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.
Music has always been a part of Clayton Jensen’s life. He attended Alta High School in Utah, and was a part of the award-winning choir his sophomore through senior year. In spring 1998, during his sophomore year, Clayton joined in on Alta High School’s annual tradition of traveling to California to compete in the Anaheim Heritage Festival. Having seen his older brother attend the same festival years before, Clayton was eagerly anticipating his turn to participate. Clayton liked his experience so much that he returned the next year with the Alta High School choir to the San Diego Heritage Festival, and then traveled to the Colorado Springs Heritage Festival in 2000.
“It solidified our bond, and strengthened our friendships,” says Clayton of the festival experience with his choir. “There’s something about traveling and staying together with a group that makes you closer.”
His love for music was enriched through his experience with Heritage Festivals, and after high school, Clayton went on to receive a music scholarship from Utah Valley State College. After college, Clayton spent the next few years working hard, honing his skills, and in 2013 he saw a job listing for WorldStrides OnStage. Clayton immediately recognized the company as being the host to the festivals he attended in high school. “This is a company I need to work for,” Clayton thought after seeing the posting.
Luckily for WorldStrides, Clayton has been an important asset to the team ever since! Clayton is now a Destination Specialist, and helps to coordinate travel for over 13,000 people through Anaheim – the same place where he experienced his first Heritage Festival.
Clayton recently got to visit the performance venue of his first festival in Anaheim and see it once again through the eyes of a student. “It was an odd experience to think I had been there 18 years earlier as a student.” Clayton says the most rewarding part of his job is helping teachers and students across the country have the same meaningful experience he had nearly 20 years ago.