leave it.  You have to stay in your rooms.  Chaperones will come around and do room checks and give you information for the next day.

 

June 8 - When we have free time you have to stay in groups of 4 or more.  This is for safety (and honestly it's more fun).   We are going to places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City. 

We are staying in lots of small towns.  Our students have had more problems in small towns than big cities. Be very respectful of people and especially police officers. A few years ago a boy mooned some cars and in the middle of the group was a police officer. His kindness is all that kept that boy out of jail and off exchange.  When 92 foreigners invade a small town, it usually has some impact, keep this in mind.

We have 24 different countries represented on this trip. Here is the breakdown.

Germany 14
Brazil  13
France 12
Belgium 8
Italy 6
Chile 4
Spain 4
Taiwan 4
Japan 3
Mexico 3
Denmark 2
Finland 2
Hungary 2
Poland 2
South Korea 2
Switzerland 2
Thailand 2
Argentina 1
Austria 1
Czech Republic 1
Norway 1
Peru 1
Slovakia 1
Turkey 1

Here are the kids and the countries they are from.

Maria Milagros Junco Argentina
Eva Meisl Austria
Clemence Benedicte V. Biron Belgium
Victoria Ida M. Carpenito Belgium
Charlotte Clerckx Belgium
Sophie Lucienne De Gelan Belgium
Marie Cecile I. Delcommune Belgium
Alice Gallucci Belgium
Lucas Sebastien P. Gendarme Belgium
Joyce Annette V. Leroy Belgium
Joao Pedro Angelieri Paes de Campos Brazil
Jessica Lorena Bariviera Brazil
Isabela Caliento Seixas Brazil
Stella Fagotti Miranda de Paiva Brazil
Ricardo Ferraro Peres Brazil
Natalia Guimaraes Roncholeta Brazil
Luiza Jacome Buczynski Brazil
Gustavo Leal Meireles Brazil
Ana Clara Martins Quirino Brazil
Mathues  Montes Moura Brazil
Vitoria Hiderni More Komesso Brazil
Davi Sogayar Scapol Brazil
Angelo  Woelffel Ferreira Brazil 
Nicolas Sebastian Herrera Romero Chile
Isadora Paz Orellana Pozo Chile
Gianfranco Stefano Savoy Baglietto Chile
Maria Jesus Ubilla Gonzalez Chile
Daniela Cerovska Czech Republic
Emma Kok Andersen Denmark
Anna Bogevald Birkholm Denmark
Sarita Irja Aliisa Nieminen Finland
Juulia Edla Maria Tuominen Finland
Ofelia Alexanian France
Benjamin Camara France
Margot Camille Dussauge France
Clement Gibon France
Amaury Girot De Langlade France
Romain Charles Arthur Lages France
Tom Hugo Alex Lorthioir France
Marlene Mamia France
Amadou Ousmane Mbaye France
Enzo Nava France
Paul Andre Pierre Sourceau France
Serena Voland France
Finia Bonder Germany
Hendrik Doose Germany
Jasmina Einnolf Germany
Johannes Georg Faust Germany
Felix Josef Husgen Germany
Jan Justus Junge Germany
Sonja Laier Germany
Antonia Leske Germany
Franziska Maria Matusche Germany
Louis Manfred Nonte Germany
Lars David Michael Pennings Germany
Anne-Marie Christine Pyhan Germany
Elisa Christina Simons Germany
Johana Julie Santana Titscher Germany
Fanni  Csendes Hungary
Balint Majzik Hungary
Erica Baruzzi Italy
Giorgio Cracchiolo Italy
Eleonora Elardo Italy
Giorgia Ferreri Italy
Beatrice Lupo Pasini Italy
Federica Marongiu Italy
Monica Fujiwara Japan
Mizuki Kita Japan
Natsuki Tanaka Japan
Abril Nicole Barron Cervantes Mexico
Roger Adrian Mejia Rivas Mexico
Elder Nunez Juarez Mexico
Vilde Driveklepp Norway
Valery Mariah Uribe Manrique Peru
Jan Dolkowski Poland
Julia Weronika Kubic Poland
Diana Jergova Slovakia
Chaehyun Han South Korea
MinJoo Yang South Korea
Paula Bercedo Diaz Spain
Luca Bertomeu Cottini Spain
Ines Porcuna Lopez Spain
Alfredo Puigcerver Asin Spain
Manuela Amhof Switzerland
Thyra Raymund Switzerland
Yi-Chieh Sky Chen Taiwan
Po-Hsuan Chien Taiwan
Wen-Xuan Hu Taiwan
Fang-Yi Lin Taiwan
Thanagorn Khoonchandee Thailand
Sarisa Wangtanasoontorn Thailand
Aylin Cetin Turkey

Our motor coach company is  called Via Trailways and they have great buses.  They are Volvos which are almost all new. Some of the buses have plugs for charging phones and electronics and may have wireless internet (although it's not very good).   We do really ask you to work hard to keep the buses clean and there will be plenty of garbage bags around. We are really strict about this. We don't want our drivers to have to work after a long day of driving in big city traffic and over mountain roads.  They need their sleep.   The buses are equipped with bathroom but we will be stopping every two hours when we can for bathroom breaks so try to not use the bathrooms.  It is difficult to find a place to dump the sewage tanks when traveling. Otherwise we get to enjoy the smell.

June 7 - Getting your Boarding Pass: It's pretty simple.  It's an electronic ticket.  You can often issue a boarding pass on the airline's website the night before (often, but not always) or you can pick them up at the airport from the kiosk.  You need the confirmation number and your Passport (original, not a copy).  The kiosk will will ask you for your confirmation number.  You type it in and they print the boarding pass.  Then the airline prints your boarding passes for the trip. 

Check the Status of Your Flight: Check the status of your flight the day before you fly even if you don't print boarding passes.  So you aren't late getting to the airport if they move your flight time up or if it's been changed (which happens sometimes).

Luggage and Carry on: Most airlines (except Southwest) charge $25 for each bag you check which is 50 pounds (22.6 Kg) each way, so you need to put aside $50.  If your bag is over 50 pounds you will be charged a lot of money for overweight charges.  We only allow 1 suitcase and one backpack per student on the trip (limited space in luggage space on bus) so YOU CANNOT BRING A 2ND SUITCASE.      Pack a few clothes (underwear, a couple of t-shirts) in your carry on in case your bag is lost.  DO NOT PUT VALUABLES IN YOUR SUITCASE. 

Important Trip Information:

1. This is a bus trip.  Once we arrive in Phoenix we only ride by bus.  The buses carry 54 passengers so there is very limited extra room on the bus.  Each bus will have 52 and 48 on the bus.

2. The trip leaves June 14 and returns June 28. 

3. If you aren't aware of the itinerary (which is really silly to do by the way) here is where we are going. 

Date
Hotel
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 Blythe CA 
Thursday, June 15, 2017 Lompoc CA 
Friday, June 16, 2017 San Francisco CA
Saturday, June 17, 2017 Vacaville CA
Sunday, June 18, 2017 Fallon NV
Monday, June 19, 2017 Twin Falls 
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Jackson Hole
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Jackson Hole
Thursday, June 22, 2017 Provo
Friday, June 23, 2017 Moab
Saturday, June 24, 2017 Moab 
Sunday, June 25, 2017 Flagstaff
Monday, June 26, 2017 Flagstaff
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Phoenix 
Wednesday, June 28, 2017  

June 2 - The trip leaves June 14 and gets home June 28.  We are flying you to Phoenix Arizona. In case you have been living on Mars for the past few weeks.  It is a bus trip, we travel by motorcoach.  We fly to Phoenix and then we are on the bus from that point on. (Every year someone is surprised by that).  We are staying in nice decent hotels. Treat them nicely.
Make sure you bring personal music devices like an IPOD or phone.  A good idea is a headphone splitter if you want to share with friends.   NO SPEAKERS!!!!!  Also NO MUSICAL instruments.  Music on the bus can be a huge irritant to the bus drivers and chaperones.
Bring a camera and an extra SD card or clean out your phone so you have room for lots of pictures. You will take a lot of photos.
Everyday on these trips kids lose at least one camera, wallet, phone, or iPod.  Keep you stuff in your bag and remember where it is.  We don't go back for these things and it may cost you a lot to have them shipped to you. (In one case $500 to ship a suitcase they left behind).     It is your responsibility to track them down and get them shipped.  Don't ask a chaperone, they have a lot to do and don't have time.  Put your name on a sticker on your phone.

Best Souvenirs where we are going.
Monument Valley - Super nice and inexpensive silver and turquoise jewelry hand made by Navajos.
San Francisco - bags, Chinese munchies, strange used clothing, unique hats
Los Angeles - Weird stuff, can't call it anything else.
Virginia City - Leather, cowboy stuff, terrific old time photos, pins, biker stuff.
Yellowstone - Bear and Cow skin and leather items. (A couple of years ago a French girl bought an entire cow skin which she called her cow).  Fly fishing and hiking things, cool walking sticks.
Jackson Hole - Western Style designer clothing
Moab - Outdoorsy extreme sports stuff.
Everywhere - Shot glasses and thimbles and local handy-crafts.

 

May 31 - A number of you still owe money on the trip and can't participate until you pay the remainder. Check http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html for up to date what you might or might not owe.  Three of you owe over $1000.

Weather is a real issue on this trip.  Temperatures in the Arizona desert will be about 45C while in Yellowstone it can be as low as -5C.   Mornings in the high desert of Nevada and in the Bay Area can be 10C or even less sometimes.   The answer to this is layers.  Take one waterproof garment (the best is a waterproof windbreaker).  Take a warm sweater. Take a hoodie.  Take t-shirts or even heavy cowboy like shirts.  I would bring Jeans, shorts and a pair of track pants (sweatpants).  It can be chilly on the buses but we can't warm them up because it becomes difficult to make them cool again.  Always bring some sort of hat.  A baseball cap or brim hat (cowboy hat.... cheap ones are available in straw at Walmart for around $10.).  Some students have a lot of fun getting all cowboyed up.

Again... water bottles.  I carry two 1 liter water bottles or one 2 liter bottle.  You will probably refill it during the day.  You WILL get really thirsty and if you don't drink water you WILL get sick.  Happens every year.  I bring Mio or some other water flavor enhancer to make it more interesting.  Remember that once you start feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated.

Interesting Trip Facts:  San Francisco was once the 2nd largest city in the United States.  When it was destroyed in 1906 it was a modern city with a public transportation system, water and sewage system and skyscraper high rise buildings, some of which still exist.   We stay in Lompoc, California one night (2nd night). Lompoc has been in the news lately.  It is the home of Vandenburg Air Force Base, headquarters of military rocket bases.  An anti-missile missile was successfully launched there yesterday.  Most US missile launches go from there.   Virginia City has a lot of history.  American writer and humorist Mark Twain was an newspaper reporter there. Threatened with being shot, he fled the town in the middle of the night.  Several of his stories are written about that area. 

May 30: In  2 weeks we are going on the Western Trip.   After tomorrow there are no refunds, so don't get sent home or you will lose your trip payment.

Make sure you know your flight information.  I have sent all but one person their flight schedules and instructions on flying.  You have what is called a E-Ticket.  An E-Ticket is an electronic ticket (paperless).  You have been given a Confirmation Number and your flight information.   All you need to get your boarding pass is that confirmation number and your Passport.  Most of you can pre-print it the night before on line.
 
You can also pick it up at the airport.  Get to the airport AT LEAST 3 hours before your flight time.  Take your passport or Government issued Identification (it can be a state issued ID or even your national ID Card from your country.  Go to the kiosk at the airport or hand it to the agent.  They will pull up your flight schedule and issue your boarding pass using your confirmation number.  Either the kiosk or the agent will issue your boarding pass.  If you are checking a bag (most of you are), put that in the prompt at the kiosk.  They will call your name to check your bag.  Most airlines (except Southwest) charge a baggage checking fee of around $25 if your bag is under 50lb (22kg). That will be collected at that time.

When you get to Phoenix go to Terminal 4 Baggage Claim.  There you will find the chaperones.  Check in (make sure your name is checked off the list).  Then you may have time to get lunch on the third level of the terminal.   Most people arrive within two hours of each other.  

From now on in I will be emailing at least 5 times a week.  This information is important. Read it.

 

May 20 -    There is always a big problem with airport security and it sometimes takes at least 2 hours to go through security in a lot of airports.  Please get to the airport at least 2.5 hours before your flights time.  In major cities, like Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, and others, it might take 3 hours of standing in line just to get through security.  Don't miss your flight.  

    During free time we require that you stay in groups of 4 people or more.  This is for safety, but it's also a lot more fun. Groups this size watch out for each other and There are too many of you to be targeted by muggers and criminals.  So find people who like to do the same things you do.  If you are a shopper, look for other shoppers.  If you like museums, find other museum goes.  If you like to walk and explore, look for people who like to do that.
    Hollywood Boulevard is a very strange place.  It's where they have the "Walk of Fame" with plaques dedicated to different stars in the sidewalk. There are people dressed up like popular movie heroes (who want to be paid if you take your picture with them).  There is a Shopping area which is where they have the red carpet for the Academy Awards and you can get a good picture with the Hollywood Sign. There are also landmarks around.  You might even see someone famous, we have. A block away is Hollywood High School which has been featured in many movies and many movie stars graduated from there.
    Perfect trip: I always strive to have a perfect trip and have actually accomplished it a few times.  It takes the work of everyone on the trip.  Our trip is designed so if you do as we ask and pay attention, you will have an absolutely amazing time. You will make 99 new friends, learn about some amazing places and have a list of amazing memories to think and talk about for the rest of your life.  My goal is to get to know and like everyone on the trip. This year I know we'll do it.

