Edition IX of the “Peak News” Newsletter – Alum Update, Staff Update, and More!

An (Amazing!) Apogee Alum Feature

Rosie Perkinson, of Burlington, VT, was a rock star on last summer’s Alaska Mountains and Coast trip. What’s really cool about Rosie, though, is what she did after returning from Alaska. Check out this update, straight from Rosie herself!

Teen summer hiking and backpacking trip in Alaska

Rosie (third from the right) and her Alaska group in front of Resurrection Bay in Miller’s Landing, AK

“While getting to know the other kids on my trip to Alaska last summer, I noticed that many of the kids said that they got introduced to the outdoors through their high school outing club. It made me think “Hey, why don’t we have an outing club at Burlington High School?” It seemed like it really helped kids get outside.

When I got home, I did some research and found out that a lot of high schools in my area don’t have such a club, including my school. I talked with my parents, friends and teachers and found that there was a lot of support for the idea of creating an outing club. Once my friend and I were able to convince a teacher to be our advisor, the Burlington High School Outing club was born!

This past fall, we had an outing to a Lake Champlain beach to play volleyball, a walk at a local farm, a talk from our local chapter of the Green Mountain Club, and an ice skating event at a local rink. The outing club was joined by several other clubs at that event. We hope to keep growing the number of club members and taking on new and exciting outings this winter and spring. It was because of my trip with Apogee that I found the inspiration to start this group and help kids get outside!”

We are so impressed with Rosie’s motivation and vision and we love that she is helping more young people get outside. Way to go, Rosie! We are so excited to see what you do next!

Rosie (on the far right) and her Alaska group on Exit Glacier after a day of ice climbing in crevasses

An (Impressive!) Apogee Staff Feature

Sam Gittleman took on the potentially-daunting challenge of leading our Maine Coast College Essay trips last summer. Sam (and his co-leader, Ellie) made sure his students felt supported and comfortable, ate well, and had a great time – and, unique to this program, he also helped his students write terrific college application essays. After his Apogee summer, Sam headed off for a different adventure in South Africa and sent us the update below. As one would expect from a Maine Coast College Essay leader, it’s a good read!

Apogee College Essay Writing Program for teens

Sam (on the left), his co-leader, Ellie, and two of their Maine Coast College Essay students saying their goodbyes a la mode de la “moose” at the Portland Jetport

“The day after my Apogee summer concluded, I took an interview from an inn near my campsite in Brooklin, Maine (if my leader experience has taught me anything, it equipped me with an ability to stay calm while scrambling for a WiFi connection in an area with limited cell service…). The next day, I took a follow-up interview, this time from my MCCE co-leader’s basement in Bar Harbor. And the day after that, I was asked if I could move to Johannesburg, South Africa, in ten days.

After nearly two years of feeling stuck in corporate America, a summer leading Apogee’s Maine Coast College Essay program helped me to come alive again. I found purpose in waking up each day; deep meaning in connecting students with each other, the natural world, and their inner muse. I yearned for a path to continue growing this sense of fulfillment and aliveness once my summer ended.

After a couple of my Apogee students gushed about their experiences at semester away schools, I fell down a rabbit hole that ended in a cold-call email to the director of the School for Ethics and Global Leadership’s (SEGL) campus in Johannesburg. When students didn’t need help with their essays, I wrote my own – a cover letter.

Five months later, I find myself a semester into another enlivening and perspective-expanding experience. SEGL in Johannesburg partners with the African Leadership Academy (ALA), a boarding school attracting intellectually motivated students from across the African continent. I supervise a hall of twenty boys from sixteen countries, teach Ethics and Leadership, and serve as an advisor to both SEGL and ALA students. I’ve found that all my best advisory meetings start with Apogees and Perigees; that there’s still no better activity when the bus runs late than ‘Bob the Weasel.’ I think of the infamous ‘5 P’s’ (“Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”) as I plan school trips to Constitution Hill and Cape Town; and of starry nights at the Maine Forest Yurts as I facilitate community-building programming with students.

Both physically and mentally, I wouldn’t be here without my Apogee experience – and I’m really happy here. I get to work with students who fill me with the hope of the world they will shape. And, as with Apogee, I get to pour my heart into my work and feel alive every day.”

Teen Outdoor Trip Leader in South Africa

Sam (in the back right with his arms in the air) and some of his students in Johannesburg, South Africa

Parallel Adventures

Since Apogee was started way back in 2001, folks have been asking when we were going to run trips for adults. We are delighted to introduce – or re-introduce after a little bump in the road around Covid – Parallel Adventures. Parallel was founded by Chad and Kevin (along with the far better taste of Susan Olcott, Chad’s wife) in 2020 and ran its first hiking five-night hiking trips to Spain and Portugal last year. We have trips planned for the spring and fall of 2023 – if real hiking, independent travel, great food and wine, incredible vistas, and authentic cultural experiences appeal to you, we hope you will join us! Learn more by reaching out to Chad at chad@parallel-adventures.com. You can also see some great pictures from our recent trips on Parallel’s Instagram page.

Adventure Trips for Adults

That’s all for now, Apogee family –  if your Apogee Alum has done something cool or exciting recently (and we know you have!), please send a blurb and photo to andi@apogeeadventures.com.   

We love hearing from you!