The Fairgate salutes the American Field Service and celebrates with them 37 years of promoting international friendship and understanding. Founded in 1947, the AFS matches host families with high school students from around the globe. Ruth Ladage, the Chapter Chair for Camas-Washougal, and her husband, Mike, are dedicated to this mission and have hosted six students over the years. “We know firsthand that this program connects people and expands their world. It broadens global vision and fosters peace.” What sets AFS apart from other foreign exchange programs is their local network of support. As Mike explains, “We make sure there is local contact at all times. If any issue needs to be addressed, there is a trained liaison assigned to each family.” And unlike some other organizations, AFS keeps the bar high by not paying families to host students and doing a rigorous background check. “We don’t want a situation where students are brought over to be babysitters.”
Students must be high school juniors or seniors and maintain passing grades. Arrive in Aug and leave after the school year in June. Germany and Italy most popular. A mini profile is provided that gives info on student’s family and hobbies. Host selects from that and then receives more info before making final selection. All students speak English. Single parent families are accepted.
AFS recently held their annual fundraising dinner at the Fairgate and our ballroom was transformed into a mini-United Nations. Each table represented a different country and flags from around the world draped the walls. Current and potential host families were treated to delicious dinner, fabulous prizes and fascinating conversation. Exchange students from Norway, Thailand and Denmark shared their stories and their gratitude. AFS is looking for host families interested in expanding their horizons. Single parent homes are accepted. Other criteria: student must have own bed (but can share a room with your teen), families must complete a background check and agree to include the guest student with family activities and routine. It’s not about entertaining – it’s about allowing them to experience being a part of your family. Note of interest: What two countries does AFS get the most requests from to come to the US? Germany and Italy.
For more information contact AFS at 800-876-2377 or visit them online.