Leader Profiles – Will Pettee, Emily O’Connell, Matt Cooper, & Midge Cross

We could not be more excited to introduce our first set of 2014 leaders! Will Pettee and Emily O’Connell will be navigating the cobblestoned streets of Nantucket, riding the waves on the inter-island ferry, and guiding their groups to the very best beaches on the Vineyard this summer.  Indeed, it is a tough job. And heading away from the beaches of the Cape, and up to the White Mountains, Matt Cooper and Midge Cross are ready to take on an incredible adventure with their students on our New England Mountains & Coast trip!

Pettee, Will

Texan Will Pettee is a rising Junior at Cornell University where he studies Biology. Will grew up in Dallas, where he fostered a true love for the outdoors. Will was a member of the Boy Scouts of America for seven years, and is now an Eagle Scout. During his time with the Scouts, Will enjoyed camping out at night and building camaraderie with the other Scouts. Will decided to take on a leadership role in high school as he became a Senior Patrol leader for younger Scouts, guiding them through group activities and on various camping and hiking trips. He continued to act as a mentor to other students through the TeenAge Communication Theater, a publically-funded organization that performs skits on common teenage health issues.   At Cornell, Will is on the Ultimate Frisbee team and is an intramural referee. Will’s Cape Cod & the Islands students are going to love getting to know him, and enjoy some of his homemade Greek food – he is ready to show off his cooking skills after his recent experiences dishing out the moussaka while working at a Greek restaurant! 


Apogee Adventure Leader Emily O'ConnellEMILY O’CONNELL

Virginia born and Virginia raised, Emily O’Connell is one of the kindest people you may come across. Emily grew up with a younger brother and her two yellow labs in Richmond, Virginia. A rising Junior at the College of William & Mary, Emily studies Economics.  Emily also has a real passion for the Spanish language; during her Junior year in high school, Emily traveled to Panama to work with the indigenous Kuna people. She learned about their history, culture, and was completely immersed in their Spanish-speaking environment. She loved her experience so much that she decided to attend Middlebury College’s vaunted language school last summer, a seven-week intensive Spanish immersion program. On her days out of class, Emily enjoyed her time hiking and exploring the surrounding parts of Vermont.  Emily also loves to work kids of all ages. Since 2010, Emily has been a camp counselor, a field hockey coach, and was an Orientation Aid at William & Mary. Emily is excited to watch her Apogee students grow in self-esteem, and embrace their own personalities as they explore on our Cape Cod & the Islands trip this summer. 


MATT COOPERApogee Adventures' Matt Cooper

Hailing from from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Matt Cooper is a rising 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 is sure to inspire his Apogee students this summer on his New England Mountains & Coast trips this summer! 


Apogee Adventures Leader Midge CrossMidge Cross

An ebullient Environmental Science and Philosophy double major at Tufts University, Mary “Midge” Cross is 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). This summer, her trips are sure to be filled with delicious meals cooked over camp stoves, bonfires, and lots of games on and off the trails (including Mafia – her favorite!). 

Apogee Bike Jerseys for Sale!!

Happy early spring to all!
Again in 2014, we’re making our sharp-looking, Apogee Bike Jerseys available for purchase to students and families.  In addition to the silver/white colored jersey we offered last year (see below), in 2014 we’re also offering the jersey in a high visibility yellow color (see 3D renderings below).  We want to make our kids as visible as possible when they’re riding and certainly think the new color design will help with that.
Daniel & Ben feeling cool and looking stylish in their Apogee Bike Jerseys last summer on Pacific Coast.
 And some of our 2013 leaders sporting their fine looking Apo jerseys during training last June. 
 Pictured below is a 3D render of our new high-viz yellow Apogee jersey in a men’s club cut.
 And a 3D render of a women’s cut.
The 2014 jerseys will be produced for us once again by Atayne, an outstanding local Maine business.  Atayne produces premium, sustainable outdoor clothing that is manufactured here in the US.  They’re a super company and are worth checking out in their own right at www.atayne.com.
The cost of an Apogee jersey is $75, which includes shipping.  Payment can be made by check or credit card (VISA or MC).
We’re pre-ordering the shirts, and they take 6 weeks to process.  Because of this, we need all orders submitted no later than Thursday, May 1st.
To place an order OR for sizing information and questions, please email or call Kevin at kevin@apogeeadventures.com or 207.725.7025.

Get Out of Town!

By Hannah Gensheimer

Maine may be known as “Vacationland” with its charming seaside towns and beautiful coastlines, but in the depths of winter, it’s sometimes nice to get away! With trips to similarly frozen New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, we may not be hitting up Miami Beach or Punta Cana, but it’s not stopping us from having a great time, and getting us excited for another great summer!

