Rotary Youth Exchange student headed to Turkey

TROY— This summer has been a busy time for Troy High School senior Caitlynn “Caity” Klawon.

Rather than relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, she’s been going to program meetings, packing and getting ready to head to Samsun, Turkey, for the next year as a Rotary Youth Exchange delegate.

Klawon applied to take part in the program last fall, and worked with Troy Rotary Club to be her sponsor. Rotary Youth Exchange facilitates international study for secondary school students ages 15-19. The students are cultural ambassadors during their time abroad and are sponsored and hosted by Rotary clubs.

While students may apply for a either short-term or long-term exchange, Klawon opted for a long-term exchange to spend the year living with the Ozdede family while their son is on a Rotary Youth Exchange in Cleveland, Ohio. Klawon will attend classes at Samsun Ses Okullari, a private school for families new to Turkey who may not know the language and for Rotary Youth Exchange ambassadors. Located on the north coast of Turkey, Samsun is a major port on the Black Sea.

The reality of the commitment began to set in once she was accepted into the program. She has attended several Rotary Youth Exchange meetings to understand her responsibilities as a program participant and traveled to Otterbein College earlier in July to meet with fellow exchange students. While there, she was presented with an exchange jacket and patch that shows she’s part of the Ohio-Erie Rotary Youth Exchange program. She will wear the jacket during her travels and at all Rotary meetings she attends while in overseas. On July 17, Klawon met with Troy Mayor Michael Beamish to be inducted as an ambassador of Troy. He presented her with TroyOhioUSA pins to hand out to people she meets in Turkey and gave her a Troy Ohio Seal Medallion to deliver to the mayor of Samsun.

She has the steadfast support of her family as she sets off on this big life adventure. The oldest of five children, Klawon knows that being gone for an entire year will be a challenge for her siblings and friends in Ohio; however, she plans to keep in touch with them via Skype. After she returns, Klawon will attend college to become a dentist. She hopes one day to travel as a volunteer to different countries where her skills and abilities in dentistry can be helpful.

Rotary Youth Exchanges are available through Rotary International. Visit their website at to learn more about the program. The Troy Rotary Club is a member-involved, goal-oriented service club focused on socio/economic issues that have an impact both locally and internationally. Follow their activities on Facebook at Troy Rotary Club. To learn more about Rotary, sponsorship for a Youth Exchange or membership, visit