Leader Bios! Meet Noah, Lyla, Nick, Alex, Claire, and Pedro!

Forty-seven thousand five hundred twenty minutes,
Forty-seven thousand five hundred twenty moments to prepare
Forty-seven thousand five hundred twenty minutes
How do you measure, measure the amount of time before this year’s trip leaders arrive in Brunswick?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in (backpacking) miles, in laughter, in strife
In forty-seven thousand five hundred twenty minutes
How do you measure, measure the amount of time before this year’s trip leaders arrive in Brunswick?
How about Leader Bios?

Noah Harris – Maine Farm to Table, Maine Coast Junior

California native Noah Harris grew up in Santa Monica with a love of exploration and the outdoors. Noah more often goes by “Noodle,” a name that seems to appropriately reflect his warmth and creativity. Now a rising senior at Tufts University, Noah majors in American Studies and spends his time dedicated to building a strong campus community at Tufts. He serves as a pre-orientation trip backpacking leader with Tufts Wilderness Orientation, a Jewish Community Fellow on campus, an organizer for the Tufts Labor Coalition, and a barista at a local café! Two summers ago, Noah further expanded his wilderness savvy and passion for backpacking by embarking on a NOLS course in the Rockies in Montana. In addition to his extensive wilderness experience, Noah dedicated last summer to combining his love of the outdoors with his passion for social and environmental justice by working at a non-profit organization that runs an urban vegetable farm in the Boston area. There, Noah was in charge of running the Green Team, a youth group of fourteen to twenty year-old students; he taught the group about farming, farm ecosystems, community organizing, green transportation, and more. Noah’s exceptional mix of leadership, outdoors, and farming experience – not to mention his enthusiasm, genuineness, and energy – make him the perfect fit to lead both Maine Coast Junior and Maine Farm to Table this year! Fun fact: Noah loves The Great British Bake Off so much that he taught himself how to make focaccia! He also can’t wait for “small moments of silliness and the opportunity to be outside” with his Apogee groups this summer. We’re thrilled to welcome Noodle to our team!

Lyla Connolly – Maine Farm to Table, Maine Coast Junior

Lyla Connolly hails from a family that values discussion, good meals, music, and travel. Today, Lyla’s impressive list of experiences and adventures clearly reflects these hallmarks of her upbringing. Lyla grew up surfing in her free time and has also trekked in the Tetons, the Bolivian Andes, the Himalayas, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, and more! Before college, Lyla took spent a year living and traveling in Asia, and last summer, she received a grant from Brown University to travel to Nepal to study women’s relationship to food, body, and health. Lyla’s passion for human connection, community, and exploration has taken her far and wide – it has also impacted her academic pursuits. Lyla is currently a rising junior at Brown, where she majors in Hispanic Literature & Culture and Anthropology. Off campus, Lyla has a wide range of leadership experiences working with youth groups. In 2015, Lyla led cycling trips on Nantucket for ten- to eleven-year-olds; this year, Lyla has dedicated her time to teaching yoga to middle schoolers several afternoons each week. Additionally, throughout high school and into college, Lyla has taught for Kids Cooking Green, a program that teaches ten- to sixteen-year-olds cooking skills and focuses on the benefits of local food systems. Lyla loves baby goats (who doesn’t!) and is “looking forward to celebrating nature and community every day of the summer” with her Maine Coast Junior and Maine Farm to Table students – we can’t wait to see Lyla’s passion for the outdoors, community-mindedness, and kindness in action this summer!

Nick Hanson – Maine Coast College Essay

Hailing from Mercer Island, Washington, Nick Hanson grew up taking full advantage of all the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. Alongside his parents and two brothers, Nick took part in just about every outdoor activity possible in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, eventually joining the Scouts and working his way to a hard-earned Eagle Scout ranking. A classically-trained trumpeter (and casual piano, guitar, and ukulele player), Nick’s affinity for music has taken him to the International Wind Band Competition in Australia. Now a rising senior at the University of Washington, Nick has continued to pursue his passions for environmental stewardship, music, and community-focused activities; he’s an Environmental Science major and the Environmental Stewardship Chairman of his fraternity, he plays in the UW Marching Band, and he’s a UW First Year Interest Group Instructor, where he leads a semester-long discussion for new students on topics like campus resources, time management, diversity, and financial management. Nick also finds time in his busy schedule to give back to the communities that mean so much to him – he volunteers with the UW farm and with the Northwest Trails Association, and he’s served as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and camp counselor back on Mercer Island. Additionally, Nick chairs his fraternity’s scholarship program, for which he considers hundreds of applications and conducts interviews to select a small group of students for a scholarship summer program. With his fraternity, Nick leads leadership activities, including a professional and educational scenario competition, while also managing food and camping gear for twenty-five students. This summer, we can’t wait for Nick to share his extensive professional experience, passion for the outdoors, and maybe even a trumpet solo or two with his Maine Coast College Essay students.