 

May 16 - There is less than a month left until we leave on our trip.  Please make sure you are caught up on all the emails.
The trip is completely sold out.  There are 92 students and 8 chaperones.  Every room has 4 students.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
1. Know your flight information. Print out schedule, confirmation number and be at the airport at least 2.5 hours before flight time.
2. Pack carefully. You have to handle your own luggage. NO ROTARY JACKETS. Pack for layers, it can be freezing cold or really hot.
3. Bring sunblock of at least SPF30, the sun is really intense where we are going and many students get horrible sunburns.
4. Pack a canteen or 2 liter water bottle. We have a problem with students getting very sick with dehydration (we've had to go the hospital numerous times because of this).  Keep it filled (not on the plane but after).
5. Do some pre-planning. Know where we are going (see http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html for itinerary and hotels and rooming list (and flight information).
6. Know the rules. Rules aren't tough. Free time 4 or more people together.  In rooms by 10pm for night. Act like an adult (no running, screaming or acting stupid).  Keep bus clean and stay in your seat.   Follow the rules and you will have the best time of your life.
7. Listen to the chaperones.  They are giving you information so you will have the best and safest time.  They aren't there to bully you, they are there to guide you. Listen to them.  Get to know them. This is a really interesting group of people.  Mountain Climbers, award winning volunteers, artists, professional photographers....
8. Coordinate with your room mates (friend them on Facebook) and try to share things like hairdryers, etc.  Also start a conversation and make them friends. It will make your trip so much fun.  We have mixed people up so you can make new friends.
9. Make sure you have enough spending money. I recommend at least $400 for meals (most breakfasts are included and a lunch). Save money by picking up and sharing food with friends.  There are several places where you can get food at supermarkets.  If you plan you can find some amazing opportunities to make some fun and inexpensive picnics and dinners with your new friends.
10.  From this point on you can't change rooms or buses. Don't ask.
11. SPEAK ENGLISH.  The biggest complaint we get is students only speaking their own language.  It's rude and student's start to really dislike groups that speak their own language.
12.  Make friends with everyone on the trip. Our goal is to mix up buses so nationalities and languages are all mixed up.  This has happened in the past and it's been a magical experience.  http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html
13. Make sure you are paid in full on your trip. Check out http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html

May 8 - I am behind getting flight schedule itineraries to you (the same ones which can be found on the website).   Will do that this week.
How do you get ready for the trip?  If you do it right you will have the best time of your life.  If not you will probably struggle.
1. Touch base with everyone on the trip.  Friend folks on Facebook, exchange email addresses even Skype each other. 
2. Plan what you are going to due during free time.  You have free time in Hollywood & San Francisco. Look up cool things to do. Keep in mind distances and of course the rules.
3. Become aware of the itinerary. Look at all the things we are doing and research them.  A little information about history and purpose will make your experience richer.
4. Read our emails about how to stay healthy.  Every year people ignore what we say and every year people get sick.  Drink lots of water (water is good and free in all our hotels taps).
5. Pack carefully. Remember you really don't have time to do laundry.  Pack clothes you can rinse out in the rooms. Remember you need to take enough underwear and plan on wearing some clothes more than one day.  Especially pants, shorts, etc...
6. Bring plenty of cards, pins  or even pieces of paper with your information about your home.  I guarantee you are going to make some of your best friends in the world on this trip. Have a way to get together after your exchange.
7. Look up videos about places like Yellowstone, Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon, Moab, Twin Falls ID, Virginia City and all the other places we are going.
8. Gather what you need for the trip now. 
9. Exercise: There is walking in high altitude areas, long days etc.... you need to be in shape.
10. Ask people about the places you are going.

Each chaperone goes through training for this (and all our trips).  It's a hard job and people do it as volunteers.  They are good at it.    When you meet us, use our knowledge about what to do.  We will give you great recommendations.

 

May 2 - Sorry for being out of touch, doing the group airline tickets has been more complicated than normal and my wife has had some surgery which has complicated my life.  Will get caught up by the end of the week.   Once I get caught up we will be sending you emailed itineraries on your flights with instructions.  Look for those the end of the week.    Many of you owe small amounts of money.  See the website for how much. http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html      I recommend you get a check and send us that amount.  PayPal and Wire Transfers are expensive and we don't absorb banking fees. 
What kind of clothes will you need?  The temperature can range from 45+C down to -5C.  It can be desert heat one day and snow in the mountains the next.  San Francisco, although all around it the temperature is 35C, can be as cool as 8C.  It also can rain at any time.   Some places you will need swimwear, shorts or a hat, while in others you need a windbreaker,  hoodie and long pants.   I have pictures of students having snowball fights in shorts.  
This is what I would pack:
Underwear for everyday of the trip. 

T-shirts for everyday of the trip. 

Swimwear and a ziploc bag with carry it in your suitcase.

2 to 3 pairs of shorts

2 pairs long slacks 

Comfortable socks

Sunblock 30 spf or better (waterproof)

A good sun hat or ball cap;

Sunglasses

Hair brushes, deodorant, tooth brush and paste, makeup

Anti-diarrhea Stomach medicine

Motion sickness medicine like Bonine (which doesn't make you sleepy)

Advil, Aspirin or Tylenol for headache or pain

Prescription medicine in original packaging 

Inhalers (in backpack or purse)

Muscle Rub

spare glasses or contacts
power-strip and charging cables for devices
2-liter water bottle

Hoodie sweatshirt

Waterproof packable windbreaker or rain coat (poncho would work)

Good hiking shoes or solid sneakers 

Cheap water shoes or old sneakers (for white water rafting)

Check out the website for more ideas.

 

The chaperones on the trip are: Bill McMurray, Dave Saho, Ryan Bodley, Bill Burnham, Heidi Geller, Alyson Hollobaugh, Meg Sanchez, Caleb Sanchez

April 23 - A number of people still owe their final payment.  Please check the http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html  to see what you owe.
I have made some changes on the rooming list.  There will not be many more changes allowed.  The idea is not to room with your best friends, but the make new friends by rooming with stranger.
Flying:  You will need a government issued ID to fly June 14.  That includes a passport, state issued ID or drivers license.  Some of you have gotten state ID's and they do work.  When we get on the bus we will collect those passports and keep them in a safe place so you don't lose them.  

All tickets are electronic tickets
.  This means you don't get a paper ticket.  All you need is your confirmation number and government issued ID. 
If you are flying on anyone but Southwest Airlines you will need to pay $25 per checked bag in each direction.  That means you have to have $25 (or a credit card) with you to fly to Phoenix and the same amount to fly home.  So save $25 and stash it away for the flight home.

Being on time is one of the most important thing
s for the trip.  If you are late we will miss things because we have to keep a schedule.  As one of our chaperones put it, being on time is being late, being 10 minutes early is being on time.
One important thing to remember is our buses on this trip are really beautiful, nice buses, and nearly brand new. They are used normally for one of the top tour companies in the USA, and they are nice enough to give them to us.  We need to keep them clean. No gum on the floor, no trash or food laying around. If they get mess up you will be kept on them until they are clean.

Water...... We will constantly remind you to drink lots of water on the trip.  If you don't you will get sick.  Bring a water bottle (actually bring 2) and not a little one.

Cool things in San Francisco to see:  Embarcadero,  Fisherman's Wharf,  Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge.

April 21 - We have finalized the airline tickets and the rooming lists are going out to the hotels soon.  I have finalized the rooms. You can find the flight schedule at http://rotarytrip.org/Rotwest17flights.html  make sure you check your flights.  We have been going over this for several weeks so there should be no issue here.  All tickets are non-refundable.  Any changes you want to make will come out of your pocket.

You can find the Rooming List online at http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html.  We listen to your requests on the buses, but we also put you in rooms where you'll meet people you don't know so you can make new friends.  We also try to spread all the different countries around the rooms so we don't have any rooms with just one country or overwhelmed by one language.  Occasionally we are forced to put two students from one country in a room just because there are so many of them. Starting next week I will stop making changes on buses, as we have to send the rooming lists to the hotels and after we do that I won't make any change.
On the rooming list you can see pictures of the chaperones.  

Our chaperones include a lot of experience doing long trips and working with groups.  If you were on the Eastern trip you'll recognize Meg, Caleb, Dave and Myself.   Ryan, Dave and I have done Western Trips before.  Two of our chaperones, Ryan and Alyson, are former exchange students.  Bill and I have both been host parents (Bill is an active host father, I'm an active counselor and our students are on this trip). 
Just a note, anyone cancelling the  trip at this time will be forced to pay an 25% penalty, plus the cost of airline tickets.  Two weeks before the trip, there is not refund at all

April 20 - We have booked all the flights and ticketed most of them.  You can find your flight schedule at http://rotarytrip.org/Rotwest17flights.html
All tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable.  This is quickly put in and we will be reviewing flight info closer tomorrow.  We will also be sending you confirmations and flight instructions to your email tomorrow.  Also tomorrow we will be putting the rooming list as it will be on line.

April 14 - We are now past final pay date and the deposits and payments are under cancellation penalty. 

Making New Friends:  There is a chance to meet a whole bunch of new people on this trip.  Some of you know each other from the other trips, but there a bunch of people who have never been on a trip.  And after communicating with them and hearing from their RYOs they are a terrific bunch of exchange students.   Another thing to remember is go outside your comfort zone.  Befriend people who are from cultures which are really different from your culture.  I've set up most of the rooms to encourage that.  My goal is to make a gigantic happy family by June 28th. 
Go Western in your Dress:  One fun thing you can do and get away with is to dress like a cowboy or cowgirl.   Get a cheap straw cowboy hat in Walmart.  If you have boots wear them.   One year, one of our German exchange students dressed up so great, people in Virginia City thought he was part of the show. 
Here are a few things you'll see you probably won't see anywhere else.
Cowboys:  In all the states we are going there are people who still make their living moving cows and house around.  In some high schools in the west Rodeo is bigger than any other sport.  Wearing cowboy hats (more common to see ball caps), boots and checkered shirts is considered normal, while people in Ohio or Michigan might look at you a little funny.  
Crop Dusters:  This time of year we see a lot of crop duster aircraft spreading herbicides and pesticides on fields.  Especially in Idaho.  We stay in Twin Falls ID one night and it is in the center of Potato country.   They fly their planes well over 100 miles a hour 6 meters off the ground. It's an amazing thing to watch. 
Condors:  The California Condor is endangered but there quite a number of them in the Grand Canyon.  You see them near Bright Angel Trail lodge.
Bears, bison and elk in the wild:  In Yellowstone there are elk, moose, bison, bears, and lots of other wild animals.  My favorite sighting was a badger one year.  In Yellowstone and Grand Teton keep your eyes open for wild beast.
Sea Lions in the middle of a city:  In San Francisco near Pier 39 (our drop off point) there can be dozens of wild sea lions, some of which weigh 800 lbs, just hanging out on piers in the harbor. 
New Topography Every 10 minutes:  This trip is 20,160 minutes long and you will see 2,160 different type of scenery.  Just stay away and keep your eye looking out the window. You will be so blown away by that.

April 12 - Many of you are paying with wire transfers & PayPal.  When you do this they charge fees and we can't absorb those fees so you will find when you look at the who owes what page that you owe small amounts of money.  That are these fees.  Just an explanation. You do need to pay those before the trip.  A check is the best way (no more fees), maybe you can give the cash to your host family and they can send the check. http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html

Looking forward to showing you one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.  Sitting on San Francisco Bay, the weather in San Francisco can be surprising. It is surrounded by a very hot, desert-like area, but San Francisco is usually quite chilly and is one of the times you will need a hoodie or jacket. The water in the bay comes directly from the Bering Sea and brings cool weather in.  It also brings many sea lions and seals.  At Pier 39 there are normally many sea lions lounging on platforms.  You can see them close up.  Pier 39 is a wonderful touristy area with shops, restaurants, a Hard Rock Cafe and next door is the Aquarium.  Pier 39 is right next to world famous Fisherman's Wharf.  The city is amazing. It has one of American's largest China-towns, incredible views, great shopping, world class museums, and more.  You'll have some free time to explore the city. Of course you have to stay in groups of 4.

We will he giving you neck wallet name tags.  In those will be your itinerary, with all the phone numbers for all the chaperones, hotels and more. It also has all the addresses of the hotels, and a detailed schedule.   Schedule is extremely important.  We need you to stay on time or we might have to take items out of the itinerary. Never be late.  Try to get to the meeting point at least 15 minutes before the departure time. 

One thing we chaperones are tough on is students who are out of their rooms after 10pm. If you were on the Eastern and Disney trip you know this. We are strict on this because our hotels are strict with us.  Also you need to sleep on this trip.  It's long, the days are long and it can be exhausting.  Students who don't sleep 7 or 8 hours are the ones who get sick.  This is the first mention to all of you about 2 liters of water.  Our biggest problem is dehydration, not drinking enough water.  We require you to carry at least two-liters of water on the trip and you will need it.  We spend a lot of time in desert areas and people get sick very quickly from this. It resembles the flu. Just sip on water all day and you'll be fine.
--

April 6- When we issue tickets we take the spelling of your name and birthday from the passport copies we require from you.  There are a number of you who haven't not sent us your passport copies.  If you don't send us your passport copies and we make a mistake on your flight ticket (birthday, name spelling etc...) the cost of reissuing the ticket is your responsibility.  The can be over $500.  Make sure you have sent us your passport copy.  (in one case we could not read the passport.  Take a picture of it and email it to me. (nice light picture you can read).
According to our records, so far, the following students have not sent us their passport copies. 

Manuela Amhof
Emma Andersen
Joao Pedro Angelieri Paes de Campos
Fanni  Csendes
Jan Dolkowski
Jasmina Einnolf
Eleonora Elardo
Ricardo Ferraro Peres
Louis Willi Fricke
Amaury Girot De Langlade
Jan Justus Junge
Thanagorn Khoonchandee
Balint Majzik
Marlene Mamia
Sarita Irja Aliisa Nieminen
Lars David Michael Pennings
Davi Sogayar Scapol
Paul Sourceau
Sarisa Wangtanasoontorn

April 5- If you are going to the Atlanta Rotary Convention please tell me soon, I will not be responsible for mistakes on this.We won't issue your tickets until we receive money from you (the tickets are non-refundable). So get at least your deposit to us so we can issue the tickets.  (Non-refundable means once issued you'll get no refund from the tickets if there is a mistake.)  I have put my list of what cities I'm flying you out of on the website. http://rotarytrip.org/Rotwest17flightcities.html  This can also be found on the trip webpage, http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html   We allot a certain amount of money for the airline tickets, if the price of tickets is significantly over $500 there may be a surcharge for the difference.  I have put a page on the website showing how much you owe on the trip.  Look and see: http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestows17.html.  If there are any mistakes please let me know.  We can not issue your air tickets if we haven't received money from you. If you miss our ticketing and the price of the ticket goes up over what we got the rest of your flight group, you may have a surcharge, so please get money to us.  Also I'm starting to think about the rooming list.  You can request to room with one person, I can't guarantee buses (presently they aren't at all locked in).  If at all possible I want to room each room with kids from different countries.  So the only language in the room is English.  Also I want assist you in making new friends. For those of you who asked, my wife Jeanne is doing great with her eye surgery. One more to go.

April 3 - One thing we have always told kids who go on this trip is to sleep at night, not during the day.  Every 10 minutes of this trip for 2 weeks there is a complete change of scenery and the scenery is always interesting and in most cases spectacular.    The scenery is so different everyday and every few minutes, from beautiful deserts, urban landscapes, to ocean beaches, to mountain beaches to high mountain to stunning high desert views.

