Our Leaders

Apogee Adventures

The difference between a good summer program and an exceptional summer program is the quality of its leaders. We know this and we take the time to recruit leaders who are responsible, compassionate, inspiring, and fun. Our leaders love working with kids and they love the outdoors. Students look up to our leaders as role models, and overwhelmingly rate them as excellent.

  • Apogee selectively recruits trip leaders from prestigious liberal arts colleges and universities.
  • We look for individuals with outstanding leadership skills and wide-ranging experience working with young people in the outdoors.
  • Every applicant fills out a detailed application and is carefully interviewed, in person, by our directors.
  • We check references thoroughly and perform a full background check (SORI, CORI, and when applicable, driving record) before offering any position.
  • Our leaders are a minimum of twenty years old. Most are between 21 and 26.
  • Leader training takes place over the course of an intensive, ten day-long program at Apogee’s headquarters in Brunswick, Maine. We work with our leaders both in the classroom and in the field to cover everything from safety and group dynamics to trip logistics and outdoor skills. Leaders also spend time reviewing student applications so they are familiar with each individual in their group before the start of their trip. By the end of their training, leaders are well prepared to safely and effectively lead their group on the adventure of a lifetime.
  • All of our leaders are CPR, First Aid/Wilderness First Responder, and Lifeguard certified at a minimum. Many hold higher certifications.
  • Apogee enjoys a very high leader return rate. Many veteran leaders return for multiple summers.

Read more below about some of our outstanding Trip Leaders.

To learn more about leading for Apogee, click here.

CC Gensheimer, Sewickley, PA_mg_2962
College of William and Mary, Class of 2014

Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains and Coast ’12, Maine’s Downeast Explorer ’12, California Mountains & Coast ’13, Alps Explorer ’14

A family-oriented world-traveler, Caroline (“CC”) Gensheimer has explored Europe, the United States and beyond. She has had a monkey perch on her shoulder in the jungles of Central America and sea-kayaked alongside whales in Alaska’s glacier-rimmed fjords. A native of western Pennsylvania and a 2014 graduate of the College of William and Mary, CC was president of her sorority at W&M and spent time tutoring at the local middle school. In high school, CC was captain of her school’s varsity tennis team but always maintained an interest in the outdoors. Her love for the outdoors blossomed on a 2011 wilderness leader training program in Alaska which she describes as an incredibly formative experience. Her passion for working with young people started early when CC and her sister (renowned Apogee leader & Assistant Director, Hannah Gensheimer) founded a successful summer camp for children in their hometown of Sewickley. CC now resides in Washington DC and works for IBM.

Will RobWill Robertson, St. Paul, MN
Hamilton College, Class of 2014

Trips as a Leader:
Caribbean Service Adventure ’14, Northwest Explorer ’15

Will Robertson is a 2014 graduate of Hamilton College, and grew up in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. The outdoors have always been a major part of Will’s life – he began Nordic skiing at a young age, and spent many summer weekends camping and canoeing near his family’s rustic cabin on the banks of the Mississippi. A man of many interests, Will has always been very involved in the performing arts. He was a Music major at Hamilton with a concentration in music composition. Will applied this knowledge and his love for music to his passion for working with kids. Before working for Apogee, Will spent many summers as a counselor at a children’s music camp in the Twin Cities. In the summer of 2013, he worked full time as a Music Teacher and Youth Mentor at a non-profit in Boston, giving lessons to students that would otherwise lack the finances to participate. During his time at Hamilton, Will was also very involved in college’s Outing Club. In 2012, he was an Assistant Director in charge of hiring and training student leaders to lead wilderness, pre-orientation trips for incoming Hamilton Freshmen. When not leading for Apogee, Will lives in St. Paul, and works as a freelance music composer and Nordic ski coach.

Annika Nygren, Sudbury, MA Annika Nygren
Amherst College, Class of 2016

Trips as a Leader:
New England Support Staff ’14, Montana Service Adventure ’15

Annika Nygren is Senior at Amherst College, and one of the most fun-loving, kind people you may come across. Annika was born in Danderyd, Sweden, but now calls Sudbury, Massachusetts home. She grew up with a very tight-knit family, including her parents, little sister and grandmother. Together, they enjoyed ski trips and plenty of travels throughout the United States and Europe. At Amherst, Annika serves as Captain of the varsity field hockey team, and in her free-time she loves baking, taking photos of sunsets, and making time to get outside with friends. Annika left the comforts of Amherst last spring to spend a semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, where she took full advantage of her ability to travel and explore other countries throughout Europe. On top of it all, Annika has plenty of experience working with kids; she was a ski instructor at Sunday River in Maine for four years, as well as a field hockey coach.

