An Indiana 4-H exchange program has openings for Indiana families to serve as hosts for visiting high school students from Japan for the summer. Hosting dates are July 26 to Aug. 16. Indiana 4-H Japanese Exchange is a partnership that brings students from Meiji Gakuin High School in Tokyo to stay with host families in Indiana for three weeks each summer.

The goal of the program, which began in 1986, is to promote cultural understanding between young people from different cultures. Hosting need not be expensive for families, said Linda Hines, coordinator of the program. "While some families have chosen to take their guests on trips, others simply involve them in their family's usual summer activities, such as going to a county fair or the state fair. Just showing them how we live our daily lives here in America goes a long way toward helping them understand our culture."

Families interested in becoming host families should have at least one child 13-18 years of age. They are not required to be 4-H members to qualify as a host. Families will undergo background checks if selected. They also will receive a handbook and information on Japanese culture and what to expect when hosting an exchange student.

Those seeking more information can find it on the 4-H website at or by contacting Hines at 765-494-8433,