Springtime at Apogee means lilacs, daffodils, and lots of sweet-smelling leader profiles. On this May afternoon, what could accompany the beautiful sunshine better than reading more about our leaders? For this batch, we are going to start with Marino Leone and Erin Leddy who will be making their way up the steep slopes of Mt. Katahdin on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trip and up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on our Maine Coast Junior trip this summer. And what a duo they are! Next we have none other than last year’s (awesome) support staffer Chris Opie and returning leader Hannah Gensheimer. Together, these returners are going to take on our Montana Service Adventure. Let’s just hope Montana is ready for them!
Marino Leone, a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, is a rising senior and Psychology Major at Cornell University. When not engrossed in his studies, he enjoys free time outside, including rock-climbing, running, and hiking. Marino is the third of four children, and some of his fondest memories are of his family vacations, including a three-week tour of Zion and Yellowstone National Parks, and the Grand Canyon. Marino’s love for the outdoors has found good company at Cornell, where he’s led three Outdoor Pre-Orientation trips for incoming freshmen, and is an Outdoor Education Instructor. In his role as an Outdoor Education instructor, he teaches rock climbing, outdoor survival skills, and leads trail-running trainings. Marino also has plenty of experience with kids. He spent three summers as a camp counselor in North Carolina and he currently works as a tutor for several high school students. Marino is smart, mindful, and hilarious (and at times, sports a wild and crazy mustache…), and is excited to show his Apogee students an unforgettable summer of exploration and adventure in the mountains of Acadia and Baxter State Park on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer and Maine Coast Junior trips.
Erin Leddy is a rising Junior at Bowdoin College, studying English and Spanish. Growing up in Wilton, Connecticut, Erin comes from an adventurous, close-knit family with a deep love of travel. She has visited Africa twice, worked for a non-profit in Guatemala, studied abroad in Chile, and been scuba diving in the Caribbean. Erin also has a love for working with kids of all ages. She’s spent two summers as a camp counselor, and worked as a classroom assistant for 3rd and 8th graders in Guatemala. Erin plays on Bowdoin’s Ultimate Frisbee and water polo teams, and is an active member of the Outing Club, where she’s honed her outdoor leadership skills. Although she is athletic and adventurous, Erin makes time for a few more laidback hobbies, such as jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble, and knitting. This summer’s Apogee groups will love getting to know Erin as she shares her enthusiasm and love for the outdoors on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer and our Maine Coast Junior trips this summer!
We could not be more excited to have Chris Opie return this summer to lead our Montana Service Adventure. Last year, Chris (commonly referred to as “Opie”) worked on our New England support staff, and he is now lacing up his shoes, and ready to head west! Chris is a rising Senior at Bates College, and is working towards a degree in English with a minor in Education (and hoping to go to medical school after graduating!). Chris grew up outside of Boston in Arlington, Massachusetts, and has a love for volunteering, biking, travel, and spending time with his family. Chris has always had a passion for cycling, and he wanted to provide other Bates students with the opportunity to learn more about it. While Bates runs outdoor orientation trips for all incoming freshmen, Bates did not offer a cycling orientation trip until Chris came along. On his own, Chris planned out the routes, acquired and fixed up the bikes, and took a scouting trip to Acadia. Come orientation in August, Chris led eight incoming freshmen on an amazing week of riding along the Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park, and they even biked up Cadillac Mountain three times! Chris is smart, fun, and is going to inspire his students to develop a real passion of the outdoors and cycling as he rides with his group across Montana this summer.
Given the caliber of leaders that we attract, it is not unusual to have a seasoned camp counselor join us. It is not usual at all, however, to have a camp founder on staff. But that is exactly what we have in fourth-year Apogee leader Hannah Gensheimer. Hailing from western Pennsylvania, Hannah started (with her sister, CC, also a multi-year Apogee veteran) a day camp for neighborhood children in 2003 and ran it successfully for a full seven years! And no wonder, Hannah is one of the warmest, most thoughtful, and funniest people you’re likely to run across. A seasoned Apogee leader, Hannah led her first trip in 2011 on our Coast to Quebec trip, and returned the next two years to take her students on our Pacific Coast trip, as well as our Caribbean Service Adventure. Hannah’s past Apogee students and her lifelong experiences with young people shape the perspective that she will bring to her Montana Service Adventure groups this summer. Hannah graduated from Bucknell University in 2012, where she double-majored in Psychology and Political Science. Hannah loves to travel and has visited a number of countries in Europe with her close-knit family and studied abroad in New Zealand. Since graduating, Hannah worked for two months volunteering with children in Argentina in 2012 and spent the winter working and skiing in Vail, Colorado. Last September, Hannah began working at Apogee full-time as one of our Assistant Directors! As busy as she is, Hannah makes time for adventure, too – two of Hannah’s favorite memories are sky-diving over glaciers and dancing onstage with the Village People! Suffice to say, Hannah’s students are going to love getting to know her this summer (and watching her personal interpretation of “YMCA…”)!