2015 Wilderness Risk Management Conference

By: Program Manager Liz Fager and Equipment and Facilities Manager Jim Smith

Venture Outdoors prides itself on providing high quality outings that build on the knowledge and experience of staff and volunteers as well as its outdoor recreation partners. Its excellent track record is accomplished by keeping staff and volunteer leaders trained and up to date on the latest industry standards. This year Venture Outdoors’ Program Manager Liz Fager and Equipment and Facilities Manager Jim Smith attended the twenty second annual Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in Portland, Oregon. The WRMC focuses on providing practical risk management skills, sharing field and administrative techniques, networking with others in the industry, and helping develop risk management standards for the outdoor adventure and education industries.

Hear from Liz and Jim on what they hope to bring back to the organization as a result of their experience.

From Liz:

DSC_0578 The WRMC was an extremely educational and valuable experience. With topics ranging from working with “At-Risk” populations to strategies for better risk management, the conference provided me with tons of good information that I can share with the organization. For example, Training Your Staff to Be Risk Managers provided training tools and tactics to strengthen our risk management training for staff and volunteers. As an organization, we are continuously looking at ways to improve our training so that staff and volunteers are better leaders in an outdoor setting. These tools will directly influence the training we host for the staff and volunteers in 2016.

The networking opportunities were also valuable and provided me with contacts from across the county to share ideas and challenges. I am truly looking forward to putting my educational experience into practice in the coming year.

From Jim:

DSC_0520The WRMC was a very informative experience. As the Equipment and Facilities Manager, many of the workshops changed the way I looked at risk management within my role and the tasks I do at Venture Outdoors. For example, Performing Under Pressure presented explanations of how people perform under pressure and how to train staff in a manner that will optimize their performance in stressful situations. As someone who deals with training and operation of our trailers, including our portable climbing wall, the workshop provided me with a clearer understanding to staff’s reactions to stressful tasks that I do on a daily basis without much thought or pressure. With this understanding, I can more effectively structure our trailer training in 2016 to optimize success for all the staff. Conferences such as these are great chances to look at how we run our trainings and programs compared to other industry professionals and what we can do to improve the experiences of participants.

Both Liz and Jim feel extremely lucky to have had the conference experience in preparation for 2016. They are looking forward to being able to share their experience with the rest of the Venture Outdoors community and to put their experiences into practice.

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OUTDOOR News

  • An Overview of Pittsburgh City Parks

    March 28, 2017

    By: Grace Cooper 

    Besides being a beautiful city, Pittsburgh has some lovely parks maintained for us by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. So, as we make our way into spring, let’s take advantage of the beautiful recreation areas our city has to offer!  

    Emerald View Park 

    Emerald View Park is the place to get a good view of Pittsburgh. The 257-acre park is actually a combination of three older parks on Mount Washington, Grandview, and Olympia. The wooded hillsides are perfect for hiking, biking, walking—whatever suits your mood.

     » Read more about: An Overview of Pittsburgh City Parks  »

  • Venture Outdoors Youth Programs

    March 21, 2017

    How our team is impacting young lives around the city.

    By: Meg Taylor, Youth Program Intern

    Here at Venture Outdoors, we are known around the city of Pittsburgh as the people that get you outdoors. Whether we take you kayaking along the Allegheny River downtown, on a morning hike in Schenley Park, or cross country skiing at Kooser State Park, you’ll always find us doing something fun outdoors. In addition to the public programs you can find on our website  Activities Calendar, we have also found a way to work outdoors with youth in our local communities. 

     » Read more about: Venture Outdoors Youth Programs  »

  • Mount Washington- A Spring Ritual

    March 14, 2017

    By: David Paul

            

    It rises over everything around it, offering a commanding view of the landscapes that define its rugged region. Despite its steep, unforgiving slopes, tourists flock to it year round, ascending to the top by automobile, a special type of rail car, bicycling, and even using their own two feet. Mount Washington’s vistas offer anyone who makes it to its top a sense of accomplishment; it’s a place for families, friends, couples, and individuals to take in one of the best backdrops in the United States and offers a meaningful place for reflection,

     » Read more about: Mount Washington- A Spring Ritual  »

  • Trail Tails from Witch Doctor

    March 7, 2017

    By: Brian Beach, Youth Program Intern

    Virginia is absolutely the longest state on the Appalachian Trail. I might have had a beard during my 2005 Appalachian Trail thru-hike down in Georgia or Tennessee, but it became a “Grizzly Adams” beard in Virginia. I imagine there was a specific mountain where I snapped due to the solitude. (If so, it was probably Sassafras Mountain. There were at least four or five with that name.) The evolution of a thru-hiker from a “backpacker” to a “homeless person” is less obvious to those residing on the trail. Regardless, it was certainly in Virginia that I became a little more salty than usual.

     » Read more about: Trail Tails from Witch Doctor  »

  • Getting to Know our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Lora Woodward

    February 28, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    We are continuing our staff spotlight series. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes brain power that goes into planning your favorite programs, be it public, family-friendly, or custom outings. Learn about those who work inside so you can get outside.

    This week we’ll be interviewing Lora Woodward, our Program Director.

    1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors? 

    I grew up in Harrisburg, PA on a four-acre property across from my grandparents’

     » Read more about: Getting to Know our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Lora Woodward  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Get your 2017 Season Pass!

Kayak Pittsburgh North Shore and North Park open Saturday May 6!
Aspinwall Riverfront Park opens Saturday, May 27!

Featured Outing

 Spring Wildflower Walk
Sunday, April 30
10 AM – 1 PM

Join local ecologist Henry Schumacher for a tour of one of the most vibrant local spring wildflower patches here in Southwestern PA. We will take in the fleeting beauty of this annual natural wildflower display and discuss the ecology of wildflowers and their role in the ecosystem.

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