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Youth Camp and Exchange Program

Youth Camp and Exchange Program

Creating Global Citizens Across Cultures and Around the World

The Youth Camp and Exchange Program (YCE) brings the ideal of global citizenship to life. Each year, this program gives thousands of young people the opportunity to experience life in other cultures and gain new understanding of the world through travel abroad. Unlike some youth exchange programs, YCE does not involve academic study or employment. Instead, participants are encouraged to use this travel opportunity to represent their home countries and share their own culture while learning about and embracing a new one; forging the way to becoming young ambassadors for peace and international understanding.  

YCE is composed of various Lions Youth Exchanges and/or Lions Youth Camps arranged by Lions clubs around the world. 

  • A Lions Youth Exchange, or “host family stay,” can be arranged independent of a Lions youth camp in hundreds of countries where there are Lions clubs and typically lasts between four and six weeks.
  • Lions Youth Camps are one or two weeks long and usually include a host family stay before and/or after the camp.

Activities for both exchanges and camps can include visits to places of cultural or natural interest, sporting events, country presentations by participants, guided discussion, and even engagement in local service projects alongside Lions club members.

Lions involved in YCE are committed to:

  • Bringing people from different countries into meaningful contact with each other
  • Exchanging ideas and cultural viewpoints
  • Promoting international understanding and goodwill
  • Working towards the goals of world peace and human understanding
  • Encouraging respect in young people for the thinking of others

The success of the Lions YCE program is a result of effective communication between all Lions involved in program implementation whether they are sending youth abroad, receiving and hosting youth, or both!  The following are the Lions club members that make the YCE program a reality:

  • A sponsoring Lions club is required for every youth participating in YCE. The sponsoring club works closely with their regional YCE Chairperson to coordinate the application process for interested youth, including applicant screening, enforcement of insurance requirements, and procedures concerning passports, visas, immunizations, etc.  They are responsible for all travel arrangements to and from the youth’s home country to the camp or host family stay. They also host a program orientation for youth participants going abroad and their families. 
  • A host Lions club receives youth participants into their country.  Host clubs work closely with their regional YCE Chairperson, local Lions youth camp organizers, and host families to coordinate placing accepted YCE youth participants.  Many of the members of this club will serve as host families for youth.  The host club is ultimately responsible for the youth participant while abroad and provides room and board.
  • YCE Chairpersons are Lions club members that have been appointed to run the various regional YCE programs throughout the world and are dedicated to making the program a success.  Sponsoring clubs and host clubs coordinate the sending and receiving of YCE youth participants through their respective YCE Chairperson.  The contact information for these individuals is listed in the YCE Directory.

How do I Start a Local Program?

If you are interested in implementing a new YCE program in your country or a young person recently requested sponsorship from your club, review the following for guidance in getting started:

  • Review the program guidelines in Chapter 1of the Board Policy Manual.
  • Understand the roles of each of the following parties involved in the program and how:
  • Review the details of existing Lions youth camps in the Youth Camp and Exchange Directory to inspire your planning.  Utilize the Lions contacts within the directory as resources for answering questions and sharing best practices.
  • Establish a YCE steering committee that will oversee the management and coordination of the various components of implementation.  (This may include travel logistics, recruiting youth and host families, orientation planning, camp organization, establishing community partners, finance coordination, etc.)
  • Review insurance requirements for the program and determine the amount of coverage needed.

Youth Camp and Exchange Directory

Once the components of your local program are established, submit the Annual District/Multiple District Youth Camp & Exchange Report form to the Programs & Service Initiatives Department to officially be added to the Youth Camp and Exchange Directory for promotion of your camp and/or exchange opportunity.


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