Family Travel Forum Announces 2009 Student Travel Scholarship Winners - My Family Travels

(New York, November 13, 2009) – Family Travel Forum (FTF), the award-winning family vacation publisher, is proud to announce the winners of its 3rd annual Teen Travel Writing Scholarship competition. More than 8,500 student travel blogs – a 30% increase over 2008 – were submitted by Americans ages 13 to 18 hoping to win a merit scholarship.

Students wrote on an extraordinary range of topics — from family reunions with clueless relatives and making friends at the local bookstore to manning health clinics on tropical islands and searching for rare flowers in a rain forest. The 28 winners traveled near and far with their family, friends, or student travel groups, and shared stories about Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the United States.

The young travelers’ compassion was one remarkable aspect of this year’s travel blogs, as more than 10% wrote about their community service or mission trips. While most students found helping others fulfilling, many of the 2009 applicants reflected with despair and anger about the pervasive poverty in many of the destination countries – including their own. The travel experience revealed other common threads in the teen zeitgeist: Appreciation of the great outdoors; fear and respect for other cultures; love of family; relentless stress; and the joy of logging off their connected life back home. 

2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the recipients of 2009 Family Travel Forum Teen Travel Writing Scholarships, who will also enjoy a two-night stay at any of the 265 Homewood Suites Hotels in the US, Canada and Mexico.

1st Place ($1,000)
African Field of Dreams” By Emily Mulder; Glen Ellyn, Illinois

2nd Place ($500) 
Beautiful Nepal” By Christine Anderson; San Ramon, California

3rd Place ($200)
The Pennsylvania Hills” By Kassandra Caudell; Cascade, Maryland

2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship Honorable Mention Winners

The 2009 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship Honorable Mentions will receive a Certificate of Commendation, two tickets to any of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums or aquariums worldwide and a “Rand McNally 2010 Atlas.” 

A Golden Pause A Life Changing 2 Weeks” By Samantha Falewee; Huntersville, North Carolina

A French Connection” By Yining Lu; Solana Beach, California

“A Perfect Tiramisu” By Jenna Ewald; Aurora, Colorado

A Trip to Germany” By Carmen Gott; Goddard, Kansas

Bienvenue En Haiti” By Alexandra Mutty; Whitinsville Massachusetts

Campeneac, France” By Lily Martin; Titusville, New Jersey

Edgeware” By Samantha Karas; Lincoln, Nebraska

My Motherland, My Home, My Story”  By Stella Thomas; New Hyde, New York

Nature Does it Best” By Sydney Brown; Fort Wayne, Indiana

Journey into the Unknown in a Mega City” By Hetali Jokhakar; Glen Oaks, New York

Haiti” By Lindsey Cagney; Byfield, Massachusetts

Heart of Italy” By Ben Lilly; Los Altos, California

Heat, Heart, Teeth and Tears” By Melissa Gibby; Scotsboro, Alabama

Language Barrier in Thailand” By Caitlin Camfield; Seattle, Washington

Living Boldly in Dobrovnik” By Katie Senf; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Machu Picchu” By Nathan Radakovich; Pullman, Washington

Moby Dick Mudslide” By Kimberly Wogahn; Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Prairie Memories” By Michelle Stone; Santa Rosa, California

Rafflesia” By Elliot Brown; Okanogan, Washington

Seoul, Korea” By Nelson Auner; Madison, Wisconsin

Shooting for the Stars” By Colleen Swingle; Virgina Beach, Virginia

Teaching in Sichuan, China” By Alice Lu; Oakton, Virgina

The Shortest Trip but the Longest Journey” By Jacara Gillard; Bronx, New York

The von Tresspass Family” By Katie Furr; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Vacation to Home” By Junia Zhang; San Diego, California

The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and Homewood Suites Hotels sponsored the top awards. Scholarship winners were selected by five professional travel journalists from SATW. Commented Kit Bernardi of the SATW Geography Education Committee, “These young writers achieved standards that define quality travel writing — whether their travel experiences took them across the globe, on a bus ride or to a family farm. Our judges were impressed by their essays that expressed a strong sense of place, touching human connections and a desire to explore the world.”


About FTF

Family Travel Forum Inc (FTF) has provided vacation planning resources to millions of families who “Have Kids, Still Travel”® since 1996.  The independent media company’s publications, acknowledged “best of breed” by Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes and others, received Travel Weekly’s Magellan Award in the Online Guides category for 2009.


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