Youth Exchange Program comes of age

August 7, 2013

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the very successful Youth Exchange Program held between Bingara and Willoughby (Sydney), which is both fun and educational for the young people involved.

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.

Young people from Bingara and Willoughby
Students from Bingara and the Willoughby area take part in the Orange Festival parade.

There are 12 participants in the program in 2013 and all come from rather diverse backgrounds. Ambassadors from Bingara are Maryellen Honeysett, Gabby O’Connor, Megan Coss, Maddy Coombes, Jack Walton and Shannon McGarrity. Willoughby participants include James Cason, Jan Saengkham, Osman Kuralsoy, Angelo Manitisa, Christian Whale and Olivia Cason.

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 program allows young people to develop a broader understanding of the diversity of the country we live in.

This year in Bingara the students were lucky enough to all stay together at the ‘Bunkhouse’ in The Living Classroom on Killarney Gap Road. This great facility will be used for future exchange programs.

The Bingara itinerary was fully packed again this year and included orange races and a picnic lunch on the Gwydir River, a Myall Creek site visit, the annual Bingara Orange Festival, a two hour horse trail ride along the banks of the Gwydir, farm experiences, and the weekend was finished off with the traditional bonfire and night out at Councillor Peter and Mrs Brenda Pankhurst’s farm.

The six Bingara students will head to Willoughby in September for four nights, and will participate in the Willoughby Spring Fair, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, jet boating in the harbour, shopping and much more.

With today’s technology, the students will be able to stay in contact until they all catch up again in September.

All Bingara secondary students from years 9-12 are encouraged to apply for future exchange programs as it allows students a great opportunity to experience the contrast between country and city lifestyles. For further information please contact either Kimberly Apthorpe on 0408 454 813 or Suzanne Webber on 0427 241 931.