Carl Cooper

Carl Cooper

Exchange ends

After 20 years and nine exchanges, the Armstrong-Hokkaido Salmonid Exchange has come to an end.

After 20 years and nine exchanges, the Armstrong-Hokkaido Salmonid Exchange has come to an end.

After a presentation about the program to the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District board by three Len Wood Middle School students Tuesday, trustees were told the Sapporo Salmon Society will be dissolving in March.

“A very positive spin-off has been the relationships that have been formed between students, their siblings, parents and community as a whole,” said Jodi van der Meer, Highland Park Elementary principal and exchange sponsor.

The Sapporo Salmon Society organized the Japanese portion of the environmental exchange.

The program was originally launched by Rea Smith, Kim Fulton and Chris McMahen.

About 264 local and Japanese students were involved over the years.

“The town of Armstrong always looked forward to each new exchange and welcomed our Japanese guests with open arms,” said Smith, who participated in the program as a youth.

“Each exchange was also welcomed most warmly by our school district representatives. This support was much appreciated by the adult Japanese delegates.”

Smith says the environment will be the biggest beneficiary as the young people who took part in the exchange grow up believing the world must be looked after.