Kelsey Group 2Kelsey Thomas from Vail is one of 20 youth who were selected to participate in the American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) to Ghana for four weeks this summer. The American Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the University of Wyoming 4-H Youth Development Program. This AYLP program provides high school students from the Western United States an opportunity to travel abroad to gain firsthand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues.

Each American participant is matched with a Ghanaian sibling who is of the same gender and approximately the same age. Upon arriving in Koforidua, Ghana, the American participants will meet their Ghanaian host siblings and spend several days in cultural training. Their Ghanaian host siblings will be the best teachers as the Americans learn how to exchange money, use public transportation, navigate the local markets, and learn about Ghanaian social norms, customs and traditions. English is the official language in Ghana but the Americans will have ample opportunities to practice using Twi (pronounced “chwee”), the principal native language of the Akan people in Ghana, with their host families.

The host family stay is essential and takes place during the majority of the in-country program. The American participant will live with their host family as they become another sister, brother, son or daughter to the family. Throughout the host family stay, the Americans and Ghanaian host siblings will also participate in educational programs to study ways in which healthy meals are provided for school children and study other food insecurity concerns, learn about gender roles and issues, visit Ghanaian governmental, cultural and educational sites and participate in locally organized community service activities.

For more information about the American Youth Leadership Program to Ghana contact Kim Reaman ( or Warren Crawford ( at the University of Wyoming State 4-H Office. Information for the 2017 AYLP will be available on the Wyoming State 4-H Office web site in September. Youth, who are American citizens, between the ages of 15-17 with at least a half of a semester of high school remaining after the trip are eligible to apply. Opportunities for adult chaperones are also available.

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