You will need spending money on this trip. We do not include most dinners and lunches, because we would have to charge you a lot more for these meals than most of you would spend yourself. Group meals cost about $10-20 a day and they are time consuming and take away from the fun stuff we do.  That would put the price of the tour to almost $2800.  I prefer to include airline tickets and keep the prices as cheap as possible. You usually need about $400 to cover that and souvenirs so start gathering that for the trip.  You control how much you spend, because we do stop places where there are supermarkets where you can save a lot of money by sharing it with your room mates. 

A good suggestion is to get hold of a good map of the American west.  Bring a highlighter and follow along where we are going everyday.  Also take lots of pictures with you and your friends in them (Landscape pictures get trashed, it's the people in the places which will always remind you of this wonderful trip.  I am the selfie king and love taking them with you kids in the backgrounds so I'll remember you.  

If you aren't a friend yet, friend the chaperones on Facebook.  They enjoy it and you can contact them and ask questions about the trip.  Especially Jackie Favret and I.

Airport First (Legal Name) Last Gender Birthday District RC City  
Charleston SC Manuela Amhof Female July 27, 2000 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Charleston SC Emma Andersen Female November 25, 2000 7770 Beaufort, SC OK
Boise Joao Pedro Angelieri Paes de Campos Male May 19, 1999 5400 Ontario, OR OK
  Maria  Arechiga Santacruz Female   6670    
Cincinnati Jessica Lorena Bariviera Female May 15, 2000 6670 Batavia OH  OK
Columbus OH  Abril Nicole Barron Cervantes Female October 10, 2000 6690 Circleville, OH OK
Columbus OH  Erica Baruzzi Female April 20, 1999 6690 Lancaster, OH OK
Greenville Spartansburg Paula Bercedo Diaz Female November 14, 2000 7750 Clemson, SC OK
Columbia SC  Luca Bertomeu Cottini Male August 16, 1998 7770 Sumter, SC OK
Boise Anna Bogevald Birkholm Female June 14, 2000 5400 Boise, ID OK
Columbus OH  Clemence Biron Female June 23, 1998 6690 Granville, OH  
Columbus OH  Finia Bonder Female January 23, 2000 6690 Mount Vernon, OH OK
Atlanta  rt Columbus OH  Benjamin Camara Male September 23, 1999 6690 Mount Vernon, OH  
Detroit MI  Victoria Carpenito Female April 10, 1998 6600 Bryan, OH OK
Detroit MI  Daniela Cerovska Female September 23, 1999 6380 Brighton, MI OK
Detroit MI  Aylin Cetin Female October 9, 1999 6380 Clarkston, MI  
Cleveland  Yi-Chieh Chen Female December 26, 2000 6630 Akron, OH  
Cleveland  Po-Hsuan Chien Male November 10, 2000 6630 Chesterland, OH  
Atlanta Nashville  Charlotte Clerckx Female April 25, 1998 6780 Livingston, TN  
Charleston SC Giorgio Cracchiolo Male May 20, 1999 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Dayton Fanni  Csendes Female July 24, 2000 6640 Oakwood, OH OK
Boise Sophie De Gelan Female June 16, 1998 5400 Twin Falls, ID  OK
Charleston SC Marie Cecile Delcommune Female June 2, 1998 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Cleveland  Jan Dolkowski Male June 28, 1999 6630 Hudson, OH OK
Charlotte NC Hendrik Doose Male March 22, 2000 7670 Denver, NC OK
Greenville Spartansburg Vilde Driveklepp Female April 13, 1999 7750 Westminster, SC  
Cleveland  Margot Dussauge Female December 16, 1999 6630 Strongsville, OH OK
Detroit/Chicago Jasmina Einnolf Female August 1, 2000 6360 Coloma MI  OK
Charlotte NC Eleonora Elardo Female November 13, 1999 7680 Charlotte, NC OK
Cleveland  Stella Fagotti Miranda de Paiva Female February 27, 2000 6630 Medina, OH OK
Cleveland  Johannes Georg Faust Male October 25, 1998 6600 Antwerp, OH  
Charleston SC Ricardo Ferraro Peres Male September 27, 2000 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Cleveland  Giorgia Ferreri Female February 11, 2000 6600 Bellevue, OH OK
Cleveland  Louis Willi Fricke Male May 3, 2000 6630 Lakewood, OH OK
Cleveland  Monica Fujiwara Female December 21, 1999 6630 Lakewood, OH OK
Boise Alice Gallucci Female November 8, 1998 5400 Eagle, ID OK
Detroit/Chicago Lucas Gendarme          
Greenville Spartansburg Clement Gibon Male May 21, 1999 7750 Greenwood, SC OK
Reno Amaury Girot De Langlade          
Asheville/Charlotte Andres Gueguen Male May 14, 1999 7670 Burnsville, NC  
Cleveland  Natalia  Guimaraes Roncholeta Female   6630    
Columbus OH  Chaehyun Han Female February 26, 2001 6600 Marion, OH  
Boise Nicolas Sebastian Herrera Romero Male June 11, 1999 5400 McCall, ID OK
Greenville Spartansburg Wen-Xuan Hu Female June 18, 2000 7750 Seneca, SC OK
Charlotte NC Felix Josef Huesgen Male April 25, 2000 7680 Shelby, NC OK
Charleston SC Luiza Jacome Buczynski Female December 12, 1998 7770 Mt. Pleasant OK
Columbus OH  Diana Jergova Female June 16, 1999 6690 Gahanna, OH OK
Boise Maria Milagros Junco Female July 16, 1999 5400 McCall, ID OK
Greenville Spartansburg Jan Justus Junge Male May 31, 1999 7750 Greenville, SC  
Charlotte NC Thanagorn Khoonchandee Male April 19, 1999 7680 Huntersville, NC  
Charlotte NC Mizuki Kita Female March 14, 1999 7680 Charlotte, NC OK
Columbus OH  Julia Weronika Kubic Female November 6, 1999 6690 Westerville, OH OK
Dayton/Columbus Romain Lages Male February 19, 1999 6670 Farmersville, OH OK
Cleveland  Sonia Laier Female February 2, 2001 6600 Vermillion OH  OK
Cleveland  Gustavo Leal Meireles Male November 19, 1999 6630 Cuyahoga Falls, OH OK
Boise Joyce Leroy Female July 26, 1998 5400 Boise, ID OK
Boise Antonia Leske Female November 11, 1999 5400 Boise, ID OK
Nashville Fang-Yi Lin Female April 12, 2000 6780 Fairfield, TN OK
Cleveland  Tom Hugo Alex Lorthioir Male September 5, 1999 6650 East Canton, OH OK
Charlotte NC Beatrice Lupo Pasini Female February 29, 2000 7670 Franklin, NC OK
Detroit/Chicago Balint Majzik Male July 10, 2000 6360 St. Joseph, MI OK
Detroit MI  Marlene Mamia Female October 10, 1998 6380 Royal Oak, MI OK
Charleston SC Federica Marongiu Female September 4, 1999 7770 Hilton Head, SC OK
Charleston SC Ana Clara Martins Quirino Female May 29, 2000 7770 Bluffton SC  OK
Charlotte NC Franziska Maria Matusche Female July 17, 2000 7680 Charlotte, NC  
Atlanta ret Nashville  Amadou Ousmane Mbaye Male May 9, 1999 6780 Oak Ridge, TN  
Detroit MI  Eva Meisl Female December 1, 1999 6380 Clarkston, MI  
Dayton Roger Adrian Mejia Rivas Male May 15, 1999 6670 Dayton, OH OK
Atlanta  Matheus  Montes Moura Male July 20, 1999 7670 Highlands, NC  
Charleston SC Enzo Nava Male  May 22, 2000 7770 Charleston, SC  
Detroit MI  Sarita  Nieminen Female August 23, 1999 6360 Kalamazoo, MI  
Cleveland  Louis Manfred Nonte Male September 18, 1998 6630 Garrettsville, OH OK
Columbus OH  Elder Nunez Juarez Male August 20, 1999 6690 New Albany, OH  
Pittsburgh PA  Isidora Paz Orellana Pozo Female June 10, 1999 7530 Bridgeport, WV OK
Cincinnati Punchanit  Tangseefa Female July 1, 2001 6670 Wilmington OH  
Cleveland  Lars David Michael Pennings Male September 16, 2000 6650 Wooster, OH  
Greenville Spartansburg Ines Porcuna Lopez Female November 14, 2000 7750 Spartanburg, SC OK
Boise Alfredo Puigcerver Asin Male December 11, 2000 5400 Buhl, ID OK
Charleston SC Anne-Marie Christine Pyhan Female May 1, 1999 7770 Florence, SC OK
Detroit MI  Thyra Raymund Female March 27, 2001 6380 Chatham, ON OK
Cincinnati Gianfranco Savoy Baglietto Male August 17, 1999 6740 Lexington, KY OK
Detroit/Chicago Isabela Seixas Female February 24, 1999 6360 St. Joseph, MI  
Columbus OH  Elisa Simons Female June 19, 2000 6690 Zanesville, OH OK
Cincinnati Davi Sogayar-Scapol Male January 6, 1999 6740 Florence KY  
Greenville Spartansburg Paul Sourceau Male July 28, 2000 7750 Greenville, SC OK
Columbus OH  Natsuki Tanaka Female February 22, 2000 6690 Granville, OH  
Detroit MI  Joana Julie Santana Titscher Female August 15, 2000 6380 Tilbury, ON  
Detroit MI  Juulia Edla Maria Tuominen Female January 29, 1999 6380 Howell, MI OK
Detroit MI  Maria Jesus Ubilla Gonzalez Female March 20, 2000 6380 Clarkston, MI  
Dayton/Columbus Valery Mariah Uribe Manrique Female June 17, 2001 6670 Bellefontaine, OH  
Columbia SC  Serena Voland Female July 27, 1999 7770 Lexington, SC  
Asheville Sarisa Wangtanasoontorn Female May 4, 2000 7670 Brevard, NC  
Detroit MI  MinJoo Yang Female February 16, 2000 6380 Chatham, ON  

 

 

March 31 - Several exchange students are going to the Rotary Convention and want to fly from Atlanta and back to their host cities.  Please email be your name as soon as possible.
Monday my wife is having eye surgery and I'll be out of the office but I'll be working all weekend. We need this information to be correct so you can fly. If it is wrong, you won't be able to go on the trip and you aren't getting a refund.There are several of you who have not answered my questions.  Please look at the table below and check your departure city, your Legal (airline ticket) name, birthday, age, gender..... and then let me know if it's OK and please correct any mistakes.  If it OK and I have a OK next to your line you are and don't have to contact me.  Do double check everything.  

