Hosting students a rewarding deal

We have been involved with AFS-USA for many years as host parents of exchange students. All of them have left with abundant luggage, memories and a place in the heart of our family. It has been one of the best activities of which our family has ever become a part. Our decision to host wasn't always the long-thought-out process I had imagined it would be.

We know that the economic downturn is profoundly affecting those foreign teenagers who dreamed of coming to the United States. After looking through the photos and brief descriptions of the students, we are often smitten. It doesn't take long for a family to be willing to try this "experiment." It turns out that hosting and our family values of supporting peace and sharing knowledge entwine; and we have learned about many countries including Chile, Switzerland, Japan, Indonesia, Turkey, Germany, Thailand, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Italy and Portugal. We have also learned some of the language, food and culture of each country from a resident expert. You can travel without leaving home, in your own favorite chair.

In the course of hosting many years, I have met with some other hosting agencies, read the State Department guidelines for hosting, and I am left feeling impressed with AFS. Among other benefits, hosting with AFS includes direct local support by volunteers, many of whom have experienced exchange first-hand as young people. Volunteers do a wonderful job of placing these students in our local high schools, and giving them orientation support throughout the year, so at the end of the day, the role of hosting is integrating the student into your family and enjoying a new daughter or son. Reviewing our years, we have felt well prepared and well supported. And yes, we plan to host again.

Don't think of hosting in terms of how I can fit another thing in my hectic life. Think of how blessed you will be. Please consider hosting a student through AFS.

If you are interested in learning more about hosting with AFS, please contact me, local AFS volunteer hosting coordinator, Carol Ann Zimmerman, at carol.zimmerman@afsusa.org or call 271-8534.

CAROL ANN ZIMMERMAN

ALLEN ZIMMERMAN,

Sublette

We need to tackle tax-related issues

Are you one of the Finney County or Garden City people who are concerned about their property and sales tax? If so, call one of these numbers: 275-6580 or 276-1380. We need to talk.

We have to have the caller's name, phone number and issue. It's a very important issue! Maybe other people's concerns and subject will give us new ideas for discussion and organizing people.

What we need and why we need it: We need a representative group of individuals to attend these local City and County meetings, to address the issue of people living on a limited income and having financial problems created by food costs, medical supplies, monthly bills, taxes and insurance.

The Why Not Club is going to look into these issues and get more information concerning why our taxes cannot seem to level off and stop increasing. We want your input on how we can correct this problem along with changing regulations regarding the elderly.

LEE MESSENGER

HAROLD STARR,

Garden City

Conservation funds make a difference

Dear citizens of Finney County,

The Finney County Conservation District Board of Supervisors would like to publicly thank the Finney County Commissioners for their consideration in restoring our budget.

We serve as your voice for local conservation issues. The conservation benefits that the Finney County Conservation District (FCCD) has provided to the citizens of Finney County for so many years can be measured in tons of soil saved and water quality benefits.

In the past five years, the FCCD has brought to Finney County $275,203 of state cost-share funds to assist for conservation projects. Through the joint administrative efforts of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Finney County Conservation District, $13.6 million in assistance funds have been brought to Finney County.

To explain these benefits in "Economic Development" terms, for each dollar spent from the county general fund $177 were brought to Finney County from the above named sources. No other investment could yield a return close to that.

Thank you again for allowing us to conserve our natural resources in Finney County.

CONNIE RICHMEIER,

Garden City