Interview: One Woman Introduces Hundreds of Girls to the World

BY: - 15 Oct '13 | Parenting

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Passport Party Project feature

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We recently had the pleasure to sit down and chat with National Geographic’s Traveler of the Year Award recipient, Tracey Friley. Tracey is the Founder and Executive Director of The Passport Party ProjectOBG Adventures, and (one of these days) Teen Travel Summit & Extravaganza Weekend. She is a die hard advocate for passports and international youth travel, and received an award from the U.S. Department of Consular Affairs for her work. She is a serious giver and passionate about serving the underserved.

Her Passport Party project caught the eye of Expedia who sponsored passports for 100 girls, and a trip to Belize with 6 of those girls. There are a lot of great things Tracey is doing and plans to do, which she shares in this interview.

BMWK: How did you get your start with travel, and how did the Traveler of the Year award come about?

Tracey Friley in BelizeTracey: I have no idea how the award came about. I just remember getting an e-mail saying I was being vetted. They had been watching me over the last couple of years, loved my work and needed more info. I was so excited about that initial e-mail, that winning was just that much more exciting. I don’t focus on awards. But the recognition adds a certain amount of exposure, which for me, can lead to more opportunities to help my girls. And I’m still stunned because it’s National Geographic! I’m honored in one of those surreal ways as I almost don’t believe it’s me. But I would love to leverage this so that I can get more for these kids.

BMWK: What is the Passport Party Project and what is the overall mission?

Tracey: It is a global awareness initiative that gifts underserved teen girls with their first passport. The ultimate goal is to play a role in creating global citizens that are responsible and responsive global travelers. No matter how big or small, or how many girls I’m serving, that is always the mission and the goal. Expedia funded phase one of the project.

For the last couple of years, I have been traveling the US hosting passport parties. We talked about travel, the girls made travel vision boards. They took photos in the travel booth of different items from different cultures. I had bloggers come in to volunteer and talk about their travels, so these girls could see people that looked like them.

Vision Boards

Girls and volunteers creating travel vision boards shaped like suitcases at New York Passport Party.

The way I define ‘underserved’ for the work I do is: any girl that comes into this world without a fair shake, or not on a level playing field. That could be based on cultural background or socioeconomic background. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a family can’t afford a $105 passport. What it means is that there is this mindset that needs to be shifted and changed.  There are a lot of families that when you start talking about travel and passports, in particular, their response is that they can’t afford it (traveling abroad). People think of travel as a luxury and not a lifestyle, and I look at travel as a lifestyle and not a luxury.

Global citizenship isn’t always about getting on a plane and leaving, although that’s where I think the growth occurs, but the growth can occur at home. It’s about acknowledging that there are other cultures that are interesting. Sometimes as Americans we get confused about what “exotic” means, and everywhere I’ve been in the world (with maybe the exception of Scandinavia), I look like people [there].

The idea is to teach these girls that they are as interesting as the people they are going to meet. But that these interesting people they want to meet when they travel, are also right in their own classroom, neighborhood, and parents’ jobs. Their responsibility is to meet these people and to talk to these people here at home and not to wait. So before they have an opportunity to take that global adventure, they still have an opportunity to become global citizens at home.

(L to R) Teen travelers Jazmyne, Daizia, Shannon, Soleil, Viviana and Lyanna show off their very first passports on their very first international adventure to Belize, Central America via The Passport Party Project

(L to R) Teen travelers Jazmyne, Daizia, Shannon, Soleil, Viviana and Lyanna show off their very first passports on their very first international adventure to Belize, Central America via The Passport Party Project

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About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.


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4 Tips for Creating a Great Family Mission Statement

BY: - 16 Oct '13 | Marriage

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by Nathaniel A. Turner

In a previous post, I mentioned sharing where and how to start creating your family’s mission statement. However after a bit of reflection, I realize that I may have done both of us a disservice. I was a tad overzealous and a bit careless in summarizing the family mission statement creation process. I should have promised to first provide a clear and concise explanation of what a family mission statement is.  So like the Olympian Carl Lewis singing the National Anthem, “”Uh oh….I’ll make up for it now…..”

