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.
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.
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…)!
At 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!
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 (email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Moderated by Hannah Gensheimer
Happy holidays from Bates College! The snow is falling, the decorations are going up, and the caffeine-driven Bates students are filling the library. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, finals are upon us! Despite the fact that this is the craziest time of year for college students, I was lucky enough to be a part of a very fun, Apogee-filled study break and catch up with four of our leaders, Mia Taggart, Emma Perkinson, Chris Opie, and Matt Neckes. Mia, a former Apogee student, led both biking and hiking trips along the West Coast on our Pacific Coast trip and the Northwest Explorer last summer. Chris (AKA, “Opie,” “Opes,” the “Opinator”) worked on the support staff team in Brunswick. Emma and Matt led along the East Coast on our Vermont to Montreal and New England Mountain
’s & Coast trips. Let’s see what’s going on in Lewiston, Maine and check in on how our leaders are handling the craziness of finals.
Hannah – Hello, lovely Bates friends! I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you are all able to take time to hang out and catch-up during this busy time of year. Oh, the Apogee family is back together!
[Despite the fact that I know they are all in the midst of tests and papers, they all look surprisingly alert and happy to be here... Must be early in finals week?]
Hannah – So what’s going on with everyone? Are you all just swamped with work?
Emma – Right now, I am focusing on my Senior thesis. I’ve gotten to do my research at the Library of Congress in DC, and I have had access to the American Philosophical Association’s archives in Philadelphia. [Ed. note: we asked Emma to explain here thesis after we were done: "I'm doing a year-long thesis on the role that print media (specifically women’s journals and mainstream newspapers) plays in spreading eugenic ideas to American women in the 20th century." Whoa...] In terms of thinking about post-college life, I’m not sure where I’ll end up with, but I definitely want to do something with education. And hopefully another summer with Apogee!
Hannah – Impressive! Mia, you do education as well, right? Do you and Emma ever cross paths?
Mia – Emma and I have class together!
Hannah – Who has a better grade in the class? Just kidding, don’t answer that… [I always know how to make the conversation just a little bit awkward] But Matt, what’s new with you?
Matt –Besides finals, I’ve been playing a lot of tenor saxophone with some friends. A few weeks ago my friend, who plays piano, and I put on a little concert outside of the dining hall. And I actually have a concert tonight!
Hannah – Nice, Matt! We should make an Apogee band. Start thinking about good band names. Mia can sing in your band. Have you heard her a cappella group sing? They’re really good. Mia, are you enjoying it?
Mia –Yeah, it’s going really well. We are only singing Christmas songs right now, and it makes me really happy! And it gives me a nice break from all of my work. I’m taking five classes right now so it’s been a crazy semester. But actually, working with Apogee has taught me a lot about my thoughts on various educational systems and what I want to do next semester with my thesis. I’m not really sure the details of it all, but I know that I don’t want to work in just a day school. I want to work in an environment that emphasizes building great relationships, and I’m interested in looking at how educational paradigms coincide with my experiences with Apogee.
Hannah – That’s great, Mia! Opie? What’s Junior year looking like?
Opie – Well, finals… so that’s fun. [Everyone laughs and Emma looks at me with a big thumbs up.] But I’m also looking forward to Regionals for Cyclo-Cross in two weeks. [What's Cyclo-Cross, you ask? Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWY7rRxIs8s. More whoas!] Basically, that means I’ll finish finals week then go to a two-day race in the freezing cold.
[Opie is a pre-Med, English major with an Education minor, who spends his "free time" doing that crazy Cyclo-Cross stuff... and somehow he is telling me everything with a huge grin on his face. Just amazing!]
Hannah – So guys, I’m going let you get back to the grind, but what has been your favorite thing you’ve taken away from working with Apogee?
Matt – One of my favorite things I experienced on my Apogee trips was the kindness of strangers. There were times when we had to ask others for help, and so often, people went out of their way to help us even when we didn’t ask. That really inspired me, and I think in the future I will be more likely to help somebody out, even a total stranger, if they’re in need. All-in-all, I’ve learned we’re all in this together!
Hannah – That’s definitely true. What about you, Opie? What have you taken away? Did your cooking skills get any better? [Opie went into the summer a little nervous about cooking for the East Coast leaders between their trips.]
Opie – [Opie laughs] Yeah, I definitely got better, but maybe should’ve helped out in the kitchen a little bit more. I had to rely on a couple of the other support staff members at times. But I have definitely gotten better!
Emma – Yeah, me too! I’m definitely more creative in the kitchen. But for me, the best part is now I get daily Snapchats from my kiddos, and it makes me SO happy! Between classes I open them and it makes me smile!