Getting to Know our Staff… 13 Questions with Jayme Penner

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 Jayme Penner, our Membership and Special Projects Coordinator.

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 Pittsburgh. I went to Chatham University and majored in Business. For a short time period, I lived in Colorado, when I moved back I knew I’d want to eventually end up in recreation. One thing led to another and I found myself as a Kayak Pittsburgh supervisor in 2014 and then hired full time by Venture Outdoors in fall 2014.

2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
Community Outreach, Special Events, Junior Board.

3. What does “getting outside” mean to you?
Appreciating the natural wonders of your backyard…with a beer in hand.

4. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Skiing – because it’s SO MUCH FUN: speed, gravity, downhill sports – YAY!

5. What is the craziest thing you have done?
Moving to a small ski town in Colorado without a job, place to live, or knowing a soul and making it work!

6. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
1. Frick Park
2. Crested Butte, CO
3. Israel
4. Family Farm in West Virginia
5. My parents’ back yard

7. What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
Beer is a snack right?

8. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
1. My grandfather
2. Whitney Houston (She’d sing the soundtrack to my greatest adventure)
3. Glen Plake

9. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
Apres Banff 2016. Or this day (see picture below):

10. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
Learning how to ski at Seven Springs with my Dad.

11. What would the title of your autobiography be?
“I Didn’t Write This” or “Snark”

12.Any hidden talents?
I can touch my nose with my tongue.

13. What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
My favorite song has always been: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

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    March 20, 2018

    By: Josh Doty of Foto-Foraging

    Spring is here. If you have been hiding from the snow and cold temperatures, it is now time to venture outdoors again. There is so much to see, even if you only have a chance to go to your local park or even your own backyard.

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  • Winter Tree ID

    March 13, 2018

    By: Iris Marzolf

    My favorite Venture Outdoors program I’ve attended thus far is the Winter Tree ID hike in January at Frick Park.

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  • Youth Mental Health First Aid

    March 6, 2018

    By: Maggie Zangara

    On November 20, 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in an interesting training hosted by Venture Outdoors. The name of the training was Youth Mental Health First Aid, and it took place at Venture Outdoors through the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. A fun fact is that Lady GaGa, who is a first aider herself and an advocate of the program, has set a goal of getting 150,000 people trained this year.

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     » Read more about: Youth Mental Health First Aid  »

  • Rachel Carson Trails

    February 27, 2018

    By: Amy Nelson, Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy, Member and Volunteer 

    In 2015, three friends and I did the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge  for the first time. We were avid road runners, bored with the monotony of pavement.  A 34-mile trek through the woods seemed like a great way to mix things up. Cut to the day of the event. Twenty miles into it, we experienced a torrential downpour which caused mud slides on some of the steepest hills. Mother Nature can be cruel.  By the time the last five miles rolled around our spirits were broken and we prayed for it to be over.

     » Read more about: Rachel Carson Trails  »

  • Leaving No Trace

    February 20, 2018

    By: Sara Cardamone

    At the Annual Volunteer Meeting, I had the opportunity to attend the Leave No Trace breakout session. Led by Joel Johnston, the interactive gathering was focused on educating participants on what Leave No Trace is truly about. Here are some of the things that I learned!

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Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!


Featured Outing


About Boating Safely
Saturday, March 24
9 AM – 5 PM

Join Venture Outdoors and members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for About Boating Safely. This course gives participants the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in Pennsylvania.