We could not be more excited to introduce our first set of 2014 leaders! Will Pettee and Emily O’Connell will be navigating the cobblestoned streets of Nantucket, riding the waves on the inter-island ferry, and guiding their groups to the very best beaches on the Vineyard this summer. Indeed, it is a tough job. And heading away from the beaches of the Cape, and up to the White Mountains, Matt Cooper and Midge Cross are ready to take on an incredible adventure with their students on our New England Mountains & Coast trip!
Texan Will Pettee is a rising Junior at Cornell University where he studies Biology. Will grew up in Dallas, where he fostered a true love for the outdoors. Will was a member of the Boy Scouts of America for seven years, and is now an Eagle Scout. During his time with the Scouts, Will enjoyed camping out at night and building camaraderie with the other Scouts. Will decided to take on a leadership role in high school as he became a Senior Patrol leader for younger Scouts, guiding them through group activities and on various camping and hiking trips. He continued to act as a mentor to other students through the TeenAge Communication Theater, a publically-funded organization that performs skits on common teenage health issues. At Cornell, Will is on the Ultimate Frisbee team and is an intramural referee. Will’s Cape Cod & the Islands students are going to love getting to know him, and enjoy some of his homemade Greek food – he is ready to show off his cooking skills after his recent experiences dishing out the moussaka while working at a Greek restaurant!
Virginia born and Virginia raised, Emily O’Connell is one of the kindest people you may come across. Emily grew up with a younger brother and her two yellow labs in Richmond, Virginia. A rising Junior at the College of William & Mary, Emily studies Economics. Emily also has a real passion for the Spanish language; during her Junior year in high school, Emily traveled to Panama to work with the indigenous Kuna people. She learned about their history, culture, and was completely immersed in their Spanish-speaking environment. She loved her experience so much that she decided to attend Middlebury College’s vaunted language school last summer, a seven-week intensive Spanish immersion program. On her days out of class, Emily enjoyed her time hiking and exploring the surrounding parts of Vermont. Emily also loves to work kids of all ages. Since 2010, Emily has been a camp counselor, a field hockey coach, and was an Orientation Aid at William & Mary. Emily is excited to watch her Apogee students grow in self-esteem, and embrace their own personalities as they explore on our Cape Cod & the Islands trip this summer.
Hailing from from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Matt Cooper is a rising Junior at Boston University where he is studying Bio-Medical Engineering and is enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program. Matt comes from a very close-knit family, and spent much of his time in high school lifeguarding and volunteering for a Pittsburgh-based organization called the Center for Hope, where he helped tutor and mentor underprivileged youth. At BU, Matt is arguably one of the most involved students on campus. Matt is a member of the Men’s Water Polo team, works in a neuroscience lab, and is the Director of Operations of the Arnold Air Society, a community service group that focuses on giving back to the great Boston area. On top of all of this, Matt has almost magically found time to create and run a group called Boston University Baja which designs and manufactures single seat, off-road vehicles and compete with them on a national level. When Matt is able to relax away from his BU commitments, he loves to be outside and chase his adventurous side! He is a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, and he used his certification to explore some beautiful areas around the Florida Keys. Matt is sure to inspire his Apogee students this summer on his New England Mountains & Coast trips this summer!
An ebullient Environmental Science and Philosophy double major at Tufts University, Mary “Midge” Cross is thrilled to spend her summer leading our New England Mountains & Coast trips. Midge grew up in rural Minnesota, “running around in cornfields and playing lots of ice hockey.” When it came time to think about college, she decided to leave the cornfields of Minnesota and head east to Boston. At Tufts, Midge is involved in a multitude of activities. She works as a campus tour guide, plays intramural dodge ball, and leads trips with the Tufts Mountain Club. As a Mountain Club Trip Leader, Midge has grown into an esteemed outdoorswoman, and she’s ready to share her love for the wilderness with her students. Midge’s Apogee students will enjoy learning about her passion for music; she is currently the President of BEATS, Tufts’ street percussion group (and we’re sure she is going to get her students singing and making beats with her). This summer, her trips are sure to be filled with delicious meals cooked over camp stoves, bonfires, and lots of games on and off the trails (including Mafia – her favorite!).