Joey-Linn H. Ulrich has been hired as the third-ever executive director of Venture Outdoors, a local nonprofit organization that works to create as many opportunities as possible to get people recreating outdoors in our region.
Ms. Ulrich, a recognized leader in the field of nonprofit management, was most recently a regional vice president with the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA). She will take the Venture Outdoors’ helm in late-May.
In announcing the board of director’ unanimous support for the hiring of Ms. Ulrich, Venture Outdoors’ board chair Christopher Frye said, “She brings a unique blend of community involvement, program development, volunteer cultivation, management and nonprofit leadership to this role.”
Prior to her work at the GSWPA, Ms. Ulrich worked for the Girl Scouts in the Sierra Nevada region overseeing revenue generation. Her background includes more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector, including stints with Elderhostel, Inc., Northside Leadership Conference, the United Way of Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation.
She has an undergraduate degree from Slippery Rock University and a graduate degree from Carlow University.
“We are thrilled that Joey-Linn will be the next executive director of Venture Outdoors. Her enthusiasm, leadership ability, and passion for the mission will allow us to continue to be a leader and pioneer in the outdoor recreation community in the Pittsburgh region,” Mr. Frye added.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the team of dedicated staff and experienced volunteers who have been providing outdoor experiences for over a decade throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania,” Ms. Ulrich stated. “As increasing numbers of individuals and families seek ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Venture Outdoors is the organization of choice whether you’re on the water in our signature bright yellow kayaks, or along the trails for a hike in our urban core or in the beautiful countryside – we have it for you led by experts all along the way.
“We’re an essential part of the renaissance that continues alongside park, trail, bike and greenway development in our region”
For the last year Venture Outdoors has been led by an experienced interim executive director, Geoff Stillson, who will step down after the transition to Ms. Ulrich is complete.
“Venture Outdoors is well-positioned to have an even greater impact on our mission of getting everyone outdoors. Joey-Linn Ulrich is a great fit to lead the organization into the future. She brings outstanding, proven nonprofit management experience along with passion and enthusiasm for our mission,” Mr. Stillson stated.
Venture Outdoors’ mission is all about connecting people to the outdoors. With nearly 11,000 individual members, their mission states, “Venture Outdoors is dedicated to connecting people in the Pittsburgh region with the outdoors by providing affordable and accessible outdoor recreation and education opportunities to everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, heritage, skill level or physical capability. In doing so, Venture Outdoors promotes the Pittsburgh region’s unique natural amenities, highlights the excellent quality of life, fosters a greater appreciation for the environment, and inspires an active lifestyle.”
They offer more than 500 public programs a year including kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, fly fishing, cross country skiing, and geocaching trips. There are activities for all ages and skill levels, and travel to local, city, county and state parks around the region.
Last year alone 30,000 participated in outdoor activities with Venture Outdoors, including more than 25,000 individuals kayaking at our Downtown and North Park Lake locations.
It’s nearly impossible to find a current promotional or marketing piece that doesn’t have a photo of happy kayakers paddling downtown in one of their signature yellow kayaks. Many don’t realize Kayak Pittsburgh is the most successful program of Venture Outdoors and will soon be expanding to add a third site.
Ms. Ulrich, a native Pittsburgher, wants to go further to make that connection, stating, “As Pittsburgh attracts new visitors and residents, I’m going to work diligently to ensure that Venture Outdoors is part of the ‘Welcome to Pittsburgh’ conversation that takes place with newcomers to our region. While not widely known for outdoor recreation, the national perception of Pittsburgh is changing in wonderful ways.
“I want people to know us for trails, kayaking and recreation access for all, as much as for strong neighborhoods, dominant sports teams, and economic revitalization.”
Ms. Ulrich, along with her husband Ed, and three children, Emily, Grace and Edward, are residents of Shadyside. An active family, they volunteer frequently and spend as much time outside as possible.
They usually can be found biking along the Steel Valley Trail by the Waterfront, a favorite spot of their daughter Grace who loves looking for the bald eagles. To celebrate her 40th birthday, Ms. Ulrich and friends climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
Additional information on Venture Outdoors can be found at http://www.ventureoutdoors.org.