All in the Family – Mission Statement

If you have a family like mine, I don’t have to tell you how important it is for the words we speak to have the same meaning for those who hear them. I think of how many family misunderstandings could have been averted if the speaker and hearer were on the same page. So to keep us from having any misunderstanding, I’m going to take a moment to explain exactly what I mean when I use the words Family – Mission – Statement.


  • a group of people who are related to each other generally living under one roof


  • a specific task with which a person or a group is charged to perform or carry out


  • a single declaration or remark that is said or written in a formal or official way

Pulling it All Together?

Now let’s put all three words together and use them in a sentence.

A Family Mission Statement is an official singular declaration that a group of related people make about a specific task or service they intend to complete.

Pretty simple. Clearer than mud, right?

I hope you have forgiven me for my earlier Carl Lewis slip-up. Let’s move forward and consider four things to reflect on when you create your family mission statement.

Tip #1: Start With the End In Mind

This won’t be much fun. I need you to imagine that your entire family dies a tragic death. How you die is not important. What’s important is that you imagine that no one sharing your name or DNA survives.

Now answer this: How would you like your neighbors, community, state, nation and world to remember you and your family? Whatever we desire to appear in the first two sentences of our obituary is probably identical to what we want to appear in the family’s mission statement.

Whatever you and your family come up with for your obituary – activities you participated in, endeavors you completed – will serve as your family mission statement. The family mission statement/family obituary will describe the roadmap your family followed and the legacy your family created.

Tip #2: Think Elevator Pitch

Don’t confuse your family mission statement with a Statement of Beliefs, Vision Statement or Action Plan. A family mission statement is not the place where you share all your views, ideas or strategies. A family mission statement is something you could share with someone you meet briefly in an elevator. A short one or two sentence inspirational statement that quickly and simply defines your family.

If I haven’t made myself clear about the meaning of brevity consider the conciseness of a statement you would give to the police if stopped for DWB. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you would do what I would and say: “I want to speak with my attorney.”

Tip #3: It’s A Family Affair

In the spirit of the music of Sly and the Family Stone, the creation of a family mission statement is a family affair. Everyone must be allowed to participate and that includes young children. Anyone who can walk, say what they don’t want to eat and tell you when they don’t want to go to bed is ready and able to help craft the family mission statement.

In truth, including children in the process will give you the best chance of crafting an authentic family mission statement. Including small children is even better – they are simple yet sophisticated. Small children give clear and concise responses to everything. Yes, no, good, bad, etc. They will help you avoid all things pretentious.

Tip #4: Keep It Simple

When it comes to your family mission statement, children will aid the family in staying true to the K.I.S.S. principle. In return, your family mission statement will probably be something you can actually regurgitate easily and remember to do each day – “be good all the time” or “be nice to everyone we meet”.

From my research in preparing for this post and the seventeen or so years that my family has done a family legacy plan (mission statement, vision statement, action plan, collective & individual goal setting, etc.), there are not a lot of samples of family mission statements. However, I have found the few samples to be less vibrant than some corporate mission statements I admire. A few of the corporate mission statements that I have found to be simply stated, yet appealing, useful and compelling are as follows:

  • Starbucks – to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
  • Google – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Hershey – Bringing sweet moments of Hershey happiness to the world every day.
  • Coca-Cola – refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness and to create value and make a difference.
  • Apple – to make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.
  • Facebook – to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
  • The Raising Supaman Project – to change the world, one parent, one child at a time.

Really that’s all there is to a family mission statement. Well maybe there are the four areas of your life that should be governed by your family mission statement. I will share those four things with you next time.

BMWK – does your family have a mission statement? What are some of the elements of a good mission statement?

Nathaniel A. Turner, J.D. blogs at The Raising Supaman Project, a dad blog for children of all ages. Nate shares thought-provoking, educational and entertaining ways to raise children who will maximize their God-given ability and encourages children of all ages to become great adults. Connect with Nate on Twitter: @Supamans_Dad; 

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