On Saturday, December 2, 2023, the West Virginia Lions Youth Camps and Exchange Committee held interviews at the Gassaway United Methodist Church to select six (6) West Virginia high school students to travel to such foreign countries as Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Germany, Peru or Australia.
The Lions will pay $1,600 per Exchange Student and provide “Host” families for the Exchange Students to stay four (4) weeks in the country of their choice next Summer. Lion Chairman Henry Kratwurst of the Wardensville Lions Club will coordinate and facilitate their arrangement with their Host families.
Eleven students were interviewed. Several were from the Morgantown High School. There were also students from Peterstown High School, Moorefield High School, Sissonville High School, Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley and Ripley High School. Applicants had to submit an essay, two letters of recommendation and attend the interview.
Conducting the interviews were Lion Lorrie Kratwurst of the Wardensville Lions Club and Secretary-Treasurer of the Lions Youth Exchange Committee, Denver Drake of Gassaway and past Rotary Exchange student, Randy Foster, President of the Gassaway Lions Club and Bob Sowa, also of the Gassaway Lions Club. Chairperson Lion Henry Kratwurst met and entertained the applicant’s parents.
Most of the applicants were taking Advanced Placement classes and participated in at least one school sport. Many participated in other school, church and community activities. Most had already traveled, some even to foreign countries. Some worked part time. One young lady knew six languages.
Lion Bob Sowa mentioned that the process had changed greatly since their daughter, Heidi, (Braxton High School 2001) was a Lions Youth Exchange student and traveled to Australia and New Zealand in the Summer of 2001. She was sponsored by the Gassaway Lions Club. She received financial donations from the Burnsville and Clarksburg Lions Clubs.
Those selected were Elizabeth Williams, Dominick Cabrera and Sofia Bozensko (pictured). Winners not pictured were Adelina Zizzi, Danielle Scatlin and Madelyn Brown. This Lions Youth Exchange Committee receives financial support from the West Virginia Lions Multiple District 29. The Lions Club is the largest international service organization with more than 48,000 clubs around the world. Its major emphasis is sight preservation. Its motto is: We Serve.