Get ready for the third annual 2019 event!
Sausalito is honored to have vibrant “sister city” relationships with three wonderful cities on three separate continents: Sakaide, Japan, Viña del Mar, Chile, and Cascais, Portugal. The purpose and mission of each program is to promote a cross-cultural and economic exchange between the two cities. One 501(c)(3) organization oversees the “councils” from each program, but each relationship has developed a unique identity. All three have forged strong bonds between the residents of their respective “sisters”.
For more information about our program, visit sausalitosistercities.org
Viña del Mar, Chile
2019 Viña del Mar (VDM) / Sausalito Sister City Exchange Program coincided with the Sausalito Art Festival Labor Day week-end this year. Eight women from the AGEP small business owner program in Viña del Mar along with two city executives from VDM City Council and Tourism division will be visiting. We were thrilled when one of the AGEP women from Chile, a skilled painter, was juried into the 2019 Sausalito Art Festival. She was one of hundreds who applied from all over the world, and only 250 or so are selected each year.
The other 7 exchange women will “dole the locals do,” when they, along with our Sausalito Sister City and VDM committee members, each volunteered a shift at the Festival, all three days! We “worked” the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce food booth, and two and the various other positions around the Festival.
During the 3 lively days at the Art Festival, our group worked hard in their morning volunteer shifts, therewith an introduction provided by one of the art festival board members, our group had the opportunity to observe the Art Festival operations, structure and best practices. Our VDM delegation met many of the artists from the US and around the world and also assisted their fellow exchange artist in her artist’s booth. After the Festival events, the business workshops and training sessions began in earnest.
The American business sessions included presentations on women empowerment, civic engagement, retailers words of wisdom, and specific industry discussions. All this exposure to American business is meant to show the Chilean women new ways of doing business in Chile, new ideas and creativity in presenting their work, and ideas of co-working or e-tooling for own operations. Interacting with individual retailers has given these Chilean business women the opportunity to ask questions, hear about innovations, and restructure to match the retail market changes and more.
Sakaide, Japan (SAK): a high school student exchange program active for the past 28 years. Every other year we receive Japanese students who home stay and experience American life. The alternative year Sausalito/Marin County high school students home stay in Japanese homes and are ingrained in their culture. We have exchanged 450 students over the years. In 2015 we provided scholarships for seven of the 13 Marin students who visited Sakaide. As part of our Sausalito student program, our teen-aged delegates are encouraged to support the delegation as day captain, take on leadership roles in presentations to our community and in Sakaide or co-chaperon as appropriate. Throughout our annual operations, we encourage past delegates to participate in our Operations Council (OpsCo) which sets and implements our annual agenda, to support our fundraisers, to write news articles, to interview other students being recruited and take an active role in the following years’ home stay for Japan students. We are providing them the opportunity for leadership development that enhances their personal growth and college application criteria.
We hope to increase the number of volunteers in our program and expand volunteer leadership positions. We will be adding a new component to our program – an alumnae English “instructor” will visit Sakaide for 3 months every alternative year to share cultural information. This year is Sausalito’s year to receive Japanese students. We will ensure the student delegation visiting our city will understand the benefits of diversity in our American society in the San Francisco Bay Area and learn more about the people who live here.
Cascais, Portugal: our newest sister city was established in 2013. In conjunction with our Sausalito Youth Sailing Club, and a teaching program at our Sausalito Yacht Club, we have begun a youth sailing exchange. Our first exchange took place in 2015 with seven students from Cascais, visiting Sausalito/Marin county homes with the primary focus of sailing the challenging San Francisco Bay. This July 2016, our Marin County students will travel to Cascais and participate with Cascais’ Clube Naval youth sailing. We believe this is the only Sister City youth sailing exchange program in the US.
2017 Youth Sailing Exchange with representatives of Clube Naval de Cascais and Sausalito Yacht Club marching in the Sausalito 4th of July Parade.
With two years of youth sailing exchange programs successfully executed, we hope to expand this program toinclude more student sailors and further diversify the educational and cultural exchange with Cascais by bringing traditional Portuguese music (Fado) to Sausalito and launching a multi-media artist exchange program. We are also working with the City of Sausalito to install a major public works art project in downtown Sausalito, a Portuguese Calcedas stone compass; a public plaza for all to enjoy that is a tribute to Sausalito’s Portuguese heritage and our sister city relationship.