Pauline Tailor Raiff has served with Venture Outdoors since 2001, when we were just beginning under the name Western Pennsylvania Field Institute. In her work on the Board of Directors, Pauline serves as a liaison to the Trip Leader Council, which she also serves on. SPOILER ALERT: she’s also an award-winning figure competitor in natural bodybuilding competitions.
I was born in Southport, England. My parents instilled in me the love of the outdoors and I learned more about geology and history from hiking with them than I ever did at school. As a teenager we started to do some mountain climbing and joined a group called the Wigan Rambling and Climbing Association. They seemed to enjoy hanging out in the pub as much as hiking!
What brought you to Pittsburgh, or if you’re a native, what kept you here?
I came to Pittsburgh because my father was hired as a consultant for a mining company based in Cranberry. I stayed because I grew to love the area and found many friends in and around the city. It took quite a while to adjust to hiking in Pennsylvania. We where used to high mountains with craggy slopes and rainy conditions. In Pennsylvania we often found ourselves lost in the middle of the woods somewhere, sweltering from some July heat wave.
If you live with friends, spouse, or children, who?
I have two children, ages 20 and 17. The best part about raising them was seeing them participate in outdoor activities with me. From the beginning, carrying them in backpacks to being part of the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge as teenagers it was a joy to walk along side them.
What do you do for a living?
I am the Practice Director for a large family medicine group, www.genesismedical.org. I manage two locations, Perrysville and Wexford. There are three physicians and two physician’s assistants in my practice. It’s a continuation of my work as a Venture Outdoors Trip Leader because I make sure that for the staff, physicians and patients in the practice that their time here is an educational and positive experience.
How did you become involved with Venture Outdoors?
I became involved with VO because I was reading the newspaper on New Years Day 2001 and they had an article on this new group, Western Pennsylvania Field Institute (VO’s former name) and how it was helping Pittsburgh become a healthier city, just in time for the new year. That Spring I took my first class with WPFI (or VO). By the Fall I was a trip leader and I am on the Trip Leader Council.
What VO outing have you recently enjoyed, which one would you like to participate in, or what’s your favorite outdoor activity/accomplishment?
I lead trips for hiking, backpacking, gourmet, kayaking and nature programs.
What are your other hobbies and volunteer activities?
My other hobby is participating in Natural Bodybuilding events as a Figure competitor. I am a member of the OCB Association and have been in three competitions. My best placings so far have been a second in the Novice Tall division and a third in the Open (overall) Tall division.
Thank you Pauline for your dedication to the outdoors over the past nine years!