Peak News: Beat the Winter Blues

The groundhog says it’s almost spring; we say it’s definitely time for another installment of Apogee Peak News!

Apogee Alum Feature

Daniel Dolch

Four-time Apogee alumnus, Daniel Dolch, received exciting news this month! Daniel, a high school senior living in New York, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was accepted into the Engineering Program at Syracuse University. His journey with Apogee began in 2018 when he participated in New England Mountains & Coast. He continued his summer adventures with our Maine’s Downeast ExplorerAlaska Mountains and Coast, and Alps Explorer programs.

Daniel at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor

Daniel emphasized that the engaging leaders were instrumental in his decision to return to Apogee every summer, making each trip memorable and enjoyable. Apogee’s emphasis on individual attention fostered a sense of unity among groups, resulting in lasting bonds akin to a family by the end of each trip.

Reflecting on his fondest Apogee memories, Daniel recalled his experience as Leader of the Day in the Alps. Daniel mentioned, too, his group’s camaraderie after a multi-day hike in the Alaskan backcountry and how much fun it was to jump into the van with their favorite song playing.

Daniel on Maine’s Downeast Explorer way back in 2019
Each trip left him feeling transformed, with newfound friendships and a deeper understanding of himself. He discovered his passion for helping others and honing his leadership skills, experiences he recalled in his college essay for Syracuse University.
Celebrating on Alps Explorer in 2022

Daniel treasures the lasting friendships he formed with other Apogee students and encourages anyone considering the program to approach it with excitement rather than fear. With an open mind, positive attitude, and a willingness to connect, he assures that it will be one of the most rewarding summer experiences imaginable.

Congratulations, Daniel! We can’t wait to see what you do next!

Apogee Staff Feature

Charlie Ratner

Students on last summer’s Costa Rica Mountains and Coast were led by the one-and-only Charlie Ratner, known as “Coco” by his CRMC students. Charlie continues to reflect on the summer, and who can blame him when each day was brimming with surfing, hiking, ziplining, and indulging in fresh jungle fruit! Above all, he holds dear the friendships forged with his students, outstanding co-leader, and the community members they met along the way.

Charlie grew up in the badlands of New Jersey and graduated from Hamilton College in 2023. Since his summer with Apogee, his adventures have extended beyond Costa Rica. Let’s hear from him about his current endeavors:

Charlie and his co-leader, Maddie Wayne, with their group in Costa Rica
“These days, I am exploring the wide world of fitness and movement. I spent September and October in Japan playing, coaching, and learning lacrosse from some of the 300+ university teams throughout the island country. I am currently backpacking through Southeast Asia, taking muay thai classes, watching sepak takraw (kick volleyball), and wandering into new activities.”

During all his travels, he and his younger brother Augie have still found time to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and launched a footbag (hacky sack) company in November 2023. He was inspired to spread the joy of his favorite activity to others, check out their work at

Thank You for Referring Your Friends and Family!

With each passing season, we realize more and more just how important word-of-mouth is to our little organization. Thank you – again and forever! – for sharing your family’s experience with Apogee with your friends and neighbors!