PORTLAND, Ore. -- A dozen local gymnasts have left Portland for the trip of a lifetime.

They are headed to Portland’s sister city Sapporo, Japan for an athletic exchange program.

The gymnasts will spend a week there, training and competing with their Japanese peers. They will also take in the culture of Japan through sightseeing and staying in the Japanese athletes' homes.

"It’s the first time I’ve been Japan," said 16-year-old Caleb Martindale. "I’m excited.”