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 Quentin Sewell left teaching and began working as an On-site Coordinator for WorldStrides, it was a job he planned to do in his free time during retirement. Twenty seven years later, at the age of 88, he’s still at it!
Sewell and the On-site Coordinator Team work directly with middle school groups traveling on WorldStrides’ East Coast programs, coordinating hotel check-in and ensuring that the trip logistics are smooth and efficient in the destination city. Sewell is a true expert – with decades of experience as an On-site Coordinator and, before that, a social studies teacher and Program Leader himself.
“We started bringing groups in ’74,” he remembers. “We had 4 buses sometimes, so we had some pretty big groups! My wife is a great recruiter.”
Back then, WorldStrides was still called Lakeland Tours and headquartered in Chicago. “We visited the main headquarters. It was just one corridor with a few cubbyholes. Everything was done by hand,” he recalls. “It’s been fun to see it grow.”
Kids have changed since those early days. “Well, either they have, or I have!” Sewell jokes. But he says the interaction with students and teachers is what keeps him coming back year after year. Today, he works mostly with groups traveling in Boston near his home, but visits Washington, D.C. at least once each spring and summer to work with the hundreds of groups who come to the nation’s capital.
“I retire two or three times a year. And then I go back,” he laughs. “There isn’t much value in [the benchmark], but I’d like to work til I’m 90. I figure if I feel well enough and you have availability, I will put my name up!”