Title: Kayak Pittsburgh Director

Email: vanessa@ventureoutdoors.org

There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into planning your favorite outdoors adventures! Learn about those who work inside to get you outside.This week we’ll be interviewing Vanessa, our Kayak Pittsburgh 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 Dayton, Ohio and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences with a concentration in Geography & Mineralogy from Montana State University in 2005. I have been with Venture Outdoors for 5+ years and currently serve as our Kayak Pittsburgh Director.

2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
I oversee the daily operation of our three Kayak Pittsburgh concessions

3. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Golf, even though I should say kayaking which is a VERY close second. I grew up playing the game with my father and I find being out on the course, in nature, super relaxing, even when I hit a bad shot.

4. What is the craziest thing you have done?
Keeping it clean… white water rafting on the Yellowstone River.

5. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
1. Red River Gorge, KY
2. Bozeman, MT
3. Arches National Park, UT
4. Hilton Head Island, SC
5. Las Vegas, NV

6. What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
Tequila and Mustard!

7. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
Phil Mickelson (pro golfer), Trey Anastasio (guitarist and vocalist of my fav band ever, PHISH), and my mom.

8. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
Our all-staff paddle out to visit the giant duck! We had so much fun as a group. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time.

9. Describe your dream Venture Outdoors program/outing.
Paddling the Allegheny with my dog Penny. She LOVES paddling 😊

10. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
Playing on the swing set behind my grandparents’ house with my sister. We used to perform nightly shows after dinner which I am sure was thrilling. The shows mainly consisted of us swinging and crossing the monkey bars.

11. What would the title of your autobiography be?
“Tall Tales from Under a Bridge”

12. Any hidden talents?
I can turn my eyelids inside out. I know it is not very attractive!

13. What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
Dixie Chicks, Wide Open Spaces. I remember listening to it like a thousand times on my move out to Montana. It still is my all-time favorite and brings back so many wonderful memories.

14. What is your biggest challenge nowadays?
Transitioning from our busy season and being outside a lot to our slightly less busy season and being inside a lot.

Stay tuned for more “Fifteen Questions with…” soon!