HI USA is all about opening up the amazing experience of travel to more people and more places. We do it through the location of our hostels, the focus of our programs, and the involvement of our volunteers.   And now we are expanding our $2000 travel scholarship program for worthy 18-30 year olds to explore the world!

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Several Houston Community Hostelling Fund volunteers and staff gather after a recent meeting

Explore the World Travel Scholarships are awarded through HI USA’s Community Hostelling Fund (CHF) program in cities across the country.  They support worthy 18-30 year olds who seek to travel for educational and humanitarian purposes or for a volunteer or community service learning project.  CHFs are funded by HI USA and directed by local volunteer committees who award the scholarships.

Last Friday I returned home from a visit to Texas where we honored volunteers who helped us launch local CHFs in Austin and Houston last year. In their day-lives, these volunteers are teachers, IT analysts, social workers, engineers, marketers, financial analysts, authors, fundraisers and graduate students.  After hours, they are linked by their passion for travel and desire to pay it forward to others.

Along with our Chicago volunteers (who with Austin and Houston were part of last year’s CHF pilot), they devoted hours and hours to promoting the scholarship program locally and then reviewing and scoring scholarship applications. They blazed a path that led to some terrific scholarship picks for 2015 and the prospect for even more in the future.

Austin Community Hostelling Fund volunteers with staff

Austin Community Hostelling Fund volunteers and staff participating in last week’s recognition dinner

This year’s expanded travel scholarship program includes more than a dozen cities where HI USA has hostels: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco/Oakland, Seattle and Washington DC region.   Applications for the 2016 program will be accepted beginning on March 15th.  Check our website then for details.

HI USA is a nonprofit that is energizing and expanding the idea of responsible travel. Our CHF volunteers are one example.  In donating their time so worthy young intrepids have funds to explore their world, they are helping give new and exciting meaning to “pay it forward”.