Day 46: Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid

Edited by Shem Dixon

Unbelievably, we’ve come to the end of another Apogee summer. Our very last trip, NEMC3, called it a wrap this morning with hugs and misty eyes in a Wakefield parking lot after one last night under the stars filled with good food, friendship, and an epic “Apogee & Perigee” session. And with the end of the summer, we’ve historically penned a blog entry about how much we appreciate our students and their parents, about how we wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for you. That’s certainly true, but today I’d like to highlight the other set of people to whom we owe a great debt of thanks – our incredibly hard-working staff. These are the folks who spent all of their waking moments, and many of moments when they should have been sleeping, engaged in vigorously facilitating their students’ growth, entertainment, and well-being.

In fact, I’d like to let their co-leaders (their partners in crime, their better-halves…) sing each others praises. After a summer like this, there are likely few people who know them better!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE): Miles “Smiley” & Rhia

Rhia says, “Smiley is an awesome Co because not a day goes by that he doesn’t make sure I’m doing well. Somehow he always knows how to get wherever we’re going and he’s a genius when it comes to college essay ideas.”

Miles says, “Rhia has shown on countless occasions how amazingly selfless and wonderful she is as a leader. Her exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail quickly became integral to the success we had on our trips. She meant the world to the kids because of the dedication and care she demonstrated at all hours of the day, particularly her constant efforts to get to know everyone on a very close, personal level. She put others’ needs before her own without fail, and always did so with a huge, warm smile on her face.”

Rhia & Miles

Cape Cod and the Islands (CI): Alyssa & Kevin

Kevin says, “Alyssa can always find a way to connect with kids, whether it’s playfully engaging them or telling a hilarious story from her past. She always has the group’s best interest in mind and always holds true to herself.”

Alyssa says, “Kevin is always willing to be one of the kids and is a ball of energy. He’s always full of enthusiasm and ready to jump into any given activity with his full spirit!”


New England Mountain’s and Coast (NEMC): Aaron “Pom” & Isa

Isa says, “Pom is an amazing co leader because he not only inspires me to hold myself to higher standards and to reach for my dreams, but is so kind. He stands up for himself and those he holds close to his heart and asserts his beliefs, inspiring those around him to be their very best self and supporting them endlessly. To top it off, his goofy dance moves and soft heart bring a sentimental softness at the most special moments that melt my heart.”

Pom says, “Isa has this warm, maternal, and welcoming aura about her that makes leading Apogee trips with her a breeze. It’s hard to think of one adjective the describes accurately how much Isa has meant to me this summer – she is just the most loyal, easy going, and righteous friend I could ask for. I have learned so much from her and with her in our summer together. I’m going to miss her so much this year, but can’t wait to Facetime and cook together.”


Vermont to Montreal (VM): Anna & Freddy

Anna says, “Freddy is such a supportive and calming presence, and a fabulous co! I can’t count the number of times he made me laugh this summer. To quote one of our students, ‘Freddy is a special individual.’ He is a spectacular person and I couldn’t have done it without him! Fred was especially great at drawing kids out of their shells and making sure everyone felt included.”

Freddy say, “Anna is a fabulous co! She is charismatic, calm, a wonderful chef, and our kids loved her! She was always willing to give each kid the attention they needed, and was right there to help and support them at any time of day. She is so fantastic!!! And an absolute joy to work with!”


Maine’s Downeast Explorer / Vermont to Montreal / Maine Coast Junior: Jonathan & Jessi

Jessi says, “He’s enthusiastic about learning and teaching, and it makes the kids super excited to learn as well! He’s also always willing to clean the brownie scramble!”

Jonathan says, “Jessi is an amazingly charismatic and caring leader who tries to find the best qualities in everyone she meets. She is incredibly easy to talk to and even after spending a short time with her, you feel like you’ve been her friend your whole life.”


