Twinning Programme for Skal Clubs

Skål International has a unique international network which we can use for the twinning of Skål Clubs in different countries.
 
Two clubs must wish to establish a mutual understanding and friendship. The objective is to exchange personal visits, ideas, projects and culture. With modern communication and transportation systems, distance is no longer an obstacle. For this reason, chapter twinning is easy if the will is there.
 
Twinning usually starts with correspondence between two clubs. This form of international cooperation does not require regular visits, and the link lasts for as long as the two clubs wish. One simple exchange of information is all that the cooperation requires. These activities enable clubs to make contacts with foreign clubs, which may eventually twin in the future.
 
HOW TO START TWINNING
 
Twinning Committee 
 
Begin by forming a committee composed of members who represent your own community and who are experienced members of the club. The proper selection is important for a successful relationship. The committee's initial task should be to draw up a plan of action, taking into account the financial and membership resources of the club. Tackle twinning as any other project. Identify your own objectives, time scale, and budget.
 
Selection 
 
The committee should compile a list of likely sister clubs and, following discussion and analysis of each, determine those which seem most promising. There are many ways of selecting a sister club, and different elements can determine this selection:
 
Friendship between two or more members can lead their clubs to twinning.
A sister city relationship between the two local communities.
Economic and trade interests between members of the clubs.
Similarity of interests and problems which lead the clubs to cooperate.
 
Background Information 
 
When your club decides to become associated with a club in another country, conduct thorough background research on that country, its people, and its customs. This will assist you in adopting the correct approach when dealing with your prospective partners. 
 
Contact 
 
When making inquires about twinning possibilities, communicate first with your national committee or international officers or the International Secretariat, as they may be able to help by providing you with information. Then write to a particular national organization and explain why you are interested in its country; request to be referred to a suitable club. You save yourself extra steps by writing directly to the club if you already have the address. A good way to get well acquainted with members of a foreign club is to attend an Area Congress or the International Congress. These events present many opportunities to meet representatives from foreign clubs. 
 
Communication 
 
Once a contact has been established, continuity is very important. A regular channel of communication must then be set up by exchange of newsletters, club directory, plan of action, photographs, and information, particularly regarding change of officers. One person should be appointed within each club to see that the links are maintained. It is very important for both clubs to understand each other's projects and activities in order for each to benefit from the cooperation.
 
Requirements
 
When choosing a potential sister club, your club should consider such important factors as proximity, similarity of background, interests, language and an indication of genuine willingness on the other's part to become a "sister" to your club.
 
Common Interests and Proximity 
 
A high degree of compatibility should exist between the twinning partners. Ideally, the clubs should be similar in size of membership and have some project aims or objectives in common. If your interests do not correspond, you should search for another candidate, as correspondence on common interests is the most important base of your activities with your twinned club. Consider such factors as cost and ease of travel when determining ideal proximity. 
 
Background 
 
Weigh the historical, cultural, and economic background when making your selection. There may be grounds for twinning between clubs in cities which have much in common; for example, where both cities are country or regional towns in industrial areas or where both are ports. Twinning should be encouraged between the cities of clubs which already have their own twinning arrangements at local government level. For more information, check with your local government office. 
 
Language 
 
It is not necessary for the potential twinning club to speak your language, but being able to communicate easily is important. Consider the availability of translation services for correspondence and verbal interpreters for visitors. 
 
Willingness 
 
If any of the requirements were to be singled out, a genuine willingness on the part of your twinning club to participate openly and enthusiastically would be paramount. Goodwill and a mutual desire to become friends will surmount most obstacles. 
 
Before Twinning 
 
Both clubs at the commencement of negotiations should agree upon a pre-twinning mutual assessment period, in order to set a target date for twinning.
 
During that period, it will be possible to resolve any problems regarding incompatibility without embarrassment, and both clubs can either proceed to active twinning or withdraw. Exchange visits between the two clubs are ideal during the pre-twining mutual assessment period in conjunction with a regular exchange of newsletters and information. 
 
Twinning Ceremony 
 
Once a firm twinning relationship is arranged, a twinning agreement should be signed. A formal ceremony should take place, attended by local civic leaders and the media. In addition, invite officers of each National Committee to attend.
 
Both clubs should exchange official twinning documents, as well as gifts typical to each club's land or region. An informal social event or formal reception should follow the twinning ceremony. An officer should advise both National Committees of the successful completion of the twinning agreement.
 
Area Congresses and the World Congresses are good places to conduct a twinning agreement ceremony under the auspices of club presidents, national officers and the International Skål President. 
 
Post-Twinning 
 
Ideally each club should appoint an officer to oversee and be responsible for the twinning project.
 
Encourage an informal exchange of letters between individual members of twinned clubs and also between their children, perhaps on a "pen-pal" basis. Such an exchange of information on hobbies, jobs, and families could result in a long-term friendship.
 
Any club twinned with several others in a multi-twinning should meet periodically. The meeting can be primarily a social gathering, but might include a business session with a pre-established theme.
 
Continually recognise that twinning is the mutual exchange of ideas and information requiring contributions from all parties.
 
Chapters can use twinning to learn more about the culture, problems, and successes of others, and most of all, do business through better understanding and cooperation – and Friendship. Joint projects and exchanges magnify the benefits of fellowship and friendship through twinning.
 
Examples of Activities
 
Exchanging flags, stamps, currency, coins, local publications, photographs, videotapes, and greeting cards
Organising an "international night" locally
Extending congratulations to foreign embassies on their national holidays
Establishing an international library
Creating a used clothing or toy collection
Mailing booklets about your country to the twinning chapter
Establishing a collection of dolls in the traditional costumes of the countries
 
AND ARRANGE BUSINESS SESSIONS
 
There are a variety of activities and programs that chapters can conduct. Keep in mind that although many involve travel, there are some in this guide that do not. Encourage exchange on a personal level by correspondence. Such contacts help to form a permanent bond between clubs and create continuity of contact. This form of contact can be maintained for long periods of time without any official visits. Hold a general meeting within the club to view information exchanged such as photographs and videotapes.
 
Exchange Visits
 
Members of twinned clubs should make periodic exchange visits, although frequent visits may be impractical due to the distances involved. Arrange to provide home hospitality. Delegates from twinned clubs should take advantage of the opportunity to meet at Skål conferences and congresses. Such events allow for formal discussions between sister clubs in order to evaluate their relationship and plan future joint projects.
 
This is very detailed and has been used for many years in another International Organisation. It is a great opportunity to keep the friendship between members, clubs and nations. There will be no boarders of any kind.