Alex Alvarez – Maine Coast College Essay

Alex Alvarez, a 2017 graduate of Lake Forest College, has had a love for writing for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Littleton, Colorado, she attended an arts high school where she majored in Creative Writing. Even today, Alex continues to carry her journal with her at all times. During her time at Lake Forest, Alex discovered her passion for education; she spent a semester and summer in Geneva, Switzerland working with the UN at a NGO that focused on sustainable education. She also found time to travel to thirteen different countries throughout Europe and North Africa! She returned to the States and began working at a non-profit in Chicago called 826CHI, where she worked closely with students in creative writing, tutoring, and college essay editing. At Lake Forest, Alex double-majored in Geopolitics and English and served as a New Student Orientation Coordinator. Somehow, she still found time to act as the Vice President of her community service fraternity and work as a Student Ambassador and Student Admissions Specialist, for which she hosted prospective student overnight visits, offered campus tours, and conducted interviews for high schoolers. Currently, Alex is finishing up the school year as a 6th-grade teacher at City Year Denver, where she teaches English, coaches the basketball team, and heads the school Student Council. When she’s not in class or writing poetry, you can find Alex searching for the best 99-cent taco in Denver, hammocking and hiking in the mountains, or sipping tea with a good book. We know that Alex is going to knock it out of the park this summer on our Maine Coast College Essay trip!

Claire Callahan – Maine Coast Photo, Maine Coast Junior

Claire Callahan’s childhood was steeped in the arts and the outdoors, making her the perfect fit for our Maine Coast Photo and Maine Coast Junior trips this summer! Claire grew up in Norwich, Vermont, and spent many weekends and summer days exploring the White Mountains and sailing with her number one adventure partner, her father. Similarly, Claire discovered her love for art at a young age and explored metalworking, drawing, and painting in middle and high school. Claire’s penchant for art has taken her to the Tyler School of Art in Rome for her junior year abroad and has scored her a summer job with an animation studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Claire is now slated to graduate from Hamilton College this spring with a degree in Studio Art and Economics! She has always enjoyed working with students, first as a figure skating coach for middle and high schoolers, and more recently, as an art teacher to five- to twelve-year-olds at a local New Hampshire gallery and art school. Claire is not only a superb teacher to young students, but also an excellent leader for her peers, having served as co-captain of the Hamilton Women’s Rowing team this year (ranked sixth in the nation!). She believes that being able to mix hard work and fun is what has made her rowing team so successful; we’re sure she’ll bring the same fun, hard-working energy to her Apogee trips this season, and we can’t wait to have her as part of our summer 2018 team!

Pedro Millard – Maine Coast Photo, Maine Coast Junior

We’re looking forward to welcoming Pedro Millard back to the Apogee family this summer, this time as a trip leader! Pedro joined us as a student in the summer of 2010 on our Cape Cod & the Islands bike tour, and again in the summer of 2011 on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trip. Now a rising senior at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, Pedro spends a lot of time running and cycling, both as part of Vassar’s Varsity Cross Country and Track & Field teams, and as an avid member of the Cycling Club. One recent cycling adventure brought him all the way from Poughkeepsie to his hometown of Brooklyn, New York – a 100-mile ride! Pedro is an Anthropology major at Vassar, and has spent his past couple summers doing research and educating others about two different National Historical Sites. One of those summers was spent working at the Governor’s Island National Historic Site in New York Harbor, where Pedro led tours and presented to groups of students the historical significance of the site (often in historically accurate garb, too!). He has also applied his skills for working with young people as a running coach to high schoolers at the New York Road Runners Cross Country Training Series. Pedro has hiked and explored in Maine, New York, Montana, California, and the Spanish Pyrenees, and he is excited to come back to Maine through a photographer’s lens as one of the leaders on our Maine Coast Photo and Maine Coast Junior trips!