Our Leaders

Leaders 2014

The difference between a good summer program and an exceptional summer program is the quality of its leaders. We know this and take the time to recruit the highest quality individuals. Our leaders are responsible, compassionate, inspiring and fun. They 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.

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

Trips as a Leader:
Caribbean Service Adventure ’14

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.  Will 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.

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

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

Emma Perkinson is a 2014 graduate of Bates College. Although she is now a Maine resident and calls the quiet coastal Maine town of Blue Hill home, Emma grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia and is a self-proclaimed “Virginia Girl.”  Emma spends as much free time outdoors as she can; she sea-kayaks, sails, and takes regular trips to Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park.  At Bates, Emma studied American History, played intramural basketball, was on the Ultimate Frisbee team, and worked as a tour guide for the Admissions Department. She also studied abroad for a semester in New Zealand, where she took classes and made plenty of time to hike and explore her majestic surroundings. At the start of her Senior year at Bates, Emma led a backpacking, pre-orientation trip for incoming freshmen in Baxter State Park.  During the academic year, Emma is a primary school teacher at the Pine Cobble School in Williamstown, MA.

Nick Geisler, Groton, NYNick
Hamilton College, Class of 2014

Trips as a Leader:
Coast to Quebec ’12, America Coast to Coast ’13, Europe Coast to Coast ’14

A recent Hamilton College graduate, Nick Geisler, was born in Georgia and grew up near the Finger Lakes Region in Ithaca, New York. Nick’s childhood babysitter was Olympian and women’s soccer phenom, Mia Hamm, who may have planted the seeds for his love of soccer. After captaining his high school’s soccer team and working for years as a soccer referee and camp counselor, Nick played rugby for Hamilton and was elected President of the Hamilton’s Men’s Rugby Team his senior year. Nick served as a peer mentor in his High School’s “Creating a Safer School” program, and has been very involved with and dedicated to Relay for Life. Nick has run his own Relay team for the past four years, and was invited to be a part of his County’s Relay Planning Committee.  Among other notable facts about Nick; he has a passion for tube socks.

Laura Armstrong, Scarborough, MEApogee Adventures Leader Laura Armstrong
Bowdoin College, Class of 2012 

Trips as a Student:
Cape Cod & the Islands ’04, Montana Service Adventure ’05

Trips as a Leader:
Coast to Coast to Québec ’11, Tuscan Service Adventure ’12, America Coast to Coast ’14

Seasoned veteran Laura Armstrong is well known at Apogee.  Laura grew up in Scarborough, ME and was a member of our Cape Cod & the Islands and Montana Service Adventure trips as a student in 2004 and 2005.  Laura graduated from Bowdoin College in 2012 and majored in Latin American Studies and History.  While at Bowdoin, Laura was very active in the College’s Outing Club and served as a trip leader.  One of the highlights of Laura’s college career was the semester she spent studying in Chile, where she spent time hiking and exploring the breathtaking Patagonia region in the south of the country.  Laura spent most of 2013 in Costa Rica on a Fulbright Scholarship, a highly selective teaching position she was awarded.  Laura’s warmth and enthusiasm are evident to everyone she meets, and her Apogee students love her wonderful perspective on life and interest in the wide world.

DCIM100GOPROMatt Monahon, Belmont, MA
Bucknell University, Class of 2014

Trips as a Leader:
Pacific Coast ’14

Matt Monahon, a 2014 Bucknell graduate, is a well-traveled man with a love for sports and a flare for entrepreneurship! At only 22, he has already been to 20 different countries; he has backpacked through France, Brussels, and Croatia, island-hopped through southern Thailand, and spent a summer working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Australia. These adventures, in turn, have given him a worldly perspective that he was able to share with his students on our Pacific Coast trip last summer. Born and raised in Belmont, Massachusetts, Matt has always had a passion for sports, whether it was basketball, lacrosse, or snowboarding. And even though he was not a Division-1 athlete in college, it did not stop him from competing in every intramural offered on campus, including inter-tube water polo! At Bucknell, Matt studied Economics, and two summers ago, Matt used what he learned in the classroom to create his own business. In the summer of 2012, Matt operated and ran “Matt for That,” a small operation that sent him to over 40 different clients doing any kind of needed jobs, from yard service to painting to babysitting. It ended up becoming extremely successful, and Matt learned about more about business, maximizing profit, and customer service. Last summer, Matt had an amazing time getting to know his kids as they explored the Pacific Coast together!

