Meet our California Mountains & Coast Leaders!

Spent your winter California Dreaming? So have these leaders. Now their dream is becoming a reality as they’ll head to the Golden State this summer to lead their Apogee students on a tour of California’s beautiful mountains and coastline.


After spending last summer leading her Apogee students through the beautiful Maine wilderness, Shannon Oleynik looks forward to exploring all that the west coast has to offer as she takes her Apogee students on the adventure of a lifetime on our California Mountains & Coast trip this summer. Although she grew up just north of the bustling streets of Washington, DC, Shannon is well-versed in the outdoors. Her adventurous attitude dates back to age four, when she was first learning to ski the slopes of New England. Growing up, Shannon spent her summers in Vermont – mountain biking, exploring hidden swimming holes, and even backpacking the entirety of the Long Trail with her family. A 2016 graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Shannon spent her time in college balancing her Environmental Policy and Government Studies double-major with her love for working with kids and exploring the outdoors. In the Waterville community, Shannon served as a mentor to fifth grade students through the female empowerment program Hardy Girls Healthy Women. Shannon has a wealth of outdoor trip leading experience – in addition to leading our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trip last summer, Shannon has tackled wilderness orientation trips for incoming freshmen at Colby and spent a summer backpacking, camping, and rock climbing as a camp counselor at an all-girls wilderness camp in Maine. Shannon’s expertise also extends far beyond the reaches of New England as she has studied abroad in Copenhagen, and found time to explore Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. Shannon is up for all types of challenges, whether she’s hiking Mahoosuc Notch, the “longest mile of the Appalachian Trail,” three times, or pedaling a pedicab (bike taxi) up and down the hilly streets of Portland, Maine. Shannon now calls Denver, Colorado home, where she is able to spend her weekends skiing and hiking in the Rockies! We’re thrilled to have Shannon join us again this summer, as she’ll certainly be bringing her fantastic energy and impressive experience with her on every trip!


We are very excited to welcome Kevin Deng back for his second summer as an Apogee leader, as he brings his unparalleled energy and intellect to our California Mountains & Coast trip! A 2015 graduate of Bates College in Maine and a proud resident of Braintree, Massachusetts, Kevin is the second of four. His siblings taught him patience, cooperation, responsibility, and the importance of making sacrifices; so it’s no surprise that Kevin is one of the sweetest guys we know! It’s an understatement to say that Kevin has a wide range of interests. He has dabbled in figure skating, football, rugby, and has even learned how to work aerial silks! At Bates, Kevin studied Biology, and outside of the classroom, you were likely to find Kevin running an event with Asian-American Students In Action, a club he founded to bring a supportive and cohesive environment for Asian Americans onto the Bates campus. Kevin also spent many of his hours in college rock climbing, surfing, ice climbing, and exploring Maine’s beautiful outdoors with the Bates Outing Club. After graduating from Bates, Kevin spent the summer of 2015 leading our Cape Cod & the Islands bicycling trip. Shortly after completing his summer adventure with Apogee, Kevin headed overseas for an adventure of his own; Kevin has spent the last year and a half teaching English in Taiwan and recently concluded his time in East Asia by traveling around Thailand! Kevin’s adventurous spirit, and fun-loving personality is infectious, and he looks forward to returning to Apogee to create more memories on the trail with his students this summer.


Jeanne Ringwald grew up in a family that encouraged travel and gaining new experiences. With her family by her side, Jeanne has explored parts of Europe, South America, and the United States. A rising senior at NYU, Jeanne is studying Social Work and Child Mental Health, and also singing in an all-female a cappella group in her free time. Outside of school, Jeanne’s interest in working with kids and her love of adventure goes back many years – Jeanne was a camper at the YMCA Camp Chingachgook growing up, where she then went on to be a counselor for three consecutive summers. As a counselor, Jeanne was primarily in charge of caring for a cabin of 11-12 year-olds. In 2015, Jeanne took a year away from NYU where she participated in a NOLS semester program in the Southwestern United States, boosting her outdoor leadership skills. From there, she traveled to Sydney, Australia where she dedicated her time to working with a charity providing assistance to refugees as well as helping out with an after school program. In the summer of 2016, Jeanne headed back to the familiar territory of Camp Chingachgook, but this time in a new role – she spent the summer leading backpacking expeditions for 15-16 year-olds through the Adventure Camp program, and one of her trips summited all 46 Adirondack High peaks in under five weeks! Jeanne’s experience speaks for itself, but the energy and enthusiasm she brings to empowering and sharing nature with those around her makes her the perfect fit for any Apogee trip family. We can’t wait for her to share this with her students on California Mountains & Coast this summer!


A rising senior at Hamilton College and self-proclaimed “outdoor enthusiast,” Jared Mandelbaum is in fact a New York City native who grew up with roots planted in baseball (in case you were wondering, he’s a Mets man). Throughout middle and high school, Jared became passionate about environmental protection and decided to put his passions into practice at college where he is now majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Geoscience. Outside of the classroom, Jared is heavily involved in Hamilton’s Outing Club, where he acts as a trip leader, an Outing Club officer, and a leader for “Adirondack Adventure,” an outdoor orientation program for incoming freshmen. His interests don’t stop there – Jared is a man of many talents! Not only does he play on the Ultimate Frisbee team, but Jared is also a campus tour guide and a member of an improvisation troupe. Jared’s sense of humor makes him not only funny, but approachable – during his senior year of high school he was elected to be a Peer Leader for freshmen students, acting as a mentor for students as they transitioned up from middle school. Jared spent last summer leading our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trips and continued his travels this past year through a semester-long study abroad program in Costa Rica where he studied sustainable development. Jared is looking forward to another summer of “many moments of unbridled happiness, uncontrollable laughter, and absolute togetherness” – this time with his Apogee students on California Mountains & Coast!