Category Archives: Youth Exchange

DG Bill’s Master Class on How to Use Video to Promote Rotary

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If you get the chance to hang out with District 7620 District Governor, Bill Fine, you will quickly find that he is 1) passionate about Rotary, 2) one of the funniest humans on the planet, and 3) one of the best salesman around.  This week DG Bill treated us to a Master Class on how to sell Rotary, both by using video as a creative media for spreading our message, and by using “the media,” which in this case is Comcast Cable’s Newsmaker show.  Hopefully we can all learn a little something from DG Bill about how to get better at spreading the Rotary gospel.  And along the way we might learn a little something about Rotary Youth Exchange and the District 7620 District Conference.

Recently District 7620 held a workshop to teach us how to use video to promote Rotary.  To see North Bethesda Rotary Club President, Gonzalo Accame’s, notes from his highly acclaimed workshop go to the following link for the Video Workshop.

Exhibit A in today’s lesson is an interview DG Bill did last week for Comcast Cable’s Newsmaker show regarding Rotary Youth Exchange.  The airtime is free as part of Comcast’s corporate community service.  According to District 7620 PR Chair, Dawn Wittfelt, most TV stations have time set aside to air community service spots.  In this case Dawn is on Comcast’s mailing list and they have contacted her to fill several different spots.  As you watch this interview with Bill you might be thinking about how you or someone in your club can make contact with a local station near you.  Check this out and then we can discuss what makes this such a great performance.

 

 

First off, Bill is obviously an expert on the subject.  If you are going to be interviewed by professional media about Rotary, make sure you know what you are talking about.  In this case DG Bill has been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange for years and it shows.  7620 PR Chair Dawn informs me that in many cases, like this one, the station allows you to give them the questions you want to be asked in advance, so as always…practice, practice, practice!  It’s natural to be nervous the first few times (and maybe more than that) you are in front of a microphone, so be prepared.

Second, did you notice how short and to the point Bill’s answers are to every question?  If you are looking for soundbites that get the message across in a short period of time, then here you go.  Think about how you are going to answer questions, like “what is Rotary Youth Exchange” without allowing your listeners to get lost in the translation.  How about these quotes?  “Student’s are like non-paid US ambassadors.” Or, “World peace, 1 to 1, one person at a time.”  Terrific.

Third, did you notice that Bill threw in a brief personal story about his own experience with Youth Exchange?  Remember that personal testimonies make for some of the most gripping, and memorable stories, which is of course what makes the difference between a good interview and a great interview.

Fourth, notice how Bill keeps eye contact with the interviewer and doesn’t get distracted by the camera.  Also notice that he allows his personality to come through as the interview goes along.  A few smiles and a little humor goes a long way.

If you didn’t know about Rotary Youth Exchange don’t you think you would be interested in learning more about the program after this very short, four minute interview? Do you think you might be interested in learning more about Rotary?  I think so.  Here’s something else to consider.   Regardless of who does or does not see this on Comcast (most of us are surprised at how many people comment that they saw you on TV or heard you on the radio, even for public interest spots), can you think of other creative ways to use this video?  Let’s move on to Exhibit B.

The next Bill Fine video performance is a promotion for District 7620’s District Conference. Bill assures me you are all invited to come and I’m pleased to extend this invitation on Ready, Fire, Aim.  But there are some teachable moments here worth mentioning as well. First, this YouTube video cost less than $200 to make.  Bill did this performance in ONE TAKE.  YouTube is a great resource for those who want to use video to promote Rotary. You can make your own videos by using your smart phone or home digital camera, or you can hire someone to help and find out that it isn’t as expensive as you thought.  This District Conference promo is a great example of a high quality product for a lot less money than you thought it would cost.

 

If you create a video like this, then how would you use it?  The obvious answer is social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, your club’s website and Facebook page, Twitter, etc., are all looking to feed on good, relevant Rotary content.  Why not show your video (or this video if you are in District 7620) during your club announcements?  Or, share the link by Pmail or Email to various networks you’ve created?  I’ve been guilty of using video shot on my smart phone to educate and entertain RFA readers.  You can do the same.

