Now that we are officially one month away from the beginning of Leader Training, it’s as good a time as any to read about some wonderful biking trip leaders who will be headed out to explore the wild west this summer!
We’re thrilled to welcome back long-time Apogee veteran Emily Hoffman to lead our Montana Service Adventure trips this summer! Coming to us from the bustling streets of New York City, Emily is well-versed in all things Apogee. Apart from leading our Coast to Québec biking trips last summer, Emily spent four summers with us as a student. She has volunteered her way across the Caribbean, bicycled in Cape Cod and Europe, and is no stranger to biking in Montana – she completed Montana Service Adventure as an Apogee student in 2012! A rising senior at St. Lawrence University, Emily’s passion for the outdoors has truly blossomed. As a sophomore, Emily took part in SLU’s “Adirondack Semester,” a program that took her entirely off the grid for three months, foregoing technology and running water in exchange for a better understanding of how to live simply. Emily lived so simply, in fact, that her main form of transportation throughout the program was a canoe! Beyond her travels with Apogee, Emily has been to France, Italy, London, Guatemala and Mexico. Emily studies Environmental Sociology, and will be adding to her impressive list of travel destinations as she heads to Kenya next fall to study culture, environment, and development in East Africa. Emily is also passionate about service and working with youth. During her senior year in high school Emily traveled to Guatemala with the terrific “Safe Passage” organization and taught English and lacrosse to local students. This coming summer, Emily is excited to share the magical beauty of Glacier National Park with her Apogee students as she heads out to ride the continental divide all over again!
In a few years, you may see Nicholas Bollen’s line of custom-designed bicycles on the market. For now though, he’s thrilled to be living on a bicycle this summer as he heads north from his home in Colorado to lead our Montana Service Adventure trips. Entering his final year of a Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado (CU), Nicholas is a genius with a love of the outdoors. Nicholas grew up in Aurora, Colorado, with the Rocky Mountains in his backyard. His twin sister (who he readily admits is two minutes older than him) was his adventure partner as they grew up hiking and biking together. It was Nicholas’ love of adventuring that spurred his desire to become a mechanical engineer; his senior project in high school involved building a bike frame out of bamboo, then researching how bamboo bicycles could be used as a resource for the people of Ghana. Not to be pigeon-holed as your stereotypical library-dwelling engineer, Nicholas recently took a class in African Dance, a class that he says was the best course he has taken in his college career. In college, Nicholas has continued his outdoor pursuits as a wilderness trip leader for the CU outdoor program, and has kept up his love of biking by serving as an officer for the CU Cycling Team. In addition to his outdoor leadership work at CU, Nicholas has also volunteered at Camp Barnabas in Missouri, where he helped facilitate high ropes course activities, canoe trips, and overnight camping trips for students and adults with special needs. We’re sure that with all of his outdoor experience, Nicholas will be able to engineer (and he’s an engineer! Get it? Can’t miss a good pun opportunity!) a fantastic summer for his Apogee students as they bike, perform community service, and revel in the spectacular Montana landscape.
Growing up in Denver, in the shadow of Colorado’s snow-capped Fourteeners, Pacific Coast leader Grace McCabe returns to Apogee as a true outdoor enthusiast! Grace embraced exploration from a young age and build upon her love of adventure while leading our Cape Cod and the Islands trip last summer. In high school, Grace took to Rocky Mountain summits where she clicked into skis or laced up her hiking boots and made the most of any chance to explore with her family. Prior to leaving Colorado to pursue a degree in Political Science at Williams College, Grace left a mark on her community after founding a local program to increase educational equality at her high school. At Williams, Grace flexed her athletic muscles when she walked onto the crew team and quickly fell in love with the demanding sport. Grace also leads outdoor orientation trips for incoming freshmen, acting as both an ambassador for Williams and a role model for these new students. Along with Grace’s love for beautiful Williamstown sunrises, tromps among the colorful hills, and supporting social justice causes, Grace has a passion for working with kids. She has spent a summer volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal, taught children with mental and physical disabilities how to ski in Winter Park, Colorado, and acted as a lifeguard and swim instructor in Denver. We couldn’t be more excited to be graced (get it??) with her presence again this summer as she looks forward to creating a new community and sharing in exploration with her Apogee students on the Pacific Coast!
