15 enthusiastic young women, 2 mentors, 1 fearless leader and hundreds of miles travelled is what it took for the Passport Party Project to arrive in Ontario, Canada. The Passport Party Project is a National Geographics award-winning grassroots global awareness initiative for underrepresented American girls ages 11 to 15 years old.
The program was founded and is led by Tracey Friley who first thought of the idea when travelling with 10 teen girls to the U.S. Virgin Islands for an island travel camp experience. Though a United States passport is not mandatory for travel between U.S. and the U.S. Virigin Islands, Tracey noticed only 1 of the 10 girls had a passport.
One year later she found herself putting together a global awareness day for young girls in her city. It was here where she gave the young girls money to purchase her first passport. A few months after while attending a Travel Writers Conference, Tracey pitched her Passport Party Project idea as a nationwide program. Within the next two years Tracey was travelling across cities in the United States gifting 100 passports thanks to the help of Expedia.
Today, the program is flourishing giving young girls known as Teen Travel Ambassadors an opportunity and appreciation for travel. The Passport Party Project has given close to 30 teen girls the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to countries such as Belize in Central America and Toronto and Niagara Falls, Canada. Tracey is currently working on securing and international destination for the next phase of her prgram and will be giving away 365 passports during Phase 4. Travelling with 15 young girls can be a lot on one person, but luckily for Tracey she has the assistance of two staff members. Lazmyne who served as a Junior staff who is 18 years old has been travelling with Tracey since she was 12 years old. Nina, 25 is a college senior who is senior staff and also assists Tracey. Both young ladies first received their passport from Tracey and were also instrumental in helping with the success of Phase 3. Likewise, professional travel writers who served as Travel Ambassadors were also key in spreading the word about the trip to Ontario by writing program details and sharing across their social media channels.
The newly minted Teen Travel Ambassadors began their travels meeting Tracey and her staff for the first time at the Chicago Midway airport. Many of the girls hopped on a plane and travelled by themselves for the first time. Once together the girls flew to Toronto, Ontario via sponsor Porter Airlines and began their Canadian adventures in the metropolitan city. They visited some of Toronto’s top attractions courtesy of CityPASS including the CN Tower, the Ripley’s Aquarium, Casa Loma and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and donated food and time to the Daily Bead Food Bank. After exploring the metropolitan city for 5 days, the girls headed south to Niagara Falls courtesy of Francesco’s Limosine just a short 1.5 hour drive from Toronto to explore a world-famous natural wonder.
When the girls first arrived in Niagara Falls they were greeted by a few members of Hornblower Niagara Cruises Marketing team who escorted the young girls towards the Niagara Falls boat tour. A trip to Hornblower Niagara Cruises was a first for all of the girls so getting in the mist meant the ultimate adventure of a lifetime. After sharing a few screams, taking selfies and admiring their soaked hair do’s the girls couldn’t help but stop and take in the view one last time at the Hornblower Landing. Following their #InTheMist and #NiagaraCruises experience the group continued on to enjoy many more thrilling attractions courtesy of Niagara Parks including a visit to the Niagara Parks Journey Behind The Falls, Whirlpool Aero Car, White Water Walk and the Butterfly Conservatory.
For more information about the Passport Party Project, visit: www.passportpartyproject.org
Learn more about their visit to Hornblower Niagara Cruises and Toronto, Ontario visit their blog
View Images from the Passport Party Program visit
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