Aaron PomeranceAaron Pomerance, Weston, CT
Tufts University, Class of 2017

Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains & Coast ’15, Maine Coast Junior ’15

Aaron Pomerance is a Psychology major and Communication Media Studies minor at Tufts University. Born and raised in Weston, Connecticut, Aaron comes from a very close-knit family. He is extremely active and enjoys being on the move – whether playing linebacker out on the football field or working in the ambulance as a volunteer EMT. At Tufts, Aaron writes and edits for the Tufts Daily newspaper, plans events for Tufts Chabad (the Jewish Community House on campus), and leads hiking trips with the student-run Tufts Mountain Club. In his free time, Aaron enjoys working on his outdoor journalism website, rock climbing with his friends, and working with kids. Prior to joining the Apogee family, Aaron spent two summers working at an all-boys summer camp in New Hampshire where his passion for working with youth in the outdoors was ignited.

Emma Perkinson, Blue Hill, MEperkinson-emma1
Bates College, Class of 2014 

Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains & Coast ’13, California Mountains & Coast ’14, Alps Explorer ’15

Emma Perkinson is a 2014 graduate of Bates College, where she studied History, and was highly involved around campus; she was a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team, the Outing Club, played intramural basketball, and was a tour guide for the Admissions Department. Emma studied in Australia for a semester of her Junior year. There, she she took classes and made plenty of time to hike and explore her majestic surroundings. Back on campus for her Senior year, Emma led a wilderness-oriented backpacking trip for incoming freshmen in Baxter State Park. This past year Emma has been working at a day and residential middle school in Williamstown where she taught history, coached field hockey and lacrosse, and organized, planned and led an Apogee-inspired school trip hiking and camping in Canyonlands and Arches National Park in southeastern Utah. Emma currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee and teaches high school history.

Zack DixZack Dix, Palmyra, NY
Hamilton College, Class of 2015

Trips as a Leader:
Coast to Quebec ’15, Maine Coast Junior ’15

A native of Palmyra, New York, Zack Dix graduated from Hamilton College in upstate New York in 2015 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Zack grew up in a supportive and active family that spurred his love of sports and adventure. As a result, Zack has a healthy curiosity about the world around him and a deep love for the outdoors – a love that prompts him to stop at every summit and vista he reaches to “take it all in.” Zack’s positive energy and strong sense of community have landed him leadership and teaching positions over the years. He worked at a summer camp for kids on Lake Placid that aimed to emphasize the importance of being in touch with nature and reducing dependence on technology. In addition, Zack has led several wilderness-based hiking trips for incoming freshmen through Hamilton’s outstanding Adirondack Adventure pre-orientation program. During his time at Hamilton, Zack was an active member of the Swim team, Captain of the Water Polo team, and Chairman of the farmers guild for the student farm on campus. His passion for the environment and connection to nature have taken him to Reykjavik, Iceland where he is studying Renewable Energy Economics, Policy, and Sustainability.

Emily Blau, Los Angeles, CA Emily Blau
Dickinson College, Class of 2015

Trips as a Leader:
Caribbean Service Adventure ’15

A Los Angeles native, Emily Blau is, to say the least, a world traveler. Emily’s passion for travel was sparked at an early age as Emily and her parents traveled every summer to various locations around the world, including Denmark, Russia, Estonia, Italy, and Finland. These trips were nothing short of cultural immersions as they stayed in local homes, hostels, and campgrounds rather than hotels. Her travels didn’t stop there. In fact, by the time Emily was 20, she had traveled to all seven continents. Emily’s love for travel coincided perfectly with her love for learning and foreign aid. Emily has participated in community service trips to Dominica, Senegal, and Indonesia, and as a 2015 graduate of Dickinson College, it is no surprise that Emily graduated with a degree in International Studies with a focus on Globalization and Sustainability. Emily is currently working towards her master’s degree in Sustainable Development with a specialization in Social Entrepreneurship from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont.

Josh Cutler, Messery, FranceJosh
University of British Columbia, Class of 2015

Trips as a Leader:
Maine’s Downeast Explorer ’11, Montana Service Adventure ’12, Northwest Explorer ’12, America Coast to Coast ’14

He grew up in Uganda and Eritrea, he calls the shores of Lake Geneva home, he attended high school in Wales, and he is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia. Josh Cutler is our international man of mystery. Probably the only person you’ve ever met who has actually been chased by a hippo, Josh is remarkably down to earth. An avid sailor and adventurer, Josh has taught safe-boating in South Africa, served as a camp-counselor in Italy, trekked through New Zealand, practiced wilderness rescues in Arizona, and worked in an orphanage in the Sudan. At school, Josh has been taken leadership positions with Greenpeace, a boat-building club, and Amnesty International. Josh is the oldest of four boys and takes every opportunity he can to work with young people. His Apogee students have benefited from Josh’s outstanding leadership, his compassion and his truly global perspective.

