Highlands Ranch Rotary started its Youth Exchange Program, when we were charted as a Rotary Club in 1985 with Neil DiLorenzo as the Youth Exchange Chairman. In our initial year we we hosted and interviewed students in conjunction with the Littleton Rotary Club as we lacked the expertise and financial ability.



High School students are interviewed and sponsored by the club and attend school in a foreign country. The students spend from nine to twelve months in the foreign land. The students usually have no previous language experience of their host country. Highlands Ranch Rotary has participated in recruiting students and hosting students for the Year Long Exchange since our first year of service. Our first inbound student was David Johnson from Australia who attended LittletonHigh School in 1986-1987 and was hosted by individuals outside our club. John and Joyce Volp were the first Rotarian family in our club who hosted an exchange student. The student was Andrea Passos from Brazil who attended HeritageHigh School during 1987-1988. The first student who attended school in Highlands Ranch was Sybert Liebenberg from South Africa. He was initially hosted by Doug Doig. He was so popular, as everyone wanted to have him at their house, that he was also hosted by the following Rotarians: Neil DiLorenzo, Gaylin Poulson, Maryann May and Pete Doty.


All but one of our students was not fluent in English when they arrived. The student that we hosted who was not fluent was Ariel de Lamma from Argentina. He was hosted by Mary Kay and Earl Hasz who gave him a lot of attention and enabled him to complete a successful year. He later received a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado and a MBA degree at The University of Chicago.


Our first outbound students were in 1987-1988. Jessica Philpott from LittletonHigh School went to France and Shelly Beaver from ArapahoeHigh School went to Norway.


In 1991 we started sending students on the Summer Exchange Program. This is a reciprocal exchange program. We sponsor a student from Colorado who stays with a host family in a foreign country for 3-5 weeks. In turn a student from that foreign country returns home with our student and will spend 3-5 weeks in Colorado. Our first student was Julie Rea from HighlandsRanchHigh School who went to Spain. The following year she returned to Spain with our year long program.




In 2004, Rotary District 5450 started a new program called New Generations. It is a vocational work exchange program for young adults. The first participant in our district was Gina DiLorenzo who was sponsored by Highlands Ranch Rotary. She went to Sardinia, Italy where she taught English. Gina had previously participated in the Year Long Program as an exchange student in Italy in 1996-1997.


Highlands Ranch Rotary has also hosted several three day youth exchange orientations for students that have arrived from foreign countries. This involved hosting and providing a facility for the orientation for approximately 50 students at a time.


For six years there were two busses of exchange students from the southern states that would take a summer tour through Denver. Our club, mostly through the efforts of Marion Trummer, arranged housing for the students for one or two nights. Many Rotarians who were hosting would get together with the students that they were hosting for a barbecue.


Rocky Mountain Youth Exchange - Rotary District 5450 - Highlands Ranch Rotary

Programs and Information


The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is one of the oldest and largest in the world. It was started in 1929 in Europe and in our Rotary District in 1954. Approximately 8,000 students participate as rotary exchange students each year. The Rotary Club of Highlands Ranch has participated in the following high school programs: the long term, (school year), the short-term, (summer program), and summer camp. We also sent a student to the New Generations program, a vocational service college program.


Statement of purpose


The purpose of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program is to further international goodwill and understanding by allowing qualified students to serve as ambassadors in a foreign country while advancing their education in a culture not their own. 


Long Term Program


This program lasts from nine to twelve months. It is a cultural program and the students are expected to attend school at which they generally receive a full year of high school credit. They are integrated into the society of the local country and expected to be a good ambassador of the United States and Rotary International.




Applicants should be in the top 25% of their high school class and have GPA of 3.0 or better. They should be between the ages of 15 1/2 and 18 1/2 at the time the exchange begins. The student should be involved in school or other extra circular activities and be of good moral character. They should be able to adapt to a new way of life and be eager to experience a challenging and rewarding year. There is an interview process so that we select only qualified students. They should have the personality and the ability to integrate well into a foreign environment.


Costs Involved


Each successful applicant must pay an application fee of $495.00, ($95.00 with the initial application and the remaining $400.00 due at the May orientation. The application fee includes: administrative costs, the cost of a blazer, name cards and lapel pins. The applicant must pay an insurance fee of approximately $675.00. All travel costs to and from the country of destination must be borne by the student. Students will receive a monthly allowance from their host club plus reimbursement for other expenses. 


Time involved


The program involves a typical school year. Students will depart in July, August or early September for the duration of 9 to 12 months, depending on the host country.  Each student is required to return home following her/his exchange.  This is a high school program and students will be expected to attend high school during the year abroad. High school credits and college entrance requirements are the responsibility of the student and the sending high school. The student generally receives full credit for their education overseas but there is no guarantee whatsoever that all credits will be transferred. Students should discuss their graduation requirements with their school counselor.   

Countries Involved


At the present time our rotary district, exchanges with foreign countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Applicants are asked to select countries and geographic areas that they are interested in. Every effort is given to try to assign one of these choices, no guarantee is implied. Other factors influencing assignments are language proficiency and interview scores.


Required Commitments


Applicants and at least one parent must interview with the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club. All applicants and at least one parent must attend a weekend district interview and preliminary orientation in early December. Those accepted into the program must also attend, with their parents, an orientation weekend in May. Applications are due to Highlands Ranch Rotary by early November of each year.  


Summer or Short-term program




This is a reciprocal exchange program. A student stays with a host family in a foreign country for 3-5 weeks. In turn a student from that same home will spend a month in the home of the U.S. student. It is imperative that both the student and the student's family are committed to this program.


The student must be at least 14, but not more than 18 years of age at the time of the exchange. The exchange generally occurs from late June through August.


COSTS - Rotary provides the opportunity it does not finance the trip. It is the responsibility of the student's family to cover all expenses except room and board, which is provided, by the host family. These costs include, but are not limited to, transportation, pocket money and mandatory insurance of approximately $110.00 plus an application fee of $75.00.


Summer Camp


This is a reciprocal program with European countries. This is an excellent way to test the idea of a possible long term exchange. A participant in this program will experience a foreign country from the inside without the requirement of attending school. Emotional and mental maturity is required for this program but it is not as demanding as the long term program. 

For more information on the Rotary Youth Exchange Program please contact:


Neil DiLorenzo 303.796.7645, (Cell) 303.903.3591 ndilo@aol.com

Or check our district website  rye5450.org