The bond between the city of Delaware and its sister city of Baumholder Germany is expected to grow stronger this year.
In addition to being the first year high school students living in the small German town on the boarder of Luxembourg will visit Delaware, the first Sister City Advisory Board is being formed.
At its June 10 meeting, council approved the creation of the Sister City Advisory Board and the city is now accepting applications from residents to fill three open positions.
The board will also include representatives from City Council, the Delaware City School District, Ohio Wesleyan University and the Delaware Chamber of Commerce.
At quarterly meetings, it will discuss plans for building on the sister city relationship and facilitate events and programs that arise from the partnership.
"We decided that we didn't just want this to be a thing where every few years the local governments would get together," said Councilman Andrew Brush. "We wanted to expand this to have a broader focus and that's where the relationship sits now."
Brush visited Baumholder last October along with Delaware City Manager Tom Homan, Mayor Gary Milner, Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler and councilwomen and Carolyn Riggle.
During the six-day, self-funded trip, city officials toured Baumholder city offices, companies and a U.S. Army garrison.
The two cities also held a joint council meeting, much like they did when Baumholder representatives visited Delaware in 2011.
Delaware and Baumholder didn't become official partners until 2011, but their connection goes back more than two decades.
The Ohio Wesleyan University men's soccer team has traveled to Baumholder every three years since the early 1990s to play in a series of summer friendship games.
The U.S. Army garrison in Baumholder was also formerly commanded by Lt. Col. Paul Pfahler, a Hayes High School graduate.
The connections between the two cities don't stop there said Lee Yoakum, Delaware community affairs coordinator.
"Anymore, the world is shrinking and we're not that far removed from a classroom in Germany or German businesses," he said.
"For instance, Delaware is home to Henkel Technologies which is a company that was founded in Germany and is still headquartered there."
Delaware has formed other sister city partnerships throughout the years, including in 1963 with Goulborn, Australia and in the 1990s with with Omuntninsk, Russia, but they have fallen by the wayside -- something Delaware officials said when they approved the committee that they didn't want to see happen with Baumholder.
"Just being able to meet people who live in a different place and have a different way of life than we do has intrinsic value and this partnership just helps facilitate that," Brush said.
"I think it's a good way to enable people in Delaware who hope to expand their horizons by hopefully going and meeting people in person in another country," he said.
"This will also increase Dela-ware's exposure by putting it on the map for some people in Germany who might not have ever had a reason otherwise to come visit us."
About a dozen high school sophomores from Baumholder will stay with Delaware families this fall and in the spring, Delaware students will take part in a similar exchange program 4,229 miles away in Baum-holder.
Brush said the German city was so welcoming he's planning another trip to visit the friends he made there last fall.
He said being fluent in German or having a German background isn't a prerequisite for getting along in the sister city or for joining the advisory board.
Those interested in a board position should submit a letter of interest and background information to Shannon Delaney through email to sdelaney@ delawareohio.net; or by mail to: 1 South Sandusky Street.
Resumes will be accepted until all positions are filled.