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Awards

2017 Youth First Award 

The SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) is actively seeking candidates for the prestigious Youth First Award. This award is given annually to the individual or organization that demonstrates a commitment to enriching students’ lives through travel and/or contributing to the advancement of our industry through volunteer activities, community service, or education. Review the application for additional information and guidelines. Candidates must be SYTA members. Click here to apply.

Deadline: The 2017 Youth First Award nomination period ends June 16, 2017. 

Please submit all nominations to Emily Milligan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The winner will be announced at the 2017 SYTA Annual Conference, August 25-29 in Albuquerque, NM.

2017 Youth First International Award 

The SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) is actively seeking candidates for the prestigious Youth First International Award. This award is given annually to the individual or organization that demonstrates a commitment to enriching students’ lives through travel and/or contributing to the advancement of our industry through volunteer activities, community service, or education. Review the application for additional information and guidelines. Candidates must be SYTA members. Click here to apply.

Deadline: The 2017 Youth First Award nomination period ends June 16, 2017. 

Please submit all nominations to Emily Milligan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The winner will be announced at the 2017 SYTA Annual Conference, August 25-29 in Albuquerque, NM.

2017 Visionary Award 

The SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) is actively seeking candidates for the prestigious Visionary Award. This award is given annually to the individual that demonstrates a commitment to enriching students’ lives through travel and/or contributing to the advancement of our industry through volunteer activities, community service or education. Review the application for additional information and guidelines. Candidates do not need to be SYTA members. Click here to apply.

Deadline: The 2017 Visionary Award nomination period ends June 16, 2017.

The winner will be announced at the 2017 SYTA Annual Conference, August 25-29 in Albuquerque, NM.

 

HarrisRosen

2016 Youth First Award Recipient Spotlight: Harris Rosen

Harris Rosen is the president and COO of Rosen Hotel & Resorts in Orlando, Florida, and is known for his philanthropic heart and his philosophy, which is “to do the right thing.” He generously provided the funds to create the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, supporting youth entering the field of hospitality and tourism. His philanthropic endeavors also include a scholarship endowment fund, providing all-expense paid education to youth in the Tangelo Park neighborhood, and contributed millions to build a Jewish Community Center, which accommodates approximately 150 students. Forbes magazine named Mr. Rosen as the 30th most generous philanthropist in 2008 in America for having given away over $30 million.

 

EricaRadler

2016 Visionary Award Recipient Spotlight: Erica Radler

Erica is a student, an athlete, and a humanitarian. She is a Sophomore at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, New Jersey, where she is actively involved on the Student Council Executive Board and the Varsity Field Hockey Team. She has received the Silver Award within Girl Scouts after organizing her first of many color runs to benefit the SYTA Youth Foundation and is currently working towards her Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA. She continues to arrange color runs annually to benefit the SYTA Youth Foundation. Through her efforts, she was recognized by the American Association of University Women and was inducted into their Hall of Fame last year. She has also worked with her school and community to spread awareness of the importance of youth education and travel and is extremely honored to be receiving the Visionary Award. Please help me welcome this year’s Visionary award recipient Erica Radler.

 

 

RileyBanks

2015 Visionary Award Recipient Spotlight: Riley Banks

At 19 years old, Riley Banks is the executive director of the Generation Next. Riley was 13 years old when she visited Kenya for the first time. It was just a two-week trip, one that involved visiting family, feeding babies in a neonatal unit and serving in an orphanage. While visiting, she noticed the babies first: naked, diaper-less, and fed from a medicine cup instead of a bottle. She then noticed the children, sharing one pencil during their school lessons. She realized the barriers to education the students faced while sharing their supplies, and she decided to help change that one situation.

• She founded Generation Next and began collecting school supplies. A year later, she returned to the orphanage in Kenya with 200 backpacks full of supplies.

• Generation Next then collected 200 hygiene kits for girls, and during Riley’s third trip to Kenya Generation Next distributed them to girls in need, then partnered with Nomad Charities to host a medical clinic that served 1,324 people.

 

JohnKamm

2015 Youth First Award Recipient Spotlight: John Kamm

John Kamm has been a member of the travel and tourism industry for more than 25 years and has contributed to SYTA in various ways. In his many roles as a board member, officer, donor and consultant, Kamm works to help SYTA Youth Foundation Board of Trustees members support today's youth. His efforts ensure the proper management and growth of SYF scholarship programs, and he encourages the organization to maintain its important degree of professionalism. Kamm continues to give tirelessly to this foundation.

  

 

Vivian

2014 Visionary Award Recipient Spotlight: Vivian Connell

Vivian Connell began traveling with students while teaching at Greenville, South Carolina's J.L. Mann High School. The school's principal was dedicated to whole-child education, offering learning beyond tests and academic knowledge. Teachers were committed to student travel, and Connell was recruited as a chaperone. Her first trip, to St. Augustine, Florida, was primarily bonding for freshmen who'd never left the area. Juniors visited Washington, D.C., for American history, seeing the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument, National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, and Smithsonian Institution. 

"I absolutely loved these trips!" she said. "I loved the teachers who made them happen and agreed with their philosophy that travel is important."

To read more about Connell's adventures with her students, click here to read this article in its entirety in Teach & Travel magazine.

Photo: 2014 Youth First Recipient, Vivian Connell (Photo courtesy of Jeff Reed/National Archives)

 

BobHoffman

2014 Youth First Award Recipient Spotlight: Bob Hoffman

Bob Hofmann has been a part of the travel and tourism industry for more than 25 years and is one of the community's key leaders. He has been a SYTA member for more than 10 years and has held various Board of Directors positions. He is also an active leader in many of other industry organizations. Hofmann helps connect members within this community—more often than not, he is the first person to greet those who are new to the student and youth travel industry. Hofmann's commitment to this industry is obvious. He clearly believes travel changes young lives for the better.

 Erica is a student, an athlete, and a humanitarian. She is a Sophomore at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, New Jersey, where she is actively involved on the Student Council Executive Board and the Varsity Field Hockey Team. She has received the Silver Award within Girl Scouts after organizing her first of many color runs to benefit the SYTA Youth Foundation and is currently working towards her Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA. She continues to arrange color runs annually to benefit the SYTA Youth Foundation. Through her efforts, she was recognized by the American Association of University Women and was inducted into their Hall of Fame last year. She has also worked with her school and community to spread awareness of the importance of youth education and travel and is extremely honored to be receiving the Visionary Award. Please help me welcome this year’s Visionary award recipient Erica Radler.

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