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. Here is some more important information about Apogee’s hiring processes, our extensive leader training program, and our leaders’ qualifications and certifications.
- 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, two week-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 certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and as Lifeguards. The majority also hold higher certifications, such as Wilderness First Responder and EMT.
- Apogee enjoys a very high leader return rate. Many veteran leaders return for multiple summers.
Read more below to meet some of our outstanding Trip Leaders.
MEET OUR LEADERS
Donovan Fiore, Gilbert, AZ
Washington & Lee University, Class of 2020
Trips as a Leader: Vermont to Montreal ’18, Europe Coast to Coast ’19
Donovan Fiore enjoys exercising creativity whenever possible and has accordingly picked up a unique set of hobbies. In addition to wood carving, wood burning, lamp building, painting, and singing, Donovan also plays the guitar, electric bass, banjo, piano, mandolin, ukulele, cajon, and harmonica – wow! Outdoors, Donovan enjoys running, hiking, and mountain biking. He has explored the outdoors of Kauai, Four Peaks in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, and the Everglades in Florida. Still, he hopes to someday travel to the black-sand beaches of Iceland and the Kangaroo Bay Wildlife Preserve in Australia. Donovan loves working with kids and young adults and has plenty experience serving in leadership roles: throughout high school, he was a leader in his school’s mentoring program and men’s choir, taught guitar to middle school students, and was the Varsity Captain of the Soccer and Track & Field Teams. Now a senior at Washington and Lee University pursuing a double major in Business Administration and Psychology, Donovan was WLU’s first sophomore Track & Field Captain, serves as a Resident Adviser, and leads Sunday Night Worship weekly.
Emily Hoffman, New York, NY
St. Lawrence University, Class of 2018
Trips as a Student: Cape Cod & the Islands ’11, Caribbean Service Adventure ’12, Montana Service Adventure ’13, Europe Coast to Coast ’14
Trips as a Leader: Coast to Quebec ’16, Montana Service Adventure ’17, America Coast to Coast ’18, Europe Coast to Coast ’19
Coming to us from the bustling streets of New York City, Emily Hoffman is well-versed in all things Apogee. Emily spent four summers with us as a student – she biked on Cape Cod and across Montana and Europe. She also spent time with us in Puerto Rico volunteering on service projects. A recent graduate of St. Lawrence University, Emily’s passion for the outdoors has truly blossomed. During her Sophomore fall, Emily took part in SLU’s “Adirondack Semester,” a program that took her entirely off the grid for three months, foregoing technology and running water in exchange for a better understanding of how to live simply. Back on campus, Emily studied Environmental Sociology and lived in the “Women’s Resources Center,” a house dedicated to creating a safe environment for women to find a healthy, supportive community on campus. Emily is passionate about service and working with youth. During her senior year in high school Emily traveled to Guatemala with the “Safe Passage” organization and worked with local students teaching English and the sport of lacrosse. Beyond her travels to Guatemala and with Apogee, Emily has been to France, Italy, London and Mexico.
Nicole Greene, Peoa, UT
St. Lawrence University, Class of 2021
Trips as a Leader: California Mountains & Coast ’19
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Peoa, Utah, Nicole Greene, a junior at Saint Lawrence University (SLU), now calls Canton, NY home. Back in Utah, however, Nicole is one of 13 siblings – assuming we’re counting her family’s two horses, two donkeys (Daffodil and Petunia), and six chickens. In high school, Nicole juggled the National Honor Society presidency, serving as a peer tutor for students with disabilities, and babysitting – while spending every free minute taking advantage of living around Park City: hiking, mountain biking, ski touring, and ski racing. Nicole keeps herself busy at SLU, too; she’s a member of the Division 1 Varsity Alpine ski team, captain of the Women’s Club Soccer team, and serves as the SLU liaison to the Little River School, where she organizes lessons for their alternative learning classrooms. Her passion for working with people in the outdoors includes her academic interests, as well – Nicole is a Environmental-Sociology major. After volunteering for several years at the National Ability Center in Park City, Nicole worked as a Recreation Program Instructor two summers ago, where she empowered individuals of all abilities by building confidence through sports and educational programs. She worked with teenagers with spinal cord injuries, adults with Autism, and military veterans on skills including adaptive water skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and archery.