Jeanne Barthold, Lyme, NHJeanne Barthold
Colby College, Class of 2015

Trips as a Leader:
Pacific Coast ’14, Europe Coast to Coast ’15

Jeanne “Jeannie” Barthold is a 2015 graduate of Colby College. Coming to us from the rural town of Lyme, New Hampshire, Jeannie grew up skiing, mountain biking, and hiking in the White Mountains with her parents and older brother. Jeannie attributes her love for the outdoors to her parents who embarked on outdoor adventures with her throughout her childhood. Jeannie and her family backpacked through Glacier National Park, and she and her mom climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro during a gap year Jeannie took between high school and college. Her love for the outdoors has continued in her life at Colby. She is an outdoor orientation leader for incoming freshmen, and recently spent a semester studying abroad in New Zealand where she spent weekends hiking and exploring the mountains around her. Jeannie not only has extensive experience in the outdoors, but she also loves to work with kids. She spent two months volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania, and worked as a camp counselor for a dry land summer ski camp in Stowe, Vermont. Jeannie is currently living in Boulder, CO and where she is working towards her master’s degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder.

Apogee Adventures' Leader Matt CooperMatt Cooper, Sewickley, PA
Boston University, Class of 2016

Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains & Coast ’14, California Mountains & Coast ’15 

Matt Cooper, a native of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, is a Junior at Boston University where he is studying Bio-Medical Engineering and is enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program. Matt comes from a very close-knit family, and spent much of his time in high school lifeguarding and volunteering for a Pittsburgh-based organization called the Center for Hope where he helped tutor and mentor underprivileged youth. At BU, Matt is arguably one of the most involved students on campus. Matt is a member of the Men’s Water Polo team, works in a neuroscience lab, and is the Director of Operations of the Arnold Air Society, a community service group that focuses on giving back to the great Boston area. On top of all of this, Matt has almost magically found time to create and run a group called Boston University Baja which designs and manufactures single seat, off-road vehicles and compete with them on a national level. When Matt is able to relax away from his BU commitments, he loves to be outside and chase his adventurous side! He is a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, and he used his certification to explore some beautiful areas around the Florida Keys.

Mia Taggart, Freeport, MEApogee Adventures Leader Mia Taggart
Bates College, Class of 2015

Trips as a Student:
Pacific Coast ’07, Coast to Quebec ’08

Trips as a Leader:
Coast to Quebec ’12, Pacific Coast ’13, Northwest Explorer ’13, Europe Coast to Coast ’14, America Coast to Coast ’15

A proud and enthusiastic native of Maine, Mia Taggart is both an Apogee alumna and leader. In 2012, Mia had a decidedly adventurous year off of school. She spent the fall in Guatemala working as an art teacher at Safe Passage, a program that serves to educate and support children whose families live off of the municipal garbage dump. She then spent her spring in Italy working as a farm intern at the Tenuta di Spannocchia in Tuscany, a 13th-century estate that practices sustainable farming. After her year of adventures, Mia finished her college degree at Bates College, and graduated in 2015. A woman of many talents and passions, Mia loves to sing, cook, sculpt, ski, bike, and hike. She now resides in Washington DC where she is a teacher.  

midgeMary “Midge” Cross, Center City, MN
Tufts University, Class of 2016


Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains & Coast ’14, California Mountains & Coast ’15

Mary “Midge” Cross is an ebullient Environmental Science and Philosophy double major at Tufts University. Midge grew up in rural Minnesota, “running around in cornfields and playing lots of ice hockey.” When it came time to think about college, she decided to leave the cornfields of Minnesota and head east to Boston. At Tufts, Midge is involved in a multitude of activities. She works as a campus tour guide, plays intramural dodge ball, and leads trips with the Tufts Mountain Club. Midge also has a passion for music, and is involved in BEATS, Tufts’ street percussion group. In her free time, she loves cooking (especially over camp stoves), rock climbing, and working with kids. Her passion for working with youth and the outdoors inspired her to led trips for kids for Outdoor Nation, a youth trip partnership with her local YMCA. On top of it all, Midge is very easy-going, and has a great sense of humor. Whether on the trails or on the dodge ball court, Midge is impossible not to get along with!