Exchange program exemplifies Lions’ spirit

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Part of the mission of Lions Clubs International is, and we quote from its website, “To Create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.”

In our view, that’s best exemplified through its annual student exchange program, and is reason enough for the group’s existence.

Certainly, the members do a lot more for their respective communities, but it’s that offer to host young people in other lands that really stands out.

Most recently, Caythy Petersen of Denmark and Reetta Meskanen of Finland arrived in Franklin to stay with Lions Welton and Lottie Deshields.

The visitors are but two of 29 staying first in the Western Tidewater and greater Hampton Roads region. While here, they’ll have an opportunity to learn local history, customs, culture and perhaps best of all, the food. Do they have barbecue in Finland? One wonders. There will be visits to historic sites such as Jamestown and Washington D.C., and to blend the melting pot even further, a summer camp in Northern Virginia.

All in all, we trust the Lions near and far will show the best side of their organization, and that the guests will leave with a positive impression of America.