Day 43: A Day of Thanks

Hey Folks.  Kevin here on blog duty today.  With Susie off, Chad traveling back from San Diego after seeing both our ACC groups finish, and Cait and Chris shuttling our VM groups back from Montreal, I find myself alone in the office…which has rarely, if ever, happened over the last 8+ weeks.  So I have a little time to reflect about the last couple of months…and I feel it’s important to say thank you to everyone who has made this Apogee 2013 summer such a success.

I’ll start with our trip leaders.  Combined, Chad and I spent over 4 weeks traveling in January and February interviewing and recruiting our new 2013 trip leaders (half of our 2012 leaders were back in 2013).  We interviewed hundreds of candidates for only a handful of new positions.  We are immensely proud of our team, and I hope you will agree based on your son or daughter’s experience with us, that they are all incredible, dedicated individuals and role models that make our program special and unique.  An Apogee mom emailed me recently and beautifully captures my sentiment: “From the bottom of my heart, I thank each of you for giving my son something wonderful to remember and cherish.  He felt truly accepted, respected and appreciated by every individual in your group.  The friendships that were formed are no doubt a credit to the leadership and role models these children had in Phil and Emma.  Thank you, Phil & Emma, for taking time and interest in our son.  Your kindness meant the world to him and to us.”  That says it all.  A huge kudos and thanks to all of our 2013 trip leaders.

Next up are MikeElizabeth, and Michele who worked with Chad and I throughout this last year in the office.  Mike is a logistics master who continually amazes us with his ability to balance student matriculation, trip planning, equipment organization, and everything else we throw his way (including our request to have him lead our ACC trip again).  Elizabeth keeps our office in order and running smoothly with her incredible attention to detail.  All the paperwork organization, reference calls, and database management…that’s Elizabeth.  And of course Michele, who balances our books and keeps our finances in order, and also brings endless spirit and insight to Apogee.  We can’t thank these three enough for everything they’ve done and continue to do for our program.

Then we have the unsung heroes of the summer.  The folks who put in long hours, drive countless miles in vans and rental cars, make multiple trips in a day to the airport for pickups, change bicycle (and car) tires on the edge of rural Maine roads, stuff envelopes, put up with our bad jokes (or at least Chad’s), proof evaluations, write daily blogs and collect the photos that go with the blogs, organize and clean equipment between trips…  The list goes go on and on.  I’m talking about Susie, Cait, Chris, Garrett & Josh.  If Apogee were a machine, these guys would be the gears and cogs that keep it running smoothly.  Without their hard work and dedication, the wheels would have fallen off the wagon.  On behalf of Chad and myself, our deepest thanks to all five of you for making this summer such a success.

And lastly, we want to thank YOUour Apogee students and parents, for giving us the chance to be a part of your lives this summer.  We know there are many summertime opportunities for kids, and that a lot of thought and consideration goes into which program(s) families choose.  Speaking personally, twelve years after starting Apogee, I am still humbled and excited by every student who applies to join us.  It shows a sign of trust on your part… which is a huge honor that we take very seriously.  We think of you (students) as our own kids during the summer, and I hope the care, dedication, and thoughtfulness we try to instill in your Apogee experience is evident.  Thanks for being a part of the Apogee family in 2013!

Alright…enough from me.  I’m going to get down from my soap box and move on to the real reason you’re reading this blog.  You want to see and hear about your kids! 

Four of our trips ended this morning/this afternoon – VM3A, VM3B, CSA2 & ACC1 – and families have reunited or will be reuniting here shortly.  A few parting shots from our leaders…  

VM3A at the Manchester Airport around lunchtime before saying their final goodbyes.

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Matt texted me this picture on the drive from Montreal back to NH.  Happy but obviously very tired kids.

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CSA2’s last evening together in Puerto Rico. 

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 Some images from ACC1’s final days. 


Coming down the home stretch and seeing the crowd of families and friends ahead! 

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The mad dash to the water.  Love the look of the woman on the beach!

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And a shot of the desert sky at sunset near Palm Desert, CA. Well done, guys.  Well done.

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Now, onto the trips that are still in the field!

PC2 – It has been done!  As of 1:00 PM PST, our PC2 crew had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and was settling into their hostel in SF.  Kudos and congratulations to Ally, Tim, and their fabulous team of riders!

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You’ll notice the lady in the dress on the right and the gentleman on the far left is not part of the PC2 group.  They are Lindsay and Zac, a fun-loving, bicycle touring couple our crew ran into way back in Brookings, OR.  When our kids and leaders arrived at the hostel this afternoon, Zac and Lindsay were there waiting to welcome them with cookies!

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NWXA – As you NWXA parents know, Garth, Kelly, & Co. spent a few days kayaking around Cypress Island in the San Juans.  One of my very best friends from college has a family cabin on Cypress, and I’ve been fortunate to spend a bit of time out there.  It is a very special place, and I have no doubt that everyone in the group will return with glowing stories about their time in the San Juans.  This afternoon they head for Seattle where they’ll spend tomorrow exploring the city! 

The group managed to group their kayaks together, hoist a sail, and let mother nature move them along.  Here’s some of the gang in the bow.

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And the others in the stern. Blow wind, blow!

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NWXB  These guys have emerged from their backcountry hike in the Olympics!  Mia sent me a slew of pictures from the trip.  The scenes they viewed are stunning to say the least!  Mia’s text to me; “We’re out of the backcountry and are all smiles.  It was AMAZING!” 

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Mia, Jeremy and crew are also on their way to Seattle this afternoon to spend tomorrow seeing the sites of the city!

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CMC3 – And yet another group coming out of the backcountry today. This time in Yosemite National Park!  Here are a couple of images Jack and CC were able to fire off on their drive out of the Park.

Yosemite group yoga poses in the backcountry.


 Great group picture at sunrise!  Everyone is looking forward to spending their last day together in San Francisco tomorrow.


ACC2 – Last but not least, our fearless, fast moving cross country riders have slowed way down to enjoy some beach time in San Diego.  They too will be enjoying a final day and meal together tomorrow before scattering to different coasts and continents on Saturday…

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