Family Travel Forum Honors Teen Travel Writing 2012 Scholarship Winners - My Family Travels
Scholarship winner trophy

Congratulations to all student travel bloggers who earned 2012 Scholarships from Family Travel Forum (FTF) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) for college or further travels. More than 6,300 students ages 13-18, educated in US or American-International schools or home-schooled, applied for this merit scholarship.

Our sixth annual travel writing scholarship accepted submissions April 16 through August 1, 2012. You blogged about topics ranging from adventure trips and the power of nature, to journeys of self-discovery; and from historical and cultural exchanges to family reunions and heritage explorations. The many tales of volunteer trips revealed that you gained an appreciation of how people live throughout the world.  All blogs demonstrated an understanding of the importance of human connections.

Three preliminary rounds of judging done by FTF Interns, Senior members of the Society of American Travel Writers and FTF Editors enabled us to manage the huge volume of eloquent travel tales, photographs and videos. The Quarter-Finalist rank, reached by 23% of the total entries submitted, was re-read until Semi-Finalist travel blogs numbered less than 1%.

From these, the top Finalist essays, .036% of those submitted, were passed to a panel of professional travel journalists, editors and photographers from SATW who judged them on originality, eloquence and a sense of place. FTF is honored by the continued support and participation of SATW because of their commitment to responsible journalism, conservation and the preservation of travel resources worldwide.





We congratulate the Winners of the 2012 Family Travel Forum Teen Travel Writing Scholarships and thank you for submitting such great work. 

1st Place ($1,000) plus a vacation for a family of 4 to Universal Orlando Resort:
  – “Vietnam And My Baby Sister” by Kaitlyn Kraybill-Voth, Denver, Colorado

2nd Place ($500):    
  – “Bellwin’s Look On The Philippines” by Nathan Eldridge, Rockwall, Texas

3rd Place ($200):
  – “Slices Of Life: Charleston, South Carolina” by Anna Squires, Roswell, Georgia

2012 Scholarship Honorable Mentions (Honorarium includes travel journals and passes to any Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum)
  – “Alaska After Dark” by Alexandra Nelson, Eagle, Idaho
  – “Becoming A Family Far From Home” by Claire Russell, Ellsworth, Maine
  – “Beware Of Shortcuts: A Nepalese Trekking Adventure” by Zoe Bluffstone, Portland, Oregon
  – “Day At The Dumps” by Annalisa Jackson, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  – “Digging” by Lauren Franklin, Palos Verdes Estates, California
  – “Journey To The Dominican Republic” by Rachel Joyce, Boulder, Colorado
  – “Just A Place In China” by Julia Chen, Canoga Park, California
  – “Magic Hands” by Alekhya Reddy, Potomac, Maryland
  – “March Of The Living” by BrookeLynne Garbaty-Smith, Chicago, Illinois
  – “Memorial Peace Park In Hiroshima” by Sydney Davis, Newburgh, Indiana
  – “No Longer A Stranger” by Ariella Hoffman-Peterson, Lincolnwood, Illinois
  – “Nothing Fancy, Just Amazing” by Kate Eberle, Pie Town, New Mexico
  – “Paris Is A Promise That Aches” by Grace Lehman, Idyllwild, California
  – “Pourquoi Pas?” by Emily Joyce, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  – “Rain Or Shine:  A Family Intertwined” by Danielle Cummings, Boulder City, Colorado
  – “Rendezvous With The Rapids” by Miranda Kay, Milford, Connecticut
  – “Snapshots Of The Deutsche Bahn” by Sean Youngstone, Richmond, Virginia
  – “Something Just Clicked” by Michael DeMattia, New Canaan, Connecticut
  – “Somewhere Between Two Oceans” by Erin Ceconi, Ridgefield, Connecticut
  – “Storm Warning” by Sara Rigert, Lancaster, California
  – “The Big Island” by Zayna Green, Tucson, Arizona
  – “The Mark Of A Shadow” by Xin Er Gao, Millburn, New Jersey
  – “Traveling Far To Reach A Close Distance” by Vadessa Camack, Aurora, Colorado
  – “When Your Toilet Is Called ‘The Groover‘” by Briana Johnson, Gilbert, Arizona
  – “Why I’m Not a Robot” by Joshua Grelle, Plano, Texas
For the third year, prizes for Best Photograph and Best Video are given by SATW in recognition of the multimedia skills required of today’s professional travel journalists.

2012 Teen Travel Scholarship Best Photography (SATW Honorarium of a $150 Photography Equipment Merchandise Gift Certificate)
  – “Life As A Kyrgyz Nomad” by Christina Memmott, Rockville, Maryland

2012 Teen Travel Scholarship Best Video (SATW Honorarium of a $150 Photography Equipment Merchandise Gift Certificate)
  – “Traveling Far To Reach A Close Destination” by Vadessa Camack, Aurora, Colorado

About FTF
Family Travel Forum (FTF) has helped globetrotters who “Have Kids, Still Travel!” with print and online guides since 1996. FTF sites have won many awards for their savvy tips and destination reviews; the Top 10 Getaway survey of resort-based infant programs; a robust Flee Market™; travel forums and the online community. FTF, author of “The Complete Idiots Guide to the Best Family Destinations” (Penguin, 2011), is also co-host of the annual Family Travel Conference for professional travel media.

About SATW
The Society of American Travel Writers was established in 1955, and its membership includes journalists, photographers, editors, filmmakers, bloggers, and communications professionals who specialize in the travel industry. SATW promotes responsible journalism, provides professional support and development for its members, and encourages the conservation and preservation of travel resources worldwide. To learn more about SATW truly and Travel’s Most Trusted Voices, visit

About Universal Orlando Resort
There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation, but there is only one place where vacation becomes adventure:  Universal Orlando Resort. It is a unique destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you become part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, be transformed into a banana-loving minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D.  Universal Orlando Resort is an NBCUniversal company.

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