The hills are alive with the sound of… Apogee leader bios! It’s a perfect day to read about the star-studded cast of returning leaders we have heading out to explore the beautiful Alps with their Apogee students this summer.
Veteran leader extraordinaire Isabella (Isa – “eeee-sa”) Caliandro, of Concord, Massachusetts is back to lead our Alps Explorer trips this summer! A third-year Apogee leader, Isa has led our New England Mountains & Coast, Maine Coast Junior, and California Mountains & Coast trips, and she was also an Apogee student in 2009 and 2010 on our Northwest Explorer and erstwhile Vermont Hiker. After her two summers as an Apogee student, Isa spent her junior year of high school at the High Mountain Institute, a school in the Colorado Rockies that combines academics and the natural world. Her love for the outdoors and travel grew further after her high school graduation when she took a gap year before starting college. During her gap year, Isa rock-climbed in Chamonix, France, hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc, and then traveled to Wales and England where she worked on organic farms. Now a rising senior at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, Isa is majoring in Environmental Studies. She just finished up a semester of field studies in Montana, where she spent her time backpacking and studying the environmental, geological, and anthropological history of the region. Away from the books, she plays the ukulele, knits, and cooks up a storm in the kitchen! Isa has also had plenty of experience working with kids; for years, she has taught pottery classes for kids and led cycling trips for the Long Island (Maine) Community Center’s Adventure Club. Isa is looking forward to introducing her Apogee students to the incredible landscape and culture of the Alps while completing the Tour du Mont Blanc for a second and third time!
We’re excited to welcome Colorado-native David Munger back for his second summer with Apogee! During his childhood, the Rocky Mountain State provided ample opportunity for David to get outside and foster his love for the outdoors alongside his parents and older sister. Two summers ago, David gave back to his home state as a Colorado Outward Bound School Instructor, working as a field and logistics staff member. While working for Outward Bound, David was able to hone his leadership skills by leading a breathtaking fifteen day alpine backpacking trip for 12-13 year olds. Last summer, he padded his outdoor leadership resume with a summer spent guiding Apogee students through the beautiful California wilderness on our California Mountains & Coast trips! David is a 2016 graduate of Hamilton College, where he studied Philosophy. At Hamilton, David was deeply involved in the college’s wilderness pre-orientation program, Adirondack Adventure; not only did David lead trips for Adirondack Adventure, but he also spent a year planning the trip logistics for each of the program’s 30 trips as the Student Assistant Director. While David has taken on plenty of land-based adventures, David is also a man of the deep blue sea. David spent a semester off the coast of New Zealand working on a 135-foot sailboat performing oceanographic research, hoisting the sails, and enjoying the kiwi breezes. This winter, David and a friend attempted to be the very first to circumnavigate Jamaica by sea kayak (they were stymied by nasty weather and wrist tendinitis…). Now back on dry land, David is looking forward to serenading his Apogee students with his favorite selections from the “Sound of Music” as they head out on the adventure of a lifetime on our Alps Explorer trip this summer!
We can’t wait to have Jessica “Jessi” Crowley back as a part of the Apogee family for a third summer as she leads our Alps Explorer hiking trips! Growing up in Seattle, Jessi spent much of her free time camping, hiking, and climbing around the glorious wilderness of her home state with her parents and two brothers. Jessi’s passion for exploring the outdoors only increased when she flew across the country to attend Hamilton College in upstate New York. Before graduating with a degree in Psychology in 2016, Jessi could be found leading wilderness pre-orientation trips in the Adirondack mountains for incoming freshmen or singing as a dedicated member of an anonymous a cappella group that put on “flash mob” performances around campus. Additionally, Jessi is a very accomplished Ultimate Frisbee player; over the years, she has transitioned from being on a nationally-ranked youth team to serving as a Captain of the Hamilton Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team – a team Jessi proudly led to Nationals for the first time in the team’s history! On top of it all, Jessi enjoys travel and working with kids – she has led our Maine’s Downeast Explorer, Vermont to Montréal, and California Mountains & Coast trips, and currently is working in the American west as a trip leader for a wilderness therapy organization. Jessi is fun, kind, and filled with infectious enthusiasm, and her Apogee students are going to have a great time getting to know her on the wildflower-lined trails of the Alps!
After making his Apogee debut last summer in California, we’re excited to announce that the great Nick Cunetta will be joining us again – this time leading our Alps Explorer trips! A Seattle native, Nick was deeply involved in his high school’s outdoor club after his interest was piqued by an outdoor survival course he took during his freshman year. After high school, Nick took a “gap year” to find his way to unique vistas across the globe; he backpacked through Alaska, the Himalayas, Italy, and the Scottish Highlands, and while navigating the local geography, Nick even picked up conversational proficiency in Nepali, Italian, and Arabic! When he wasn’t strapping on his hiking boots, Nick spent eight months teaching English to 5-13-year-olds in Thailand. Nick is incredibly grateful for the travel and adventure he has enjoyed and looks forward to facilitating similar opportunities for his Apogee students this summer. Now a rising junior at Tufts University studying Geologic Sciences, Nick spends his time outside of the classroom tutoring incarcerated students in math, performing in a dance collective, and training for his next marathon. After a fantastic summer leading our California Mountains and Coast trips, he couldn’t be more excited to explore the peaks and valleys (and cheeses!) of the Alps with his Apogee students this summer!