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15 Questions with Valerie our NEW Executive Director

Meet Valerie (Hill) Beichner

15 Questions with our NEW Executive Director

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 grew up in a small Pennsylvania town called Mansfield; the birthplace of the first outdoor night football game!  I studied for my undergraduate degree in Political Science at Clarion University and my Master’s of Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University.  A relatively newfound sense of adventure and wellness is what brings me to Venture Outdoors; an awesome organization with a strong history of getting people outside!


2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
Leading the team to deliver our mission; help everyone get outside!


3. What does “getting outside” mean to you?
These days, getting outside means finding time for health, wellness and family.  Getting outside can be a short walk with the kiddos and the dog to an hours long run!


4. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Trail running.  I.  Love.  Running.


5. What is the craziest thing you have done?
I let my husband talk me into this crazy 335 mile two person relay!  It was my oldest child’s fundraiser for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  We weren’t really runners back then, but we were determined to help our daughter make an impact.  Little did we know, that crazy run in 2016 would change our lives forever!


6. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
Number 1 of all time; Rachel Carson Trail.
2. Harpers Ferry, WV
3. My parents back yard
4.  My grandmothers lakeside house in little ol’ Cuba NY
5.  Ireland (I’ve never been yet, but I’m not leaving this Earth before I have!)


7. What is your favorite forest/camping snack? 
Swedish Fish!!!


8. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
Diana, Princess of Wales; author Anita Diamant; my Mom
Bonus: Tracee Ellis Ross…I feel like she would be a blast to camp with!!


9. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
I don’t have any memories yet, but I intend to make thousands!


10. Describe your dream Venture Outdoors program/outing.
My dream program is a large, community wide camping adventure for first timers!


11. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
As a child, I was always outside.  My earliest outdoor memory; I remember being 3 and playing with my brother and sister in our homemade sandbox in the backyard while Dad tended to his vegetable garden.


12. What would the title of your autobiography be?
 I’m not done yet!


13. Any hidden talents? 
I love cooking!  I absolutely love cooking.  I think my final act will have something to do with food.


14. What is your favorite song (or album) right now? 
I’m constantly researching running music.  My two favorite pieces right now; Amazing Grace by Celtic Woman and Hallelujah by Kate Voegele


15. What is your biggest challenge nowadays?

Trying to find balance between work, 4 kids, a husband, training and 3 animals!


See Valerie’s full bio here.

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