WorldStrides is celebrating 50 years as the leader in student travel by sharing the stories that have shaped our company’s past and will propel us into the future. Throughout the year, we will highlight stories from our history, many of the people who have made us what we are today, and some of the special ways travelers have been impacted by their experiences in our blog series, 50 Years of WorldStrides Stories.
When middle school teacher Phil Wendel first brought 110 students to Washington, D.C. in 1967, there was one young man on the trip destined to make trips like that one a part of his life forever.
“He was my sixth grade basketball coach. He was a history teacher. I had him in seventh grade for typing, and in eighth grade for social studies. Eighth grade is when I got the opportunity to travel on the Washington, D.C., trip. It was terrific,” Steve Borenstein remembers.
Today, Borenstein helps lead the team that works with middle school teachers planning new trips and is preparing to celebrate 40 years with WorldStrides.
After Wendel left teaching to form Lakeland Tours, the company that would become WorldStrides, Borenstein joined the team in 1976. And the rest is an historic career that’s lasted almost 40 years! During his time with WorldStrides, Borenstein has worn many hats. He’s been an account manager, an onsite coordinator, a field specialist, worked at our Tour Central office, and tried “everything” within our operations department.
“My entire adult life has been here. My development as a business person and as a well-rounded person came from the interactions I’ve had with people at WorldStrides and with our marketplace,” he said.
While he has “too many highlights to mention” of his time with us, one that stands out is meeting Ronald Reagan at a private reception in the White House’s Rose Garden in 1981. He was serving as an On-site Coordinator for a group at the time.
Borenstein says his time at WorldStrides has allowed him to try a lot of different things and discover what he’s best at. It’s also provided him with an opportunity to give back.
“It’s allowed me to develop as a person, use my natural abilities and find a niche to make a difference and add value to the organization. Teachers are an important profession in our culture and so often underappreciated and under recognized. To be involved in something that gives back to the educational community is a gratifying thing.”
As he approaches 40 years with WorldStrides, Borenstein says he can’t imagine life any other way.
“I come back to the mission of WorldStrides as being the most important thing that has kept me here all these years. I could do other things, but in the same breath, I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”