AFS Student Chapter Active Again: More Host Families Needed for Next Year


AFS’s long history in Chilton is chronicled in this display on the wall of CHS’s library. Above photos of past exchange students and their countries’ flags is a plaque featuring a photo of Gail Engler. The inscription reads, “AFS . . . bringing exchange students to Chilton from 1963 and into the future. Chilton AFS thanks the Engler family. Through the efforts of Gail Engler and many others, Chiton has connected many lives and shared many cultures!”

Claudia Brown and Marissa Ray

CHS’s AFS student chapter is starting up again this year.

“We want to bring cultural awareness and understanding to CHS,” said Mrs. Amanda Keskinen, the AFS student chapter adviser. “We want to create an open and understanding community for future AFS students who come to CHS and Chilton as exchange students.”

The AFS program has been a part of CHS since 1963. The program has hosted 99 exchange students in that time. And AFS will have at least one student coming to Chilton in the 2022-2023 school year.

     Junior Brianna Ott is one of the students who joined the AFS student chapter this year. “I wanted to be able to learn about different cultures, and this program allows everyone to do so.”

     The student chapter has done many things over the years, including hosting students, sending students abroad and planning and attending different events. These events, such as Chilton’s AFS weekend and the Milwaukee Intercultural Festival, help students to learn more about what life is like in different parts of the world.

This school year, the student chapter plans to prepare for incoming exchange students as well as plan events to help welcome the AFS program back into the community. They aim to bring as much cultural awareness to CHS students as possible.

“Currently, Chilton AFS is in great need of two more families to host students for the 2022-2023 school year,” Mrs. Keskinen said. “We want to bring as many students as possible into our community and school to show them all of the amazing opportunities Chilton has to offer.”

For those interested in learning more about hosting an exchange student, there will be a virtual informational session via Google Meet on December 1, at 6:00 p.m. The link to the Google Meet will be posted on the Chilton Public School’s Facebook page the week of November 29. Or contact Mrs. Keskinen at [email protected] for more information. 

The CHS program also has an adult chapter that is full of community members. This unique chapter helps to welcome exchange students to the Chilton community and supports the student chapter.

AFS, which stands for American Field Service, started in 1917 as a wartime humanitarian aid organization. Since then, the program has evolved into the international secondary school exchange, volunteer and intercultural learning organization it is today.

Mrs. Keskinen said, “Our current mission is to help build a more peaceful world by promoting understanding among cultures.”