The primary purpose of the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs’ (States’ 4-H) chaperone is to support the exchange delegates while traveling abroad. Delegates’ needs range from questions on travel preparation and host family issues to medical emergencies while abroad.

Although the chaperone should build rapport with the delegates, his/her/their main responsibility is to be the group leader. The chaperone should take charge when problems arise, take disciplinary action with delegates if needed, and serve as a role model while traveling abroad and interacting with people of different cultures.

Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing meet-and-greet services at the airport, helping delegates with international travel procedures, monitoring delegates during the program, and providing guidance for delegates’ concerns, issues, and cross-cultural adjustment.


  • Must be at least 25 years of age at the start of the exchange
  • Must be currently or previously involved with 4-H
  • Must have experience escorting/chaperoning and working with youth
  • Should have experience traveling or living abroad
  • Should exhibit involvement and interest in the country for which they are applying
  • Must be available for the full exchange period, including any pre-departure orientation activities (e.g. conference calls, email correspondence, state/national orientations, etc.), as well as the day after the exchange period in case of travel deviations or flight cancellations
  • Must be available by both phone and email to the States’ 4-H office and delegates, starting at least 2 months prior to departure
  • Must have good communication skills, especially with teenagers and international partners, demonstrating exceptional tact and sensitivity to others
  • Must be flexible and able to adapt to pressure, uncertainty, and changing schedules
  • Must show sound judgement in challenging situations
  • Some knowledge of local language is helpful, but not required (for Costa Rica, Spanish is preferred)
  • Cannot have a child participating in the same exchange program to which the chaperone is applying


  • Demonstrate responsible behavior and a culturally sensitive attitude, and serve as a role model for delegates
  • Fulfill all requirements set forth in the chaperone agreement and chaperone handbook (which will be provided by States’ 4-H once selected)
  • Comply with all 4-H procedures and policies, as well as procedures and policies specific to States’ 4-H
  • Participate in program preparations as requested by your state coordinator and States’ 4-H headquarters
  • Become acquainted with each delegate before the exchange (by phone, email, etc.)
  • Chaperones are responsible for delegates from several different states
  • Contact the delegates every other week in the host country and submit call reports to States’ 4-H
  • Be available to resolve problems relating to any delegate while in the host country or in transit, including flexibility to accept a change in your flight schedule to stay with a delegate if their flight is delayed/cancelled
  • Participate in all exchange activities as required (e.g. pre-departure orientations, group camp, in-country field trips, etc.)
  • Chaperones will be available 24/7 during the exchange period
    • This is not a vacation for the chaperone—it is a working trip where he/she/they will always be “on-call” for the delegates, but he/she/they will still get to enjoy the culture of another country and experience life with a local family
  • Chaperones are allowed one personal trip (maximum 2 nights, 3 days), which must be approved by States’ 4- H Headquarters and international partner prior to departure, at the chaperone’s expense
    • If an issue with a delegate arises, chaperones may be asked to return early or cancel/reschedule their personal trip
  • Conduct States’ 4-H Evaluations at departure debriefing
  • Submit a final program report to States’ 4-H upon returning home


For further information, please contact Christine Sommers-Austin, International and Citizenship Associate Specialist, at [email protected] or 406-994-3504.