How safe are Apogee Programs?

Whether you are participating in an Apogee program, riding your bike at home, or hiking in the mountains with family, there are inherent risks involved with many of the activities on an Apogee trip.  It is therefore impossible for us (or any outdoor organization) to guarantee an entirely safe experience in the outdoors.  That being said, creating and maintaining an environment where risk is minimized for our students is and always will be our number one priority.  We spend a great deal of time personally researching our routes to find the safest back roads, hiking trails, and service projects.  All of our leaders go through an extensive Apogee training program, and our biking leaders at the very minimum are certified in basic First Aid and CPR, with many holding more advanced certifications.  Hiking trips with a backcountry portion include at least one leader with a Wilderness First Responder certification.  Parents should not hesitate to call our office with any specific questions regarding safety.

Who are my leaders?

The difference between a good company and a great company is the quality of its leaders.  We know this is critical, so we spend the time and effort to make sure all of our leaders are the best in the business.  In 2014, we received over 240 applications for fewer than 20 new positions.  Our leaders are outstanding role models with strong leadership skills and extensive experience working with young people in group situations.  They are adventurers who love the outdoors and are eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with their students.  Learn more about our outstanding leaders on Our Leaders page.

How challenging is an Apogee adventure?  Are there any eligibility requirements?

We believe in the concept of “achievable challenge.”  While every Apogee program provides a measure of both physical and mental challenge, our trip itineraries are carefully designed to be well within reach of any motivated student.  [The one exception is our America Coast to Coast bike adventure (ACC).  This trip is our most challenging and is for highly motivated students.  ACC participants must be prepared to push themselves daily and understand that with great effort comes great reward.  Before applying for ACC, parents and students should speak with Apogee’s directors about expectations.]  Other than our age parameters, our primary requirements at Apogee are a positive attitude, a willingness to try new things, flexibility and a basic to moderate level of fitness and physical ability.   If you can bring these qualities to your trip, your Apogee experience is sure to be a great one.

Where will we spend our nights?  How often can we shower and do laundry?

On most trips, nights are spent camping in state parks, private campgrounds, backcountry campsites or staying indoors at youth hostels.  On the Cape Cod & the Islands bicycle trip, just under half of nights are spent indoors at hostels.  On our Caribbean Service Adventure, most nights are spent indoors in bunkhouses, villas, and guest houses.   Showers will be available at most overnight locations, and there is typically at least one opportunity each week on all trips to do laundry.

What do we eat on an Apogee trip?

Meals are one of the very best parts of every Apogee adventure!  On an Apogee trip, part of your responsibility will be to help plan, shop for, and cook your meals as a team, using either camp stoves or hostel kitchens.  The meals will be simple, yet plentiful, nutritious – and tasty!  One leader will supervise meal preparations, but the end results are up to you and your team members.  Some of the meals you might enjoy on an Apogee trip include stir-fries, pasta dishes, and burritos.  We are able to accommodate vegetarians and most students with specific allergies and dietary needs.

How do we keep in touch with friends and family?

In the late spring you will receive a list of mailing addresses where family and friends can send you mail during the course of your trip.  In addition, there will be various opportunities on all trips for students to send out postcards and letters and to place a limited number of phone calls home.  On all trips, we ask students to call home and check in at least once a week.

May I come on an Apogee adventure with a friend?

As a general rule, a maximum of two friends can join the same Apogee trip together.  Through experience we have found that more than two friends on the same trip can hinder the dynamics of a small group.   If you would like to sign up for a trip with a friend, please indicate this on the application.  We will do our best to honor all requests.

What is the makeup of a typical group?

For many of our trips, we run multiple sections that are grouped by age.  In all cases Apogee aims to create groups that are compatible and gender balanced.   A typical group never has more than twelve students and is 6:6, 7:5 or 8:4, girls to boys or boys to girls.  Groups are always led by one male and one female leader.

What happens if I get sick or injured while on trip?

Your health and well-being are Apogee’s top priorities.  In the case of an illness or injury, Apogee staff and leaders are trained to follow treatment protocols specific to the injury or illness.  If the injury or illness is minor, Apogee’s field staff will treat as necessary and contact the Directors (field staff are equipped with cell phones and, when necessary, satellite phones).  The Directors will contact the affected student’s family to inform them of the situation.  The injury or illness will be monitored over the next few days by the Apogee staff or until the symptoms have subsided.  In the case of a more serious illness or injury, Apogee staff will contact emergency medical personnel, treat the illness or injury as necessary (within the staff member’s level of medical certification), and inform the Directors.  In turn, the Directors will contact the affected student’s family immediately.  Apogee staff, the Directors, and the student’s parents will work with medical personnel to ensure that the best course of action is taken.  In general, we will inform your parents any time you need first aid or any non-routine medical treatment.

Can I bring my cell phone or Ipod?

In general, no.  We work hard to create a great group dynamic over the course of your trip, and cell phones, Ipods and other electronic accoutrements distract from that dynamic.  If you are flying to your trip start, you are welcome to bring your cell phone to be in touch with your parents while in transit.  At the start of every trip, leaders will collect all cell phones, Ipods, etc. and hold on to them for the duration of the trip.  Students who bring phones may “check out” their phones to make calls home on several occasions during the trip.  Please note, however, that Apogee is not responsible under any circumstances for loss or damage to any cell phones or any other electronic “contraband.”

What equipment do I need to join a trip?

Apogee will provide all “group gear,” including tents, cooking equipment, and first aid equipment.  We will send you a detailed equipment list for required personal gear well in advance of your trip.  Major pieces of equipment for the Maine Coast JR, New England Mountains & Coast and Caribbean Service Adventure trips include a hiking daypack and boots.  Maine’s Downeast Explorer, California Mountains & CoastNorthwest Explorer, and Alps Explorer trips require a sturdy backpack and hiking boots.   Cape Cod & the IslandsVermont to MontréalCoast to QuébecMontana Service AdventurePacific Coast, Europe Coast to Coast, and America Coast to Coast trips all require a bicycle and panniers.  A bicycle is included with the tuition cost of Maine Coast Junior & Hawaii Service Adventure.

Apogee has bicycles and panniers for rent for our Cape Cod & the Islands, Vermont to Montréal, Coast to Québec, Montana Service Adventure, & Pacific Coast trips.   Please call us to inquire about rates and availability.