Apogee Students Become Apogee Leaders!

Up here in Brunswick, we know that summer is just about here when the Danny’s Dog guys set up on the town common. And, friends, we are happy to report that the magnolias are putting on their best show and Danny is slinging the dogs (hot dogs that is)! Summer is nearly here! At Apogee HQ, trip itineraries are being put into place and forms are racing in!  To facilitate this significant uptick in pace, we have had various new and returning Apogee leaders in the office to help us get ready for Leader Training (only two weeks away!) and our quickly approaching summer.  We’re profiling two of those superstars, Christine Reighley and Mia Taggart, here.  Not only are they both leading our Europe Coast to Coast trip this summer, but they were both Apogee students! Christine went on our Coast to Quebec, Montana Service Adventure, and our inaugural America Coast to Coast trip in 2006, 2007, and 2009 respectively. Mia spent two summers in 2007 and 2008 riding with us on our Coast to Quebec and Pacific Coast trips. And now we are thrilled to have Christine join us on the staff side, and have Mia back for her fourth summer working with Apogee. I sat down with them to talk about their transition from student to leader, and their exciting European adventure – and little did we know, they have even more in common than we thought!

Christine Reighley and Mia Taggart Hannah: Christine and Mia – we are so excited (and grateful) to have you in the office before the summer begins! Before we get started on our “interview,” let’s do a little recap on all of your similarities for our lovely Apogee readers out there… because it’s a little freaky! So to start off, you guys are both from Freeport, Maine, both volunteered for “Safe Passage” in Guatemala, and you both spent a few months working on the same organic farm in Tuscany! But all at different times. This is really a bit “Twilight Zone-y,” don’t you think? And now you’re both off to Europe together! Seriously – are you the same person?

Christine: And the mirrored lives continue!

Mia: Indeed!

Hannah: OK, OK – on to business.  And so an obvious question for the both of you: why did you want to lead for Apogee after being an Apogee student?

Mia: Leading for Apogee was never really a question for me. Halfway through my first trip, I knew I wanted to be a leader. I had the most amazing leaders, Jess and Cam, and I really looked up to them. My trip also gave me an outdoor “bug” that I still have today, and I loved the approach to a group wilderness experience that is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.

Christine: I’d definitely say my leaders were also a huge reason I wanted to become a leader myself. On all of my trips, we made such strong connections and really became a family. I am looking forward to making those same connections with my students this summer and facilitating some of the same amazing experiences that my leaders did for me. And what better way to do that than by being in the outdoors on my bike?!

Hannah: What do you like better? Being a leader or a student?

Christine: Even though this is my first year working for Apogee, I’ve had plenty of experience leading wilderness trips. I love being a leader because I get to facilitate growth and help orchestrate the group dynamic.

Mia: I think I like being a leader a little bit better as well. I love leading because I feel as though I get a sense of everyone’s experience, not just my own. I get to see my students’ progress, and know that I had a hand in it. But it’s definitely much harder to be a leader than a student!

Hannah: What part of your ride are you guys looking forward to the most?

Mia and Christine simultaneously: THE ALPS!

Mia: We get to ride through the Alps at the point of the trip when our group dynamic is going to be awesome, and it’s the most scenic and challenging part of the ride. It’s going to be unbelievable!

Hannah:  Awesome – good talk, guys!