This year marks the 17th year of the successful Youth Exchange Program held between Bingara and Willoughby, Sydney which is both fun and educational for the young people involved.
Today students from Willoughby come to Bingara to get a taste of the good life in the country and participate in the Orange Festival; in return our young people have the opportunity to travel to Sydney in early September to take part in the Willoughby Spring Fair as well as many other activities.
This year there are 12 participants in the program and all come from rather diverse backgrounds. Ambassadors from Bingara are; Gabby Rampling, Kelsey Cooper, Ross Jane, Lucie Boyle, Ellen O’Rourke and Brady Cooper. Willoughby participants include Andre Tsuakas, Gary Htoo-Gay, Liecuo Dolma, Lucy Fang, Jillian Smith and Shani Galluzzo and accompanying them was John Woodward from Willoughby City Council.
The exchange program is seen as a way to join both the city and country together, whilst giving the students an opportunity to be great ambassadors for their communities, their families and themselves. The exchange program is seen as a reward for the young people where they are encouraged to develop a broader understanding of the diversity of the country we live in.
This year the students were lucky enough to all stay together at the newly built ‘bunkhouse’ at the living classroom. This facility was fantastic and will be used for future exchange programs.
The Bingara itinerary was fully packed this year and included; a half day at Bingara Central School including the Orange picking ceremony and formal assembly, an afternoon of horse riding out at the Garrawilla farm stay, a Matt Zarb and Ben Nelson performance at the Roxy Theatre, the annual Bingara Orange festival, Myall Creek site visit, farm experiences, fishing on the banks of the beautiful Gwydir river and then the weekend was finished off with the traditional bonfire night out at Councillor and Mrs Pankhurst’s farm.
The 6 Bingara students will head to Willoughby, Sydney in September for 4 nights and participate in the Willoughby Spring Fair, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, a guided kayak tour at Manly, jet boating in the harbour, shopping and a band night at the Chatswood Youth Centre. The participants will all be staying together at the Lane Cove National Park.
With the help of technology in the world today, the students have been able to stay in contact and develop strong friendships and can’t wait to catch up in September.
All secondary students from years 9-12 are encouraged to apply for the exchange program in the future as it is a great opportunity for students to experience the contrast between country and city life. If you would like to consider applying for the exchange in the future speak with either Kimberly Apthorpe or Suzanne Webber.