Hot out of the oven, it’s a fresh batch of leader bios! Two of them will take their students eastward to immerse themselves in a world of kilts, bagpipes, and beautiful scenery, while the other four will head west with their students to explore the breathtaking views of Olympic and North Cascades National Parks in Washington state. Regardless of the direction they’re heading, all of them will undoubtedly have summers filled with adventure!
Sam Mengual is on the hunt for a Scottish hiking kilt (we’re skeptical if one actually exists) as she returns for her second summer to lead our Scottish Highlands Explorer trips! After leading our Caribbean Service Adventure last summer, Sam is ready to swap shovels and work gloves for hiking poles and backpacks. Hailing from West Hartford, CT, Sam is a 2016 graduate of Hamilton College, where she majored in Environmental Studies. In addition to her studies, Sam was a leader on Hamilton’s Ultimate Frisbee team, led multi-day backpacking trips for Adirondack Adventure (Hamilton’s outdoor orientation program), and also served as a host of Trivia Night. After traveling to Spain in high school, Sam followed her passion for Spanish culture and language by spending a semester of college studying in Ecuador. When she returned to campus, Sam even began tutoring Spanish at a local elementary school! Since graduation, Sam has continued to pursue her passion for teaching kids in the outdoors; she has been working as an outdoor educator at The Leadership School at Kieve-Wavus Education Foundation in Maine, facilitating week-long programs for school groups from around the greater New England area. During her winter break, after a cross-country rock-climbing road trip, Sam taught at a public school in Portland, ME as part of The Leadership School’s “Educator in Residence” program. Although Sam is loving her time in Maine, she can’t wait to explore Loch Ness, tackle Ben Nevis, and trek across the gorgeous Scottish Highlands this summer – and her students can look forward to enjoying Sam’s culinary prowess along the way!
Portland, Oregon’s Max Meyerhoff joins the Apogee team this year fresh off of his graduation from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. A psychology major, Max focused his studies on public health because it allowed him the opportunity to interact with, and give back to, the people in his community. Pursuing his passion for helping others, Max has worked for the MN Network of Hospice and Palliative Care, led bike trips for community members through a position with AARP, and also spent a summer working for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where he coordinated a 5,000-person walk-a-thon to raise awareness for, and reduce the negative stigma surrounding, mental illness. Also at Macalester, Max acted as a Residential Advisor, participated in the theater group, captained the nordic ski team, served as chair of the Outdoors Club, and worked at a local elementary school to help third grade students with math and English – busy guy! Max also spent a semester abroad in Chile, where he studied the Chilean public health system and indigenous health practices. Not one to miss an opportunity for an adventure, Max traveled and backpacked in his spare time, including a particularly memorable night of camping in the Atacama Desert, the driest non-polar desert in the world. Outside of Macalester, Max has also worked as a camp counselor, leading backpacking and mountain biking trips for middle and high-schoolers, and completed his first marathon this past October. Now, Max is looking forward to sharing his enthusiasm and contagious smile with his students on our Scottish Highlands Explorer trip!
World traveler Ariel Potter spends her time bouncing from one beautiful outdoor location to the next – believe it or not, she’s already been to every continent except Antarctica! Growing up in Yarmouth, Maine, Ariel’s passion for the outdoors was sparked at an early age by making the most of Maine’s varied seasons – from foliage walks with her close-knit family, to playing ice hockey in the winter. From there, she traveled to a handful of other beautiful locations with her family: New Zealand, Ecuador, Switzerland, Egypt and Israel, to name a few. Despite this cross-continental journeying, her travel bug wasn’t satisfied so she headed south to spend time in the Dominican Republic. There she earned a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language which she later put to good use, heading further south to teach English at a Bolivian university. She eventually returned to her Maine roots, working at a boatyard as a dockhand and putting her scuba diving certification to use in her spare time before heading west to Colorado College, where she is currently a rising senior majoring in Psychology. Since leading our Vermont to Montreal trips last summer, Ariel spent a semester abroad in Tanzania, Italy, and India, but despite all her travel, she has still made time to focus on two of the things she’s most passionate about: working with youth and outdoor education. She may not be able to cross Antarctica off of her travel bucket list just yet, but we can’t wait to send Ariel to Washington State this summer to lead our Northwest Explorer trips!
