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Do you remember the first time the National Mall took your breath away?

For millions of 8th graders in the United States, our nation’s capital is a rite of passage into high school. The last field trip before you start your journey to adulthood. And for many, it is their first chance to leave their comfort zones behind and experience the wonders of travel.

But for many other students across the country, this trip is not possible because of cuts to school funding, family and community resources, or other restrictions. AEF’s unique programming helps fill this gap. AEF offers two types of field trips, Backyard Bound and Rite of Passage, both aim to ignite a love for travel, while introducing hospitality as a potential career path.


If you would like to learn more about how your school or youth group can experience Washington, DC, check out our great itineraries on

8th grade member of the 2019 AEF Rite of Passage

"I learned a lot from all the museums and sites that we visited. It was really cool to be able to sit and bond with other kids on the trip from my school who I wasn’t as familiar with, but we shared the same experiences."

Student taking photo on Big Bus Tour

Get Involved

These field trips could not be possible without the generous support of travel and tourism businesses not only here in Washington, DC, but also in the hometowns of our Rite of Passage students. Learn how you can get involved.

A large group of students are gathered in front of the US Capitol on a field trip.

Rite of Passage

For many of Rite of Passage field trips, this is students’ first time to the nation’s capital.

group of students standing in Washington DC Metro, Backyard Bound tour group

Backyard Bound

Backyard Bound field trips offer Washington, DC students a chance to gain a deeper appreciation for all their hometown has to offer and build their sense of belonging and ownership over our nation’s greatest institutions. Let's show you an example of what a student might experience on a trip!

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