Leader Profiles: Europe Coast to Coast, Montana Service Adventure & Northwest Explorer

After months of cold winds and deep snows, we are downright flabbergasted that the summer is almost upon us!  Up here at Apogee, spring means lilacs, daffodils, and lots of sweet-smelling leader profiles.  We’ll be posting bi-weekly profiles for the rest of the spring as we get ready for this year’s batch of biking and hiking adventures all over the US and beyond.  We thought we’d kick things off by profiling two outstanding pairs of returners – Anna Minckler & David Cutler (America Coast to Coast ’12, Europe Coast to Coast ’13), and Kelly McGinty & Garth Franklin (Maine’s Downeast Explorer & New England Mountains & Coast ’12, Montana Service Adventure & Northwest Explorer ’13).


We are thrilled to welcome back fourth-year leaders, Anna Minckler and David Cutler, to lead our inaugural Europe Coast to Coast trip!  Anna and David have been a co-leading pair for the last three summer, and last summer, they led a truly outstanding group from Charleston to San Deigo on our America Coast to Coast trip.  They’re back in 2013 and are thrilled to take their leading skills and traditions abroad.


Returning for her fourth straight summer with Apogee, Anna Minckler is a 2013 graduate of Lafayette College. Anna was born on Kauai, Hawaii and has loved the outdoors from day one.  After stints in California and Michigan, her family settled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she has now lived for nineteen years.  Anna grew up biking to the beach to swim, surf and skim board, passions that continue to this day.  Playing Ultimate Frisbee and reading are among Anna’s long list of healthy addictions.  She also enjoys hiking with the Lafayette Outing Club and spends hours paddling her sea kayak when home in Florida.  Giving back is important to Anna; she has served many hours helping to clean up and preserve Florida’s fragile ecosystem, and she hopes to spend next year working as a Park Ranger out west.  After her semester program with SEA Semester, Anna added sailing to her list of outdoor skills.  In that semester, she sailed from one palm-dotted atoll to another in the South Pacific, encountering docile manta rays, hiking volcanoes in the Galapagos, and listening to the melodious sounds of nesting Red-Footed Boobies in the trees.  After summers with Apogee on our New England Mountains & Coast, Montana Service Adventure, Northwest Explorer, and America Coast to Coast trips, Anna can’t wait to add her tour of seven European countries to her Apogee resume!  Anna is certified in Wilderness First Aid & CPR.


David graduated from Bates College in 2012 and spent this year living, working and teaching in Seattle, before heading to Europe this spring to ride portions of this summer’s Europe Coast to Coast trip.  David majored in Ecology at Bates and minored in Education.  When he wasn’t studying, David spent his free time hanging from the rock wall, volunteering at area elementary schools, and, on winter weekends, heading up to the mountains to ski.  In addition to his three prior summers with Apogee, Dave is an experienced leader.  In high school, he co-captained his lacrosse team and, through the Bates Outing Club, he led pre-orientation trips for incoming freshmen.  David loves to travel and spent his junior spring studying abroad in Amman, Jordan.  In addition, David recently spent five weeks in Mexico, as well as seven weeks sailing and boat-building in Nova Scotia.  He is also an avid Ultimate Frisbee player.  Fresh off of his coast to coast across the US last summer, is looking forward to going coast to coast – Euro style – this summer with his Apogee group!  David is a certified EMT.

acc-72 (1) (Large)Anna & David just after they hit the beach in San Diego – America Coast to Coast, ’12


After leading Maine’s Downeast Explorer and New England Mountains and Coast with Apogee last year, another of our astounding Dream Teams, composed of Kelly McGinty and Garth Franklin, is heading west to lead our Montana Service Adventure and Northwest Explorer trips in 2013.


Kelly McGinty hails from the green hills of Woodstock, Vermont, and is a 2013 Cornell University graduate.  With Cornell, Kelly has led rock-climbing, canoeing and backpacking trips (including a Spring Break trip to Arizona’s high desert). Kelly has also been heavily involved in volunteering in and around Ithaca over her time at Cornell – she’s worked annually with the Special Olympics, taught hockey skills through the Ithaca Youth Hockey Association and served as a mentor and tutor in community elementary schools.  Kelly has completed three half-marathons, and spent her spring break this year backpacking from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River with her family.  When she’s home in Vermont, she enjoys hiking with her family, and spending quality time with her golden retrievers (all named after spices – Sage, Nutmeg, Cayenne, and Chili).  Kelly is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.


A Massachusetts native and 2013 graduate of Colby College, Garth Franklin feels most at home on the top of a mountain.  Garth majored in Biochemistry at Colby, and played as a midfielder on Colby’s Varsity Lacrosse team.  An avid hiker, skier, and rock-climber, Garth spent as much time as he could adventuring in the Maine wilderness on the weekends.  In addition to his love of the outdoors and summer with Apogee in 2012, Garth brings a great deal of leadership experience to Apogee this summer.  Garth led a pre-orientation wilderness trip for incoming freshmen at Colby last August.  Additionally, Garth has worked in a summer camp-like setting at a country club near his hometown, where he was a lifeguard, swim lesson instructor, sports camp assistant and arts and crafts teacher.  Outside of his interest in the outdoors and athletics, Garth has passions for woodworking, pottery and French, which we hope he’ll be able to share in some capacity with his groups this summer.  Garth can’t wait to hit the trails this summer with his groups!  Garth is a Wilderness First Responder and certified in CPR.

DEX_2012_066Garth and Kelly on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park – Maine’s Downeast Explorer, ’12