Over the past few weeks, Kevin, Chad, and I have visited 26 different colleges and universities looking for the best new leaders. We have interviewed some amazing college and post-graduate students, all with exceptional leadership, outdoor, and travel experiences. And while we have met great new leaders as we’ve traveled from school to school, we have also had a blast getting to catch up with past leaders.

Last week I met up with Bowdoin super-stars Tim Hunt and John Swords (pictured below with the photo-bombing, oar-carrying moose). The fun continued at Bates with more Apogee alum, including Mia Taggart, Emma Perkinson, Chris Opie, and Matt Neckes.   

Apogee at Bowdoin

Chad was lucky enough to spend a night doing trivia at Hamilton College leaders with Izzy Janzen, Jack Messerly, and Nick Geisler, and 4-time Apogee alum, Matt Dickstein (all pictured below, sans trivia).  He also caught up with Phil Duvall at Cornell, Kirk Jackson at Tufts, Sam Tripp at Williams, and Shannon Usher at Amherst.

Apogee at Hamilton

We were excited to expand our leader recruiting to some of the Midwest’s best schools this year – including Grinnell, Carleton, and Macalester. As it happens, we don’t have any alums there yet – so Kevin was left taking a selfie (actually, it looks like you found a purple jellyfish to keep you company…)!

Apogee at GrinnellAt the end of the day, we interviewed over 240 new applicants for leader positions this summer – and we are so excited about the amazing roster of leaders – new and old – that is shaping up for 2014. Stay tuned for more details!

Summer 2014 Roadshow, Sign-Up Gifts, and Glow Bottle Tips!

I’m writing today, January 3, 2014, as the sun is just coming through the clouds after a fresh foot of snow has been left on the ground. I’m fairly certain that we’re up above zero degrees Fahrenheit as of 3:00 PM – if so, it’s the first time we’ve been above zero in two days. It is cold. Really cold. If you can’t get into a Bikram Yoga class, and you’re not on the next flight to this spot, join me for a moment and think about summer with Apogee.  

The best way to think summer – and with pictures, too – is to join us at one of our Roadshow presentations this winter.  Kevin, Hannah, and I will be making our way across this great land – truly from sea to shining sea – starting Thursday, January 9.  Whether you are an interested first-time family, or a five-year alumni family, we’d love to see you out there.  Our schedule is here. Email us (directors@apogeeadventures.com) or call us (207-725-7025) for specific details.

Like we did last year, we are very excited to offer our much-demanded glow-in-the-dark, BPA-free, 32-ounce, Nalgene water bottle (pictures below) to everyone who applies for a trip in the month of January. Did you get one last year?  Awesome – one sweet game of glow-in-the-dark nighttime soccer coming up!  And, continuing with the theme started in last year’s post, let’s imagine some other uses for your glow-in-the-dark water bottle.

1) You’re in northeast this morning, and you’re in the middle of the snowpocalypse, and it’s -8 out.  You’re shoveling the end of the driveway when the biggest plow you’ve ever seen comes by and plows you right under a drift.  Luckily, you have your Apogee bottle with you for shoveling hydration – but now, you take off the top and start shoveling your way out with the bottle.  The day is saved!

2) Later in the day, you’re putting your incredibly snowy gear in the dryer in the basement when the door to the basement is locked by a well-meaning house guest.  And they turned off the light.  And the only switch is outside the door.  And everyone leaves.  Looks like you’ve got a couple of hours to kill… But, you are resourceful, and realizing that a situation like this was bound to happen sometime, you always bring your Apogee bottle and your favorite book of T.S. Eliot poems to the basement.  You read by the light of your bottle and wonder what it really would be like to be a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the silent seas…. 

3) Next summer, you and your California Mountains & Coast group are enjoying the millions of stars visible from the Yosemite high country when a small plane appears – and it looks like it is in distress!  You and your group all enrolled in your trip in January – you quickly pull out your glow in the dark bottles and place them evenly on the plateau around you, creating a perfect runway.  The plane lands.  It was Jay-Z and Beyonce! In their gratitude, they give you and your group tickets to both of their concerts for the rest of your life!  Amazing!

4) You’ve escaped from the snow and you’re trekking across the Kalahari with the Basarwa tribe.  A sudden eclipse darkens the sky – but wait, it isn’t an eclipse – it’s martians!  Tons of them!  Thinking quickly, you offer your trusty glow-in-the-dark Apogee bottle as a peace offering.  Not only are they appeased, but they immediately make you into a revered deity.  Well done.

Other ideas? Email me at chad@apogeeadventures.com and we’ll get ‘em up on Facebook. 

That’s all for now, my friends!  Please RSVP for the Roadshow and remember to get your application in this month in order to take advantage of our Apo-bottle’s many, many uses.

Apogee H20 Glow Apogee Glow H2O Light