Venture Outdoors Logo Contest

Submit the winning logo design and you could win a $500 scholarship!

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Submissions due March 5

Venture Outdoors is celebrating our 20th year in helping connect people to the outdoors! To celebrate this milestone, we are asking for youth to get creative. This contest will challenge youth (18 yrs or younger) to design a logo that will be used in Venture Outdoors’ promotional materials, including on our website, social media, t-shirts, and more. Imagine repping a hat with YOUR design on it. The artist of the winning design will receive a $500 scholarship to an educational or enrichment program.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Logo must include the words “Venture Outdoors”
  2. May include any colors, but artists are encouraged to incorporate green, blue, and orange (Venture Outdoors’ brands colors).
  3. Can be created with pencils, crayons, markers, paint, or with a computer drawing program.
  4. Should be simple, not overly detailed, and all elements must be identifiable when reproduced in smaller sizes.
  5. Artists are encouraged to draw inspiration from the current Venture Outdoors logo (top left hand corner of this page).

To view the criteria and scoring rubric that will be used by the contest judges when reviewing submissions, click here: 20th Anniversary Youth Logo Design Contest Scoring Rubric

Youth Logo Design Contest FAQs

What does the contest winner receive?

The winner of the contest will receive a $500 scholarship towards a leadership, educational, or enrichment program of choice. If the winner is a minor (under 18 years old), the parent/guardian will be involved in the decision making process. Examples include camps, afterschool programs, swim lessons, YMCA camp, coding camps, tutoring services, etc. This scholarship is being generously donated by an anonymous supporter of the organization.The scholarship must be used within two years of the agreement date. Venture Outdoors reserves the right to refuse the scholarship program selection if it does not fit within the mission and values of our organization (see mission and values here).

We will also invite the winner to participate in Venture Outdoors’ major events throughout the year, such as Tour d’ Explore (June 2021) and Chill Fest (December 2021).

Who can participate?

This contest is open to youth who are 18 years old or younger living with the United States. Youth under 18 years old must have parent/guardian permission to enter and will need a parent/guardian to submit the submission form. 

What happens to my logo after I submit it?

  • As soon as you submit your logo, it automatically becomes the property of Venture Outdoors. 
  • You should keep a copy of your submission.
  • Submissions can be returned upon request.
  • We will NOT use the winning image to merchandise or create a revenue stream.
  • The winner will need to sign an agreement with Venture Outdoors acknowledging our intellectual property rights and usage of the logo.

How will you choose the winning design?

A committee comprised of Venture Outdoors staff, board members, and volunteers will review the submissions and select the top 5 using the scoring rubric below.

  • Each committee member will score on their own individually, then scores will be totaled to determine the top 5 winners.
  • In the event of a tie for fifth place, the “top 6 or 7, etc.” designs will also be included in the community voting.

On March 8, the top 5 designs will be posted to our website and shared out via social media for the community to vote for the winner (this live community voting will last 2 days). 

Are there any guidelines on how to use the $500 prize?

The scholarship will need to be used within 2 years of the announcement. Venture Outdoors will directly pay for the cost ($500 worth) of the educational or enrichment experience that is chosen. The anonymous donor reserves the right to refuse the choice of the educational/enrichment program if it does not align with the mission, vision, and/or of Venture Outdoors (read about our mission and values here). Once the experience of choice has been decided, Venture Outdoors will pay the $500 directly to the vendor.

Which file type do I need to upload?

The following file formats are accepted for logo submission via the electronic form: .jpg, .gif, .png, .pdf. The maximum file size is 50 MB.

Can I mail or drop off my logo instead?

Yes, you can! If you would prefer to mail it or arrange to drop it off somewhere (within Pittsburgh), please contact Lo@ventureoutdoors.org or call 412-255-0564 x230. You will need to put it in the mail with plenty of time for it to be delivered by the submission deadline. Submissions received after the submission deadline will NOT be considered. 

When are submissions due?

