15 Questions with Ebony Montgomery, our Director of Development & Communications
Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?
As a kid, I moved around quite a bit, but I am originally from a small town called New River, VA. I have spent most of my life in North Carolina. I went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a master’s degree from Wingate University.
I wanted to be a part of the team at Venture Outdoors because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation. I know that I would feel a little lost in this world if I did not have the chance to be in nature, so I want everyone who wants a similar experience to have the chance to take advantage of the outdoors.
Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
I bring awareness to our non-profit work through storytelling.
What does “getting outside” mean to you?
Getting outside is all about breaking out of the four walls that we find ourselves inside of most of the day, and reconnecting with nature. It is about feeling free and being able to explore your surroundings. There are a lot of ways to do this, but I personally like to do this through hiking and fishing.
If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Fishing. Fishing was my first exposure to being outdoors and enjoying nature. I always enjoyed fishing with my cousins when I was a kid. I think that it is peaceful, plus you can always turn it into a competition if you like that sort of thing.
What is the craziest thing you have done?
Trying to complete a Spartan Race Trifecta in one weekend. The course was in West Virginia and had some steep, rocky inclines. I was hurting for like a week and a half. It was totally worth it though.
What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
In no particular order:
Fort Fisher, NC
New River Gorge, WV
Sebago Lake, ME
McConnells Mill, PA
What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
To me, there is nothing better than popcorn made over the campfire.
Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
Steve Irwin, Beyoncé, & Franco Harris. I would have a teacher, an entertainer, and a nice guy to be around.
What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
Prior to working at Venture Outdoors, I remember kayaking on the North Shore during Picklesburgh. It was a nice day, and I remember sitting in the kayak thinking about how cool it was to people watch and to paddle under the bridges. There is no scenery quite like it.
Describe your dream Venture Outdoors program/outing.
I would bring my closest friends. The day would start early with a hike to a destination where we would fish and do some stand-up paddleboarding. The day would end with camping and enjoying my friends around a campfire.
What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
I remember looking for crawdads in the creek near my grandmother’s house. Me and my cousins would do that for hours. I was always a little scared of catching crawdads with my bare hands, but I liked to tag along as was good at spotting them.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“Montgomery: Like ‘Walden’, but Funnier”
Any hidden talents?
I am pretty good at throwing a football. When I am not working, I play quarterback for the Pittsburgh Passion.
What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
I like a variety of music, but recently I have been listening to a lot of Chance the Rapper. I think he is funny and does not take himself too seriously. Favorite album is “The Big Day”.
I want to learn more about jazz music. I think it is beautiful, and if anyone is an expert who can teach me more about it, reach out to me.
What is your biggest challenge nowadays?
The biggest challenge for me is finding ways to disconnect so that I can recharge myself. We all need to take time to rest properly so that we can give our full focus to other areas of our life when it is needed. Disconnecting can be a challenge when your cell phone is always going off, and people want your attention. You have to be deliberate and make time for it. That is another reason why taking time to get into nature is such a major part of my life. There is no better way to disconnect and recharge than to get out and get moving.