Summer in Maine is hard to beat; come adventure with us to see why. Our week long Maine Coast Junior offers 11- and 12-year-olds a terrific set of adventures in Maine’s famously beautiful outdoors. From our trip start just outside of Boston, you’ll transfer to stunning Acadia National Park where you’ll spend much of your week together exploring Acadia’s many footpaths and biking its famed Carriage Roads. You’ll also spend a day on the water in sea kayaks paddling the protected shores of Maine’s Casco Bay before enjoying a celebratory dinner in Portland’s Old Port. The week will fly by and have you excited to plan your next great outdoor adventure.
Hiking and Bicycling in Acadia National Park
After meeting outside of Boston, we’ll head straight for the coast of Maine where we’ll breathe in the salt air, play games, and get acquainted. The next morning, we’ll set out for Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island to make camp and start exploring. Acadia’s friendly trails and famous Carriage Roads make for a perfect introduction to hiking and biking. From Cadillac Mountain to Sand Beach, we’ll experience everything this pristine national treasure has to offer over the course of four great days.
Sea Kayaking and Portland
We’ll leave Acadia, and head south for beautiful Casco Bay where we’ll get an introduction to sea kayaking from our professional guides. We’ll hone our skills along the quiet, island-dotted coast and keep our eyes open for bald eagles and seals. After a morning of paddling, we’ll spend a fulfilling afternoon volunteering on a local Maine community service project. Our wonderful week together will come to a close with a celebratory dinner out in historic Portland, Maine.
Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!
How physically challenging is MCJ?
MCJ is the shortest and least physically-challenging trip we offer, and we believe it is a great “sampler” trip for young students interested in hiking, biking, camping, and outdoor activity. Given a rating of Challenge Level 2 (out of a maximum of 10), we consider MCJ to be a perfect trip for beginners that any moderately fit, motivated student can successfully complete. Please note that all of Apogee’s Challenge Levels are not scientific and are subjectively calculated by the Apogee staff.
Does my child need to bring his or her own bike for this trip?
No, a bike rental is included in the tuition for this trip. We will provide a well-maintained, fitted bike for your child. Your child must bring their own helmet, however.
Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?
Apogee’s tuition costs are meant to be all-inclusive and include all meal, accommodation, and activity fees. The most significant additional expenses on our Maine Coast Junior trip will include travel to and from the Boston area, a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, sturdy shoes, and a bike helmet.
What does a typical day on MCJ look like?
A typical MCJ day will look something like this: after a 7:00-7:30 a.m. wakeup, students will prepare their clothes and gear for the day’s activity, whether that is a hike, a bike ride, sea kayaking, or a community service project. After breakfast, they will head to the location of the day’s activity and get started! The morning activity will include many snack and water breaks. The group will break for a picnic lunch between 12 and 2 p.m. before the final few hours of the day’s activity. Then, the group will head back to camp, usually before 4 p.m., where the students assigned to that day’s “Cook Crew” will work with a leader to prepare dinner while others write in the group’s trip journal or play frisbee, cards, or other games. After dinner and clean-up, the group will enjoy dessert, read the daily journal entry, and share their “Apogees and Perigees” (highs and lows of the day) before bedtime, usually between 9 and 10 pm.
Where will my child sleep each night?
Our MCJ students camp in tents with one or two other students of the same gender and stay in two private campgrounds in Freeport and Southwest Harbor, Maine that we’ve used for years. Picturesque and well-appointed, both have bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities available. Sleeping in tents allows our MCJ students to experience the outdoors, engage in group living, and embrace the opportunity to learn how to set-up and break camp, just like our more advanced trips.
What does the community service portion of this trip entail?
Service projects vary from year to year, but a typical MCJ group will volunteer with one of a number of Maine-based organizations; they may spend a morning sorting food items with the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, volunteer at a local farm, or help the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust with trail maintenance on one of their preserves. Your child can expect 3-5 hours of community service.
My child will be flying to this trip start. How will they connect with their leaders?
Please note that Apogee staff members do not travel with students; our trip leaders will already be in Boston on arrival day and will stay at our headquarters in Maine after the trip ends. Apogee staff and trip leaders will have a detailed flight itinerary for each student who is flying to the trip start and will be at the airport to greet them on arrival. Once students are with their leaders, they will call home to let their parents know they have arrived and are with their group. Please see our blog post for specifics regarding students traveling as Unaccompanied Minors. Further, we encourage you to coordinate travel with other attendees; we’re happy to put you in touch with other enrolled families from your region. We will provide enrolled families with a Travel Information document covering details specific to traveling to and from Boston, including airport information and arrival and departure time windows. Please contact Apogee with any specific questions or concerns regarding drop-offs and/or pick-ups.