Airport First
Last Gender Birthday Age            (ON TRIP) District RC City
Charleston SC Manuela Amhof Female July 27, 2000 16 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Charleston SC Emma Andersen Female November 25, 2000 16 7770 Beaufort, SC OK
Boise Joao Pedro Angelieri Paes de Campos Male May 19, 1999 18 5400 Ontario, OR
Cincinnati
Maria  Arechiga Santacruz Female     6670  
Cincinnati Jessica Lorena Bariviera Female May 15, 2000 17 6670 Batavia OH  OK
Columbus OH  Abril Nicole Barron Cervantes Female October 10, 2000 16 6690 Circleville, OH OK
Columbus OH  Erica Baruzzi Female April 20, 1999 18 6690 Lancaster, OH OK
Greenville Spartansburg Paula Bercedo Diaz Female November 14, 2000 16 7750 Clemson, SC
Columbia SC  Luca Bertomeu Cottini Male August 16, 1998 18 7770 Sumter, SC OK
Boise Anna Bogevald Birkholm Female June 14, 2000 16 5400 Boise, ID
Columbus OH  Clemence Biron Female June 23, 1998 18 6690 Granville, OH
Columbus OH  Finia Bonder Female January 23, 2000 17 6690 Mount Vernon, OH OK
Atlanta  rt Columbus OH  Benjamin Camara Male September 23, 1999 17 6690 Mount Vernon, OH
Detroit MI  Victoria Carpenito Female April 10, 1998 19 6600 Bryan, OH OK
Detroit MI  Daniela Cerovska Female September 23, 1999 17 6380 Brighton, MI
Detroit MI  Aylin Cetin Female October 9, 1999 17 6380 Clarkston, MI
Cleveland  Yi-Chieh Chen Female December 26, 2000 16 6630 Akron, OH
Cleveland  Po-Hsuan Chien Male November 10, 2000 16 6630 Chesterland, OH
Nashville Charlotte Clerckx Female April 25, 1998 19 6780 Livingston, TN
Charleston SC Giorgio Cracchiolo Male May 20, 1999 17 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Dayton Fanni  Csendes Female July 24, 2000 16 6640 Oakwood, OH
Boise Sophie De Gelan Female June 16, 1998 18 5400 Twin Falls, ID 
Charleston SC Marie Cecile Delcommune Female June 2, 1998 19 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Cleveland  Jan Dolkowski Male June 28, 1999 18 6630 Hudson, OH OK
Charlotte NC Hendrik Doose Male March 22, 2000 17 7670 Denver, NC OK
Greenville Spartansburg Vilde Driveklepp Female April 13, 1999 18 7750 Westminster, SC
Cleveland  Margot Dussauge Female December 16, 1999 17 6630 Strongsville, OH OK
Detroit/Chicago Jasmina Einnolf          
Charlotte NC Eleonora Elardo Female November 13, 1999 17 7680 Charlotte, NC OK
Cleveland  Stella Fagotti Miranda de Paiva Female February 27, 2000 17 6630 Medina, OH
Cleveland  Johannes Georg Faust Male October 25, 1998 18 6600 Antwerp, OH
Charleston SC Ricardo Ferraro Peres Male September 27, 2000 16 7770 Charleston, SC OK
Cleveland  Giorgia Ferreri Female February 11, 2000 17 6600 Bellevue, OH OK
Cleveland  Louis Willi Fricke Male May 3, 2000 16 6630 Lakewood, OH OK
Cleveland  Monica Fujiwara Female December 21, 1999 17 6630 Lakewood, OH OK
Boise Alice Gallucci Female November 8, 1998 18 5400 Eagle, ID OK
Detroit/Chicago Lucas Gendarme          
Greenville Spartansburg Clement Gibon Male May 21, 1999 17 7750 Greenwood, SC
Reno Amaury Girot De Langlade          
Asheville/Charlotte Andres Gueguen Male May 14, 1999 17 7670 Burnsville, NC
Cleveland  Natalia  Guimaraes Roncholeta Female     6630  
Columbus OH  Chaehyun Han Female February 26, 2001 16 6600 Marion, OH
Boise Nicolas Sebastian Herrera Romero Male June 11, 1999 18 5400 McCall, ID OK
Greenville Spartansburg Wen-Xuan Hu Female June 18, 2000 17 7750 Seneca, SC
Charlotte NC Felix Josef Huesgen Male April 25, 2000 17 7680 Shelby, NC
Charleston SC Luiza Jacome Buczynski Female December 12, 1998 18 7770 Mt. Pleasant OK
Columbus OH  Diana Jergova Female June 16, 1999 17 6690 Gahanna, OH OK
Boise Maria Milagros Junco Female July 16, 1999 17 5400 McCall, ID
Greenville Spartansburg Jan Justus Junge Male May 31, 1999 18 7750 Greenville, SC
Charlotte NC Thanagorn Khoonchandee Male April 19, 1999 18 7680 Huntersville, NC
Charlotte NC Mizuki Kita Female March 14, 1999 18 7680 Charlotte, NC
Columbus OH  Julia Weronika Kubic Female November 6, 1999 17 6690 Westerville, OH
Dayton/Columbus Romain Lages Male February 19, 1999 18 6670 Farmersville, OH OK
Cleveland  Sonia Laier Female February 2, 2001 16 6600 Vermillion OH 
Cleveland  Gustavo Leal Meireles Male November 19, 1999 17 6630 Cuyahoga Falls, OH OK
Boise Joyce Leroy Female July 26, 1998 18 5400 Boise, ID
Boise Antonia Leske Female November 11, 1999 17 5400 Boise, ID
Nashville Fang-Yi Lin Female April 12, 2000 17 6780 Fairfield, TN OK
Cleveland  Tom Hugo Alex Lorthioir Male September 5, 1999 17 6650 East Canton, OH
Charlotte NC Beatrice Lupo Pasini Female February 29, 2000 17 7670 Franklin, NC OK
Detroit/Chicago Balint Majzik Male July 10, 2000 16 6360 St. Joseph, MI
Detroit MI  Marlene Mamia Female October 10, 1998 18 6380 Royal Oak, MI OK
Charleston SC Federica Marongiu Female September 4, 1999 17 7770 Hilton Head, SC OK
Charleston SC Ana Clara Martins Quirino Female May 29, 2000   7770 Bluffton SC  OK
Charlotte NC Franziska Maria Matusche Female July 17, 2000 16 7680 Charlotte, NC
Nashville Amadou Ousmane Mbaye Male May 9, 1999 18 6780 Oak Ridge, TN
Detroit MI  Eva Meisl Female December 1, 1999 17 6380 Clarkston, MI
Dayton Roger Adrian Mejia Rivas Male May 15, 1999 17 6670 Dayton, OH OK
Atlanta  Matheus  Montes Moura Male July 20, 1999 17 7670 Highlands, NC
Charleston SC Enzo Nava Male  May 22, 2000 17 7770 Charleston, SC
Detroit MI  Sarita  Nieminen Female August 23, 1999 17 6360 Kalamazoo, MI
Columbus OH  Louis Manfred Nonte Male September 18, 1998 18 6630 Garrettsville, OH
Columbus OH  Elder Nunez Juarez Male August 20, 1999 17 6690 New Albany, OH
Pittsburgh PA  Isadora Paz Orellana Pozo Female June 10, 1999 17 7530 Bridgeport, WV OK
Cincinnati Punchanit  Tangseefa Female July 1, 2001 16 6670 Wilmington OH
Cleveland  Lars David Michael Pennings Male September 16, 2000 16 6650 Wooster, OH
Greenville Spartansburg Ines Porcuna Lopez Female November 14, 2000 17 7750 Spartanburg, SC OK
Boise Alfredo Puigcerver Asin Male December 11, 2000 16 5400 Buhl, ID OK
Charleston SC Anne-Marie Christine Pyhan Female May 1, 1999 17 7770 Florence, SC OK
Detroit MI  Thyra Raymund Female March 27, 2001 16 6380 Chatham, ON OK
Cincinnati Gianfranco Savoy Baglietto Male August 17, 1999 17 6740 Lexington, KY OK
Detroit/Chicago Leticia Seixas Female February 24, 1999 18 6360 St. Joseph, MI
Columbus OH  Elisa Simons Female June 19, 2000 17 6690 Zanesville, OH OK
Cincinnati Davi Sogayar-Scapol Male January 6, 1999 18 6740 Florence KY
Greenville Spartansburg Paul Sourceau Male July 28, 2000 16 7750 Greenville, SC
Columbus OH  Natsuki Tanaka Female February 22, 2000 17 6690 Granville, OH
Detroit MI  Joana Julie Santana Titscher Female August 15, 2000 16 6380 Tilbury, ON
Detroit MI  Juulia Edla Maria Tuominen Female January 29, 1999 18 6380 Howell, MI OK
Detroit MI  Maria Jesus Ubilla Gonzalez Female March 20, 2000 16 6380 Clarkston, MI
Dayton/Columbus Valery Uribe Manrique Female June 17, 2001 15 6670 Bellefontaine, OH
Columbia SC  Serena Voland Female July 27, 1999 17 7770 Lexington, SC
Asheville/Charlotte Sarisa Wangtanasoontorn Female May 4, 2000 17 7670 Brevard, NC
Detroit MI  MinJoo Yang Female February 16, 2000 17 6380 Chatham, ON

 

 

March 27 - We are getting all our information together for Airline tickets and we need you to look at this and answer the following questions.  
1. Is my name, birthday, and departure city Correct?
2. Is my name on the list?
3. Is this my official name for airline tickets.
Our policy on airport selection is NO REGIONAL AIRPORTS because the record of cancelled flights.  We will not wait for anyone who is flying from a small local airport who can't make it to the trip on June 14 (we have had a bad record with these airports).   We also ask that if at all possible to have students fly in large groups.

Departure Airport First (Legal Name) Last Gender Birthday Age             District RC City
Asheville/Charlotte Andres Gueguen Male May 14, 1999 17 7670 Burnsville, NC
Asheville/Charlotte Sarisa Wangtanasoontorn Female May 4, 2000 17 7670 Brevard, NC
Atlanta  Beatrice Lupo Pasini Female February 29, 2000 17 7670 Franklin, NC
Atlanta  Mathues  Montes Moura Male July 20, 1999 17 7670 Highlands, NC
Boise Joao Pedro Angelieri Paes de Campos Male May 19, 1999 17 5400 Ontario, OR
Boise Anna Bogevald Birkholm Female June 14, 2000 16 5400 Boise, ID
Boise Sophie De Gelan Female June 16, 1998 18 5400 Twin Falls, ID 
Boise Alice Gallucci Female November 8, 1998 18 5400 Eagle, ID
Boise Nicolas Sebastian Herrera Romero Male June 11, 1999 17 5400 McCall, ID
Boise Maria Milagros Junco Female July 16, 1999 17 5400 McCall, ID
Boise Joyce Leroy Female July 26, 1998 18 5400 Boise, ID
Boise Antonia Leske Female November 11, 1999 17 5400 Boise, ID
Boise Alfredo Puigcerver Asin Male December 11, 2000 16 5400 Buhl, ID
Charleston SC Manuela Amhof Female July 27, 2000 16 7770 Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Emma Andersen Female November 25, 2000 16 7770 Beaufort, SC
Charleston SC Giorgio Cracchiolo Male May 20, 1999 17 7770 Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Marie Cecile Delcommune Female June 2, 1998 19 7770 Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Ricardo Ferraro Peres Male September 27, 2000 16 7770 Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Luiza Jacome Buczynski Female December 12, 1998 18 7770 Mt. Pleasant
Charleston SC Anne-Marie Christine Pyhan Female May 1, 1999 17 7770 Florence, SC
Charleston SC Enzo Nava          
Charlotte NC Hendrik Doose Male March 23, 2000 17 7670 Denver, NC
Charlotte NC Eleonora Elardo Female November 13, 1999 17 7680 Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Felix Josef Huesgen Male April 25, 2000 17 7680 Shelby, NC
Charlotte NC Thanagorn Khoonchandee Male April 19, 1999 18 7680 Huntersville, NC
Charlotte NC Mizuki Kita Female March 14, 1999 18 7680 Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Franziska Maria Matusche Female July 17, 2000 16 7680 Charlotte, NC
Cincinnati Gianfranco Savoy Baglietto Male August 17, 1999 18 6740 Lexington, KY
Cincinnati Jessica Bareviera          
Cleveland  Giorgia Ferreri Female February 11, 2000 17 6600 Bellevue, OH
Cleveland  Yi-Chieh Chen Female December 26, 2000 16 6630 Akron, OH
Cleveland  Po-Hsuan Chien Male November 10, 2000 16 6630 Chesterland, OH
Cleveland  Jan Dolkowski Male June 28, 1999 18 6630 Hudson, OH
Cleveland  Margot Dussauge Female December 16, 1999 16 6630 Strongsville, OH
Cleveland  Stella Fagotti Miranda de Paiva Female February 27, 2000 17 6630 Medina, OH
Cleveland  Louis Willi Fricke Male May 3, 2000 16 6630 Lakewood, OH
Cleveland  Monica Fujiwara Female December 21, 1999 17 6630 Lakewood, OH
Cleveland  Gustavo Leal Meireles Male November 19, 1999 17 6630 Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Cleveland  Tom Hugo Alex Lorthioir Male September 5, 1999 17 6650 Canton, OH
Cleveland  Lars David Michael Pennings Male September 16, 2000 16 6650 Wooster, OH
Columbia SC  Luca Bertomeu Cottini Male August 16, 1998 18 7770 Sumter, SC
Columbia SC  Serena Voland Female July 27, 1999 17 7770 Lexington, SC
Columbus OH  Chaehyun Han Female February 26, 2001 16 6600 Marion, OH
Columbus OH  Louis Manfred Nonte Male September 18, 1998 18 6630 Garrettsville, OH
Columbus OH  Abril Nicole Barron Cervantes Female October 10, 2000 16 6690 Circleville, OH
Columbus OH  Erica Baruzzi Female April 20, 1999 18 6690 Lancaster, OH
Columbus OH  Clemence Biron Female June 23, 1998 18 6690 Granville, OH
Columbus OH  Finia Bonder Female January 23, 2000 17 6690 Mount Vernon, OH
Columbus OH  Benjamin Camara Male September 23, 1999 17 6690 Mount Vernon, OH
Columbus OH  Diana Jergova Female June 16, 1999 17 6690 Gahanna, OH
Columbus OH  Julia Weronika Kubic Female November 6, 1999 17 6690 Westerville, OH
Columbus OH  Elder Nunez Juarez Male August 20, 1999 17 6690 New Albany, OH
Columbus OH  Elisa Simons Female June 19, 2000 17 6690 Zanesville, OH
Columbus OH  Natsuki Tanaka Female February 22, 2000 17 6690 Granville, OH
Dayton Fanni  Csendes Female July 24, 2000 16 6640 Oakwood, OH
Dayton Roger Adrian Mejia Rivas Male May 15, 1999 16 6670 Dayton, OH
Dayton/Columbus Romain Lages Male February 19, 1999 17 6670 Farmersville, OH
Dayton/Columbus Valery Uribe Manrique Female June 17, 2001 15 6670 Bellefontaine, OH
Detroit MI  Sarita Irja Aliisa Nieminen Female August 23, 1999 17 6360 Kalamazoo, MI
Detroit MI  Daniela Cerovska Female September 23, 1999 17 6380 Brighton, MI
Detroit MI  Aylin Cetin Female October 9, 1999 17 6380 Clarkston, MI
Detroit MI  Marlene Mamia Female October 10, 1998 18 6380 Royal Oak, MI
Detroit MI  Eva Meisl Female December 1, 1999 17 6380 Clarkston, MI
Detroit MI  Thyra Raymund Female March 27, 2001 16 6380 Chatham, ON
Detroit MI  Joana Julie Santana Titscher Female August 15, 2000 16 6380 Tilbury, ON
Detroit MI  Juulia Edla Maria Tuominen Female January 29, 1999 17 6380 Howell, MI
Detroit MI  Maria Jesus Ubilla Gonzalez Female March 20, 2000 16 6380 Clarkston, MI
Detroit MI  MinJoo Yang Female February 16, 2000 17 6380 Chatham, ON
Detroit MI  Victoria Carpenito Female April 10, 1998 19 6600 Bryan, OH
Detroit MI  Johannes Georg Faust Male October 25, 1998 18 6600 Antwerp, OH
Detroit/Chicago Balint Majzik Male July 10, 2000 16 6360 St. Joseph, MI
Detroit/Chicago Jasmina Einnolf          
Detroit/Chicago Lucas Gendarme          
Detroit/Chicago Leticia Seixas          
Greenville Spartansburg Paula Bercedo Diaz Female November 14, 2000 16 7750 Clemson, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Vilde Driveklepp Female April 13, 1999 18 7750 Westminster, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Clement Gibon Male May 21, 1999 17 7750 Greenwood, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Wen-Xuan Hu Female June 18, 2000 17 7750 Seneca, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Jan Justus Junge Male May 31, 1999 18 7750 Greenville, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Ines Porcuna Lopez Female January 14, 2000 17 7750 Spartanburg, SC
Greenville Spartansburg Paul Sourceau Male July 28, 2000 16 7750 Greenville, SC
Nashville Charlotte Clerckx Female April 25, 1998 19 6780 Livingston, TN
Nashville Camille Gillino Female May 11, 1998 18 6780 Crossville, TN
Nashville Fang-Yi Lin Female April 12, 2000 17 6780 Fairfield, TN
Nashville Amadou Ousmane Mbaye Male May 9, 1999 18 6780 Oak Ridge, TN
Pittsburgh PA  Isadora Paz Orellana Pozo Female June 10, 1999 17 7530 Bridgeport, WV
Reno Amaury Girot De Langlade          
Savannah Federica Marongiu Female September 4, 1999 17 7770 Hilton Head, SC
Savannah Ana Clara Martins Quirino Female     7770  

 

 

 

March 25 - I am starting to recover from the Eastern Trip (had a lot of family things to deal with as well as lack of sleep).
I am getting ready to figure out what cities to fly you from for the trip.  Only major airports, no regional airports, because it is so iffy for your flights to be cancelled which might mean you miss the trip.  We also leave very very early in the morning so there are options for flying if there is a problem.  An example of this would be if you live in Central Michigan I want you to fly from Detroit with most of the other Michigan students.  I would much rather you fly together in a large group to support each other and to arrive at the same time.
The trip is filled. Holding 94 spots right now and I might go to 96 but no further.  If you haven't sent your deposit yet, and someone else comes on the trip with deposit you will be taken off the trip.  So make sure you have sent your month.  I will have an undated Money list by Tuesday.
I have the email list (Western Trip emails on top) so you can read emails you have missed.  IT'S VERY IMPORTANT ON THIS TRIP YOU READ THE EMAILS.
A couple of things to remember. 
READ EMAILS DAMN IT.
SPEAK ENGLISH on the Trip.
Bring a 2-LITER WATER BOTTLE and keep it filled.  Dehydration is one of our biggest problems in the west.  We spend a lot of time in the desert.
Be in your rooms before 10pm. NO EXCEPTIONS.

