You are here

American Experience Foundation Awards First Overnight Two-Day Backyard Bound Field Trip

DC hospitality and tourism leadership hosts 40 students for hometown trip from Jan. 22-23

(Washington, DC) – Today the American Experience Foundation (AEF) hosts its sixth annual Backyard Bound field trip including an overnight stay in Washington, DC for the first time as part of the two-day hometown trip. A 501(c) (3) public charity, AEF enriches the lives of low-income students through inspirational travel experiences to the nation’s capital. It is the philanthropic arm of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC.

Ten students from each of DC’s four Academies of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT) were chosen to participate in the robust cultural excursion. Students were selected based on academic performance and attend the following academies - Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Ballou Senior High School and Bell Multicultural High School at Columbia Heights Educational Campus. Destination DC has partnered with hospitality leaders to provide an unforgettable trip. Hosting partners donating all or some services in-kind include Reston Limousine, Washington Hilton, Washington Business Journal, DC by Foot, Ben's Chili Bowl, Newseum, Clyde's of Chinatown, Monumental Sports, Observation Deck at CEB Tower, The Wharf, The Anthem and the International Spy Museum.

“I count working with American Experience Foundation students as one of the highlights of my career,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “It’s an honor to work with our partners and show these students the ins and outs of the hospitality and tourism industries, as well as give them a different type of experience in DC that they might not normally have access to.”

Students will explore various neighborhoods during the trip. A historic U Street walking tour includes a visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl. They will also go to a Washington Capitals game, have lunch at The Wharf and take a hard hat tour of the new International Spy Museum, re-opening this spring. Washington Business Journal’s editor-in-chief Douglas Fruehling and managing editor Vandana Sinha will give a career talk as well.

“Thanks to the American Experience Foundation, these DC students will take part in the classic American field trip, with the added bonus of engaging with area hospitality professionals,” said Akoshia Yoba, AOHT Director at Maya Angelou Public Charter School. “We greatly appreciate Destination DC and their participating members for creating meaningful college and career readiness opportunities for students living in under resourced communities. They support learning far beyond the classroom by sharing their resources and real-world experiences.”

Through AEF’s affiliation with Destination DC and its 1,000+ member businesses, the organization is uniquely positioned to open doors for students, filling a need for career exposure and creating paths to success through inspirational travel opportunities and real-life educational experiences.

In 2018, the foundation awarded $15,000 in scholarships to six students. Awards included the 2018 Gregory McCarthy Scholarship Award, recognizing exemplary leadership qualities, and an academy alumna award to provide ongoing support to a deserving DC AOHT graduate.

“We are excited to kick off 2019 with our Backyard Bound trip for 40 well-deserving students and are eager to continue inspiring low-income students throughout the year by showcasing opportunities our industry can provide them,” said Claire Carlin, executive director, AEF, and vice president, partnerships and alliances, Destination DC. “In February, we will host our annual Capitol Hill Volleyball tournament to raise money for AEF and in March, we will welcome students to DC from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in our annual Rite of Passage field trip.”

The American Experience Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity affiliated with Destination DC, enriches the lives of students through inspirational travel experiences and educational opportunities to cultivate the next generation of hospitality industry professionals. AEF offers students an introduction to the wonder of travel and exposure to hospitality career paths through: free field trips for low-income 8th graders from Washington, DC and across the country; scholarships to qualified DC high school Academies of Hospitality and Tourism students and graduates; and educational programs to connect students to hospitality industry professionals and ensure college and career readiness.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.


Danielle Davis, Director of Communications

Destination DC & American Experience Foundation

202-789-7046; danielle.davis [at]


Rebecca Doser, Media Relations Manager, Trade

Destination DC & American Experience Foundation

202-789-7079; rebecca.doser [at]


January 22, 2019
Media Contacts
Danielle Davis, Director of Communications
202-789-7046; 202-603-2093

Kate Gibbs, Senior Manager, Domestic Media Relations
202-789-7072; 202-297-2431

Vanessa Casas, Media Relations Manager, International
202-789-7053; 702-578-0255

Rebecca Doser, Media Relations Manager, Trade

Denise Osei, Communications Specialist
202-789-7097; 301-640-1576