California Mountain’s and Coast (CMC): Matt & Midge

Midge says, “Coops is basically my brother at this point: we know each other’s crazy quirks, and sometimes make eye contact during trips when things are crazy and just burst out laughing over how ridiculous and amazing our jobs are. Coops would literally carry a kid up the mountain on his back if needed, and he is the best co I could ask for!”

Matt says, “Clearly amazing, her organization makes our trips run incredibly smooth, she can form connections with any student, and quickly becomes the mama bear of the group.”

Matt & Midge

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA): Emily “Blau” & Thomas

Thomas says, “Regardless of the challenge, Emily not only rose to the occasion, but conquered whatever issue in extraordinary ways. She was always there for me and our kids, regardless of the time or place. In two short months we went from being awkward Facebook friends to Best Friends, and I’m dreading August 13th, when I have to wake up and not have Blau there to take on the day with me.”

Emily says, “Thomas is the kindest soul, who would go above and beyond to make everyone comfortable – often sacrificing food, his own personal comfort, and his dignity. He is supportive and always knows what type of support to provide, whether through a hug, a bar of chocolate, or a sarcastic comment to make you laugh. I have never bonded with someone as quickly as I have with him and this is totally dependent on his openness, honesty, curiosity, and his true care for the people in his life. It has been the greatest gift to be paired with Thomas this summer. He has changed my life for the better.”

Thomas & Blau

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX): Erinn & John

John says, “Before this summer I have only seen super heros in movies. Little did I know I was going to end up working with one. Selfess at all times, she can, and will, find a way to make those around her happy. Frustratingly good at just about anything, she never accepts a break even after a 24 hour day. She is in fact, Wonder Woman.”

Erinn says, “John is an absolutely fantastic leader and individual. He never ceases to amaze me and all of our kiddos. He is absolutely incredible with every kid. He knows how to be an absolute goof ball who our kiddos respected and admired. He is an inspiration and I feel so lucky to have led and to have gotten to know this summer!!”


Coast to Quebec (CQA): Kyle & Rosa

Rosa says, “Kyle is an incredibly passionate and knowledgeable leader who is truly in his element when working with kids in the outdoors.As an added bonus, Kyle is a really excellent chef who whipped up some of the most gourmet camp meals I’ve ever had!”

Kyle says, “Rosa’s caring nature really shines through when she leads. She always put our kids first, and it is clear that she would do anything to ensure they had a great summer.”

Apogee Adventures

Coast to Quebec B (CQB): Kate & Zack “Dixie”

Zack says, “Kate’s most wonderful quality is that she has a sharp eye for that little extra something. Whether it’s a night walk or taking a minute to look at the stars when the sky is just right. Kate is there to put the icing on the cake of everyone’s day.”

Kate says, “Dixie is wonderful because he is one of the most genuinely kind people that I know. Whether you’re a stranger or his best friend, he will always make your day better with a hug, a joke, and a kind word.”


Montana Service Adventure (MSA): Annika “Niqs” & Christian

Christian says, “Annika is always thoughtful and goes the extra mile to make sure our students have a wonderful time. Whether it’s getting sprinkles for bagels or ice cream after a long day, she loves to surprise everyone with special treats and clearly thinks carefully about them ahead of time. This is just one way she shows how much she cares for our students and is trying to make this experience one that will be treasured by them forever.”

Annika says, “One of the many things that makes Christian so wonderful is his attention to detail, and his uncanny ability to sing Les Miserable to the kids while biking!”


Northwest Explorer (NWX): Becca & Will

Will says, “If you look up selfless in the dictonary, you’d probably find a picture of Rebecca Stamp. The dictionary would also include, ‘see also: epic ray of sunshine.’ When Becca lent out her gloves and they came back sopping wet on a frigid day, no complaints from Becca. When her backpack strap broke after the first 1/2 mile of our backcountry section (because she was carrying at least 3 people’s share of group gear), she just laughed and kept going. She’s my ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, or, more accurately for our conditions, she’s my drop of much needed rain on a dry, dusty, drought-ridden day. She keeps me sane, makes me laugh, our kids adore her, she is my better half.”