Erin Leddy, Wilton, CTErin Leddy
Bowdoin College, Class of 2016

Trips as a Leader:
Maine’s Downeast Explorer ’14

Erin Leddy is a Junior at Bowdoin College, studying English and Spanish. Growing up in Wilton, Connecticut, Erin comes from an adventurous, close-knit family with a deep love of travel.  She has visited Africa twice, worked for a non-profit in Guatemala, studied abroad in Chile, and been scuba diving in the Caribbean. Erin also has a love for working with kids of all ages.  She’s spent two summers as a camp counselor, and worked as a classroom assistant for 3rd and 8th graders in Guatemala.  Erin plays on Bowdoin’s Ultimate Frisbee and water polo teams, and is an active member of the Outing Club, where she’s honed her outdoor leadership skills.  Although she is athletic and adventurous, Erin makes time for a few more laidback hobbies, such as jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble, and knitting. Last summer’s Apogee groups loved getting to know Erin as she shared her enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer and our Maine Coast Junior trips!

Jack Messerly, Vadnais Heights, MNApogee Adventures Leader Jack Messerly
Hamilton College, Class of 2014

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

Minnesotan Jack Messerly is, if you will forgive the pun, a Jack-of-all-trades.  A 2014 graduate of Hamilton College in upstate New York, Jack studied math and philosophy.  When he wasn’t untangling the mathematical theory of knots, however, you might have seen him spinning tracks as a DJ at Hamilton’s radio station, leading campus tours for prospective students, or out on the rugby field (Jack serves as Captain of Hamilton’s formidable rugby team). Additionally, Jack has led incoming freshman on a weeklong, pre-orientation backpacking trip for Hamilton’s Adirondack Adventure program. Back in Minnesota, Jack was the President of his Junior and Senior classes and deeply involved in community service. Jack also served as the Captain of his high school’s varsity hockey team, making him a natural as a counselor at ice hockey camp over several summers. Not all-work-and-no-play by any stretch, Jack has amused many with his free-style rapping – often while wearing the stuffed-moose hat his Apogee students gave him as a parting summer gift.

Lucy Brennan, Freeport, MELucy Brennan
Bates College, Class of 14

Trips as a Leader:
Caribbean Service Adventure ’14

Lucy Brennan is a 2014 graduate of Bates College where she studied Environmental Studies. Although Lucy was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts, she recently moved with her family to Freeport, Maine, and has quickly adopted the Maine lifestyle (her family keeps bees, and her mother maintains a farm in their yard), and an adoration for the outdoors. Like her mom, Lucy also got involved with gardening last summer as she worked with a local organic garden and a non-profit called “Lots to Garden.” The mission of this organization is to increase the accessibility of healthy food for both youth and low-income residents around Lewiston, Maine. At Bates, Lucy followed her passion for the outdoors. She led trips for the Bates pre-orientation program for incoming freshmen, and was also a member (and Captain!) of the Varsity Tennis team. Additionally, Lucy has plenty of experience working with kids. She has spent two summers working as a sailing instructor in Sorrento, Maine, where she loved acting as a mentor to her students as they honed their new skills. Lucy’s students loved her kindness and warmth as they work on their various community service projects throughout Puerto Rico on our Caribbean Service Adventure last summer!

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 Senior at 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. The oldest of four boys, Josh 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

Jeanne “Jeannie” Barthold is a Senior at 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’s Apogee students have loved getting to know her as she shares her passion for adventure, her enthusiasm for the outdoors, and her knowledge of precisely how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

John SwordsJohn Swords, Sudbury, MA
Bowdoin College, Class of 2015

Trips as a Leader:
Maine’s Downeast Explorer ’13, Northwest Explorer ’14

Hailing from Sudbury, Massachusetts, John Swords is a Senior at Bowdoin College and an Apogee veteran.  Over the past two summers, John has led four outstanding groups of Apogee students over hill and dale on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer and our Northwest Explorer trips!  At home, John is one of five kids in a close-knit family of enthusiastic outdoorsmen and women.  True to his heritage, John loves spending time outdoors – and he is a very active leader for Bowdoin’s Outing Club.  With the Outing Club, John has completed both the club’s rigorous semester-long leader training course as well as the advanced leader seminar required to become a whitewater raft guide.  He also plays basketball for Bowdoin’s Division III Varsity team (at 7’ tall, John is the bane of the other teams in the NESCAC!).  When he isn’t on the court or hitting the books, John spends his weekends with the Outing Club, tromping around the state of Maine, hiking, surfing, and rafting.  If it hasn’t come across yet, John definitely has a sense of adventure! He recently took a trip traveling from San Francisco to Moab, Utah, canoeing down the Green River in Emory County, Utah, and exploring the Paria Canyon in Arizona.  John is also service-oriented, and enjoyed his multiple service trips to New Orleans and the island nation of Dominica, where he helped to rebuild houses damaged by hurricanes, and to construct a community center.  John’s love of traveling, outdoor adventure, and young people has served him well as an Apogee leader!

