History of S.P.Y.S.E
Our program was started with a group of people that thought that having a program in our part of Saskatchewan for High School students to be able to take part in an exchange program with students from Japan. The Yamate Gakuin High School in Yokohama, Japan has been doing this with students in the USA, and 20 years with Canada. Our programs first exchange was organized by a group of parents with the assistance of Robert Stephenson as the contact with the Yamate Coordinators. The parents took on all of the tasks of the exchange which included, arranging hosting sites, activities for students here and took in two students each for the two weeks that the Yamate students were in Regina. This group also arranged for the flights, insurance and gifts for the host school coordinators. This first exchange was a great success. See their photos under the 2009 exchange date.
During the next two years three parents from the first group, Wendy Johnson, Pat Ferguson and Larry Shier along with Rob Stephenson, form a corporation, Sask Prairie Yokohama Student Exchange, (S.P.Y.S.E). S.P.Y.S.E worked with the parents from the second group to set up their exchange and coordinate with Yamate School. This group had to make a decision during the last part of the program as a result of the tragedy of the Tsunami. They at first decided to back out of the second part of the exchange in that they would not send their children to Japan this year. Later the majority decided that they would go if they could. S.P.Y.S.E was able to make this happen by arranging with the Yamate School to take our students and find flights for our group. They had a great time, see the photos for this exchange under the 2011 exchange date
This last exchange has seen a smaller group of students involved in Saskatchewan but with the same number of students coming from Japan. S.P.Y.S.E board members found the additional host families so that all of the Yamate students would have a home to stay in while they were in Saskatchewan. This exchange is in the last phase with the students in Japan at this time, enjoying the culture and making friends that will last a life time. See their photos under the 2013 exchange date.
Two week North America Homestay & return visit to Japan
The first overseas student trip took place in 1969, when 134 Yamate students spent two weeks in Dayton, Washington. In the summenr of 1970, 150 students from Dayton visited Yokohama. The programme has continued without pause since then, with other U.S. cities in Washington, Pennsylvania, California, and Nroth Carolina also participationg. Alberta, Canada joined the programme in 1987, followed by cities in Britich Columbia and Saskatchewan. The North American trip is an improtant part of Yamate's educational programme for all grade 11 students. It take place in April, at the beginning of the new school year. Canadian & American students from the places visited by Yamate students in April come to Japan in late July for the two-week return visit.