Sean Dunn comes to Apogee with an incredible amount of experience with kids in the outdoors, making him the perfect fit to lead our Northwest Explorer trips this summer! Originally from upstate NY, Sean grew up with a love of adventure, traveling everywhere from Costa Rica and Great Britain, to Holland and Germany – he even spent 4 months in Berlin as part of a semester away during his time as a student at Trinity College. At Trinity, Sean majored in English and was a Teacher’s Assistant and First-Year mentor for an English class and poetry seminar, but started off each school year leading outdoor hiking trips for freshmen, backpacking 25+ miles along the Appalachian Trail. This leadership role is nothing new for Sean, who served as a camp counselor for a day camp in his hometown, tutored high school students and organized weekly literary skill development groups, and even spent last fall as an Outdoor Education Leader for a camp in New Hampshire where he facilitated team-building activities, led day hikes, canoe trips, and oversaw the high and low ropes courses. Sean spent the last two summers working at a camp in Washington state for campers with life altering medical conditions, overseeing a boys’ cabin his first year, and returning the second summer as a Lodge Leader, responsible for overseeing the male side of camp, from male staff, to campers and volunteers. We can’t wait for Sean to bring his extensive experience, love of hiking, cooking, and playing the banjo (you never know when this may come up on trip!) to Apogee this summer!
If you consider yourself well-traveled, you’re in good company alongside Apogee’s Lindsey Aronson. This Chicago native has been to France, England, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Belize, Panama, and Costa Rica – notwithstanding a variety of destinations within the United States as well! A rising senior at Colorado College, Lindsey has spent her past two summers as a wilderness trip leader for Camp Nebagamon in Northern Wisconsin, where she planned and led trips of varying difficulties for teenage boys. The trips ranged from overnight canoeing trips to 15-day backpacking trips, bringing Lindsey and her students on adventures all throughout the upper Midwest. Prior to her time at Camp Nebagamon, Lindsey spent two summers as a counselor at an all-girls camp where she was in charge of a cabin of ten year-old girls and taught water skiing, darkroom photography, and stand-up paddleboarding. Aside from her extensive experience as a trip leader and camp counselor, Lindsey has also volunteered for a program based at Colorado College that takes area middle school students on weekend adventures into the nearby Rocky Mountains, and as Head Volunteer and adaptive soccer coach for VIP Soccer. Not only is Lindsey an experienced trip leader and outdoorswoman, her Apogee students are in for a treat, literally; Lindsey loves backcountry cooking and prides herself on her homemade backcountry cinnamon rolls, bread pudding, and hand-crafted pizza. We’re jealous of the students that will have such a tasty summer as Lindsey leads them through the “Alps of America” in Washington State on our Northwest Explorer trips!
Joby Bernstein seems to take on a leadership role in everything he does. He is the captain of the Dartmouth Swim Team, the president of the Dartmouth Business Journal, a leader for the Dartmouth Outing Club, and the president of the Dartmouth Investment & Philanthropy program. Did we mention he goes to Dartmouth? In addition to all of that, he’s finishing up his major in Economics and working as a research assistant for the New Hampshire Senate. Phew! Makes us tired just thinking about it. We’re so happy that Joby will be taking all of his energy and leadership skills out to the Pacific Northwest for us as he leads our Northwest Explorer trips this summer! Not only is Joby a tremendously experienced leader, he is also very well traveled. Joby has been to a dozen countries (make it a baker’s dozen if you include the U.S.A) and has been on backpacking trips in Washington, Arizona, Utah, Alaska, California, Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire and Estonia. Joby has led a variety of trips for the Dartmouth Outing Club, ranging from pre-orientation trips for incoming freshmen with little to no outdoor experience, to a trip that summitted Mount Washington while carrying a canoe (apparently it’s a school tradition). Carrying a canoe up Mount Washington isn’t the only goofy thing Joby has done… he once was a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! We’re over the moon that Joby will be joining us this summer and we know he can’t wait to explore the Pacific Northwest with his Apogee students.