 

February 15 - We only have two places left on the Western trip.  If you have a friend who is thinking about going, please tell them to rush.Once we have the trip filled we will start issuing airline tickets and put them on the website.  First thing I'll do is put a list of cities you will be flying from.  We don't want you to fly from Small regional airports because those planes are frequently cancelled and you might miss the trip.  We prefer have large groups of you flying from airports like Detroit, Charlotte, Charleston SC, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Boise, Toronto. Reno.  The fewer people we have flying alone the better. 

The highlight of the trip is Yellowstone National Park.  We will have two days there.  It will include traveling up through Bear Country and Mammoth Hot Springs. Around Mammoth we always we see giant Elk and Bison just sitting around.  Other parts of Yellowstone are West Thumb (a thermal and geyser area), Old Faithful (one of the most famous geysers in the world), Mt. Washburn (the highest mountain in the park and a place where we often see bears).  There are two types of bears in Yellowstone.  Black bears which are between 200-500 lb and grizzly bears, which are large brown bears which can weight almost 800 lbs. and stand 7 feet tall.  Some years we never see bears, but last year we spotted three of them.  Other animals we might see are moose, mule deer, jack rabbits, wolves, coyotes, badgers, and of course buffalo.  One of the largest wild herds in North America is located in Yellowstone.  All animals are protected and take precedent over humans.  Yellowstone is a giant volcanic caldera and there is so much thermal activity you will see rivers which are steaming, hot springs, geysers, and even earthquakes on occasion.  During our time in Yellowstone we will be staying in Jackson Hole.

 

February 2 - We still have places on the Eastern Trip leaving March 10 if you would like to go.   We are almost sold out on the Western Trip. We max out at 96 students and we have 90 application in on the trip. Towards the end of this month we are going to start issuing airline tickets for the western trip.  Please get your deposits in if you haven't done so.

We will be booking and issuing your flights, Once we have done so the tickets are non-refundable (so don't cancel or get sent home).  We try to fly students together as much as we can and our goal is to get all students into Phoenix before 12 noon on June 14.  So the flights are very early in the morning.  We also will not send you from very small airports as those flights are frequently cancelled.  If you leave within a couple of hours of a major airport we will fly you from that airport.  Before we issue the tickets we will publish that so you know.

Phoenix in June is very very hot. Often 50 degrees Celsius.  We are only there a short while before we leave for California.  Our first night in on the California border in the town of Blythe, California.  That makes it easy for us to visit Los Angeles (Hollywood) and Santa Barbara the next day.  We never know how much time we will have in Hollywood because of the horrible traffic in Los Angeles.  We will get some time to walk the beach at Santa Barbara.  Santa Barbara is where many of cinema's biggest stars live. Oprah Winfrey, Drew Barrymore, and many more have homes there. Our hotel is in Lompoc, California, near wine country. It's also the West Coast center of the American space program, Vandenberg Air Force Base. More rockets are fired from there than any other place. Our 2nd day is a very long day but very rewarding.

 

January 24 -There are place left on the Eastern Trip if you want to go. Let me know soon.
The Western Trip is filling up. If everyone signed up on the trip now goes, there are only 6 places left on the trip.  Please let your friends know so they can sign up.
Please send at least your deposit.  We need to purchase your airline tickets as soon as we can but we don't do so unless you have paid your deposit. Your flights will be the first flight we can get you on so be ready to get up EARLY.
When you arrive in Phoenix it's your job to get your bags and make your way over Terminal 4 Baggage claim, where you will find the chaperones waiting for you at the Northeast corner of the terminal near the information booth.  It's also called the Barry Goldwater Terminal.  Once we gather everyone we will call the buses, pick up and head for Blythe CA.

Virginia City is one of our best discoveries.  The wild west has not left Virginia City.  It still is a wide open crazy town in the mountains of West Central Nevada.  There are beautiful hills, but the fun part is it draws fun strange people.  The wooden sidewalks, 100+ year old saloons (included the most haunted saloon in the world), wild west shows, and fun gift shops are awesome.  You can go down into old mine, learn a little western history and just enjoy yourself with delicious ice cream. 
That evening we stay in Fallon, located on the loneliest road in the USA.  US50 is in the middle of nowhere.  Fallon, though is a nice little town with stores, restaurants and more.  That morning you were in San Francisco and the next day you are in the desert in the middle of nowhere.
Fun Fact:  Virginia City was named for a guy called "Old Virginia" who had to leave the state of Virginia after he killed a man.  During it's peak, the city was the richest city in America and had 30,000 residents.  It was formed overnight by the Comstock Lode silver strike.  Writer Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) first used his pen name while a reporter in Virginia City.  He had to leave the town when someone he wrote about was going to shoot him down in the street.  The city has been made famous in many movies.

 

December 23 - Want to wish you happy holidays.  Enjoy the American and Canadian Holiday Season and remember calories eaten during the holidays don't count. (Just kidding).

You can see if you owe money by clicking http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html

We are going to see some pretty neat places. We drive by a little town in Wyoming where J.C. Penney started his first store. In Utah we drive by one of the biggest copper mines in the world. Near Idaho Falls (which we drive through) the use of nuclear energy as a power source was invented. We are going through some of the best potato growing country in the world in Idaho. In San Francisco we'll see where the "Beat Generation" was born. One of the fathers is still alive and runs a book store there "The City Lights Book Store". There is a restaurant in San Fran which serves Garlic Ice Cream. We still spend some time on the "Loneliest Highway in America" in Nevada.  We will also drive past a forest of the oldest living things on earth, the Bristle Cone Pine Tree.   Last year we saw 3 bears and many bison (American Buffalo) in Yellowstone.  In one place we were 20 feet from a majestic elk.

I will keep talking about drinking lots of water. Every year kids get ill from dehydration. Bring a 2-liter water bottle (a cheap canteen or water bottle will work) and sip all the time. If you are thirsty on this trip you are already dehydrated. You be faint, have headaches and feel lousy. Every chaperon will be drinking and you should follow them, because they know what happens.The Western Trip is open to any Rotary Exchange student in the USA, Canada or the Bahamas. If you have a friend who wants to go, please have them send me an email. It is filling up rapidly.
This is a tough trip physically and there are early mornings, long days, lots of exercise and intense activity. You will have more fun if you are in decent shape. You don't have to be athletic. Much of the trip is at very high altitudes (1000-2500 meters) and in dry desert conditions. I have asthma and it is the only time I use my inhaler. It can be tough. If you don't get plenty of rest on the trip and eat well you will get sick. Happens every year.

Chaperon fact: Dave Saho is a retired Steel Worker from Eastern Ohio. Dave is an amazing golfer and turned down scholarships to play golf in college. He is married and spend his spare time running a recycling program for this town which funds the library.  

December 14 - Make sure you read all emails.  Also friend us on Facebook.  If you aren't on facebook, please join, we send a lot of information on facebook.

Back from the Florida trip and looking forward to the Eastern and Western Trips.   Make sure you tell your friends about the Western Trip.  We have almost filled our first bus and the 2nd on is 3/4 filled. Very few spots remain.

There are a couple of things we need to talk about on the Western Trip.  The worst medical problem we have is dehydration and either Jackie or I have had to take numerous students to the hospital because they didn't listen to us and didn't drink enough water.  Where we are going is very dry and by the time you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Students complain about headaches, flu like symptoms and fever and it's always dehydration.  Start to look around for a good 2 liter water bottle you can bring on the trip and always keep it filled up and ways sip on it so you don't get sick.  A Great Xmas gift for you is a camel-back hydration system, water and a backpack at the same time. 

The trip is long but one thing you'll notice is that every 10 minutes the scenery changes completely.  During a day you might see three different types of deserts, mountain passes, prairie or beautiful farm land.  There are really no ugly places we drive through and we plan on showing you the the most beautiful and interesting places in the USA.  A couple of years ago a boy put a video together (it's not in order) but it's the best view of what you'll see.  It's linked on the western webpage.

November 25 - There are a couple of things we need to talk about on the Western Trip.  The worst medical problem we have is dehydration and we have had to take numerous students to the hospital because they didn't listen to us and didn't drink enough water.  Where we are going is very dry and by the time you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Students complain about headaches, flu like symptoms and fever and it's always dehydration.  Start to look around for a good 2 liter water bottle you can bring on the trip and always keep it filled up and ways sip on it so you don't get sick.  A Great Xmas gift for you is a camel-back hydration system, water and a backpack at the same time. 

The trip is long but one thing you'll notice is that every 10 minutes the scenery changes completely.  During a day you might see three different types of deserts, mountain passes, prairie or beautiful farm land.  There are really no ugly places we drive through and we plan on showing you the the most beautiful and interesting places in the USA.  A couple of years ago a boy put a video together (it's not in order) but it's the best view of what you'll see.  It's linked on the western webpage.  http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html

We have over 60 people confirmed on this trip. We have 72 who have sent applications. If we won't reach 84 kids we will run one bus and a van, leaving only 60 going on the trip.  I'm confident we will fill the 2nd bus.  Please tell your friends to sign up on the trip.  To see who is on the trip check out http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html

November 15 - Where do you find ALL the information on the trip: http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html
Who is on the trip with me and where are they from and what do they look like: http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html
These aren't your room mates, we do that a lot closer to the trip. You will be able to room with one friend, but other people in your room will be strangers so you can meet new friends.
Who owes what on the trip: http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestowes17.html
I updated it this today.  It might be wrong, if your info is wrong please contact me on this email.  You are not confirmed on the trip until you have paid your deposit. Initially we were only taking 60 students on this trip.  We have 71 applications, so if we hit 86 students we will run a 2nd bus. Please let your friends know so we can run that 2nd bus.  If we only take 60, 11 of you who have not paid a deposit will be on the outside looking in.  I think we will run a 2nd bus.
Our Rules: http://rotarytrip.org/rules.html
Our rules are simple and come from Rotary, hotels and experience (mostly recommended by former students). We strictly enforce the rules. Break a rule and you might miss something on the trip or at worst be thrown out of Rotary Youth Exchange.
Our Hotels: http://rotarytrip.org/Rotwesthotels16.html
We stay in nice, interesting and well located hotels.  Hotel rules make it important that you are in your room before 10pm.  Our hotels love our groups and we use them year after year. 
Frequently Asked Questions: http://rotarytrip.org/FAQ.html
We have been doing this trip for 18 years and we get asked the same questions every year.  This should answer a lot of your questions.
Flying Instructions: http://rotarytrip.org/RotaryWesternAdventureFlightInstructions.pdf
Air is included in this trip from an major airport near you.  We will be booking the flights in a couple of months.  Once these are ticketed they are not refundable. So you will be stuck with them.  This is general information about flying.  WE BOOK THE TICKETS, so don't even think about it/
Packing Instructions: http://rotarytrip.org/rotpacking.html
This is a while off (unless are crazed about being prepared).  This tells you what you need to pack for the trip and what is important to take and what to leave home.
We are going to see some absolutely amazing places.  Hollywood, San Francisco, several amazing deserts, Rockie Mountains, Wasatch Mountains (which are higher), Yellowstone National Park and many other National Parks and places.  Look over the itinerary.  This is a motorcoach tour so there is a lot of time on the bus, but the scenery is amazing and you WILL NOT be bored.   The scenery changes every 10 minutes.  

Please get to know the kids on the trips and friend them on Facebook.  They, like most exchange students, are really fun kids and this will be the best trip you have ever taken. I hear that every single year from most of the kids.

October 21 - We have 56 places on the Western trip and there are 63 students who have applied or asked for me to hold a spot. Confirmation isn't complete unless you have sent your deposit.  Only 25 students have paid their deposit.    If 86 students sign up for the trip we will run a 2nd bus.  Last year we had 86  students and ran two buses so there is a pretty good chance we will run a 2nd bus.
BUT to get yourself locked onto the trip if we only take 56 students SEND YOUR DEPOSIT or you will miss out.  The first 56 students to send deposits will be guaranteed to be on the trip.
To see who is on the trip check out the following websites. http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html. You can find lots more on the website http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html
Also if you don't like your picture please send me another.
Please friend me and Jackie Favret on Facebook  if you haven't already.

October 6- Please get your friends to sign up for this trip. Remember that the flights are included in the price of this trip. We make the reservations and issue the tickets. Make sure we know the best major airport near you. 

Our chaperones are an experienced group. Dave Saho from Bloomingdale OH has been doing this trip since 2008 and is a retired steel worker who occupies his time running a recycling program in his hometown which funds the public library.  Dave is also an avid and skilled golfer.  Jackie Favret has been on every trip since 2007 and co-leader so you will be getting emails and Facebook messages from her regularly. 
You are going to see more the USA on this trip than most Americans do. There are a few things you need to know. All information is sent by email, so check your email. Make sure you befriend Jackie Favret and I on Facebook.  All the Emails will be put on the Trip Webpage: http://rotarytrip.org/rotarytrip.html and http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html.
 Airfare is included on this trip. We will book the earliest flight you can so you have less of chance of delays or cancellations. Make sure you get your payments in on time. This is critical because we have to issue airline tickets.
This is an active trip. One thing we will mention 100 times in our emails is the need to carry water with you at all times as dehydration is a major problem on this trip. I urge you to email me and Jackie and talk to us, so we can get to know you before the trips. We are really looking forward to meeting you. These trips are as much fun for us as they are for you. Also please follow me on Twitter if you are on Twitter.I've been doing trips for 15 years. This Trip will be my 40th Rotary Exchange Trip. Jackie has been doing trips since 2007 and this will be her 27th Rotary Trip. I'm a former host father, a 26 year Rotarian, active RYE Volunteer (District 6690) and father of a past exchange student.

September 26 - It's a long time until the Western Trip, 260 days, but it comes faster than you can believe.  Time to start thinking about it.

