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Decades of International Friendship

Founded in 1969 by Gretchen Stansell, wife of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s founder
Fritz Stansell and member of its Board of Trustees, the Blue Lake International
Exchange Program is dedicated to international understanding through the
universal language of the arts. Since its inception, nearly 30,000 young European,
Asian, and American artists have exchanged performances and experienced the
love, wonder, and excitement of living with host families in a foreign land. More than
115,000 families in Europe and America have provided generous hospitality for
these participants. Countless concert-goers on both continents have been touched
by these young ambassadors.

Students who show maturity, strong interpersonal skills, artistic ability, and an
eagerness to learn about new cultures and countries are accepted in the program
and act as goodwill ambassadors while touring in Europe, representing their
schools, communities, Blue Lake, and the United States. Travel with Blue Lake
International Exchange Program provides an opportunity for students to truly
experience the history, culture, and charm of each European region and community.
More than 200 students participate in the program annually, comprising four
performing ensembles (orchestra, choir, band, and jazz band). Each group
embarks upon a month long tour of Europe, staying exclusively with host families,
and collectively performing in nearly 30 European communities.

In turn for their generous hospitality, each European community visited by Blue Lake
is invited to send a performing ensemble to the Midwest for a two-week tour under
the auspices of the International Exchange Program. Additionally, the Blue Lake
International Exchange Program awards special scholarships to each community
so that young European artists can experience American culture as they attend
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and then stay with American host families.

Since the beginning of the program, Blue Lake International has visited more than
1,700 communities in nineteen different countries. Additionally, Blue Lake has
welcomed thousands of visiting European and Asian campers and performing
groups as a part of this unique exchange program. We are grateful to our many
European partners and American hosts for their generous hospitality and continued
support of our mission.