Last week’s meeting
was started by President David Whiting  overviewing  the Club’s program as discussed on the previous week. As there were no comment or objections , the meeting continued by inviting two speakers to expand and tell about  special moments in their life
The first speaker was me, Leon Lewi
I talked about my  memories from the Rotary year 1998/99
It  started by highlighting the old habit of Clubs toasting another Rotary Club as shown in photo above , often the Club is in another part of the World . In this case it was the French Rotary Club of Armentieres in Normandy
This led to this Rotary Club responding to toast by  offering to soon visit our District as the first part of a  Friendship Exchange
Then the  resulting warm relationship led to this overseas Club organizing a group of Students visiting us as part of a project of Vocational Training
Here are more details                            
Toasting of Rotary Clubs is usually done by members of a Rotary club to a Club in another part of the world. It was something our Club used to do years ago ,  The toast reminds us of the international nature of Rotary and that clubs like ours are active and doing good on every continent.  The Club on this occasion was the Rotary Club of Armentieres in Normandy and we had a good response leading to first phase of a Friendship Exchange.

Rotary Friendship Exchange 

This is an international exchange program for Rotary members and their friends This reciprocal program has been the activity over the years of both myself and later Jeanette Lynch . It is satisfying and establishes strong friendship between international Districts
This Club relationships leads to fellowship and sometimes to  service projects.
On this occasion this overseas Club offered to bring a group of their members to visit us . When they came they visited many of the Clubs in our District as shown in the photo above  . We hosted them and Marie Barbera still remembers the pleasant experience   Our return voyage was a well organized tour of Normandy and Brittany including the town of Armentieres of course . The tour was very detailed and interesting and in the course of the 2 weeks we attended 6 Rotary Clubs
It was organized by a smart Rotarian in the city of Tours and he lent us his daughter as a tour guide.
 The final association was a series of  Vocational Training Tours (VTT)
These are  for a group of professionals to travel to another country either to learn more about their profession or to teach local professionals about a particular field.
In this case we were linked with some of our French colleagues who had daughters who were doing a commerce course in Paris in a college that had the system of sending their students overseas in the middle of their course to a country what was not French speaking. Most of them went to the USA . In this case they came here and we arranged very convenient hosting and employment