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’ve lived the majority of my life in the Pittsburgh area. I grew up in Carnegie and attended Carlynton High School. I then went on to attend Slippery Rock University where I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Geography with a focus in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. After graduation, I moved back to Carnegie and google searched “outdoor jobs near me” and that is how I found Venture Outdoors! I started with Venture Outdoors in June of 2016 as a Trip Leader Specialist (now know as Outdoor Educator). I truly love this company not only for all of the great things it provides the community but for all of the AMAZING people I have met along the way. That is why when I was offered a full time position in August of 2019, I accepted! Now I currently work full time as the Community Engagement Coordinator.
2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
Help people explore all that Pittsburgh has to offer outside! : )
3. What does “getting outside” mean to you?
Taking a step back from life and enjoying the beauty of nature. The outdoors has this way of making you feel a sense of genuine happiness like nothing else can. It’s where I go to unwind mentally and really think about the bigger picture of life. Nature is my happy place.
4. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Easy, kayaking! It is something that I am really passionate about all thanks to Venture Outdoors. When I was younger I would kayak every once in a while but it wasn’t something I did regularly until I joined Venture Outdoors. Since then, I have learned so much and I have worked on my skills. I was even fortunate enough to become a certified Level 1 & 2 ACA Coastal Kayaking Instructor! An opportunity I probably would have never had if it wasn’t for Venture Outdoors. I will always be extremely grateful for this organization for introducing me to the thing I am most passionate about.
5. What is the craziest thing you have done?
I’ve jumped off of countless rocks, the highest being into Crater Lake at about 25 feet! I’ve also gone skydiving and went on almost a month long backpacking trip through the Cascade Mountains.
6. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
Local: North Park, PA; Raccoon State Park, PA; Ohiopyle,
PA Destination: Crater Lake, OR; Disney World, FL (fun fact: I love Disney – Avatar is my favorite!) Give me some woods or a beach and I’m happy!
7. What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
Mountain pies – both pizza and dessert!
8. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
Rachel Carson, John Muir, and Dwight K Shrute
9. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
My ACA training course. It’s when I first felt really connected to this organization and made some great friends.
I also will always remember leading a kayaking trip with a group of visually impaired participants. They were so incredibly kind and a hilarious group! They made me laugh the whole time.
10. Describe your dream Venture Outdoors program/outing.
A week long destination kayaking trip along the Allegheny River, setting up camp wherever we could.
11. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
When I was younger I went to a summer camp in Butler, PA. It was the first time that I ever spent a week away with all new people outside. I was able to connect to nature in a way I never had before.
12. What would the title of your autobiography be?
13. Any hidden talents?
I can twist my hand a full 360…. and I’m pretty good at video games.
14. What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
“Dancing in the Grey” by Michael Malarkey
15. What is your biggest challenge nowadays?
Remembering to have fun and make memories! Also I can’t seem to keep my apartment clean…..