This will be the 18th Western Trip I've led and every one has been an amazing experience.  Make sure you look at the website and read it and all the links carefully.  They have a tremendous amount of information. http://rotarytrip.org/rotwest17.html.   The trip is from June 14 to the 28th and we cover a lot of territory and spectacular sights and scenery.  This year we are doing two full days in San Francisco.  We are looking forward to  time in Hollywood, as well as some of the most spectacular and beautiful national parks in the world.  The West is big, amazing and you are going to see the best parts.

If you miss a couple of emails (I try to do updates regularly on news about the trips and what you need to do to enjoy it more), check out http://rotarytrip.org/rotemails.html
for information on all the emails I've sent on all the trips.

Hope you join us on the Eastern Adventure where we really explore Washington DC, New York, and Boston.  Part of that trip is a journey to Gettysburg as well as Hershey's Chocolate World.  There is space available on all three trips right now.  Make sure you tell your friends to get their applications in.   We are running one bus on the Florida trip, and plan on running two on the Eastern and Western but if we don't reach 80 students on those trips we will limit it to one bus with the first 56 deposits guaranteed a spot.  The trip is half filled.  Looking forward to meeting all of you. You can see you is on the trip already but clicking http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom2017.html

Eastern Trip 

March 9 - Remember tomorrow is the day we have been waiting for all year.  The Rotary Eastern Trip.  You are going to see Washington, New York, Boston and Gettysburg. Get ready for an amazing trip.  I have sent you a lot of Emails.  Make sure you read them before you leave http://rotarytrip.org/rotemails.html    Jackie has told you, I will repeat.  We are expecting pretty bad snowy and wintry weather.   Remember it's going to be cold and plan on it being cold. Warm coat, sweatshirts/hoodies, gloves, scarves... layers to keep you warm.  Rain gear, like a raincoat or poncho, are great ideas and usually get used.   Also make sure you have really comfortable shoes to walk in.  I used low rider hiking sneakers which are water proof. The word is LAYERS.  Make sure you are on time all the time on the trip.  Bad weather makes our schedule very tight.  Snow is expected on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday and maybe more often.  Weather is expected to be 0C to -20C    Remember NO ROTARY PIN JACKETS.  If you are coming from Canada or are flying you will need your passport. When you get here give it to us.  If you are driving from a U.S. State you DO NOT need your passport but bring a copy of your passport and visa.
Flyers, some of you are arriving at really early.  If no one is at the airport sit down in baggage claim and wait until someone gets to you.  Our day is extremely long tomorrow and we might be late because we have like 100 things to do in the morning before we leave our homes. Look at Jackie's or my Facebook page to see our pictures.
Our meeting point, Best Western Port Columbus, 1450 Airpointe Dr., Columbus OH.  It is also our pick up point on the 19th at 6pm  for drivers. 
If you are flying don't mess around.  Get to the airport 2.5 hours before flight time so you can make sure you have time to solve any problems which might come up.  Make sure you have all the things you need to fly,  passport, money for luggage costs for both ways, usually $25 per bag each way (that's $50) Southwest doesn't have a fee but most others do. We will not be able to help you by paying for your bag, you must do it.  You will be over-nighting on the 19th and we will get you to the airport as early as possible on the 20th. 
If you are coming from Canada download and print that letter I sent earlier.  You should only need one copy if you are traveling with other kids, but it's a good idea to have it around.
Our hotel is the Best Western Plus, Port Columbus Airport.  1450 Airpointe Dr., Columbus, which is off of North Cassady Avenue, exit 9, I-670.  There is a handy map showing the location of the hotel in conjunction with the airport and local highways and the City. 
Don't over pack.  Plan on wearing things more than one day.  There is NO time for laundry on this trip.  Our hotel tomorrow has a swimming pool, bring swimming gear .   For more information on packing check out http://rotarytrip.org/rotpacking.html
Remember you have to be able to handle your bag.  In the morning make sure you get it on the bus luggage bay (in an upright position).

March 8 - Only two more days.  Time to get psyched.  This is a very intense trip and so much fun.  A couple of ideas to make your trip better.
Pack for layers.  Temperatures can be from -10C to 20C.  Most of the time it's pretty cold and usually snows and is windy and freezing a few days of the trip.  Bring gloves, a warm coat, a hoodie, a warm sweater, a warm hat.  I usually bring short sleeve shirts, but two hoodies, a waterproof coat and I like to bring a scarf.  I also bring sun screen because I've gotten terrible sunburns on this trip.In my backpack I always put snacks, spare power cords and chargers, a water bottle, pens, a notebook, spare glasses and sun glasses, headphones (no speakers). 
You are on the same bus the entire trip, so can keep your winter coat in the overhead.  Chaperones move from bus to bus so it's harder for us.
You can sit anywhere on your bus (and move around) but no standing (or moving) when the bus is traveling. Especially in the cities.  If chaperones tell you to sit down, listen and doing it quickly.  You can get seriously injured if the buses stop suddenly and they DO stop suddenly all the time.
We have terrific chaperones.  Meg and Caleb are a young married couple.  They graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and are photographers/graphic designers.  Juli Barker is also a graphic designer (who went to Asbury College).  Juli is Meg's mother.  Jackie graduated from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in art.  She works for me and at the Columbus Museum of Art (she has a third gig at Jeni's Ice Cream).   Dave is a retired steelworker with a degree in accounting.  Larry is a Human Resources expert and  city councilman.  60% of our chaperones are professional artists.  I have a degree in U.S. History and secondary education and have spent my career as a newspaper report, radio reporter, Travel writer, travel agent and tour operator.   Juli, Jackie, Larry, Dave and I have done this trip many times.

March 6 - This Friday is the first day of the Rotary Eastern Adventure.  Here some important information for you that day.
We ask that flyers bring their passports (which they will need for flying identification).  All other students please bring a clear copy of your passport and visa as well as any other type of government issued identification.  High school IDs are good too.
DO NOT BRING ROTARY JACKETS.  DO NOT BRING BALLS OR SPORTING EQUIPMENT.
Day one is a day to get everyone together. Meeting point is the Best Western Port Columbus, 1450 Airpointe Dr., Columbus OH. located off Cassady Road Exit of I-670.  I have attached a map and photo of the hotel.
We will have having chaperones at the hotel after 11am.  If you arrive earlier, please just wait in the lobby for us.
For flyers: We will have chaperones at the airport to meet students flying in. If no one is there call 614-517-7702 or 614-565 3072 and we will direct you what to do.  Meeting point  for flyers is the middle of Baggage Claim (below double escalators between baggage claim 3 and 4 (see map attached).  Pick up will be either outside baggage claim doors if using private cars or if using hotel shuttle, in the shuttle lot (which is across the street from baggage claim entrance next to the parking garage).   Early in the day we will be short handed  chaperones (there will only be 2 until about 2pm).  So there may be a wait at the airport. Be patient.  DO NOT LEAVE THE AIRPORT WITHOUT A CHAPERONE.
If you are flying and have a problem, please call 614-517-7702 or 614-565 3072 as soon as possible. If your flight is cancelled proceed to a gate or customer service agent as quickly as possible and re-book your flight into Columbus as early as you can.  DO NOT WALK AWAY UNTIL THIS IS FIXED. Tell the Airline Agent you are meeting a tour and will miss it if you don't fly in on March 10.  Be polite, but let him know you are upset. 
Drivers please be at the hotel before 6:00 pm if at all possible.  We are planning a meeting and pizza at 7:00 pm. 
Once you Get to the hotel,  check in with a chaperone. After this you are free until 6:30pm. 
Please don't gather in the lobby.  You are free to go outside (there are fast food restaurants near the hotel); the parking lot if the weather is good; the meeting room of hotel; or you can swim and use the indoor hot tub and pool of the hotel.   If you are heading for your room (usually we have our rooms pretty early) you can rest or hang out with your room mates. DO NOT BE NOISY, RUN IN THE HOTEL, AND BE AWARE OF OTHER GUESTS IN THE HOTEL.

March 4 - This time next Friday we will be gathering together for the Rotary Eastern Adventure. Good news, looks like we are going to have the Cherry Blossoms out in Washington, that's really beautiful.
I have attached a letter you can use explaining that this is a Rotary educational trip and part of your exchange.  You can print it out and use it if you think you need to. 
If you have a major problem, such as missed connection, road trouble etc... please call either my cell phone 614-517-7702 or Jackie's cell phone 614-565 3072 I will be at the hotel most of the day. If you have a problem at the airport be calm but insist that you have to be in Columbus to meet a tour. Don't leave the desk until the problem is fixed and you are put on another flight.
When you check into the hotel you are free to wander around (in groups of 4 or more) get something to eat or just talk.  DON'T be loud in the hotel. Don't slam doors.  If you are planning on being loud go to the other side of the parking lot.  Chaperones will kick you out of the hotel into the cold if you are too loud. There are 77 of us on this trip. It can get loud really fast.
At 6:30pm we are enjoying delicious pizza and soda (nothing healthy).  Then we will have meetings.  Perhaps the entire group (if we can get the conference room they have if not in the lobby). After the main meeting I will be meeting with team leaders.   At 10pm you go into your room and go to sleep.  There may be students arriving later than that.
We will be set up at 11am at the hotel if you are arriving early. Any kids who want to come early are welcome as we can use the help at the airport.
This is a Rotary Trip and while one the trip you represent Rotary, your club/district, your country and the people who worked so hard to allow you to have this cool experience.  Please be respectful, don't break the rules and enjoy the trip.
There are still 3 places on the trip for guys, if you know anyone who might want to go.
There are a couple of rules which have been requested by exchange students of past trips.  No speakers on the bus. There have always been complaints about certain types of music being played on the bus.  So we limit music to headphones. 
The other rule they came up with was only speaking English. Many kids don't have friends they can talk to in their language and feel left out and isolated.  Everyone speaks English, please be kind.
There is no standing on the bus.  This is because a deer running in front of the bus (a common occurrence), a car pulling in front of the bus, or another reason to swerve or stop can cause serious injuries.
In Boston there is a store that sells t-shirts that say "France Sucks" a popular place for French Exchange students looking for a shirt to wear home.
If he knows you are French he won't sell it to you.  You have to fake an American accent.
There are some excellent places for Ice Cream on this trip.  Ask a chaperone, we are all addicted.

February 28 - Make sure you have some identification with you.  If you are flying bring the original passport and visa.  If you are driving being a clear copy of your passport and visa and any school ID or local USA ID you might have.
We are doing chaperone training this Thursday.  Our chaperones are Myself, Jackie Favret, Dave Saho, Larry Jenkins, Julie Barker, Megan Sanchez and Caleb Sanchez. This is three hours of intense training as this is a very complicated trip.  Julie, Larry, Dave, Jackie and myself have done this trip many times.  We would be happy to answer your questions about things to do and what to see when you do have some free time.
We have a very tight schedule on this trip and we really demand that your be on time. By being on time I want you on board buses at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time.  If we are late we will miss some very important fun things we have planned.You also must be in your rooms at night when we tell you.  Most nights that is 10pm.  If you are found out of your rooms you will miss the next planned event.  In one case a number of years ago 19 students missed New York City day because they were out of their rooms at 12 Midnight. 
One thing  I do ask you to do is make sure you keep the buses clean.  Our drivers have very hard jobs driving in places like Washington, New York, and Boston. We don't want them to have to clean the buses when we get back to the hotel.  They get very cranky then that happens and so do we.
There is no place on this trip to play soccer or football (pretty much any sport).  We don't allow soccer balls on the bus, so don't bring them and don't buy them on the trip.
My phone number is 614-517-7702 and you can text me at that number.  Jackie Favret (the other tour leader) phone is 614-565 3072 (Texting is all OK to that number).
The time zone for Columbus (and the entire trip) is the Eastern Time Zone.  Keep that in mind if you are calling or texting us.  Not fond of getting texts at 3AM.Fun Trip Fact:  The Statue of Liberty is French and made of copper (explains why she is green).  The children of France raised money for the construction of the statue. Children of America raised money to build the base.  She was commission on the 100th birthday of the USA.

February 23 - Many of you have been getting messages from Jackie Favret. Jackie has missed two Rotary trips since 2007 and is my other leader.  Jackie does much of the paperwork on this trip and has great experience in working with students who have been on the trip.  She is 30 years old and has a degree in Art History.  One of her jobs is at the Columbus Museum of Art working with customers.
We are only two weeks away from the trip and there is a 100% cancellation penalty if you can't go on the trip from today onward.
We made one change to the itinerary.  We are touring at the U.S. Capitol building.  We have also added more time in Boston on the first day in Boston.  Boston is a beautiful, very European style city.  The week we are there is the same week as St. Patrick's Day, a very important holiday in a very Irish town. Fortunately we missed the actual day (last year we were there on St. Patrick's Day and it was insane. You can't go wrong in Boston that week if you wear Kelly Green.  Everybody is Irish on St. Pat's weekend.
Still getting flight schedules for those of you who are flying.  Make sure you get those to me as soon as you can't if you haven't done it yet.
Remember the trip starts in Columbus on March 10, at the Best Western Port Columbus Airport, 1450 Airpointe Dr., Columbus OH.  Be there before 6pm.  We will be meeting people starting at 11am.
Bill McMurray, McMurray Travel, 6480 Dobson Sq., Columbus OH 43229 614-517-7702. http://rotarytrip.org/roteast17.html.

February 15 - I have updated the money owed list for the Eastern Trip. FYI, there are only 2 places left on the Western Trip.
We have sent all the rooming lists for the Rotary trips to the hotels and can't change them after today so you have to suffer with the horrible people we put you with.   If you have any friends who are interested we have spaces in a couple of rooms in case people want to go.
I also purchased all the tickets for the Statue of Liberty, that monument to American immigration subscribed by the children of France.  So when you see our French kids on the trip, thank them for all their pocket change which built that amazing statue.   We do have entrance to the base of the statue which houses a nice museum.  You can also go to the top of the base, but not the statue itself.  Once when I was in the Coast Guard I shared the same name as the caretaker of the statue and he allowed me and my girlfriend (now my wife) to go to the crown. A very long walk but interesting.  The statue is constructed from copper, hence the green color of oxidized copper.
A part of the that day is some time at the Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island.  About 8 million people entered the USA through this facility which has been preserved. Many of you probably had relatives who came through there.  I know my wife's grandparents came there from Venezuela. 
Since September 11, 2001 security has become a big deal in many of the places we visit.  Don't put any knives or sharp objects in your backpack.  Also often they don't allow you to carry liquids. One girl had a liter of shampoo in her backpack and she was forced to dispose of it. Why she has a liter of shampoo in her backpack I don't know.