EXTENDED DEADLINE: All submissions must be sent in by 5:00pm EST on Friday, March 5 2021. No late entries will be considered. 

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

E-mail Lo@ventureoutdoors.org or call 412-255-0564 x230.

Celebrate Black History Month OUTDOORS 

February is here and we’re ready to celebrate Black History Month with a week of outdoor (and virtual) community events. We’ll bike, jog, gardenand Zumba with Black-led organizations in historically significant Black spaces while we learn about Black History in Pittsburgh and the outdoors 

COVID Precautions: Programs will either be fully virtual or will be in-person and require participants to wear masks and socially distanced.  

Jogging through History 

Feb 21, 12:30-2pm |in-person | $5-$8

Jogging through History is an urban jog starting at Bigham House in Chatham Village. The Bigham House is believed to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. All jogger levels are welcome! There will be a fast paced group and a NO DROP group (meaning we’ll go the pace of the slowest runner).  

Want to keep your workout going? End your jog at Zumba in the Park 👇🏿 

Zumba in the park 

Feb 21, 2-3pm |in-person | $3-$5

Zumba in the Park with Kemah is an outdoor, thumping, high energy class meant to get you grooving! Bring a towel, a water bottle, wear your mask. Bring your kids as participants or to play on the nearby playground while you get your workout. It may be chilly, but the movement will warm you right up! 

Indoor Herbal Gardening with Grow Pittsburgh 

Feb 26, 10-11:30am| virtual | $6-$7 covers supplies 

You’ll be set up with 3 pots, 3 types of seeds, 3 labels, and soil.  Then learn from the experts at Grow Pittsburgh who will teach you everything you need to start your own indoor garden.  

Black History Ride with Major Taylor Pittsburgh 

Feb 27, 11:30am –2pm | in-person | $5-$8

Ride with the Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club! Meetup at Everyday Cafe, a black owned establishment in Homewood. Ride approximately 8-10 miles, learning about the Homewood/Larimer areas, its black history, and Major Taylor Cycling.  

Fun Fact: Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (1878-1932), the name-sake of the club, was the world’s first black sports superstar. He was world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and set numerous track cycling records. 

Hiking for City Folks

Feb 27, 1pm –3pm | in-person | $5-$6

It’s hiking, but for city folks. 😉 Learn to “Leave no Trace” and “How to Get Unlost” with Venture Outdoors and Outdoor Afro on a leisurely stroll.

Snow Trek (Winter Urban Hike) in Homewood

Feb 28, 11am –1pm | in-person | $8-$10

Take a hike through Homewood with Grounded Strategies and Venture Outdoors. Grounded will provide the educational background on Homewood’s history and the projects they have underway to enhance it’s natural beauty. Venture Outdoors will provide HOT COCOA and walking sticks.

While we enjoy celebrating Black History Month in February, we believe it’s important to acknowledge and learn more about Black History all year long. Get outdoors with us this week, but please continue to follow your Black-led outdoor organizations and clubs, and come back for more Black-centered outdoor activities with Venture Outdoors. 

Outdoor Inclusion Coalition

Venture Outdoors is teaming up with other local nonprofits and outdoor organizations in the Pittsburgh area to address diversity, equity, and inclusion with a specific emphasis on racial equity outdoors. Learn more and see how your organization could join here.  

Venture Outdoors is seeking a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Consultant

 

Venture Outdoors in partnership with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Grow Pittsburgh is soliciting proposals to establish a contract with one qualified and experienced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant.

This DEI consultant will be asked to lead the staff in a one-year, with the potential to extend to a second year, process to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the organization, with particular focus on racial equity and guidance on how to best support Black Pittsburghers and park users.

Q&A Session for Potential DEI Consultants

Time: Feb 11, 2021, 3PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

RSVP for the virtual Q&A session for interested DEI Consultants. During this session Venture Outdoors, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and Grow Pittsburgh will give a brief overview of their organization and goals then allow consultants to ask follow up questions.

