The Bandey-Hefler Exchange is a fortnight exchange between three Districts in England 1110, 1140, and 1250 and District 7910 in Central Massachusetts. This exchange has now continued uninterrupted for 33 years.
In October 1973 the American couple visited England and Bill spoke at the District 114 Conference held in Jersey. Attending a discussion at the International Group Meeting, he learned for the first time of the 'contact club' arrangements in Europe. He became very interested in this concept and suggested that similar exchanges should he arranged with American clubs, but having a distinctly vocational aspect. Bill originally suggested exchanges between the two Districts 791 (now 7910 - around the Boston area) and 114 (now 1140 and 1250).
It took four years to set up, but in October, 1977, 11 Rotarians, and their partners, left the U.K. for Boston, District 791 and "New England in the Fall", the first ever Bandey-Hefler Exchange visit. From Logan Airport they were transported to Milton, the Hefler's home town, where they were met by 100 Rotarians and their wives. A great welcoming party ensued which set the standard of generosity and convivial fellowship that endures to this day.
The intention was that, accompanied by their spouses, each Rotarian would stay with Rotarians of similar vocation and their family. During their two-week stay, each would change homes four times, to ensure circulation and to meet as many families as possible.
Those who have been fortunate enough to participate in these exchanges have no doubt that it is International Rotary in action and at it's very best. Since the Bandey-Hefler Exchange Program began in 1973 over 1000 Rotarian families have participated in the exchange. The original basic format has been retained as far as possible; although vocational pairing is no longer practical to any significant degree. The emphasis is now very much based on international fellowship and the enjoyment that comes from meeting new friends in different surroundings.
District 1110 has been involved in the exchanges since 1988. (The District 1110 association started in 1986 during John Elley's year as DG but the first visit we participated in was in 1988.) Many club members have been involved in hosting here or visiting there since then. It is a wonderful opportunity to advance international understanding.
If you would like to volunteer to be a host for the forthcoming visit of 18 American Rotarians and their partners this autumn and to therfore be eligible for selection to visit Massachusetts in the autumn of 2012 please click here to open the Host Application Form.
Or contact one of the D1140 members visiting clubs and talking about this. e.g. Nigel Butt of the Farnborough Club.
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