The Misawa Sister City Association is looking for host families for Japanese students visiting the Wenatchee Valley during the Apple Blossom Festival May 1-5.

The local host families will be asked to provide a bedroom, meals, and transportation for 1-2 Japanese students during their five-night stay.

East Wenatchee Mayor and Misawa Sister City Association board member Jerrilea Crawford says host families will be helping the Japanese students experience life in the U.S.

"This is an opportunity to see how Americans live, to live in the house, to see how the meals are cooked, and to participate in the daily functions of an American life," said Crawford. "They then will go to some schools and get to see what it's like in the classroom of an American classroom."

There is no cost to the host beyond providing meals and any activities or gifts the host chooses to provide.

Crawford says the experience is just as important for American kids as it is for their Japanese counterparts.

"Our kids benefit from it just as much as the Japanese students do," Crawford said. "There's wonderful exchanges of ideas and laughter and games. And the Japanese students always come prepared with things to share about their culture too."

The Misawa delegation consists of 20 kids and 10 adults, although only the kids stay with host families. The students from ages 13-18 participated in a competitive process to be chosen as delegates.

The delegation will take part in Apple Blossom festivities, which include being part of the Classy Chassis and Apple Blossom Grand Parades. The group will also take in all the other experiences of the festival.

According to a release, the Misawa Sister City Association is meant to further the historical significance of the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight from Misawa, Japan to East Wenatchee, WA by Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon in October 1931.

For a host application, please contact Jerrilea Crawford at neighbor@nwi.net or 509-387-9762.

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