Teen & Leadership Programs
Hiroshima-Honolulu Exchange Program
In the spirit of international cooperation, the YMCA of Honolulu and its international sister, the Hiroshima YMCA participate in an annual international exchange. The program seeks to build and grow bonds between the youth of our YMCAs. Every other year, the YMCA of Honolulu hosts a delegation from the Hiroshima YMCA, and then the YMCA of Honolulu sends a delegation up to Hiroshima, Japan.
History of Let's Get Together! Hiroshima-Honolulu Exchange Program
It was January 1960 when Neal Blaisdell, Mayor of Honolulu, and Shinzo Hamai, Mayor of Hiroshima, met to strengthen international understanding and friendship. What came forth from this meeting was a vow to work for peace, an opportunity for a lasting relationship as "Sister Cities," and one of the strongest bonds of friendship.
Built on the foundation that had been laid, the Hiroshima YMCA proposed a student exchange program and the YMCA of Honolulu gladly accepted. In the summer of 1961, the first group of teens from Hiroshima came to Honolulu. After many years, the friendship of the two YMCA's, and the "Let’s Get Together!" Program, blossomed into what it is today.
"Let’s Get Together!" allows students of different backgrounds to experience diversity in cultures, social practices, environments, economies and life styles. Students are to honestly and openly work towards achieving the objectives which are integral to the program.
- Build an illusion-free understanding of our countries.
- Understand the philosophy, objectives and programs of the YMCA in our country.
- Enable youth to learn, understand and appreciate themselves and others.
- Gain a better understanding of our country by visiting and learning about another country.
- Cultivate ways in which youth can develop friendship and lead the way for world peace.
- Learn and understand the attitudes and feelings of others about our country.
- Have fun while making new friends.
- Recognize and take advantage of the opportunity that Hawai'i presents to all to be a living bridge between the people of the Pacific area.