Submissions

If you or someone you know would be a good fit, please review the full Request For Proposals and submit a proposal by Mar 1st, 2021 at 4pm. Hard copy and digital proposals will be accepted.

  • Hard copy proposals will be accepted by mail to: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Attn: Ashley Carvalho 45 S 23 rd Street Pittsburgh PA 15203
  • Digital proposals must be submitted in a pdf format to: acarvalho@pittsburghparks.org with a subject line: DEI RFP

Direct all questions regarding this RFP to Ashley Carvalho via email: acarvalho@pittsburghparks.org by 4:00 p.m. ET on March 1, 2021. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will not accept questions after 4:00 p.m. ET on March 1, 2021.

CONSULTANT ROLE AND QUALIFICATIONS:

We look to a consultant to work with and provide guidance to the Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee and the Leadership Team to meet the project goals described in the Scope of Work below and to provide training for staff. We are looking for applicants who demonstrate the following:

  • At least 5 years’ experience in the field of inclusiveness and diversity training.
  • Experience working with non-profit organizations, civic engagement and public service, and/or with environmental/park professionals
  • Thorough understanding of issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity, including deep awareness and analysis of systems of oppression, power, and privilege and use of research-based strategies to transform work environments
  • Proven knowledge of, and successful implementation of, diversity, inclusion, and equity work with diverse groups, teams, and/or organizations
  • Strong communication skills, particularly in working with diverse populations
  • Commitment to social change work
  • Located in the Pittsburgh Area – travel expenses should be included in the proposed budget.

PROJECT GOALS

We are looking to hire a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant to work with us over the course of one year, with the potential to go on for a second year, toward the following goals: Work with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Venture Outdoors and Grow Pittsburgh

  1. Create a space for each partner organization where staff can reflect and learn about the diversity of its colleagues and community at large.
  2. Provide tools and training to significantly shift how systemic racism is identified and then removed internally and externally. Specifically, allow staff to make the shift from being a place that lacks diversity to a safe space that welcomes a diverse group of employees, participants/clients and partners.
  3. Allow partnering organizations to provide programs and services that meet the needs of populations who have not had the opportunity to participate in public programming.
  4. Create the necessary changes within the organizations, so that Black Pittsburghers and other groups, that can be classified as “diverse”, feel included and safe when participating in outdoor experiences and programming, as well as employment at each organization.
  5. Create an “allyship” among the collective organizations about shared goals.

An overall desired outcome of this work is for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Grow Pittsburgh, and Venture Outdoors to move toward an inclusive, “WE” identity where shared values and commitments are clear and articulated. We hope to strengthen the spirit of collegiality, and to continue building a culture of trust and connection through this work. Additionally, we hope the work we do with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant builds our capacity to serve our constituents and community partners. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Grow Pittsburgh, and Venture Outdoors seeks to engage a qualified consultant to:

  • conduct an organizational assessment of agency practices and internal climate around diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”), building from prior work described in the Addendum;
  • create a DEI plan which would provide the organizational assessments’ findings and a short and long-term roadmap for making concrete improvements in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  • provide education and trainings for staff.

The scope of work is outlined in the full RFP. Please review throughly. 

A letter from a kayaker,

 

A few years ago, I discovered Venture Outdoors and signed up for my first kayaking trip.  Since then I’ve been hooked. These trips mean a lot to me because they provide a great way to escape from the many stressors of work and everyday life.  I’m an ICU nurse who works long hours and I always look forward to trips with Venture Outdoors. Fred, who also has a busy life working as a policeman in a hospital, just recently started going on trips with Venture Outdoors and is already looking forward to more trips.  His first time kayaking on the river was with Venture Outdoors.  David, our guide, helped Fred to feel more comfortable and confident kayaking on the river.  Both of us agree that the kayaking and hiking trips that Venture Outdoors organizes are well planned and are always in areas that are very scenic and safe.  Everyone whom I’ve met on these trips (both guides and venture seekers) are very nice and often share their knowledge regarding the area we are hiking or kayaking through.  Venture Outdoors definitely offers an opportunity to destress, learn how to maneuver in the outdoors, and to meet great people!  Also, we are both looking forward to becoming members!

