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GRSP Update
Planning for the Holidays ... and GRSP's Future

Pictures from Emily Marosek's experience as an Oslo scholarship recipient

Pictures from Emily Marosek's experience as an Oslo scholarship recipient

Student Weekends Support Fun and Fellowship

October was an eventful month for our GRSP students, as we wondered once again if Savannah would be able to host their annual student weekend.The storm did not do as much damage as anticipated and just a few days beforehand, we got the word that the weekend event was still on.The clouds cleared, and our students enjoyed warm weather and blue skies.We thank our sister clubs in District 6920 for hosting a wonderful weekend for our students.

As the newsletter goes to press, the Rotary Clubs of Alpharetta, Johns Creek North Fulton, Milton-Windward, North Fulton, Roswell and Sandy Springs will just be finished with hosting the final student weekend for this calendar year. Our understanding is that it will be quite different than in years past, and students will have a choice between the Aquarium, Coca Cola Museum and CNN. The six clubs were able to find lots of host families this year, so no sleeping bags for our students this year.

While we're talking about weekends, don't forget to mark the GRSP Leadership Conference on your calendar for early January. It takes place over Martin Luther King holiday weekend - starting Friday, January 12 at noon at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, and ends mid-day Sunday, January 14 at Oglethorpe University.

Getting Ready for the Holidays

It's not too early to start talking with your student about holiday plans, particularly Thanksgiving. There is not another country in the world that celebrates Thanksgiving, and this is the favorite holiday of nearly every student we have hosted. We think it evokes memories of their own families at significant holidays in their own countries. For those clubs that do not partner with other clubs, students seem to like to visit several families, rather than just staying with their main host family. Obviously, this depends on the student, but for those Rotarians who are not official host families, this could be a good way to find out a little more about the program by visiting with your student. As I sat in a restaurant with two students talking about their classes, their host families and what this opportunity has meant to them, I couldn’t help but feel pride in being a part of their lives, knowing that both of these students were seeking entirely different things from the program and were from totally different cultures, but with a common goal of bettering themselves and those around them.

GRSP Charts New Strategic Direction

GRSP has begun the formulation of a new strategic plan that will guide the organization over the next three to five years. Careful consideration will be given to the mission, vision, values and strategic direction of the program to best serve all GRSP stakeholders. An independent facilitator from UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development will guide the strategic planning process, which will actively engage stakeholders from across the state via interviews, focus groups, surveys and more. The process is intended to be inclusive and transparent so as to formulate a plan that is relevant, forward-looking, and most impactful. Members of the strategic planning committee include Trustees, District Chairs, Directors, Officers, Past-District Governors, Host Families, and Alumni. GRSP expects to have the plan finalized and ready for implementation by the end of 2018. Any and all Rotarians are encouraged to share thoughts and feedback as to how GRSP can improve with anyone on the GRSP leadership team, including their trustees.

Oslo Scholarship

The application deadline is December 30 for this all-expense paid trip to Oslo, Norway next summer. Ask your trustee for details or check out our website at www.grsp.org. Please understand that Rotarian children and grandchildren can and do apply for this scholarship. The Oslo International Summer School is an English-speaking school and will offer scholarships to 3 Georgia residents. The school term begins on June 23, 2018 and ends on August 3, 2018 and students must be between the ages of 20-24, single and have completed their college sophomore year. This past year two students were chosen from District 6900, i.e., Emily Dao Marosek (daughter of Rotarian James Marosek) sponsored by the North Fulton RC, and Emily Hope Cantrell, sponsored by the North Columbus RC. These students would love to come talk to your club about their trip during their Christmas break, so contact them through their sponsoring club. The following is a taste of what this scholarship meant to Emily Marosek in her own words.

Last year, my father, a Rotarian in the North Fulton Rotary Club, encouraged me to apply for a scholarship given to Georgia students for a summer studying at the University of Oslo. I am honored to have been a recipient of this scholarship, and my experience studying abroad in Norway was beyond anything I could have imagined.

Arriving in Oslo, I was greeted by Herman Meijer, my host, and he helped me get to my dorm and get settled in. He also later invited me to his home in Trondheim, where I got to meet his wife and son and experience the island at the “end of the world”. Herman, along with my Housemother, Michelle Fredrickson, helped me feel most at home during my stay in Norway.

While studying Architecture and Design at the University of Oslo, I was able to visit all my bucket-list places in Oslo as well as travel to Bergen and Trondheim. I met people from 85 different countries and learned how to introduce myself in several different languages. I ate homemade waffles and the freshest sea food I’ve ever tasted. I joined the student council and was the head of the Media Committee, where I got to document stories I collected from my peers. I was also able to perform “Georgia On My Mind” at the International Cultural Evening alongside my friend Robyn, who is from Seattle. You can watch the video on YouTube.

This summer changed my life. As I write this months later, I can’t help but miss everything about my trip to Oslo. I’m looking down at my phone and see a text message from my friend Baani, who I met while in Norway. She’s from India and we’ve already began planning our trip to meet up in Taiwan next year. My heart is enriched with a newfound love and culture, and I’m so grateful to have received this scholarship from GRSP which allowed me to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Posted by Lynn Clarke
November 5, 2017

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