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 (Monroeville) and went to West Virginia University for undergrad in Public Relations. I always knew I loved the outdoors but never knew I could do it as a career. After four years in nonprofit communications, I found Venture Outdoors and became a volunteer in 2017, part-time staff in 2018, and now I’m on full time!
Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
I work on trainings and curriculum for youth outdoor education.
What does “getting outside” mean to you?
Getting outside connects me more with myself and with nature. Peaceful moments are important in the world we live in. I also think about the Milo & Otis theme song… “gonna take a walk outside today, gonna see what we can find today…”
If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Hiking. I just need me and a trail for that, and you can do it anywhere!
What is the craziest thing you have done?
Sang karaoke to “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dione at a biker bar.
What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
- Hiking at Camelback Mountain, AZ
- Food and Exploring in Spoleto, Italy
- Hiking and beach-ing at Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
- Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough in Monterey, CA
- Hiking at Cooper’s Rock, WV
What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
Pizza Mountain Pies!
Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
I get weird around famous people so I would just want to take my sisters (they’ve never been on an outing with me) and my cat, Diego.
What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
During a summer camp with Pittsburgh Public Schools this past year we were leading a stewardship hike with 3rd-5th graders. This group of kids got so into cleaning up their neighborhood and really understood why picking up our trash is important to the earth. It was a delightful day!
What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
My family went camping a LOT when I was a kid, so I’m not sure about the chronology of my memories. I always got to start our fires, though, and I remember learning how and being in charge of fire starting.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
Cheese, cheese, and more cheese.
Any hidden talents?
I can burp on command. Including the alphabet and other words.
What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
Bottles & Cans, by Speechless Delirium
What is your biggest challenge nowadays?
I do too many fun activities to fit in life! It’s a challenge to slow down the pace of life and enjoy moments of calm in every day.