Apogee is very lucky to be based in the Great State of Maine. A very big state by East Coast standards, Maine is home to so many outstanding outdoor opportunities and the folks who love to cycle, hike, ski, fish, hunt, paddle and climb throughout the State. For years, we have looked for ways to connect with students and families in our home state who might not have been familiar with Apogee, way down here near the coast in Brunswick.
This year, however, one of our long-time leaders, Mike Lessard, was skiing professionally through the winter at the Maine Winter Sports Center (“MWSC”), an amazing resource for Nordic skiers, amateur and professional, in Caribou, Maine. (For those of you not familiar with just how big Maine is compared to the rest of New England, Caribou is a full five hour drive past Portland, Maine. The interstate runs out a long time before you get to Caribou, too ) When he wasn’t skiing in Finland or dodging errant moose near the ski center, Mike had plenty of time to think – and he had the great idea of running an essay contest open to students throughout Maine. Mike did a great job of putting the word out through the MWSC, teachers and coaches throughout Maine, and other cross-country skiing clubs throughout the State. Mike’s essay question hewed closely to Apogee’s emphasis on community awareness and community service, asking students to answer the following question: “How would you increase or improve outdoor recreational opportunities in your community?” The winner would receive a full-ride on our most Maine-oriented trip, the Downeast Explorer.
After sorting through some fantastic, thoughtful answers, Brendan Cyr of Caribou, Maine emerged as our winner. Brendan’s essay discussed the need for creating an awareness of the rewards of physical fitness along with creating opportunities for groups to participate in outing adventures of all kinds. Brendan doesn’t just talk the talk, though — indeed, he walks the walk (or skis the ski, as it were ). An eighth-grader in Caribou, Brendan is very active in the outdoors year-round and is a stand-out cross country skier with the MWSC (in fact, he won the Northern Maine Middle School cross-country championships this year). Not only does Brendan take a thoughtful approach to increasing outdoor opportunities in northern Maine, but he is a also consummate team-player with a go-get-it attitude. We are delighted to have Brendan on board this summer, and we know that his team-oriented attitude will make him a perfect fit for this summer’s Downeast Explorer trip.