Meet our New England Mountains & Coast, Maine Coast Junior, and Maine Coast Photo Leaders!

With 2017 Staff Training getting underway in a mere seven weeks, the time has come to start introducing this year’s stellar slate of staffers to the world! Over the next month and a half we are going to post bi-weekly on our summer crew – a mix of Apogee’s finest returners and some unbelievably amazing new members of the Apogee family. While each Apogee staffer is unique, there’s a common thread among them all – they’ve got fantastic experience with kids, they’re fun and dynamic, and they’re ready to dive into an incredible summer. And without further ado, we’re pleased to present…


We’re excited to welcome Casey Wizner to the team this summer to lead our Maine Coast Photo and Maine Coast Junior trips! Casey is graduating from Yale this spring – and when she’s not dedicating time to her studies of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, she’s shooting pictures or out on the water as a member of the varsity rowing team. Casey grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan with her close family and “lovable goldendoodle” named Shakespeare. Casey has traveled all over the world – to Australia, Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy – just to name a few! Her passion for photography started on a photo–based trip through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Since then, Casey has studied black and white film as well as digital media. She won awards for her stunning images in high school and has also been recognized for her work at Yale. Her favorite photography memory to date is when she spent all night in the Australian outback photographing star trails – sounds dreamy! Casey has also dedicated time to teaching and working with kids – she was a middle school and high school tutor for many years and also worked at a science program for young women in Detroit called Go Girl. Further to this, Casey has spent her life surrounded by younger cousins and mentoring young rowers. Casey’s combined experiences of working with youth, photography, and travel make her the perfect fit for this Apogee summer!


A rising Senior at Carleton College, Saul Lira has successfully transitioned from the heat of Houston, Texas, where grew up, to chilly Northfield, Minnesota. At Carleton, Saul is an English major with an impressive variety of creative passions. He decided to switch his major from Computer Science to English, following his heart and his fundamental love of reading and writing. He spent his most recent winter term off campus expanding his knowledge of the art world, working closely with artists and authors in California. Saul has also shared his interests through years of experience working with kids. He spent the summer of 2016 working at Breakthrough in San Francisco, a summer enrichment program for motivated but underserved youth. Here, Saul taught Spanish as well as improvisational theater. Saul’s experience with students doesn’t stop there – he’s volunteered his time for the past three years at a local after school program in Northfield, and he even developed and started his own after school program for middle school boys this fall! Saul brings genuine kindness and enthusiasm to every situation – we’re thrilled he’ll be joining us this summer to bring his creative eye and passion for working with kids to our Maine Coast Photo and Maine Coast Junior trips!


Olivia Sackler’s passion for the outdoors runs deep; she is an active hiker, biker, sailor, snorkeler, and conservationist! As a Geology major with an Environmental Geology focus at the College of Charleston, Olivia’s field studies have brought her to the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, and even an eco-village outside of Asheville, NC. Beyond her recent travels with the Geology Department, Olivia has spent summers traveling since she was 12; she has hiked all over New England, backpacked through Yellowstone, biked from Seattle to San Francisco, sailed from Saint Martin to Trinidad, and done community service while hiking through Fiji. Olivia takes great pleasure in sharing outdoor experiences with others, something she has done both as a camp counselor for Trailside Nature Camp in Westchester, NY and as a pre-orientation trip leader at the College of Charleston. As a camp counselor, Olivia taught wilderness survival skills, environmental education, and led overnight camping trips for young teenagers. While it may seem that Olivia spends all of her time outdoors, she somehow also makes time for her passion for photography – she loves nothing more than the chance to spend long, patient hours in the darkroom developing her photos the old-fashioned way. We’re positive that Olivia will create great memories (and photos!) with her students this summer as they explore the northeast together on our New England Mountains & Coasts and Maine Coast Junior trips!


Apogee is thrilled to have Jack O’Malley join our team this summer to lead our New England Mountains & Coasts and Maine Coast Junior trips. Jack grew up as the oldest of four siblings in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, but he left the rolling seas for the rolling cornfields of Grinnell, Iowa, where he is finishing up his Political Science degree at Grinnell College. When he’s not assisting his professors with Poli Sci research, Jack is a man of the outdoors, leading canoeing and backpacking trips for the Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program (“GORP,” get it…?). Jack not only leads trips for GORP, but he has also been their Activities Manager for the past three years, organizing trips and coordinating with other trip leaders to allow more students to experience the outdoors. Jack’s adventurous spirit has led him much further afield than just the areas around Grinnell; Jack has travelled to Iceland, Sicily, Ireland, and, most recently, backpacked around the South Island of New Zealand! If you think he looks familiar, it’s because he’s (distantly) related to Ringo Starr of The Beatles. We’re sure Jack will be just as popular as Ringo among his Apogee students this summer, and we’re already preparing for outbreaks of O’Malley-mania as Jack and his students navigate the wilderness of New England together!