We can’t wait to welcome Ryan Thomas to the Apogee family for this summer’s Pacific Coast bike trips! Ryan grew up between Richmond, VT, and New Fairfield, CT, alongside his older and younger sisters where his love of the outdoors, adventure, and athletics started early on. Ryan spent childhood summers with his family mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking, even backpacking a portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT). Building off of this foundation, he started planning his own adventures, checking off more miles on the AT with friends on the weekends and even solo backpacking for several weeks throughout Ireland after high school. Now wrapping up his senior year at William & Mary, Ryan has continued to incorporate travel and challenge throughout his college career. Not only did he spend a summer abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, backpacking through the Galician countryside, Ryan has traveled to Portugal and England, mountain biked in New Zealand, and spent a month in Guyana with the US Army (Ryan is in ROTC at William & Mary). Between all of his international travels, Ryan is a member of William & Mary’s Track and Field Team and has spent a summer sharing his love of the outdoors with young people as a summer camp counselor. As graduation approaches, Ryan looks forward to Army Flight School in the fall with hopes of one day becoming a helicopter pilot, but until then he can’t wait to ride down the west coast with his Apogee students this summer!
Hailing from New Hope, PA, a leafy suburb of Philadelphia, Pacific Coast leader Emma Singer grew up with her parents, two younger siblings, and a love of car-camping and crosswords. From working for a program that helped West Philadelphia high school students transition into college, to acting as an instructor for a College Bridge program to help other high school students complete pre-college requirements, Emma has always found a way to give back to the community. This summer won’t be Emma’s first cycle-touring trip, either; in 2015, Emma rode across the country with Bike & Build, where she raised money and awareness for youth empowerment and affordable housing. A rising senior and Urban Studies major at the University of Pennsylvania, Emma just finished a semester abroad, where she traveled to Brazil, India, and Senegal, immersing herself in new cultures and studying housing, employment, and poverty. As a trip leader for Penn’s pre-orientation program, PennQuest, Emma welcomes first-year students to Penn on backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail. This summer, Emma can’t wait to introduce her Apogee students to her famous cake-in-a-mug recipe as they watch the sunset on our Pacific Coast trip.
We are thrilled to have Virginia native Miles Bent back on the Apogee team as a Pacific Coast leader. After leading our Maine Coast College Essay program in 2015, Miles spent half of last summer in Italy helping his dad research for his next book, and the other half working for a Congressman on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A native of Lexington, VA and a lifelong adventurer in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Miles didn’t have to go far to find his university of choice; he’ll be graduating from Washington and Lee University this spring with a double-major in English and Politics. An avid soccer fan, Miles spent two summers as a soccer coach, and he was a four-year member of the varsity team at W&L. And though Miles is loyal to his home state of Virginia, that hasn’t stopped him from traveling around the world; he lived in Italy for a year when he was younger, he’s traveled to France, Greece, and Puerto Rico, and he recently spent a semester studying abroad in Rome. While abroad, Miles ran his first marathon in France and studied Italian, Ancient Roman art history, and politics of the EU. Back on campus this year, Miles has been working on a project to create a 3D map of 15th century Florence using Virtual Reality technology. We’re thrilled to have Miles back this summer, and his Apogee students should make sure to brush up on their trivia – Miles’ favorite show is Jeopardy, so his trips are in for their fair share of fun facts!
Apogee is thrilled to welcome Michigan-native Mark House to the team this summer, where he’ll serve as our dedicated Pacific Coast Support Staffer. Though he grew up just outside of Detroit, Mark, his parents, and his four siblings were rarely stationary for long; most summers were spent road-tripping across the country, checking state after state off of their bucket list, and he currently stands at 44 states in total. One of their favorite spots was a ranch in Estes Park, CO, and after it was badly damaged in a mudslide in 2015, Mark returned on a mission trip to clean up the ranch and the surrounding area. Currently finishing up his senior year at the University of Michigan, Mark will be graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Over the last two years, Mark has pursued his passion for mechanical engineering, working for one firm to help design and build amusement park rides, and another company to build fuse boxes for electric vehicles. To expend some of his seemingly boundless energy, Mark combines his love for basketball and spending time with kids by working as a basketball coach for a local program called Skills Unlimited, and also serves as a mentor for local Ann Arbor students who speak English as a second language. At Michigan, Mark works as a tour guide and Campus Day Leader, answering questions and introducing first-year students to campus. Somehow (in all of his spare time!), Mark has traveled through Europe and backpack on Isle Royal in Lake Superior. This summer, Mark can’t wait to explore the California and Oregon Coasts with some great groups of Apogee students!