Southlake Sister Cities is accepting applications for its annual youth delegation trip to Tome, Japan, which has been a Sister City since 1991. Each summer, a group of Southlake students and chaperone(s) head to the Far East for a once-in-a-lifetime Japanese experience. The annual Southlake youth ambassador exchange trip to Tome, Japan is planned for June 9-16, 2014. Students ages 14-18 years old are encouraged to apply. Applications are available online and are due by February 15, 2014.
After arriving in Tokyo and then a bullet train ride to Tome, they are paired with host families for their week-long stay. In addition to experiencing Japanese culture, customs and cuisine first-hand, the host families escort the youth ambassadors to many places in Tome, known for its samurai history, as well as scenic Matsushima.
Tome is located in the northeast part of the Miyagi Prefecture with a population of approximately 91,905 residents. Tome was originally a district that consisted of eight towns, including Southlake’s original Sister City, Toyoma. In April 2005, the towns merged with the town of Tsuyama, formerly of the Motoyoshi District, to form the new city of Tome.
According to Candice Edmondson, Deputy Director of Community Services, participating in an exchange program, like the youth ambassador trip to Tome, Japan, is a life changing experience. “Students who are able to participate in a youth exchange program not only develop a greater understanding for cultures much different than our own, but they also create life-long friendships. The students I chaperoned two years ago keep in touch with their host families and continue to participate in other Sister Cities programs. My husband and I also developed a close relationship with our host family and communicate with them on a regular basis. Ask anyone who’s been before and they will say that the trip to Tome was one of the best experiences of their lives” she said.
Southlake Sister Cities (SSC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering global understanding, friendship and communication through education and exchanges. Membership is open to individuals, youth, families, non-profit/civic organizations, for profit businesses, and patrons.