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

  • 10 Adventure Photographers that will Inspire You to Get Outside

    February 21, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    Climbing, hiking, skiing! What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
    These 10 adventure photographers, categorized by sport, will inspire you to get outside no matter what the weather. They’ll have you dreaming of tropical waters, rocky cliff sides, and snow covered slopes all at the same time!

    1. Skiing- Jimmy Chin
    North Face athlete and adventure photographer Jimmy Chin spends his days climbing and skiing in the mountains. In particular he pushes skiing to the extreme, and is among an elite group of people who have skied Everest from the summit!

     » Read more about: 10 Adventure Photographers that will Inspire You to Get Outside  »

  • Venture Outdoors vs. Florida Outfitter

    February 14, 2017

    By: Nancy Latimer

    Venture Outdoors may be a nonprofit with volunteer Trip Leaders, but it’s not a rinky dink operation. Venture Outdoors has rigorous training to ensure that all Trip Leaders follow the same format including the planning, the introduction, the safety, and the experience. Recently, I was on vacation in southwest Florida and went on an Everglades kayak tour with a commercial outfitter. Many of the Venture Outdoors checklist items were the same as my Everglades trip, but Venture Outdoors covered things more thoroughly. I was impressed that Venture Outdoors trips are on par or better!

     » Read more about: Venture Outdoors vs. Florida Outfitter  »

  • Running Outdoors in a Pittsburgh Winter

    February 7, 2017

    AN ESSENTIAL EMBER
    By: Suni Lynn Lee

    Outside the temperature hovers around 10 degrees. As I stand staring out the window, watching the wind whip the snow into sparkling spirals, I feel motivation oozing out of me. Inside it is toasty warm, and I shiver at the thought of stepping out into the cold to begin my run. But, I turn away from the window, thinking, “Today is my day to run, and I will run.”

    Dressed in layers, I feel like an abominable snowman. I stuff soft cotton into my ears, pull a wool stocking cap onto my head,

     » Read more about: Running Outdoors in a Pittsburgh Winter  »

  • Women in Nature Hike

    January 31, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    During the summer months here in Pittsburgh, adventurous women from all around the city participate in Venture Outdoors’ popular Women on the Water (WOW) programs. But, as the kayaks at North Park and on the rivers have been put away for some time now, it was time to lace up our hiking boots and try something new. 

    So, this year for the first time ever, Venture Outdoors offered the very first Women in Nature Hike! Over 25 excited women met in North Park on January 22 for a leisurely Sunday morning hike in the woods,

     » Read more about: Women in Nature Hike  »

  • Getting to Know Our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Ken Sikora

    January 24, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    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 Ken Sikora, our Head Trip Leader Specialist.Ken

    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 was born and raised in Munhall, just south of Downtown. I went to California University of PA and studied Parks and Recreation Management.

     » Read more about: Getting to Know Our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Ken Sikora  »

Featured Outing

 

Outdoor Leadership Training
Sunday, February 28
9 AM – 5 PM

This day-long, classroom-based training is designed to improve your leadership skills in a format that fits your schedule. The eight-hour course is a fast-paced mix of skill training, awareness development and fun.

SIGN UP HERE!