February 10 - I have named the Team Leaders for the Rotary Eastern Adventure. 
Julia    Kubic
Joyce    Leroy
Elise    Simons
Louis Willi    Fricke
Johannes    Faust
Elder    Nunez
Monica    Fujiwara
Natalia     Guimaraes Roncholeta
 Maria Jesus    Ubilla Gonzalez
Gustavo    Leal Miereles
Henrik    Doose
Francesco    Conti

How we select team leaders is interesting.  Your district chair's make recommendations, you indicate a desire to be a team leaders.  I will ask certain students we have contact with to be team leaders.  We ask team leaders to give us feed back on how the trip is going in short meetings every other day.  We also ask team leaders to look for kids who might need help on the trip. It has been extremely successful in the previous 38 trips we have done, even saving a couple of lives and many many trips for kids. All students are welcome to come to team leader meetings. I announce them on the bus before we do them.  The meetings last about 20 minutes and are very helpful to us.  If you were a team leader on the Florida trip and are not on this list, don't fret, I do mix things up a bit.

February 9 - I have mailed the rooming list to all the hotels and the rooms are locked in.  You have been randomly assigned roommates.  We started doing this last year and it worked wonderfully to help student make new friends.  We are out of the bus so much you can still see friends from your district while we are touring. You can contact your roommates and make friends with them on Facebook and other social media before the trip.  The rooming list can be found on the Trip website.
Our chaperones are locked in too.  5 of our chaperones have done many many trips with Rotary Exchange students.  Two are new, but have done many student trips as leaders. I'll be leading the trip (my 38th Rotary trip in 18 years), with Jackie Favret,  Larry Jenkins, Dave Saho, Julie Barker, Meg and Caleb Sanchez.  Jackie, Julie, Dave, Larry and myself have been in these cities many times. If you have any questions on things to see and do, please ask us.
Packing for the trip: It's going to probably be cold for much of the trip.  You'll need a warm, waterproof coat; hoodies or sweatshirts; a sweater; gloves and a hat. The secret is to dress is layers. If it does warm up, you'll be able to take clothing off.  It is often below 0C in these cities.  Especially Boston.  Last year we had a lot of snow.  If you can befriend your roommates you might be able to share items.  Most hotels have hairdryers.  You will definitely need a backpack for the bus.  Here you can put snacks, extra clothing, chargers for phones and other devices; medicine you might need.  
If you have allergies make sure you take medicine for them. If you're asthmatic bring an extra inhaler. If you get car sick, start taking motion sickness medicine before the trip starts (my favorite is Bonine).  If you have a sensitive stomach, bring an anti-diarrhea medicine.  I always pack ibuprofen or tylenol.  Also don't forget any prescriptions you might be taking.
There still is some space on the trip if you have friends who might be interested.

February 6 - We are finalizing our rooming list and getting ready to send them to our hotels this week.   I broke down the different countries represented.  You can see where most of are from.  This is important because we ask you speak English. There are many kids who have no one who speaks their language and the only language we all understand is English.  Those students will feel isolated and unhappy if everyone around them is speaking German, Portuguese or French.  PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.

21 Countries 
Germany 13
Brazil 10
France 8
Italy 6
Mexico 4
Taiwan 4
Chile 4
Belgium 4
Japan 3
Argentina 3

Students come from 12 States

California
Nevada
Idaho
Oregon
Colorado
Michigan
Ontario
Ohio
Kentucky
Tennessee
North Carolina 
West Virginia

We have students from 15 Rotary Districts   The two top districts with students is 6690 - 11 (my district) and 5400 - 10 from Idaho. 

5190
5400
5740
6380
6600
6630
6670
6690
6740
6780
7010
7480
7530
7670
7680
There are 32 kids from Ohio.  North Carolina and Idaho both have 10 students.  2 from California and Nevada 

January 31 -We've made the decision to run a 2nd bus.  We are still under the 80 needed to run a 2nd bus, we hope to get more students before the trip. Please ask friends who are not on the trip. I am working on rooming.  We like to mix rooming up so you end up rooming with people you don't know so you can quickly made new friends. In the past this has been very well received by students on our trip. A few people still need to get their money to us.  Please check the new list & get your payment to us.  

Read past emails: http://rotarytrip.org/rotemails.html

Check who is on the trip with you and where they are from: http://rotarytrip.org/rotwestroom17.html

  You will learn how the USA was founded and learn about the people who did it.  We'll visit George Washington's home  Mt. Vernon.  It's also where he is buried.  Washington was very tall for his time, a gentleman, and after marrying his wife the richest man in the Colonies.  It would be like Bill Gates fought the revolution, helped form a new Government and then be president for 8 years.   The best thing about Washington is he was offered a crown, to be king the USA and turned it down.   He also stopped being a General.  At the end of his term as president he stepped down and walked away. 
The fun part of the trip is part being with exchange students and part having the opportunity to explore places in depth.  We prepare you well and then let you learn on your own.   It's amazing.  The only thing we ask is you stay with groups of 4 or more. We don't have hard rules but we do enforce them and take them really seriously.  Many were recommended to us by past travelers, exchange students who were on the tour.

January 23 - We are trying to get over 80 students on the trip.  Please let your friends know so we can sign them up.  If we don't have enough students some students may not get to go. We are SOOOOOOO close.  This trip is fun. There are a number of things we try to do to give you a real experience in the places we go.  There is free time in the cities so you can have your own experience. We require you to stay in groups of 4 or more for security and because it's just more fun. The chaperones going are all experts on the places we are going and you can ask them any question you might want.  We have a good time of the trip (Rotary rule - if it isn't fun don't do it).  We all have a tie with Rotary and trips. Most of us have done many trips and know what to expect.  Find friends who like to do what you like to do. Shoppers should look for other shoppers.  Museum folks should look for other museum folks.  Walkers and wanderers should find like minded souls.  It makes the experience so special.  New York has amazing parks, don't avoid them, embrace them.  They have awesome things to see and do. Street musicians are all over the place. Each of these cities have a great fun experience.Make friends with others on Facebook (you can find everyone's name on Facebook and the website).  Facebook messenger is the best way to call (it has a telephone aspect), live talk, and just message.  Jackie Favret has been a chaperone and tour leader on this trip for ever. Get to know her.  She knows it all.

Make sure you send me your arrival information.  This is especially important if you are arriving by airline or other public form of transportation.  You must arrive on March 10 in Columbus OH before 6pm (if you are arriving later please be aware if you can't get to Columbus by 7am on March 11  you will miss the trip).  Return date is March 20th as early as possible.  (Driving students have to be picked up on March 19 at 6:00 pm.)

January 18 - I've been gone for the last 11 days and just returned.  I've got a lot of catching up to do on the trip, so bear with me.We are only 51 days away from the Eastern Adventure.  If you have to fly here, make sure you have or are at least getting your flights here.  Remember to take the earliest flight available to Columbus Ohio (CMH) on March 10th.  Try to arrive well before 6pm if possible.   Return flights leave as early as possible on March 20. People driving to meet the trip (from Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky) try to be here before 6pm on March 10.  We will have someone at the hotel from 11am. You need to be picked up 6:00pm on March 19. Most of you have sent your money, please send it if you haven't.  The tour price is $990, if you sent the deposit earlier you probably owe $490. Packing for this trip should include lots of warm and weather proof clothing, including a good winter coat and comfortable warm hoodie.

The rooms in our hotels are generally comfortable and nice with Cable TV, full baths with showers, hairdryers, and shampoo, conditioner etc...   The hotels are popular so there are a lot of people staying there when we stay there.  It is the main reason we need to stay quiet and be out of the hallways.  Hotels all have rules for student groups and 10pm is one of those rules.  At least two of our hotels have indoor pools so bring your swimming suit.

There is strict security in a number of places.  Don't put pen knives or sharp scissors in your carry-on.  If you are going into high security areas (Capitol, Statue of Liberty etc...) just leave your backpack on the bus.  Carry your camera in your jacket. (you can carry a purse)   If you decided to go into the Holocaust Museum, make sure you take nothing as they have the strictest security in Washington DC.  A few years ago a crazy old man killed one of the security guards at that museum.
One problem which really upsets the chaperones is standing up on the bus.  This is dangerous and will not be tolerated on the this trip in Washington, NY and Boston where the traffic is terrible.  Our drivers have asked us to be hard on this problem.   The other problem is  noise in the hallways and around the hotels.  You have to be quiet in the hallways and lobbies of hotels.  You also have to not let doors slam in hotels.

January 4 - Right now we have 60 confirmed students and 70 signed up (you are only confirmed when you are under deposit).   We need 80+ to run a 2nd bus. So please let your friends know we can run a 2nd bus if we get 10 more students.  Have them contact me as soon as possible.   If you haven't paid your deposit, pay it now.  Final payment day is January 10. That's next Monday.I'm going to be out of the office ( and out of the country for most of that time) starting Friday and returning on Monday evening the 17th January.  Please contact Jackie Favret jackie.favret@gmail.com to answer questions etc...  I will be checking my email while I can, but won't have internet for a large portion of the trip. 
Boston is one of the most popular spots on this trip.  During our time there we will explore Harvard Square and you will be able to check out Harvard University.  We will also see M.I.T. University, which is probably the most advanced scientific university in the world.  Both schools have produced large numbers of Nobel Prize Winners and statesmen.  Harvard Alumni include U.S. Presidents John Adams,  John Quincy Adams, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy.  It also has the most famous business school in the world.  The other treat is the old North End of Boston which is where the American Revolution started.  You can do the Freedom Trail which is a fascinating look at early American History.   Boston is a very European city and has great food including seafood.  We stay outside the city near the most Portuguese city in the USA, Fall River, Massachusetts.  New England is a great place to explore and is one of the oldest parts of the USA.

December 27 - Happy New Year.  Hope you had a great Christmas, from what I saw on Facebook it looked like you did. 
We are getting down to the wire on the Eastern Trip.  A little over 2 months from when the trip leaves there is a lot to know.
If you are flying to meeting the trip (it leaves from Columbus Ohio (CMH)) make sure you get your flights booked.  Make sure you are take the earliest flight you can to Columbus. We need you to arrive before 6 pm.  Also if you are on an early flight and there is a flight problem, you have time to fix the problem to make it in time for the trip.  You need to arrive before 6pm (we have a meeting at 6:30pm) March 10th.  Returning be on the earliest possible flight on March 20th (by earliest I mean 4am isn't too early).  Please done book flights for after 1pm. We have volunteers watching you and they need to get back to their families.
What do you need to pack: See the packing list, but I guarantee you a couple of things.  It will be cold and probably raining for a part of the trip. Heavy coat, preferably waterproof, or waterproof jacket and lots of layers will be needed.  Really comfortable shoes (no flip-flops)because there are kilometers and kilometers of walking almost every day.  There is no place for a ball playing and DO NOT BRING YOUR ROTARY JACKET.  Do bring pins and cards. 
If you haven't paid anything yet there is a good chance you are not on the trip and will be put on the wait list. Even if you sent an application months ago.   We are limiting the trip to 62 people at this time.  You are not confirmed until we receive your deposit.
FINAL PAY DATE IS January 9.  That is two weeks away.

December 19 - We don't mind if you take flags.  We do ask that you don't bring out your national flags at our National Monuments.  Many people, including some military veterans, think that displaying a foreign flag at an American Monument is Disrespectful.  The Monuments where it might be a problem include Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, WW2, Statue of Liberty, Washington.  This is primarily to make sure you don't have a problem or aren't confronted.

Final payment is due in our office before January 10.  Remember you are not confirmed on the trip until we have received your trip deposit.  It looks right now that we have 65 applications and only 56 confirmed.  We are considering cutting off the trip at 60 students.  People who have not paid a deposit will be placed on the waitlist.

Hope you enjoy your Holidays.  Good gifts to ask for include 2liter water bottles (more for the Western trip than eastern),  a nice sun hat, spending money for the trip. 

We just confirmed our tour of the U.S. Capitol (last year we could not get confirmed).  We get to see the Dome, a terrific films on congress, Statuary Hall (the old Congress Chambers), and more.  There is a great museum and visitor center in the Capitol. 

Chaperones on the Trip right now include Larry Jenkins (who is a city councilman in Westerville, Dave Saho (who just won an award for being an outstanding citizen in Jefferson County Ohio for his charitable works, Juliana Barker  and Myself. 

December 14 - Sorry to be so late sending an email to you.  Got pretty sick after the Florida trip and just trying to get better.
After a fantastic Rotary Disney Trip I'm ready to go on the Eastern Trip. 
Make sure you have your payments in.  Final payment date is January 9 so make sure you send it to me.  Email me if you need wire transfer instructions.
Also make sure you tell all your friends in Youth Exchange about the trip. 
The Eastern Trip is really intense.  We go pretty much non-stop from the day you arrive in Columbus until we get back.  There is some time on the bus but not much and there is something cool happening every single day.  We also allow you a lot of free time on this trip.
We prepare you for it and lay out our options then we let you explore on your own as long as you stay in groups of 4 or more.  This is really important.  Find 4 people who want to do the same things you do, whether it be sightseeing, walking, shopping or historical stuff.  If you can't find someone you have the option of hanging around with chaperones.  We have a great deal of fun on these trips and we plan our schedule to maximum fun.
There are no places to play soccer or football on this trip.  Any soccer balls will be deflated and stashed away.
In Washington there are many many of the greatest museums in the world.  If you like History, Art, Culture, Ethnic Studies and many more things, there is a museum for you.  The chaperones show you the city
If you are flying to meet the trip, get your air tickets now.  You need to be in Columbus early on March 10, returning on March 20, earliest flight.

November 15 - We are planning on taking 60 students on this trip, a motorcoach and a van.  I don't expect us to get enough students to run two buses (84 students are needed).  We now have 61 so get your deposits and payments into us. You aren't confirmed until you are under deposit.  You can see that under "who owes what" page (see below).   15 students haven't paid yet, so the next 14 who pay are confirmed on the tour.

The Rotary Eastern Adventure Website has all the information you'll need to enjoy the trip. It's http://rotarytrip.org/roteast17.html
What you'll find on the website is when your final payment is due; how much is required, where to send you money, my contact information and much more.

You can see all the emails I've sent at : http://rotarytrip.org/rotemails.html   This is for all three trips.

On there you will find who else is on the trip. http://rotarytrip.org/roteastroom17.html
This isn't your exact room mate.  You can ask to room with one other person, the other people in you room will be strangers so you can make new friends.  This also shows if you are confirmed or note.

Do you owe money and how much: http://rotarytrip.org/roteastowes17.html
This shows you if you are confirmed.  If you have send your deposit please and it isn't on there, please let me know. 

