February 26, 2013 · 1:46 PM

ROTARY YOUTH EXCHANGE students pose in front of Hot Chocolates in Courtenay, their last stop on a downtown scavenger hunt that kept them busy Saturday afternoon. / PHOTO SUBMITTED

Rotary Youth Exchange students from all around the world gathered in the Comox Valley for a five-day conference as part of their year-long exchange program.

The students had the opportunity to explore the Valley, provide entertainment and interaction for residents of The Views, witness and participate in the K'ómoks Band’s traditional dances, ski, and enjoy countless other "Canadian activities."

Vanier Secondary School graciously welcomed the students into Grade 9 classes to speak to kids about Rotary Youth Exchange and the opportunities it provides.

In addition, three dedicated film students from Vanier captured the week’s activities and Lori Mazey’s award-winning improv team had the group of RYE kids enthralled and up performing alongside the actors.

Two local students are currently away on one-year exchanges —  Michelle Law, who is in Chile, and Ross Smith, who is living in Krygystan. In August, students Ryan Dawson and Isabel Siegriff will leave for Switzerland and Brazil.

The students are well prepared for their year away with orientation sessions and e-mail or Skype interactions with their future host families.

The visiting RYE students have returned to their host communities on Vancouver Island and parts of Washington State for the second half of their exchange. The warm welcome they received here in the Comox Valley will be the best souvenir of all.

— Comox Valley Rotarians