Posted by Stephen Hoesel on Feb 12, 2018
Jolene Hays of Fort Dodge Senior High brought to Rotary three participants in last summer's exchange program to Kosovo and participation in Camp Toka.  Kristen Ray, Jeannie Boro, and Makayla Pingel discussed with the members the purposes of the program and their personal experiences.  Key elements of the discussion were:
  • Camp Toka is organized as a cross culture venue in Kosovo that brings together school age kids from across the World (Iowa kids met-up with counterparts from Italy and Estonia) to partner with Kosovo students.  Eight students went from Iowa, four from Fort Dodge and four from Johnston.  Gjakova is the official Sister Ship for Fort Dodge.  Johnston has another Observant city as their sister. 
  • For next summer four more kids from Fort Dodge will go to Gjakova and four from Kosovo will come to Fort Dodge.  The sessions are about 7-10 days.  Applications are taken to determine the participants, with an emphasis on the need for the participant to have the potential for growth in leadership and the ability to do fundraising to pay their way.
  • The Fort Dodge students found a country that is about 1/10th the size of Iowa, but with 60% more people.  The country is very poor and is struggling to recover from its Communist era.  Walking is the primary choice of transport, other than buses in the larger cities of Pristina and Gjakova.
  • In addition to team building activities the Camp works with students to perform community service projects throughout the Camp Toka area.