invocation- young voices

We say good bye to our ambassadors

young voices raised in farewell to their homelands

embarking on adventures in a new land.

New friends, new food, new realities

new dreams, new wishes, new knowledge.

Let us be thankful for the safe harbour of home

and let us be thankful for the journey to the unknown

Let us be thankful for the journeys that our Rotary Exchange Students

embark upon, and the many voices that bring knowledge,

understanding, and peace to the world.


When my daughter departed on her year in Spain, I was fearful.  I had had a wonderful year as a Rotary Exchange student in Finland, so I had faith in the process, but I am a mother, so I worried about her safety: bombs, rapists, pick pockets, that sort of thing.  I claimed this quote, and quietly accepted that the most important part of parenting is letting go.  

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

~John Augustus Shedd 

Farewell invocation

This time of year, many clubs are bidding farewell to our precious youth exchange students.  These young people attend our meeting each week, join in on our projects and activities, and bring infectious enthusiasm with them. They help us celebrate our own culture, as we share our lives with them.  Here is an invocation in the spirit of these sad departures.

We have been blessed to learn

about the things that make your world unique.

We have been blessed to enjoy

your perspective on our world.

We have been blessed to celebrate

the global mission of Rotary

We have been blessed to have

Rotary Youth Exchange students in our lives.

We are thankful for old foods that tasted new with you

We are thankful for old friends that were renewed by you.

We are thankful for old dreams that came true for you.

To Rotary.


PS.  I also offer this final benediction, from one Rebound exchange student to others, “Rotary Youth Exchange, opening minds and breaking hearts since 1929.”

See also The Surreal Life and hug your returning exchange students.  They’re going to be kind of messed up for a month or two.