Becca says, “Will is a superstar. He always has a positive attitude and cares about everyone in the group more than he cares for himself. His attitude and loving personality stand as a testament to Will’s inspiring character.”

Will & Becca

Pacific Coast A (PCA): Abby & West

West says, “Abby has an incredible ability to connect with anyone, especially kids. Many of the strongest friendships built on our trips this summer were between her and the kids. She was everyone’s supportive shoulder when things got hard, especially mine as her co leader. She was also the loudest cheerleader on the bike, had the biggest smile every early morning wake up, and gave the most thoughtful and poignant reminders to live in, and enjoy, the present moment. Literally my dream co!”

Abby says, “West is my rock, he completes me and reads my mind on an hourly basis. I can give him one look and he knows what I’m saying and he makes me laugh constantly. Especially over tomato soup. He’s the llama’s pajamas.”

Abby & West


Pacific Coast B (PCB): Mike & Emily “Sherry”

Sherry says, “Well, SHOOT! Michael is Uh-MAZING! He is so kind and intelligent; always checking in with me and the nuggets to see how we are and takes the time to share all his knowledge! He cares SO MUCH and is always twerking his hardest and pushing himself to be DUH BEST – which he is! He made my summer pure gluten-free MAGIC! #SwagMoneyUnicorns #Oh,WORD!”

Mike says, “One of our students said it best: ‘Every group needs a Sherry.’ For the past summer, I’ve been honored to have the original, the one and only Emily Sherry as my co-leader and friend. Sherry brings an enthusiasm and a fun energy that is nothing short of infectious, and never fails to bring a smile to our faces, or a dance party to our campsite. She is also incredibly well organized (which may be related to her Ziploc bag hoarding) and often has her tent down and is starting to organize group gear at 5 in the morning while I’m still busy being a zombie. She cares so deeply for the group, for each individual student, and has been my support system throughout the summer. In short, I’ll borrow one of Sherry’s favorite words and say: she’s ‘Amaaaaaaaazing’!!!!!”

Mike & Sherry


Pacific Coast Support: Alex “Doig”

PC says, “Doig was truly a third leader for us this summer. Every time he appeared at our campsite or lunch spot, the group’s day was brightened. He went above and beyond his expected responsibility on a regular basis, which goes to show his commitment to the groups and his fellow leaders. It was such a privilege for us to work so closely with Doig this summer. We could not have done this summer without Doig Doig aka doigalish aka doigmaster aka doigtron 2000 🙂 our kids LOVED having him at camp and would sometimes say that getting to see Doig at camp was getting them through the day. He was our rock and he would happily do any job from the smallest to the biggest! We love Doig!!!!”

Apogee Adventures

Alps Explorer A (AXA): Emma & Noah

Noah says, “It’s been pretty need traveling around Europe with Superwoman. Emma really can do it all. She keeps us happy, on schedule, and well fed. Her boundless energy and positivity keep our groups ticking and I can’t imagine this summer without her.”

Emma says, “Hilarious, thoughtful, and spontaneous, Noah takes adventure by storm and leaves only smiles in his wake. He is wonderful and we had the uncanny ability to say the same odd things at the same time.”


Alps Explorer B (AXB): Ally & Tim

Tim says, “I tend to struggle in the morning, and every day, she’s up and at it with a huge smile and energy that I could never hope to muster. She’s always got my back and we’re always on the same page. I really couldn’t imagine leading with anyone else. She’s somehow able to match my level of insanity and it works so well.”

Ally is at a loss for words.


Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA): Kirk & Jeanne

Jeanne says, “I could not have dreamed of a better co to lead an adventure across Europe with. He is incredibly trustworthy, dependable, hardworking, aware, and inquisitive, all while being goofy, lighthearted, creative, and flexible. On days that were tough, being around Kirk always made my day, and our kids’ days, infinitely better. And on the days that were incredible, I felt so lucky to be able to appreciate them with him. Kirk was not only an incredible co, he was also a wonderful friend to me all summer and I am so very thankful!”

