Our founders recognized that West Virginia was struggling with heart disease, diabetes, short life expectancy, drug abuse, and obesity. Public and private partners came together to support this non-profit organization, focused on improving those statistics and assisting local communities to improve health, increase activity, and become the model for active living.

The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority helped launch Active Southern West Virginia as a non-profit, region-wide initiative to motivate area residents, businesses, schools and local governments to make physical activity a personal and regional priority. A healthy and active community will attract new businesses, tourism, and jobs while developing a proud culture of wellness and physical activity in southern West Virginia.

What We Strive For

Wellness creates jobs


Community Captains is an innovative program developed by Active SWV. Community Captains and other Active SWV volunteers are themselves residents seeking healthier lifestyles. These volunteers are provided training with certifications and comprehensive program manuals to facilitate quality programming within communities, workplaces, local governments, and schools. This unique and evidenced based peer-to-peer model provides interventions to help individuals be in charge of their own health to prevent and manage chronic diseases in coal-impacted communities. Volunteers invite their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to join a routine of being physically active. This social support system is delivered in person and virtually.


Active Southern West Virginia is a non-profit providing an ecosystem of physical activity for the residents of southern West Virginia by offering programs led by trained volunteers from within the communities they serve. 


Active SWV seeks for everyone to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. Populations are targeted who face the greatest economic and social barriers. Improving health outcomes through policy and behavioral change will strengthen community and economic development. 

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Active SWV newsletters have all the latest information and updates you need to stay current. Read what’s new in our Community Captain, Workplace Wellness, Active SWV Bike/Walk, and Kids Run Club programs. We will also fill you in on events, partner news, and provide you with health and nutrition tips. Click here to sign up to receive next month’s newsletter.



Melanie Seiler

Executive Director

Board Member: Visit Southern West Virginia and New River Conservancy

Melanie Seiler is the founding Executive Director of Active SWV with 20 years' experience in business ownership and management, an associate degree in Adventure Sports and B.S. Adventure Recreation Management, certified instructor in the following; Work@Health, Diabetes Prevention Program, and Mindfulness. Named one of West Virginia Executive’s 2017 Generation Next 40 Under 40 professionals. Named one of West Virginia Living 2019 Wonder Women. Favorite outdoor activity: taking others to remote locations for the first time.

Elizabeth Raney

Community Captain Director
Elizabeth joins the Active Southern West Virginia staff as the Community Captain Director. This role facilitates the recruiting, training, mentoring, and evaluation of the volunteers serving as Community Captains. Additional roles include health education in evidence based behavior change courses such as Walk With Ease and Diabetes Prevention Programs. Elizabeth has an Elementary Education degree from Concord University.

India Tarleton Krawczyk

Youth Programs Director
India Tarleton Krawczyk started at Active SWV as an Americorps VISTA serving two terms in Development and Outreach before joining the Active SWV staff as the full time Youth Programming Director. As program director, she oversees the Kids Run Club volunteer training, program facilitation, and data collection for the program. India holds a bachelors in Anthropology and Philosophy from the University of Vermont. Running, physical activity, and being outside have always been an important part of India’s life. She’s interested in creating accessible opportunities for kids and adults to take advantage of the numerous mental and physical benefits of being physically active.

Kate Armentrout

Development Director
Kate brings nearly a decade of experience in customer service, group dynamics, guiding, and sales experience from the tourism industry to her position of increasing support for the mission of Active SWV.

With a Bachelor of Science in Education and a minor in Recreation Tourism Management, Kate brings organization, facilitation, and knowledge of an active lifestyle to the position of Development Director. This, paired with her interests in photography, organized sports, and design, brings a well-rounded skill set to continue the growth of Active SWV. You can catch Kate in her spare time playing soccer, pickle ball, or out on the river.

Michael Fisher

Workplace Wellness Director
With an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a masters of science in Kinesiology, Michael will utilize his passion and knowledge of physical activity to improve the quality of life for the work force across the region.

Michael has extensive experience in outdoor recreation through event planning, professional photography, group facilitation, marketing, youth coaching, fitness instruction, and instructor training in disciplines such as climbing, paddling, hiking, backpacking, biking, yoga, and bouldering to name a few. He holds advanced certifications and a long list of honors and awards.

Brandon Mehlinger

Program Coordinator
Brandon joined the Active SWV team as an Americorps VISTA serving from August 2022 - August 2023. He graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in the Fall of 2020 with a B.A in Criminology. Brandon is a lifelong runner and has helped coach multiple run clubs this past Fall.

“Being selfless and helping others is what this world needs. I truly believe there is no stronger sense of purpose than when you are making a positive change for others.”

The Active Southern West Virginia Board of Directors

Board Chair: Cindy Whitlock – New River Health Association and Fayette County Board of Education

Board Vice Chair: David Bernier – WVU Institute of Technology Assistant Teaching Professor: Adventure Recreation Management

Board Secretary/Treasurer: Debby Sizemore – Retired Commercial Banker

Gary Morefield – City of Beckley, WV

Eloise Elliott – WVU Ware Distinguished Professor College of Applied Human Sciences School of Sport Sciences

Adam Stephens – Arrowhead Bike Farm

Jen Wood – Executive Director, University Relations WVU Institute of Technology

Larry Harrah – Harrah Law Firm

Michelle Rotellini – Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce

Austin Caperton – Appalachian Salmon Company

Kay Bess – retired: Visit Southern West Virginia Tourism

Jenna Grayson – Director of Business Retention and Expansion, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority

Lee Ann Belmont – Labor Relations Business Partner, American Water

Non-Voting Members:

William E. Massey, Jr. – Founder of Active Southern West Virginia and Ex-Officio Board Member

Melanie Seiler – Executive Director Active Southern West Virginia

In cooperation with staff, board members, partners, volunteers, and participants, Active Southern West Virginia has increased access to physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle in West Virginia. Read our Success Stories here.