Before our first Grand turned 12 my husband and I decided to borrow an idea from a family friend who had taken each of their grandchildren on a trip.  We loved the idea of instilling a sense of adventure, spending quality time one on one, and sharing magical moments together. 

However, rather than simply giving the trip to each child we thought it would be fun to make them “earn” the trip through a scholarship program.  We named it the “Explore North America Travel Scholarship”! 

During the Summer of each Grand’s 11th year, during a time when the entire family is gathered, we present a 4-color copy of the application in a high-quality plastic folder to the qualifying Grand.  Our intention with the ceremony is to impart an air of importance and legacy.  The ceremony doesn’t last long nor is it complicated, but we take time to announce that the Grand has now reached the age in which they qualify, and we discuss the criteria that they must meet.  

Typically, the Grand quickly shares with the family how they’ve met all of the criteria and either begins discussing where they should go with family members or announces where they have already decided they want to go.  It is a special moment in which the entire family is focused on that child, their accomplishments, and their interests.  This is a magical moment in and of itself. 

This has become an honored tradition.  After the application ceremony, the Grand is required to complete the written application telling us, in their words, where they want to travel in North America and what they want to see/do while they are in that location.  

To qualify for the scholarship, the Grand must have maintained a B+ average during the prior school year, maintained excellent behavior at school, participated in extracurricular activities, assisted with chores at home, and demonstrated a sincere interest in the location they have chosen to travel.  In addition, their completed application must be accompanied by a letter from a parent stating why the Grand is worthy of making the trip.  Each of their applications and the parent letter are saved as a part of their itinerary in their trip packet.  

To date, we’ve made three North American Scholarship trips and each of them have been uniquely different.  Check out the blogs on those trips under the title “NA Scholarship Trip” for the highlights!    

Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.

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