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.

Posted in Uncategorized

OUTDOOR News

  • Why Venture Outdoors?

    August 15, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    For many of us, the most time we spend outdoors comes from transitioning between cars and buildings, if that even counts.  As we continue to develop new technological advancements to make our lives easier, we have slowly begun to remove ourselves from the outdoor environment to shift towards safer and less demanding settings. 

    We as a species are less challenged to obtain food which is now carried by large machines to our destinations, and we spend most of our time sitting or sedentary.  Millions of people are damaging their eyes and backs sitting in front of computer screens for hours each day,

     » Read more about: Why Venture Outdoors?  »

  • My First Backpacking Trip with Venture Outdoors

    August 8, 2017

    By: Joshua Tenenbaum

    My backpacking trip to Raccoon State Park was a remarkable experience that I won’t soon forget. Going to the outfitter to select backpacking and camping gear and having the opportunity to use it on the trail was very gratifying. I had a ton of fun packing my bag, trying to distribute weight evenly in my pack, and organizing all my gear and food in the pack (although, it took me multiple tries to get everything to fit).

    Early in the morning, we dusted off our gear and headed out to experience the beauty of Raccoon Creek State Park.

     » Read more about: My First Backpacking Trip with Venture Outdoors  »

  • Where is She Now

    August 1, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Former Communications/ Photography Intern

    This past April, my fantastic internship with Venture Outdoors came to an end. After finishing up my junior year at Pitt, I packed the car and drove down to Washington DC to start my next adventure… as a Communications Intern at the World Wildlife Fund US Headquarters!

    I’m now halfway through my internship, and absolutely loving it! As a Communications Intern on the Science Team at WWF, I have a handful of different jobs. I help out with social media, create flyers for events, and contact WWF grantees for information on their conservation projects.

     » Read more about: Where is She Now  »

  • The Beauty of Hiking

    July 25, 2017

    By: Chloe Seletz, Communications Intern 

    When I am asked what my dream vacation would be, it is always a no brainer. Anywhere I can go hiking. I spent a portion of my childhood living in San Francisco which is where I discovered the beauty of hiking. Every Sunday, my family and I took advantage of the amazing trails California has to offer. Even at a young age, I remember the feeling of getting to the top of a mountain and seeing such mesmerizing views.

    Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel and hike in many different places.

     » Read more about: The Beauty of Hiking  »

  • Art in the Outdoors

    July 18, 2017

    By: Joshua Tenebaum

    This past week I spent a bit of time developing and furthering my blog post project and compiling photographs and field recordings to showcase to the Venture Outdoors community. Liz Fager and Jessica Wiegand both approached me about writing a blog post to be featured on the Venture Outdoors website. I began reading the other posts to determine an appropriate topic and voice for my writing; I decided to write about art and the outdoors. A rather broad topic, I specifically chose to speak about why I make art, my process, and my impressions of nature whenever I venture outdoors.

     » Read more about: Art in the Outdoors  »

Featured Outing

Beginner Paddle – North Shore
Multiple Dates
6:00 – 8:30 PM

We’ll start with instruction and practice, and then head onto the Allegheny River to see just how easy it is to paddle. Bedazzled by the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline, you won’t even realize that you’re suddenly paddling like a pro! Equipment, guides and instruction are provided. Solo kayaks are highly recommended for this outing.


SIGN UP HERE!