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

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 PassageSafe Passage serves to educate and support children whose families live off of the municipal garbage dump. Mia then spent the winter months splitting her time between working at Apogee in the office and volunteering as an assistant Nordic ski coach at the Freeport, Maine Middle School.  She 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 (and plays host to our Tuscan Service Adventure groups).  At Spannocchia, Mia became quite skilled in the art of finding and harvesting wild asparagus.  Now back in the States, Mia is loving life as a Senior at Bates College.  A woman of wide, deep interests, Mia loves to sing, cook, sculpt, ski, bike, and hike.

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

Trips as a Leader:
New England Mountains & Coast ’13

Hailing from from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Matt Cooper 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. Matt proved to be an inspire to his Apogee students last summer on his New England Mountains & Coast!

Izzy Janzen, Wyndmoor, PAizzy
Hamilton College, Class of 2014

Trips as a Leader:
Maine’s Downeast Explorer ’13, Northwest Explorer ’14

From Philly and proud, Isabel (Izzy) Janzen is a 2014 graduate from Hamilton College, where she studied World Politics. In the Spring of 2013, she found her far from the hills of Clinton, New York, as she studied abroad in Cameroon. Her program in the heart of Africa fed her interests in the many facets of foreign aid. As part of her semester program, Izzy spent a month living and working on a womens’ community ginger farm. Back at Hamilton, Izzy was a co-captain of the womens’ rugby team, and played intramural basketball. Izzy has spent several summers working with kids of all ages in very different settings. She has worked as a camp counselor at a day camp in her home state of Pennsylvania, and she worked as an analytical writing tutor for the Higher Education Opportunities Program, a program for incoming freshmen who need extra academic preparation before entering Hamilton. Izzy is outdoorsy by nature, a trait sparked by countless camping trips she took with her dad growing up. She’s brought her love of the outdoors to Hamilton, where, as a Wilderness First Responder, she leads outdoor adventure orientation trips for incoming freshmen with Hamilton’s Adirondack Adventure program. Izzy has loved exploring the very best of Maine and Washington with her Downeast Explorer and Northwest Explorer groups.

Apogee Adventures Leader Jeremy Cronon

Jeremy Cronon, Madison, WI
Bates College, Class of 2013

Trips as a Leader:
Pacific Coast ’13, Northwest Explorer ’13, Europe Coast to Coast ’14

Born into a family of outdoor enthusiasts, Jeremy Cronon is no stranger to the wilderness. Growing up in Wisconsin, Jeremy traveled with his family to raft the Grand Canyon, took a 10,000 mile road trip in the American West, and spent summers swimming and paddling on Lake Superior. Through all of his travels, Jeremy has developed quite an adventurous spirit. Before graduating from Bates College last spring, he spent a year studying in Barcelona, and was able to travel throughout Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Hungary. At Bates, Jeremy majored in History and worked as a teaching assistant, served as Safety Director of the Outing Club, and played Ultimate Frisbee on the club team. Additionally, Jeremy is certified as a Wilderness First Responder, has been skydiving in New Hampshire and completed a National Outdoor Leadership School course in Wyoming. Before joining Apogee, Jeremy spent six summers working as a sea-kayak guide on Lake Superior – sharing his love for the outdoors and of adventure with folks young and old. Jeremy was thrilled to spend his summer on the Pacific Coast, the Northwest Explorer, and the Europe Coast to Coast trips.  He not only got to learn a lot from his students on his trips, but he also was able to bestow upon them his knowledge of Elvish (seriously!).

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

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

An ebullient Environmental Science and Philosophy double major at Tufts University, Mary “Midge” Cross was thrilled to spend her summer leading our New England Mountains & Coast trips. 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.  As a Mountain Club Trip Leader, Midge has grown into an esteemed outdoorswoman, and she’s ready to share her love for the wilderness with her students.  Midge’s Apogee students will enjoy learning about her passion for music; she is currently the President of BEATS, Tufts’ street percussion group (and we’re sure she is going to get her students singing and making beats with her). Last summer, her trips were filled with delicious meals cooked over camp stoves, bonfires, and lots of games on and off the trails (including Mafia – her favorite!).