The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), in association with Family Travel Forum (FTF), the award-winning resource for family vacation information, announces the winners of the sixth annual FTF Teen Travel Writing & Photography Scholarship.  The annual contest encourages teens to share their travel experiences in words and images.

“Travel is a fundamental part of any well-rounded education and cultural immersion, and the Teen Travel Writing contest helps promote these important goals among young people,” said Lillian Africano, SATW President.  “We are honored to partner again with FTF to celebrate teen travel writers and their future as travel journalists and photographers.”

“Family Travel Forum and SATW award college grants that promote literacy, creativity and travel among teens,” says FTF editor Kyle McCarthy. “These young writers’ great work inspires the next generation of world travelers to hit the road.”

This year’s top winners are:

  • 1st Place: Kaitlyn Kraybill-Voth (Denver, CO), “Vietnam and My Baby Sister”
  • 2nd Place: Nathan Eldridge (Rockwall, TX), “Bellwin’s Look on the Philippines”
  • 3rd Place: Anna Squires (Roswell, GA), “Slices of Life: Charleston, South Carolina”
  • Christina Memmott, photography (Rockville, MD), “Life As a Kyrgyz Nomad”
  • Vadessa Camack, film (Aurora, CO), “Traveling Far to Reach a Close Distance”

Winning essays and photography are posted on SATW’s site at and on FTF’s site at

Cash scholarship grants of $1,000, plus a vacation for a family of 4 to Universal Orlando Resort for 1st place; $500 for 2nd; and $200 for 3rd are given to the top three authors, with SATW providing program funding.  Additionally, 25 Honorable Mention essays winners were chosen.  Each will receive writing journals and pens provided by National Geographic Kids and SATW, plus passes to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums.  Winners of the Best Photography and Best Video categories each receive a $150 photography equipment merchandise gift certificate from SATW.

The contest attracted 6,300 applicants from April 16 through August 1, 2012.  Open to students ages 13 to 18 enrolled in a junior high, high school, or homeschool program in the U.S., Canada, or American school abroad, students submitted a maximum 600-word, blog-style essay on a trip they have taken in the last five years, along with a photo or video.  They wrote about a range of experiences from service trips to journeys to re-connect with their own heritage; from exploring nature to cultural emersion.

This year’s SATW Finalist Judges’ panel selected winners from 60 Finalist essays.  SATW Finalist Judges include (biographies attached):

  • Julie Agnone, Vice President for National Geographic Kids, which publishes National Geographic Kids magazine for ages 6 to 14 and National Geographic Little Kids for preschoolers;
  • Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of TravelAge West and Editor-in-Chief of Family Getaways;
  • Larry Bleiberg, freelance journalist, Pulitzer Prize team winner, seven-time Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award winner and regular contributor to USA Today, Better Homes and Gardens, guidebook author and creator of;
  • John Macdonald, senior-travel columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and former travel editor of the Seattle Times.

SATW Photography/Video Judges:

  •  Chad Case, photographer for National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times, other high profile magazines and a winner in multiple SATW Travel Photographer of the Year categories;
  • Cosmo Condina, award-winning photographer of Getty Images, Alamy SuperStock, Mira Images, and other top travel photography stock companies.

SATW senior members served as semi-finalist judges who read 1,275 semi-finalist essays:

  • Cynthia Campbell
  • George Ridge
  • Ray Chatelin
  • Jerry Morris
  • Judith Morgan
  • Mary Ann Botter
  • Nancy Lyon
  • Helen O’Guinn


For more information on eligibility, rules and scholarship applications, please visit  A video also provides information to applicants on how to enter the contest at