Thank you DG Bill for reminding us how to use these tools to their best effect to better promote Rotary in and outside of our District.  I hope all of my readers are taking good notes on this.  Awesome stuff!  CHECK OUT THE LINK TO THE VIDEO WORKSHOP!

 

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The RFA Short-Course about Rotary Youth Exchange

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Youth Exchange experts Karin Jones from the Dupont Circle Rotary Club and District 7620 Youth Exchange Chair, Chris Perlick, desperately trying to educate me about Youth Exchange programs in our District.

The first thing you need to know about Youth Exchange is that it is, by all accounts, a life changing experience for the students, for the host families, and for the student counsellors.

The second thing you need to know about Youth Exchange is that it isn’t nearly as big a program as it could be, or should be, in our district.

And the third thing you need to know about Youth Exchange is that it is a complicated program to administer.   I mean…it’s REALLY complicated.  We are lucky in our District to have Chris Perlick as our Youth Exchange Chairman.  He’s been involved with Youth Exchange since the mid 1990’s and he’s an expert on the subject.  Since I like to hang out with experts, I recently spent the morning at Panera Bread in Silver Spring with Chris and Outbound Youth Exchange Chair, Karin Jones, a former Peace Corps volunteer and more importantly, a former youth exchange student to Denmark, AND a member of the Dupont Circle Club.  The morning’s  agenda was to try to give me the short course in how the program works.

I have two pages of notes, including some indecipherable line charts showing the relationship between the State Department (yup…that’s the United States of America State Department), Rotary International, an organization called the Eastern States Student Exchange, or ESSEX, Rotary District 7390, our Rotary District 7620, our Rotary clubs, individual counties in the State of Maryland, individual school districts in the state of Md., and ..well…I think you get the picture.  The bottom line is that Chris and his committee of one, Karin, are committed to continuing to send 3 – 5 high school age students abroad for the school year and to hosting the same number of students here in the District.

Here’s just a few facts about the program that you might find interesting:

Typical Exchange Student stays are from August until June

Each county in the State of Md. has its own regulations about exchange students that must be navigated.

Exchange students typically stay with three different host families during their stay.

90% of host families are non-Rotarians.

On average it costs about $5,000 to send a student overseas for the school year.  Many clubs provide financial aid if needed and District 7620 has a small scholarship fund to help out as well.  Turns out this is one of the least expensive exchange programs out there.

Any student can go overseas…including the children of Rotarians.

Each exchange student has a host counselor that is different from their host family.

We’ve had about 15 different Rotary clubs that have served as host clubs for host families.

Inbound students in the state of Md. have to be proficient in English (something here about passing TOEFL tests, (Test of English Foreign Language) but our outbound students do not have to be proficient in foreign language.

When I asked Chris and Karin why the program isn’t bigger, the answer seems to be we need to find more host families.  Here is Chris’s take on why your club might want to be more involved with youth exchange.  NOTE:  Sorry for the Panera Bread background noise.  Try to pay attention!

Since I had successfully negotiated with Chris’s agent in terms of getting him on video without his usual fee, I thought I would ask him some additional questions.  In this two minute clip, Chris responds to the important issue of why you should consider hosting a youth exchange student.  He then tackles some spoof questions from your intrepid RFA reporter about how to handle exchange students who are much smarter than their host families,  why deal with annoying teenagers when you are finally rid of your own, and how to persuade youth exchange students to do chores around your house.  VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  Chris was serious in answering question number 1 and was a good sport about trying to answer the questions that follow with a straight face.  RFA readers will recognize my sophomoric attempts at humor and appreciate Chris’s valiant attempts to provide cogent answers to my stupid questions.  I think I can accurately report that Karin (off-camera) was chuckling at Chris’s responses.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  PLEASE do not consider hosting a youth exchange student in order to get chores done around your house.

Here’s what I do know.  We are all very lucky to have Chris running the Youth Exchange program for our District, and he is lucky to have Karin join his committee.  If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved with Youth Exchange as a counselor, host family, or just as a member of Chris’s committee, give him a shout at cperlick@hotmail.com.

 

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