What hotels are we staying in and when: http://rotarytrip.org/roteasthotels17.html
We stay in the same hotels year after year (you do have a lovely new hotel in Fall River MA this year). We live by the hotel rules, which means in the room at 10pm.

The Trip rules and what you need to know to stay out of trouble:  http://rotarytrip.org/rules.html
Rules are basically Rotary, bus, hotel and rules suggested by past exchange students to make everyone have a great time.

What to pack (it's generic, don't think you'll need hiking shoes, but it does snow often on the Eastern Trip: http://rotarytrip.org/rotpacking.html
A little early to think about this, but if you need something it's a good Xmas present idea.

We are going to Washington DC and for the first time in 8 years there is a new President.  That may change what we see or when we see something. We'll see how that changes our trip as it unravels.  We have done this trip under Bush and Obama.  Maybe there will be a giant gold Trump sign over the White House. :D just kidding.

October 26, - The trip is filled but to be confirmed on the trip you have to have your deposit in to us.  Until we receive your deposit you are on the waitlist.  Please see http://rotarytrip.org/roteastroom17.html  to check if you are confirmed.  If you have sent your deposit on this trip and you aren't confirmed, please let me know right away.  This trip will close out in a couple weeks.  We have put the photo Rooming list on the website.  You can see who else is on the trip.
Make sure you friend Jackie Favret on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/jackie.favret.3

October 6 - Lots to do before the Eastern Trip.   It's coming in March, but time moves very quickly during your exchange year.We have put the photo Rooming list on the website.  You can see who else is on the trip.  These are not your room mates, but we will work on that early in the new year.   The trip is filling up very quickly.Encourage your friends to get their applications in as soon as possible.The first part of this trip is three days in Washington DC.  The Capitol of the USA, it's a beautiful city stuffed with incredible museums, monuments and buildings.  The size of Washington overwhelms you.  Everything is bigger and more beautiful than you expect.Start looking for things to do in Washington, New York, and Boston as you do have a lot of free time.  We'll make suggestions in these emails and Jackie and I are happy to give you suggestions. Jackie Favret has been a chaperone and group leader on every trip we have done since 2007.  She is only 30 and is still finishing her University Degree and working two jobs.  She has two dogs, an English Sheepdog named Dude and a Cocker Spaniel named Kiera.

September 26 - The trip is filling up faster than it ever has. We are 164 days away from the Eastern Trip, but it comes much faster than you think it might.Make sure you read website carefully so you understand everything that is going on.  The URL is  http://rotarytrip.org/roteast17.html   Remember the trip leaves from Columbus Ohio.  It's not too early to start thinking about how you are going to get to Columbus.  If you live far away start looking for good airfare bargains.  Fly to Columbus OH Airport code CMH, March 10, returning on the earliest flight available March 20.   If you are driving you need to arrive in Columbus at our Airport Hotel before 6pm on March 10 and make sure someone can pick you up March 19th.   The fliers will be staying an extra night at the same hotel we are leaving from.  Our coach leaves the next morning March 11 and heads off to Washington DC.  If you haven't sent your deposit please do so soon.  Also tell your friends to get their applications in.  We want to run 2 buses, but if we don't get 80 students we will stop at one with a van  (56 students).  The first 50 to get their deposit in are locked on the tour.  Just saying.  We have 28 booked on the tour. We have a great bunch of chaperones lead by me and Jackie Favret.  If you haven't friended Jackie or me please do so.  You can learn more about our chaperones on the links on the website. Please feel free to contact me either by email, FB Messengers, or text me at 614-517-7702.   We are really looking forward to meeting you. 

 
Florida Trip

December 2 - I will be meeting with 8 students at Bellville, Ohio, Exit 165,  I-71 meeting students at the Speedway Gas Station (just off the exit) at 1pm.  We can't wait too long (no more than 1/2 hour).  We can only take 11 students, so please contact me  (bill.mcmurray@gmail.com or text me at 614-517-7702)  If you want to take advantage of that.   PLEASE  RECONFIRM TO ME TEXTING 614-517-7702.  So far all students are from 6390, 6630 and 6650.   Unfortunately because of the extreme amount of driving that day we cannot offer the same service on December 10.

Names so far:
Daniela Cerovska
Joana Julie Santana Titscher
Juulia Edla Maria Tuominen
Sky Chen
Geraldine Kempf
Taka Iwase
Margot Dussauge
Monica Fujiwara

When you arrive, check in with Jackie Favret and then hang out.  We may have keys ready early (we never know).  You are then free to hang around the hotel (nice pool and spa, work out room).  There are places to eat nearby the hotel.  
Flyers will be met by someone at the middle of baggage claim.  Look for someone with a Rotary Sign.  If you can't find us call 614-517-7702.
Tomorrow is a gathering day. We will have a meeting and pizza and cover all the rules and what you need to know.
You will need money for this trip as breakfast are included but not lunch and dinner. We will be stopping at a supermarket on Monday in Jacksonville if you want to purchase some food and snacks.
Again we have very little space on the vans for luggage.  A small suitcase or duffle is the best. 
One of our vans is larger in space than the other ( a Ford, it will have 10 students and 1 driver), the other van will have 9 and one driver (a Chevy).
Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow (except for Natalie who we pick up in West Virginia on the way down). 

November 29 - There was a mistake on the link pickup and drop off link on Florida trip website http://rotarytrip.org/rotdisney1617.html .   I have corrected it (the information on the other parts of the website are correct.  Check out http://rotarytrip.org/rotdisneypickupdropoffinstruction1.html  This is the correct information.   You need to arrive on Saturday, December 3, 2016 between 11am and 6pm at the Best Western Airport, 1450 Airpointe Dr., Columbus OH.   
We need the kids picked up at the same hotel, December 10 around 6pm.   Flyers will be staying with Rotarians overnight leaving on Sunday Morning, December 11.
We are also going to offer a help to people driving in on December 3.  I will take one van to meet people at Bellville, Ohio, Exit 165,  I-71 meeting students at the Speedway Gas Station (just off the exit) at 1pm.  We can't wait too long (no more than 1/2 hour).  We can only take 11 students, so please contact me  (bill.mcmurray@gmail.com or text me at 614-517-7702) if you want to take advantage of that.   Unfortunately because of the extreme amount of driving that day we cannot offer the same service on December 10.
On December 3, we should have someone in the lobby all day.  If you arrive at the hotel and the chaperone isn't there just drop your student and their suitcases.  We are a little thin on help that day and chaperones have to help meet students at the airport.  We don't leave until very early on Sunday morning and we are planning on picking up one student in West Virginia that day en-route south.
Again, pack light, you can bring a duffle bag and a book bag sized backpack.  I would bring some snacks.  You will have a chance to purchase some food en-route.  We are stopping at least one supermarket on the way down on Monday.

 

November 25- Our trip begins December 3, at the Best Western Plus Port Columbus at 1450 Airpointe Drive, Columbus OH.  Please arrive between 11am and 6pm.  At 6:30pm we are having a pizza party where we'll get everyone organized and give you detailed information.
Feel free to contact me if have any questions about the trips.  You can contact me by Facebook messenger, email or even text me at 614-517-7702. 
Hotels rules are something we have to follow and the biggest hotels rules for students have to do with curfew.  We require that students be in their rooms and quiet before 10pm each night.  They also want our students to be quiet in the hallways and not slam doors.  They also don't allow people to run in the halls.  If we had bad behavior sometimes hotels can throw us out of the property, which is a terrible thing to happen.Since we are using vans on this trip, we aren't going to assign you to one van.  You can move around and I would do that to meet that.  There are 19 students and 2 chaperones and 24 spots so there should be some breathing room.  
Packing for this trip is complicated.  It may be very very cold or it may be quite warm.  We have had freezing weather in Florida, snow on the way.  In other years we have had warm weather.  I would pack a WARM coat, long pants, a sweater and a nice warm hooded sweatshirt.  I would also bring shorts and t-shirts.  It also rains quite a bit so bring a poncho or light rain coat.   You have to be able to handle your own language so pack so you can handle it.  We have elevators in all our hotels, but you never know when elevators may be not working and you have to carry your bag up stairs.Chaperone Janine Haniganis a registered dietician and food nutrition expert with a Masters degree from the University of Michigan.  A very active environmentalist, running and is married to her high school crush Ryan, an architect.

November 21 - 12 Days until we all meet and head off to the land of sunshine, talking mice, and Harry Potter. 

Please don't arrive before 11am (no counting students flying in).  I will be there with Jackie Favret to sign you in for the trip.  The rest of the day is free to relax, get to know people, swim, jacuzzi and do what exchange students like to do the most... talk.

You will need spending money for this trip, probably about $250-$300 depending what you want to eat and souvenirs you want to buy.  Breakfast is included daily but not much else food wise.  
You will also need warm clothes and summer clothes.  We have no idea what the weather is going to be.  I always tell people to bring rain gear because it rains in Florida in December.   Also bring sun glasses, sun tan lotion, a hat to keep the sun off your head.  Make sure you have a way to take pictures. You will probably take about 700-1000 pictures if you are like most exchange students on this trip.  Also bring cards and pins to trade.  There are 19 kids on the kids (we think) and 2 chaperones so plan accordingly.

If you get car sick bring some car sickness medicine (I like meclazine "Bonine").  We will have some medicine there.  If you take prescription drugs bring them with you and take them. 
I've gone over the rules so you know those.  You should know that kids who haven't been good on this trip aren't allowed on any of the other trips.  Please don't break the rules. 
Fun Fact:  We get free orange juice or grapefruit juice at the Florida welcome center.   There will be lots of group pictures.   I take them and you can steal them off my FB feed

 

November 17 - Only 16 days until the trip. 
We are getting close to the trip.  We have 19 people who are confirmed.  We do have space for one more person. 

To make sure we run the trip we are taking two 12 passenger van. There are detailed instructions in the Website on how to get to our hotel.  There are lots of links on the website including hotel pictures, addresses and phone numbers.  Every question you might want answered is found somewhere on the website.http://rotarytrip.org/rotdisney1617.html.  

Because we have vans, we will not assign a van to ride in.  You can switch if you like. (On the other trips you are assigned a bus and can't switch).  Vans also give us a lot of flexibility so we can do more.


The biggest rule is our 10pm curfew.  This is true on all our trips.  You have to be in your room at 10pm and you can't leave your room after that.  American hotels can be very dangerous places late. Also the hotels don't want student groups out of the rooms after 10 pm making noise so other people can sleep.  If we are too loud they can throw us out of the hotel.  Another important rule is to be quiet in the hallways of the hotel and don't run. People are sleeping in the first part and people walk out of their rooms and you can run into them and hurt them.

I hope we can stick together while in the parks. We did this on other years when we had a small group and it was so much fun.  The parks are amazing.

November 14 - We are only 19 days from the trip so make sure have paid for the tour (if you owe money you can't go).  Also make sure you have a ride to Columbus Ohio on December 3 and one home on the 10th (11th if you are flying).  If you are flying we will find a safe approved place for you to spend the night before flying home.
We have one more space left on the trip.  Ask your exchange friends if they would like to go.
Remember to email me any questions you might have.  There is a great Q&A link on the website site with lots of answers you might need. 
You will need spending money.  We are paying for breakfast but not lunches and dinners.  We will find inexpensive options for meals on the trip (super markets, low cost restaurants). You probably need around $250 for food, more if you want to buy a lot of stuff). 
I was going through the website and updating things.  We are still finalizing the rooming list.   Our Florida hotel has beautiful suite rooms with three large beds (two queen sized and one pull out sofa). Most of you have 4 to a room.
If you are heavily into Harry Potter and Disney stuff you will be very happy.  Both Janine and I are big HP fans and love disney.

 

October 6 - We are  filling up very quickly. Tell your friends to email or fax me their applications as soon as possible. If you are having trouble getting your money to me, I will give you another 10 days to send it to me.Yes we are going to Disney World, but you might want to get excited about our other park, Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. First year we went their the chaperones all went nuts trying to get awesome souvenirs. Hogwarts and Hogsmeade are so realistic, including people dressed in Wizard's costumes and lots of amazing things going on. Also three pretty good Roller Coasters. Added this year is Diagon Alley which is new for all of us.  We are all getting excited.  All the chaperones are absolute Harry Potter freaks, having read the books several times and owning all the movies.   Please get your friends to get their applications in for the Disney Trip. We need their information as soon as possible.Remember you need to get to Columbus Ohio for the Disney Trip. If you live in other part of the USA, say Idaho or California you need to get an air ticket to Columbus. The rest of you need to find rides to Columbus.   If you live in West Virginia you can meet us en-route. We will be driving through Charlotte NC, and spending the night in Orangeburg, SC. We can pick anyone up en-route and drop you off at the end of the trip.  Weather is strange in Florida that time of the year. One year it was really cold (like Artic Cold -9C) and other years it's been like 30C. You have to pack accordingly. You will need warm clothing, rain gear (it does rain in Florida), shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts. One thing you will definitely need are good comfortable walking shoes because there is a lot of walking.  You will need to pack very light though using a duffle bag.  We have very limited luggage space. 

September 26 -Please let your friends know about the trip, we are doing this but could use a few more kids to make it more fun.
Luggage space is going to be very tight for this trip, so we ask if you pack your stuff in a duffle bag so we can get more into our little luggage department.
Our chaperones on this trip are Jackie Favret, Janine Hanigan and myself.   Jackie and I have done every trip down there (10 altogether).  Janine has done 5 of them. They a fun group and love Disney and especially Harry Potter as much as you do.  We can also guide you around he parks so you can have maximum fun.  If you wish with our small group we can do it as a group (we've done that before and it was a lot of fun).
Make sure you get your payment in to us for the trip as soon as possible.  Final pay date is only two weeks away.
Clothes you will need:  Warm hoodie sweatshirt, really comfortable shoes, jeans or coverups if it is cold.  shorts (in case we have hot weather), a sweater, gloves and some rain gear (poncho, raincoat, waterproof windbreaker).
Fun Trip Fact: J.K. Rowling personally selected the food, souvenirs, and tours, and design of every part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

August 23 - Thanks for your interest in the Rotary Florida Adventure.  We are really looking forward to this trip.  It's special.  It's small, fun and it's absolutely the best week of the year to see Disney and Universal.  The crowds are small and you should be able to get on rides repeatedly if you wish.Make sure you get your applications and deposits in to us as soon as possible as there are very view places on this trip.  This is my favorite trip because we get to know everyone and we have so much fun.  Look at http://rotarytrip.org/rotdisney1617.html for everything you might need to know on the trip.  This is available to all Rotary exchange students so please let your friends know.  All they need is their District permission to join the trip.