Eleven-year-old Andy Sanders of Payson will spend two weeks in Hawaii this summer as Student Ambassador for People to People. He'll be one of 30 students from around the state to go on the Hawaiian adventure with the student ambassador program.
The Spokane, Washington-based program which began in 1963, has People to People chapters in 50 U.S. cities and offers international travel to sixth-grade students and students in middle school, junior high and senior high school.
Andy could have gone to Australia, Yosemite, Great Britain or Hawaii.
"I've always wanted to go to Hawaii," Andy said.
The sixth-grade Rim Country Middle School student received a letter in October inviting him to a meeting the following month at Arizona State University.
Andy's mom, Marci, said she sent in the application right after she and her son went to the meeting.
The application required that Andy have letters from two of his teachers and three other people in the community.
"And then they called him for an interview," Marci Sanders said. "He had an interview in December and they called him that same night and told him he was accepted and would be going."
The trip is scheduled for sometime in late June and Andy and his mother will be going to monthly meetings starting Jan. 30.
But, before Andy can get his ticket to paradise, he has to raise the $3,000 tuition necessary for the trip.
Before Andy can say "aloha" to his friends and family in Payson, he has to raise the money that will get him on that Hawaiian adventure.
To raise the funds, Andy, his family and friends are planning several fund-raising events to earn the tuition. Andy is even willing to do odd jobs and yard work to earn his way to paradise.
"He's really wanting people to call him and give him work to do," Marci said.
Andy's dad, Homer, is a local artist, and is raffling off one of his Western prints to help his son earn money. The family also is raffling off a handmade denim quilt and plans to have a bake sale and an enchilada dinner.
"His classmates have offered to help him with a car wash," Marci said. "I thought that was pretty cool."
On the island, Andy said he'll spend his time snorkeling, swimming and fishing and will be put up in a hotel with his group in Hilo, Hawaii.
The itinerary includes a tropical rain forest expedition, a look at Hawaiian culture and The Valley of the Kings and Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. He'll meet kupuna and keikis (elders and children) and visit the Onizuka Space Center and a Kona coffee farm.
The bake sale is scheduled for Jan. 22 in front of Wal-Mart. Andy and has family will also have raffle tickets available there for the Western print and the quilt. People who have odd jobs or yard work for Andy can call 474-7072.