Thank you so much!!
Denise & Fred 

What do we do that benefits others?  We create access to outdoor experiences.  Why is that important?  It provides stress relief, exercise, overall wellness, an escape.  A chance to pursue moments that bring happiness and joy.  All of this enhances the quality of one’s life.  

Every year, we hear countless stories like the one that Denise and Fred have shared here.  Stories about how we help others feel more alive and enjoy the wellness that only nature can provide.  Maybe you have a story that is like this one.  Maybe you are chasing moments like these.   

 

Removing barriers to the outdoors

We try to make sure that everyone enjoys the outdoors.  Whether that is through fishing, biking, hiking, kayaking, and much more, we work every day to remove any barriers that may be preventing others from enjoying outdoor experiences.  If you are passionate about this cause and want to learn more about the work that we do or how that you can get involved, visit www.ventureoutdoors.org/yaksofkindness.   

We love to hear your stories.  If you would like to share your favorite Venture Outdoors story with us, please email Ebony@ventureoutdoors.org.   

Inspire. Educate. Equip.  We remove barriers and create access to outdoor experiences.  

 

Become a Venture Outdoors Member

Venture Outdoors Members support programs that help get others outdoors. Membership starts at 7/mo and goes a long way in removing barriers to the outdoors.

Inspire. Educate Equip.

By: Jiyi Zheng, Program Intern 

Spring, a time of renewal and growth. The cycle of life starts again. With the arrival of spring, the enchanting cherry blossom trees begin to bloom. As fleeting as the spring season, the cherry blossom’s life is very short.  

Japan is well-known for the cherry blossom as there are many wonderful sites to see them in full bloom. With this post, I am going to introduce you to some of the most cherry blossom sites in Japan! 

The most symbolic site is “The Three Great Cherry Blossom Trees of Japan.” These are the three oldest, ancient cherry blossom trees and were assigned as the nature memorial of the country. 

 

  1. Jindai-zakura

Jindai-zakura and its neighbor (Photo credit: Skyseeker) 

This is the oldest cherry blossom tree in Japan. It is more than 2,000 years old and is said to have been planted by the ancient hero, Prince Yamato Takeru. 

Location: Hokuto, Yamanashi 

The best time to view: late-March to mid-April 

 

  1. Usuzumi-zakura

Usuzumi-zakura (Photo credit: Toshihiro Gamo)

It has more than 1,500 years of history. What’s unique about this tree is that the initial color of the flower is light pink, turning white at full bloom stage, and changes to pale grey right before the flowers drop. 

Location: Motos, Gifu 

The best time to view: early to mid-April 

 

  1. MiharuTaki-zakura

MiharuTaki-zakura (Photo credit: Ayu Oshimi)

This 1,000 year-old tree is 12 meters high. The flowers point face down and look like a pink waterfall when it’s fully bloomed. 

Location: Miharu, Fukushima 

The best time to view: middle to late April 

  

Cherry blossoms are also beautiful at night. Night cherry blossom viewing is called “Yozakura” in Japanese. Many places hold light-up events and festivals. It feels very different at night! 

Here are some of the best night cherry blossom views you don’t want to miss! 

 

  1. Takada Castle

(Photo credit: annintofu)

This site is one of the “Night View Heritage of Japan”, with over 4,000 cherry blossom trees and 3,000 lights. 

Location: Niigata Prefecture 

 

  1. Chidorigafuchi

(Photo credit: Ryouhei Saita)

Beautiful lake view. Boating in the lake would be fun!

Location: Ina, Nagano

 

  1. Heian-Jingu Shrine

(Photo credit: Eddy Chang)

This is the biggest festival in Kyoto. Night views are also incredible, especially combined with a live music concert.

Location: Kyoto

 

If you ever have a chance to go to Japan during spring, don’t miss the beautiful cherry blossom views! Get more information online about the location, transportation, and the details of various events.