Leader Profiles – Maddie, Kelly & Jack

With the daffodils fading and summer nearly upon us, we are busy here at Apogee’s Intergalactic Headquarters gearing up for trips starting very soon.     Two months from today, May 2, we will have trips running in Oregon, Montana, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Georgia, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Italy.   Yikes.   It’s going to be hopping around here.

Before the schedule really heats up, we wanted to start our series of leader profiles so that you have a chance to get know the outstanding folks who will be working with us this summer.   Kevin and I continue to be amazed at the caliber of young people who are interested in leading trips with us.   We had our highest number of applicants this year — more than 185 people vying for only 14 new staff positions (we also have the largest number of returning leaders coming back this year — almost 2/3 of last year’s leaders are back this summer).   Without question, too, the quality of our applicant pool has never been higher.   It understates the case significantly to say that we are tremendously excited about the engaged, responsible young people who will be out there in the field this summer.   Our students will be in exceptionally good hands.




Portland, Maine’s own Maddie Berrang will surely teach her Caribbean Service Adventure groups more Spanish than “Hola” as they travel through Puerto Rico together this summer.   Between high school and college, Maddie spent a year living and volunteering in Guatemala with the remarkable Safe Passage organization, where she learned fluent Spanish and, while zip-lining, almost collided with a monkey.   Having successfully dodged the monkey, Maddie is now a rising Junior at Montreal’s McGill University, where she studies International Development and Latin American Studies.   A true child of Maine, Maddie grew up hiking, rafting, biking, and camping with her family.   In high school, she found time to play varsity basketball, soccer, and lacrosse all of which earned her her high school’s Tri-Sport Varsity Athlete award.   Because of her heavy involvement in the community, Maddie also won her high school’s Community Service Award.   At McGill, Maddie plays varsity lacrosse (and picked up this year’s Defensive Player of the Year Award).   Additionally, Maddie is actively involved in the McGill Outdoors Club, and leads “Playing for Change,” an organization that raises money for performing arts schools in developing areas.   Maddie is excited to combine her love for Spanish and Latin American culture with her passion for the outdoors with her Apogee groups this summer!   Maddie is certified in First Aid and CPR.


Kelly McGinty, hailing from the green hills of Woodstock, Vermont, is excited to spend her summer leading Apogee’s Downeast Explorer and New England Mountains and Coast trips!   Kelly is a rising Senior at Cornell University, where she studies in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations, but her  passion is outdoor adventure. With Cornell, Kelly has led rock-climbing, canoeing and backpacking trips (including a Spring Break trip to Arizona’s high desert this March).   Additionally, Kelly serves as an instructor on Cornell’s high and low ropes course, and has led two six-day multi-element outdoor adventure trips for incoming freshmen.     Kelly is also heavily involved in volunteering in and around Ithaca — she works annually with the Special Olympics, teaches hockey skills through the Ithaca Youth Hockey Association and serves as a mentor and tutor in community elementary schools.   This is nothing new for Kelly.  In high school Kelly spent two weeks building a school in the Peruvian rain forest and served as co-chair of her school’s Peer Counseling support group.   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.


Minnesotan Jack Messerly is, if you will forgive the pun, a Jack-of-all-trades.   A rising Junior at Hamilton College in upstate New York, Jack studies math and philosophy.   When he’s not untangling the mathematical theory of knots, however, you might find him spinning tracks as a DJ at Hamilton’s radio station, leading campus tours for prospective students, or out on the rugby field (Jack was just elected Captain of Hamilton’s rugby team).   Additionally, Jack has led incoming freshman on a weeklong, pre-orientation backpacking trip for Hamilton’s Adirondack Adventure program.   Back in Minnesota, Jack was the President of his Junior and Senior classes and deeply involved in community service.   Jack also served as the Captain of his high school’s varsity hockey team, making him a natural to work as a counselor at ice hockey camp over the last two summers.  Jack can’t wait to bring his enthusiasm, his hiking experience, and his extensive knowledge of group trail games to lead our Downeast Explorer and New England Mountains & Coast trips this summer.  On the trail, his groups should encourage Jack to “get down” to do some freestyle rapping, which is, along with his camp cooking, another of his many skills.   Jack is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.