Ezra Ward-Packard, Lake Geneva, WI
Carleton College, Class of 2020
Trips as a Leader: Coast to Quebec ’17, America Coast to Coast ’18 & ’19
Ezra Ward-Packard’s love of cycling started early – not in life, but at 4:30 AM. The second of five children growing up in Wisconsin, Ezra woke up with his brother before sunrise to bike five miles to their grandmother’s house to watch Team USA play in the 2002 World Cup; Ezra remembers this as the moment he fell in love with cycling. However, Ezra wasn’t satisfied just watching high-achieving athletes on TV – instead, he decided to become one himself. After high school, Ezra spent three years as a semi-pro cyclist, racing 213 times in fifteen states and five countries, and seeing the world and living with teammates from seventeen different countries. Off his bike, Ezra is a hard-working student at Carleton College, where he majors in Cinema and Media Studies and minors in Educational Studies. Ezra is also an avid hiker – he has taken on three solo hiking and backpacking trips and checked off twelve national parks throughout South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Arkansas. Ezra recently spent a winter break with All Hands Volunteers, where he devoted two weeks to mucking, gutting, sanitizing, and rebuilding some of the 60,000 flood-damaged homes in the Baton Rouge area. Ezra also loves working with kids – he has served as a residential counselor at a camp for young people with Type-1 Diabetes and has helped coach and counsel young cyclists at Team Novo Nordisk’s Talent Identification camp.
Michelle Mouw, Shunyi, Beijing
Northeastern University, Class of 2021
Trips as a Leader:
Scottish Highlands ’19
Growing up in Beijing, China, Michelle Mouw was exposed to people from many backgrounds, and though Beijing was awash in culture, it lacked natural spaces. Michelle’s real introduction to the outdoors happened at a summer camp in Minnesota, where it soon bloomed into a full-blown love of being outside and adventuring. This, in part, is what led her to decide to take a gap year before beginning college at Northeastern. During this year of exploration she traveled through Europe before completing a 60-day NOLS semester in the Pacific Northwest, learning valuable technical skills and exploring the backcountry. Now a junior, Michelle studies psychology and does her best to take full advantage of the opportunities at Northeastern; she has spent 6 months in NYC working for an advertising firm and a stint working for The Boston Consulting Group. She also spent two summers ago with Northeastern in Cape Town, South Africa, where she assisted entrepreneurs with business strategy. Travelling is clearly not new for Michelle, and, unsurprisingly, neither is working with students. During a portion of the aforementioned gap year, Michelle also found time to work with a Beijing organization that takes students on tours around the city. In her free time, Michelle loves to cook, play guitar and ukulele, and write music.
Domi Frideger, Durango, CO
Bates College, Class of 2021
Trips as a Leader:
Pacific Coast ’19
Domi Frideger grew up skiing, mountain biking, rafting, and trail running in the mountains around Durango, creating a connection with the outdoors from a young age. Now a junior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, Domi has rolled his love of the outdoors into his major, as he pursues a degree in Environmental Studies. Bicycle touring runs in Domi’s blood, as his dad works for an adult bike touring company. Building on his father’s knowledge and experience, Domi planned and rode his own self-supported 2,500 mile bike tour from Bergen, Norway to Barcelona, Spain in 2016. In addition to his own outdoor pursuits, Domi is passionate about passing his love of the outdoors on to others. In high school, Domi worked to establish an organization that provided affordable access to Avalanche Education for high schoolers in an effort to reduce backcountry skiing accidents among young people. Domi also spent several years working for a local Durango adventure camp, leading campers ages eight to thirteen on hikes through the mountains. Domi has continued his outdoor leadership at Bates, where he leads orientation trips for incoming students. When he’s not biking, hiking, skiing, or doing any other number of outdoor pursuits, Domi will still probably be found outside, practicing with the competitive Ultimate Frisbee team on campus.