Ladies and gentlemen, line up your ducks

Hans Meyer, 16, and Julian Ballatore-South, 16, a junior and sophomore respectively at Dayton High School, are selling ducks for $5 each to raise the $5,500 they each need to participate in People to People Student Ambassador Program.

The program is a three-week exchange to teach youth about other cultures, while developing leadership skills.

The ducks will be launched June 3 (weather depending) in Carson River at Dayton State Park, prior to the boys' departures in two separate delegations to visit France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

In order to participate in People to People, after being anonymously nominated, the boys attended an information meeting, which packed a section of the Reno Convention Center. From there, they were interviewed, and three delegations of approximately 40 youth each were formed.

"We have had to impress someone - an educator or students who have gone before us, someone linked to People to People, to have been nominated," Ballatore-South said.

"They look at our academics and extracurricular activities," Meyer said.

Ballatore-South has run track and played soccer for the high school, and also plays league soccer. He is trying to get into the National Honor Society. He has not yet found a career path he wants to pursue.

Meyer has participated in basketball, track and cross-country for DHS, and is in the honors programs. He would like to pursue "something in the architectural field."

During their trips, the teens will visit historic and cultural sites, including a concentration camp; visit with government officials; and staying Austrian homes.

"I'm looking forward to the Italian food and seeing the Tower of Pisa," Ballatore-South said.

A self-described "small-town kid," Meyer is looking forward "to getting out of the country and exploring the world. I'm just learning about what's out there."

Upon their return, the boys plan to speak to Dayton Kiwanis to thank the organization for its support and use of the ducks.

Other organizations who would like to support the boys are invited to do so.

People to People was founded in 1956 by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who believed that if individual people from different cultures could come together in peace and friendship, so would countries, according to Meyer's and Ballatore-South's fundraising letter.

Prizes including golf packages from three local courses, $250 worth of sod, ski passes for next season and restaurant gift certificates have been collected from area businesses. Winners need not be present to win.

Watch for Meyer and Ballatore-South selling ducks at Smith's on days they don't have school commitments. Cost is $5 per duck. Donations can also be sent to 209 Thornwood Court., Dayton, NV 89403.

Specify whether ducks should be matched to donation dollars. For more information, call Meyer at 246-7009 or Ballatore-South at 246-3870.

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at or 246-4000.


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