By Joan Smith
Rotary Youth Exchange Officer

I was the Rotary Youth Exchange Officer, last year, working with all inbound and outbound details, and Jackie Fisher served as counselor for Benny Cherchi. As Jackie takes on the secretary job at the end of June, our new counselor will be Myrna Olsen.


­Benedetta “Benny” Cherchi is from Sardinia, Italy and arrived last August. She attended North Muskegon HS and has had a great year. She lived with Annah and Dakota Crow and their family the first semester and had a wonderful experience of really connecting with that delightful family! She then lived with Chris McGuigan and Gary Neal for the second semester and really got to see the U.S. She was in New York City, California, and Chicago and also just had a super time with that family! We had a goodbye party for her at Bill Loxterman‘s beautiful home on Lake Muskegon and her host families “lightly” roasted her! It was fun. She was our first inbound student in several years as well, so our Club is on its way to engaging again in the Rotary Youth Exchange. We’ll miss Benny!


Carleigh Wilson is the daughter of our Rotary member, Chanda Cregg. She worked with me all this year to prepare her application to be an outbound exchange student from Central States. She attended a September and January Retreat, learning more about the exchange and meeting other potential outbound and current inbound students from other countries. Carleigh passed her interview with our Youth Exchange Committee, and we nominated her to Central States. She was interviewed by them in an April weekend, and she was fully accepted! In late May, she learned that she is going to Romania, has been studying Romanian, bought her blazer, and is most excited about the year ahead. She is a student at Reeths-Puffer HS and will return for her senior year. She is Muskegon Rotary’s first outbound student in several years, so we are excited!

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