Reporting on the Summer Work Travel Community Summit 2023

On March 1-2, the nationwide virtual 2023 Community Support Group Summit (in partnership with BridgeUSA) launched the Summer Work Travel (SWT) season. Here is a report on the Summit from Greenheart’s Kathleen Mears and Haldis Toppen:

The virtual summit was well attended by Designated Sponsors, Chambers of Commerce, Community Leaders, Key Stakeholders, Host Organizations, and Department of State representatives. Guest speakers shared best practices, ideas for greater community engagement, and thoughts on local and national advocacy efforts.

Greenheart International took the lead in the planning stages and participated during the presentations. Haldis Toppen (Director of Communications) was the Community Summit Committee Co-Chair. She was vital in the planning, communications, outreach, and presentations. Marcelle Benedicta (Vice President, Marketing & Account Management) shared an engaging story about a positive cultural exchange experience between a Host Employer and a Summer Work Travel Participant. It was a wonderful example of how we are more alike than different and are indeed building bridges for world peace.

Community Support Groups (CSGs) are vital to host organizations and their community’s best efforts to provide good health, safety, welfare, and a positive experience for our exchange visitors on the J-1 Visa. The mission for SWT is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through education and cultural exchanges that support the development of peaceful relations.

“These community groups work hand-in-hand with hosts throughout the summer and ensure that Host Organizations and our J-1 Participants have a great season. Have you connected with your local group? Greenheart has worked with these groups for a long time, and would be happy to provide an introduction so that your peak season is even more successful.”  To learn more about how you can get involved advocating for cultural exchange programs like Summer Work Travel nationally or in your community, contact Haldis Toppen

If you would like to learn more about the elements in a successful SWT Program for your international guests, please write to

By:  Katheen Mears – Employer Relations Coordinator and Haldis Toppen – Communications Director 

Haldis Toppen – Communications Director

Kathleen Mears – Employer Relations Coordinator

To learn more about Greenheart, please visit

If you are a business with seasonal staffing needs and a keen desire to build diversity and cultural exchange efforts in your community, please visit to learn more about hosting international students in the Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel program.