LABO students in area counties gather for picnic

A group of Japanese youth and their chaperones have been in this area since July 23, and gathered at Smith Corners Church in Austintown for a picnic and chance to see each other and meet host families.

They are part of a group of 85 students that are in Ohio families as part of the LABO program – an international exchange program – carried on each summer for over 50 years. It allows participants to live in a “real American family” as a way to expand their English language skills and learn from the same age children.

Chaperones also live with families as a way to be available to the children and help with homesickness, health issues, and language barriers. During their time in Ohio, each family chooses the activities and experiences they want for their new family guest, so each youth could have a unique adventure compared to his peers.

Ohio 4-H is the host agency for our state, coordinated by Ohio State University Extension specialist Mary Lynn Thalheimer, and locally by Gretchen Kalany and Gary Reel.

Students will be leaving on Aug. 18, and will be back in Japanese schools almost immediately.