Gateway: Living

Exchange student from Australia receives kind welcome from Gig Harbor residents

With her hostess, Poulsbo Lions Club Youth Exchange Program chair Jan Kelly, right, Australian YEP visitor Lucy Dart poses at the Harbor History Museum’s 90-year-old purse-seiner fishing boat under rehabilitation, Shenandoah.
With her hostess, Poulsbo Lions Club Youth Exchange Program chair Jan Kelly, right, Australian YEP visitor Lucy Dart poses at the Harbor History Museum’s 90-year-old purse-seiner fishing boat under rehabilitation, Shenandoah. Special to the Gateway

What a fortuitous Happy New Year happenstance. As part of Lions Clubs International’s Youth Exchange Program, I learned that Lucy Dart, an 18-year-old YEP student from a small, country town named Nhill, Victoria, Australia, was staying with Jan Kelly, Poulsbo Lions Club YEP chair. I invited the two to have a look at our part of the world.

We rendezvoused at the Harbor History Museum which, in Lucy’s words, “was such a great opportunity as I was able to learn more about Gig Harbor’s fascinating history and see the amazing photo exhibition by Jini Dellaccoi which is a must if you haven’t already . . .”

I totally agree with Lucy. See it!

Many thanks to the very welcoming Harbor History Museum personnel, who made Lucy and Jan feel they were family as they visited the museum’s many exhibits, the historic under-reconstruction purse seiner fishing boat Shenandoah, and the original Midway School house.

Nhill is located halfway between two capital cities, Melbourne and Adelaide on the Western Highway.

“It’s a quite small and safe town with a population of around 2,200,” she said. “I have lived on a farm most of my life. My dad, Gavin, is a successful farmer, mechanic and contact harvester. We crop, and harvest, wheat, barley, peas, vetch, beans, and canola and are small sheep farmers with 1,500 sheep.”

I’d hoped to introduce Lucy to our Harbor WildWatch team but parking and rain forbade the pleasure. We drove through the Harbor and had a look at Uptown, where we were welcomed as special friends by librarians Terry Ford and Amina Crane at the Gig Harbor Branch of the Pierce County Library.

Said Lucy, “I visited the local library where we had a lovely chat with the librarians.”

We cruised a back route to the Tacoma Narrows Airport in a constant drizzle.

“We visited the airport, where we had a bite to eat at the restaurant, which was great food by the way and the views from where we sat down. Seeing the aircraft fly in and out on the runway was definitely something special to see,” said Lucy. “I met Allison Meadows a (Peninsula High School) senior who had recognized Hugh from his photography and articles.”

“It was a pleasure to meet Lucy Dart at The Hub,” said Meadows, who is planning to become a math teacher. “Some day I’d love to visit her in Australia.”

Said Lucy, “We also visited the lookout, where I saw an amazing view of the lighthouse and Point Defiance. It was such a terrific experience to be able to have had the opportunity to travel from Poulsbo to Gig Harbor to spend a few hours to talk about Gig Harbor and its surroundings.”

Jan Kelly “especially enjoyed looking through the museum. I hadn’t heard of the chicken races before, and was fascinated by newspaper articles reporting on Galloping Gertie and its reconstruction. Dinner at the airport was wonderful. The restaurant was adorable and my salad was very tasty. It was too bad that Lucy and Allison didn’t have more time to chat with each other, but it was nice meeting her.”

Lucy hopes to go to attend University in Adelaide, South Australia, and study oral therapy or dermatology as she is interested in both those careers.

Lucy commented on how many places to eat there were (in Gig Harbor) and how lovely the Christmas decorations were in town. She said we do much more here than Australians do to celebrate.

“My first thoughts were how pretty is this town?! It’s so cute. Wow, so many boats, so many welcoming, kindhearted people who form the Gig Harbor community.”

My thanks to everyone who “Made Lucy’s Day!”

For more info on the Lions’ Youth Exchange Program, contact George Robison at 253-853-2721.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hughmcm26@gmail.com.

  Comments