Leader Profiles: CMC & DEX

Continuing our stroll down Outstanding Leader Lane, we’ll be meeting our California Mountains & Coast (CMC)and Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX) leaders today.  Up first, CMC – with CC Gensheimer and Jack Messerly at the helm.  In their second year co-leading with Apogee (they led New England Mountains & Coast and DEX with us last year), CC and Jack are looking forward to their Golden State Adventure.  And then we’ll swing all the way over to the Maine’s rocky coast to meet the two dynamos at the heart this summer’s DEX trips – Izzy Janzen and John Swords.   

Jack Messerly

Jack Messerly (small)Apogee alum and proud Minnesotan Jack Messerly is, if you will forgive the pun, a Jack-of-all-trades.  A rising Senior at Hamilton College, Jack studies math and philosophy.  Jack spent this past spring semester hiking, kayaking and rock-climbing in New Zealand (he promises us he took classes, too…).  At Hamilton, Jack spins tracks as a DJ at the college’s radio station, leads campus tours for prospective students, and plays rugby (Jack is the Captain of Hamilton’s rugby team).  Additionally, Jack has led incoming freshman on a weeklong, pre-orientation backpacking trip for Hamilton’s Adirondack Adventure program.  On the trail, his groups should encourage Jack to “get down” to do some freestyle rapping, which is, along with his camp cooking, another of his many skills.  Jack’s Apogee groups last summer quickly learned that he has an expansive palate, he claims that he’s yet to find a food he does not like, including peanut butter, nutella and pepperoni sandwiches.  Jack is a Wilderness First Responder and certified in CPR.

CC Gensheimer

CC GensheimerA family-oriented world-traveler, Caroline (“CC”) Gensheimer has explored Europe, the United States and Central America.  She has had a monkey perch on her shoulder, sea-kayaked alongside whales in Alaska’s glacier-rimmed fjords, led Apogee groups to the summit of Mount Washington and through Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness, and added six more countries to her passport this past semester . A native of western Pennsylvania and a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, CC is president of her sorority and, when she is back on campus, she spends time tutoring at the local middle school.  Her passion for working with young people started early, when CC and her sister (renowned Apogee leader, Hannah Gensheimer) founded a successful and continuing summer camp for children in her hometown.  In high school, CC was captain of her school’s varsity tennis team but always maintained an interest in the true outdoors.  Her love for the outdoors blossomed over summer wilderness trips, especially a wilderness leader training program in Alaska.  CC can’t wait to lace up her boots and share her many interests (including the classic French cooking she learned from her French host parents this year…) and passion for outdoor living with her Apogee groups this summer. CC is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.

Izzy Janzen

Izzy JanzenFrom Philly and proud, Isabel (Izzy) Janzen is a rising senior at Hamilton College, where she studies World Politics.  This spring semester, however, found her far from the hills of Clinton, New York, as she studied abroad in Cameroon.  Her program in the heart of Africa fed her interests in the many facets of foreign aid.  As part of her semester program, Izzy spent a month living and working on a womens’ community ginger farm.  Back at Hamilton, Izzy co-captains the womens’ rugby team, and plays intramural basketball.  Izzy has spent several summers working with kids of all ages in very different settings.  She has worked as a camp counselor at a day camp in her home state of Pennsylvania, and last summer she worked as an analytical writing tutor for the Higher Education Opportunities Program, a for incoming freshmen who need extra academic preparation before entering Hamilton.  Izzy is outdoorsy by nature, a trait sparked by countless camping trips she took with her dad growing up, and she’s brought her love of the outdoors to Hamilton, where she leads outdoor adventure orientation trips for incoming freshmen with Hamilton’s Adirondack Adventure program.  Izzy can’t wait to explore the very best of Maine with her Downeast Explorer groups this summer.  Izzy is a Wilderness First Responder and certified in CPR.

John Swords

john swordsHailing from Sudbury, Massachusetts, John Swords is a rising Junior at Bowdoin College.  At home, John is one of five kids in a close-knit family of enthusiastic outdoorsmen and women.  True to his heritage, John loves spending time outdoors – and he is a very active leader for Bowdoin’s Outing Club.  With the Outing Club, John has completed both the club’s rigorous leader certification course as well as the advanced leader seminar required to become a whitewater raft guide.  He also plays basketball for Bowdoin’s Division III Varsity team (at 7’ tall, John is the bane of the other teams in the NESCAC!).  When he isn’t on the court or hitting the books, John spends his weekends with the Outing Club, tromping around the state of Maine, hiking, surfing, and rafting.  In previous summer, John has worked as a tennis coach at a club in his hometown, where he enjoyed working with kids, spending time outdoors, and being active.  In high school, John captained his varsity soccer team.  Additionally, John enjoyed his multiple service trips to New Orleans and the island nation of Dominica, where he helped to rebuild houses damaged by hurricanes, and to construct a community center.  John’s love of traveling, outdoor adventure, and young people will serve him well as an Apogee leader this summer!  John is a Wilderness First Responder and certified in CPR.