Sister City Exchange

Since 1997, the City of Barrie has offered a number of different youth exchanges with its Sister Cities through its Youth Ambassadors Program. From two week cultural summer exchanges with Murayama, Japan and Taizhou, China to month long academic/cultural exchanges with Zweibrucken, Germany, Barrie’s proactive approach has ensured that more than 400 local youth have benefited from these international opportunities.

Zweibrucken, Germany

Taizhou, China

Murayama, Japan

Maximize your municipality’s existing, yet under-utilized, international relationships by providing cultural youth exchanges in the summer.

This allows for a true “community experience” that includes the local City/Town Council (legitimacy, and approval), businesses (community sponsorship), service clubs (promotional and financial assistance), secondary schools (promotion), elementary schools (participants in post-travel presentations) …depending on the structure selected this can be developed as a true “community activity”.

Allow us to make a presentation to your local Council and we will demonstrate how these exchanges can be created with little or no expenditures of tax dollars.

David Morrison was a member of Barrie City Council for most of the years that I was mayor. I was so fortunate to have his particular talent, his youth, and his time and creativity to anchor and enhance our twin city initiatives. He is still chairing the city’s International Relations Committee, which has continued our initiative. Barrie’s Youth Ambassador Program, started in 1996, has been incredibly successful over the past 18 years – more than 500 local youth have benefitted immensely and their experiences have inspired many of them to give back. In doing so they have strengthened our community.

Mayor Janice Laking
Mayor of Barrie at the creation of Youth Ambassadors

I am incredibly proud of our remarkably successful Youth Ambassadors Program – not only for the international opportunities it provides local youth but for its broader commitment to the community as a whole. It gives our kids the chance to truly experience the world, broaden their horizons, and at a much lower cost than other models for exchanges. This is a fantastic program that I would recommend to any and every municipality.

Mayor Jeff Lehman
Current Mayor of Barrie

Barrie Youth Ambassadors is a program that opened my eyes to the world. Having a large impact on my life as a student I have continued working with the program in both planning and as a leader for a youth delegation and feel continued growth into my adults years. Lifelong friendships, appreciation and respect for cultures around the world and personal growth allows students to learn beyond classroom walls and I am forever grateful to have been given such a valuable opportunity!

Chantal Hewitt
Former Participant and Group Leader

I began my involvement with this program as a fourteen year old Youth Ambassador who had never given any serious thought to the world beyond Canada’s boarders. Since then I have participated in several more cultural exchanges and have fully adopted the Youth Ambassador mentality. Nearly two decades later I am still involved with this fantastic program as a group leader and I am incredibly fortunate to be able to share these unique experiences with a new generation of Youth Ambassadors.

Mike Murphy
Former Participant and Current Group Leader