At the end of March a group of 10 students from our sister city, Karuizawa in Japan, visited Whistler. At the end of their trip some were in tears and said they wanted to stay. Most of these kids are in Grades 8 and 9. They made the trip with a teacher and a trustee from the Board of Education who is responsible for Lifelong Learning.
It is a tribute to our community, the host families and our community businesses that these kids took with them a meaningful experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The language barrier was there but was overcome with sign language, sports and ingenuity like a mathematical version of the game Sorry!
The kids skied and boarded, swam and skated. They went to school for a day and did art, music and even hip hop. They scaled rock walls and bowled neon pins. And some of the most meaningful times were at the dinner table when they went home to their families each evening. At the farewell potluck dinner, it was fun to see the thrill as they picked up their souvenir photos from their days on the mountain.
This lifelong learning goes both ways. One of our kids was so keen he told his mother that in his view this was the most important event of the year! Eight of our high school students will make the return trip to Japan early in July.
Many thanks to the Sister City Advisory Committee, the host families and these Whistler businesses and organizations who all donated time and resources to make this happen: AlpenRock, Bump Magazine, Canadian Sports Business Academy, Coast Mountain Photography, The Great Wall, Meadow Park Sports Centre, Spaghetti Factory, Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Secondary School.
Chair, Whistler Sister City Advisory Committee