Four Bingara students will soon be chosen to take part in the annual student exchange between Gwydir Shire and Willoughby Council.
The program, which has successfully been running for 15 years, was initiated as part of the Bingara-Willoughby Sister city relationship.
The sister city relationship began with an agreement between the then Willoughby Mayor, John Squire and Bingara Shire President, John Wearne. The agreement was signed on June 24, 1995.
The arrangement came about when Bingara, like much of NSW at the time, was suffering the effects of drought. People in Willoughby wanted to help, and approached the Local Government and Shires Association to identify a small council area struggling in drought.
The friendship has proved to be significant, with staff exchange, and Willoughby sending teams to work on the Myall Creek project and tree planting around Bingara.
Another important activity has been a student exchange program. The exchange is based around each Community’s Festival: The Bingara Orange Festival and the Spring Festival in Willoughby.
Four Bingara students are sought to take part in the annual student exchange this year. The students and their families will need to host a student from Willoughby from July 29 until August 2. The local students will then travel to Willoughby in September for their annual Spring Festival.
Gwydir Council will provide the travel costs associated with the trip (bus and train) and two staff members will travel to Sydney with the children. In Sydney they will be met by a delegation from Willoughby Council and the host families.
As Bingara Ambassadors, students will be required to attend official functions and promote Bingara. They may be required to make a small speech. They would need to demonstrate exemplary behaviour at all times.
The decision on who will be the best student ambassadors for Bingara will be made by the General Manager based on the young person’s ability to represent Bingara and the information they provide with their application.
This is a private excursion managed by the Gwydir Shire Council and it is not a school excursion. If you would like to be considered for the Student Exchange program please collect an application form at the Central School, Bingara Library or Council Office and return them to the Bingara Library by Wednesday July 7. Kimberley Apthorpe on 0408 454 813 or Tanya Parker on 0437 219 103 can supply further information.