ABOUT OUR ORGANIZATION
STRIVING TO MAKE SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA A MODEL OF HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND ACTIVE LIVING
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 improving health, increasing activity, and becoming 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.
Meet The ACTIVE SWV Team
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 Associates Degree in Adventure Sports from Garrett College, certified instructor in the following; stand-up paddle boarding, telemark skiing, and river guiding. Currently enrolled in continuing education and in partnership with West Virginia University Institute of Technology: Adventure Recreation Management. 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.
Erin Ellis-Reid, Community Outreach Director
Board member: New River Health Associates, Oak Hill White Oak Trail Committee
Erin Reid is the Volunteer Director at Active Southern West Virginia. She is a native West Virginian from Wyoming County but has been a resident of Fayette County for the past 20 years. She graduated from Concord University with a Masters in Health Promotions. She understands the enormous heath crisis facing West Virginia and the dynamics of the culture of rural communities. This understanding helps drive her passion for increasing the health of the people in WV. Through her work with Active SWV she is fighting to educate communities in the importance of physical activity and the role it plays in overall health, well-being, and quality of life. Favorite outdoor activity: “I enjoy any outdoor activity that is water related. I like paddle sports from easy flat-water paddling to high adventure rafting, but I also enjoy just swimming and playing in the water with my family.”
Laura Baker MS, RDN, LD, Workplace Wellness Director
Laura Baker, Active SWV Workplace Wellness Director is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with the Commission on Dietetic Registration and a Licensed Dietitian in the state of West Virginia (LD). She graduated from St. Mary’s University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology (BS) and was a collegiate athlete playing soccer and basketball. She completed her master’s degree in Human Nutrition at Texas State University. She holds a certification of training in adult weight management and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has provided nutritional counseling and nutrition education on several topics such as diabetes, weight management, heart health, dining out, eating disorders, gastrointestinal health and physical activity. She has enjoyed the opportunity to connect and partner with workplaces to create a culture of health. She provides hands on tools and resources to enhance workforce wellness and positively impact the community and economy.
India Tarleton Krawczyk, Active SWV Kids Run Club Director
India Tarleton Krawczyk, Americorps VISTA serving as Active SWV’s Kids Run Club Director with 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 easy opportunities for kids and adults to take advantage of the enormous mental and physical benefits of being physically active. Favorite outdoor activity is: “Really anything that I can do in the morning or in the evening when it’s quieter. I love to be outside when the shadows are long and the sun is low, especially in West Virginia where there are so many beautiful things to look at.”
Veronica Crosier, Program Support Specialist
Board member: Fayette County Park Advisory Board, Fayette County Youth Action Committee – Project: Adventure
Veronica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a minor in Journalism, Media, and Communications from Mount Holyoke College. Experiential education has been a major part of her career since she got her start organizing environmental education clubs for local youth and adults in rural Kenya. She’s since facilitated at multiple outdoor education programs throughout New England before returning home to southern West Virginia. Most recently she developed and directed Camp Drift-A-Bit, an outdoor adventure summer program for children in southern WV. Favorite outdoor activity: “I love any adventure I can take with my dog, Gnarly. He’s my hiking, SUP boarding, and cycling buddy.”
Molly Wolff, Community Engagement Assistant
Board Member: New River Gorge CVB
Molly Wolff, Active SWV Community Engagement Assistant with a bachelor’s in Physical Education and Recreation Administration from Southern Virginia University. Additionally, an alumni of National Outdoors Leadership School & WEMT, a professional photographer and over 15 years of outdoor leadership experience. Molly was recently voted the 2019 “Best Of The Blue Ridge” photographer and enjoys bringing her creativity to the Active SWV team. “My favorite outdoor activity is running a river with good friends. I love the thrill and challenge of whitewater, with the confidence, security and experience of my partners, and the belly laughs that always ensue from riding out whatever adventure the river has in store for us that day.”
Andy Davis, Active SWV Pedestrian, Bike & Trail Coordinator
Board Member: New River Trail Alliance
Andy Davis, Active SWV Bike, Pedestrian, and Trail Coordinator with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from Georgia College and a graduate degree in Municipal Sustainability at Indiana University. Andy is also the Special Project’s Coordinator at the WV Community Development HUB currently working on the POWER Support program which helps POWER Grant recipients keep on track and the Opportunity Appalachia program which helps communities in designated Opportunity Zones develop strong plans for redevelopment. Andy’s favorite outdoor activity is hiking without a map.
The 2019 Active Southern West Virginia Board & Staff
William E. Massey, Jr. – Massey Foundation. Active SWV Board Chair
Joe Brouse – New River Gorge Regional Development Authority
Gary Morefield – Raleigh County Bicycle Club
Eloise Elliott – WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Science
Adam Stephens – Marathon Bicycle Company
Kate Miller – Ansted Middle School-Physical Education
Cindy Whitlock – New River Health Association
Levi Moore – Active SWV Community Captain
Rene Moore – Wellington Advisors
Michelle Rotellini – United Way of SWV
Mick Bates – BodyWorks Physical Therapy – Delegate
Austin Caperton – WV Department of Environmental Protection
Kay Bess – retired: Visit Southern West Virginia Tourism
Bill Hannabass – Oak Hill City Manager
David Bernier – WVU Tech Assistant Teaching Professor: Adventure Recreation Management
Active Southern West Virginia in cooperation with staff, board members, partners, Community Captain volunteers, and participants have improved the opportunities for physical activity and healthy lifestyles in southern West Virginia. Read our Success Stories here.
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) stimulates the regional economy through business expansion and retention efforts, including an extensive portfolio of financial services, the management of sites for new companies locating to our region, and serving as a point of access for local service providers which offer a variety of technical assistance for business owners.
The WV Hive has everything you need to help your business succeed. Whether you’re an existing or aspiring business owner, they have everything you need to build your business from the ground up or help your current business reach new heights.