It seems like just yesterday excited teens and parents were calling the TFT office to register, signing paperwork, and faxing passport copies. With the itineraries read, packing lists double checked, and countdowns started, TFT campers waited anxiously for the best summer of their lives. They arrived at the airport on departure day eager to embark on an amazing adventure with new friends and awesome trip leaders. They made memories, explored new cities, studied languages, gave back to the community, and immersed in the culture of over 20 countries on 5 continents. They returned from their trips with smiling faces, lifelong friendships, and a desire to keep travelling. For now the #TFTtbt will have to suffice, as we reflect on a truly unforgettable summer spent discovering what the world has to offer. The #BestSummerEver could soon seem like a distant memory and the wanderlust may be insatiable. Until next year, that is….
Right now, as I write this, the final trip of the 2014 summer is returning safely home to their friends and families after a wonderful two weeks in Scotland and Ireland. Given that it is now officially the end, I wanted to take this opportunity to wrap up what has been a truly unbelievable summer. Each year, I am blown away at how fantastically TFT has grown. After 4 summers of flipping through the daily pictures, reading the Trip Director recap emails, and hearing the wonderful feedback from parents and campers alike- you would think it gets old. But it doesn’t.
Each year, I am humbled by the good that Travel for Teens does. I am humbled by the nervous and quiet groups who depart and the loving and jolly faces that return. I am humbled by the 400 or so teens who come back travelers, and not tourists. I see a bright future for our campers who are so fortunate to have this opportunity and go on to live with a fervent desire to see the world. I am humbled when I see my teenage self in those eager faces with a newly sparked interest in and passion for travel.
A TFT summer is truly one you will never forget, and I think many of you reading this can attest to that. If it weren’t for the relentless hard work of our full time office staff, the dedication to leadership of our counselors, and the perseverance and commitment of our summer office staff – there would be no #BestSummerEver. But there is, and I would like to thank all of our staff for everything they have done to contribute to that. They are the most amazing group of people that I am exceedingly grateful to call my colleagues and friends.
Before I leave you all with a few highlights from our session 4 trips, I would like to just say this to all of our future, current, and past campers out there: whatever you do, never stop exploring. Never forget the TFT trip that changed your life, the trip leader that you looked up to, the city you fell in love with, the complete strangers who became your best friends. The laughs, the smiles, the pictures, and maybe even the tears. Travel is like the most wonderful gift that just keeps on giving, you can reflect on the memories and seek more adventure each and every day. Cherish everything you have gained from travel, and enjoy the rewards that it continually gives. Because as Hilaire Belloc said: “We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”