Kirk says, “Where do I even start!? She is the most loving, confident, and supportive person I have ever met. She rolls with the ups, downs, twists, and turns that a trip inevitably throws your way and makes it all feel like it was planned from the start. She brings a smile to everything she does and makes sure that you’re smiling too.”


Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB): Posie & Postyn

Posie says, “Postyn has the brain of a rocket scientist, the enthusiasm of a puppy, the high-flying fearlessness of a mountain goat, a heart big enough to hold the whole wide world, and a perfect blend of responsibility and fun that is uniquely his own. Post is simply the best!”

Postyn is in Iceland and is also at a loss for words.


Europe Coast to Coast Support: Nate

ECC says, “Nate was made for support! This guy will show up whenever you call, and would fix any bike issue that we had. He would even bring us fun euro surprises like creative spreads for the group (kiwi jam yummmm) or delicious dark chocolate surprises for us leaders. He is clearly so passionate about bikes, and it was cool to see him share this passion with any of the kids who wanted to learn. Our ECC crews would not have made it to Venice without the help of Nate.”

Apogee Adventures

America Coast to Coast (ACC): Mia & Chris “Opie”

Opie says, “I can’t even begin to express how wonderful, safe, and just plain FUN Mia made this summer… she’s just simply amazing. As one of our kiddos put it, ‘Best Leader Ever’.”

Mia says, “Opie is a humble hero. He can do anything, and he will do anything for anyone, anytime without a fuss and without need for thanks. He embodies the spirit of Apogee.”

Mia & Opie


America Coast to Coast Support: Aaron

ACC says, “We couldn’t have gotten across South Carolina, let alone the country, without Aaron’s warmth, energy, and team spirit!”

Aaron Lapkin


NE Support: Emily “Sturdy-McDurdy” & Emily “E-O”

E-O says, “Emily truly brings light to the office. After many summers as a student on Apogee trips, she is truly passionate about this company and the experiences we give students. She approaches every project she is given with this passion, and makes those around her believe in Apogee even more. I was so blessed to get to work closely with her and cannot wait to see how amazing she will be as a leader.”

Sturdy-McDurdy says, “Kind, funny, and brave beyond words, Emily has been a true Apogee all-star this summer. She comes into work everyday with a contagious laugh, bringing a ray of light to anyone she talks to. She has become the best co that I could ever ask for.”



Summer Assistant Directors Extraordinaire: Jack & Izzy

Izzy says, “Jack is one of the greatest leaders I know. He is smart and competent in this incredibly calm and humble way. He also has this enthused and nerdy love of riddles, games, conversation, and life in general that make him an approachable and fun leader. He is sweet and thoughtful and gets people. Because of this he makes every kid feel loved and special and cool about who they are. He is all around so solid. He’s an incredible leader and co-worker as well as the greatest best friend ever.”

Jack says, “Izzy is, without a doubt, the most compassionate person I’ve ever met. She has a limitless supply of genuine love for everyone she meets, so the fact that everyone connects with her and looks up to her is no surprise. She works tirelessly, oftentimes on the most tedious, yet crucial jobs. She’s a worker bee with the heart of a lion. So she’s pretty much like Pegasus. But better.”

Apogee Adventures


Assistant Directors Extraordinaire: Hannah & Shem

Shem says, “Hannah is the sun in my morning and the wind in my sails. I honestly can’t conceive of an Apogee without her. She makes me, she makes us all, better. And she does it all with a smile and an amazing ‘Can Do’ attitude. If you want a hint at what makes Apogee so special, take a walk with Han. We’ve all been lucky enough to at some point in our lives, and are forever changed for it.”

Hannah says, “Shem represents nothing less than hard work, dedication, and passion for Apogee and for all those in the Apogee family. Shem picks me up when I’m down, and knows how to read my every emotion. I’m so grateful to have him as a partner, co-worker, and friend. Apogee is so lucky to have him on their team, and we are all better people to know him.”

Hannah & Shem