Sports Backers Blog

Movement Makers Attendees Look Forward to Active Learning at Summit

The Movement Makers National Active Living Summit presented by VCU Health takes place May 17-19 in Richmond and there’s no better way to illustrate what you’ll learn at the Summit than to hear it directly from the attendees who are visiting from all over the country to take part–so read on below to see what they have to say!

Movement MakersDeborah Bundy-Carpenter, a Manager for Nursing and Nutrition Services for the Virginia Department of Health in Stuarts Draft, Virginia, is traveling to Richmond for Movement Makers and says the quality of the agenda and variety of topics are what drew her to the Summit. “I want to attend for personal reasons as well as professional. “I am a nurse and our local organization does not have a workplace wellness plan, and we need creative ideas to help promote it to our employees,” Bundy-Carpenter said, adding that data she sees indicates that her fellow residents are becoming less active, hence the need to learn new and innovative ways to encourage physical activity during Movement Makers. “I’m hoping to gain fresh ideas for workplace wellness and encouraging activity in my own community—which is rural without as many resources as more suburban areas.”

Regarding her personal reasons for wanting to attend, Bundy-Carpenter says, “I am an African-American female in my 60s that desires to encourage and support others of my age and ethnicity to get moving,” and she believes Movement Makers will provide important lessons she can take home with her.

Dominion RiverrockJoining Bundy-Carpenter and other out-of-town attendees is Brian Persky, a Sports Event Development Manager with Discover Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Discover Kalamazoo is the official destination marketing organization for Kalamazoo County, and Persky will be taking part in the Event Creation Workshop on Friday, May 19. Led by Mike Millay, Managing Partner of Clancy’s Sports Properties and formerly of the Walt Disney Company, the workshop will help participants learn about the pros and cons of creating new events for their community and provide a blueprint to assemble the research and development details for an event plan. Participants will also get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of Dominion Riverrock, which gets underway on May 19 and is recognized as one of the nation’s best outdoor sports and music festivals. “Discover Kalamazoo is interested in learning more about what it takes to create sports events,” said Pesky, and, referring to Millay and other workshop leaders, added, “Who better to learn from than the leaders in our industry?”

While Bundy-Carpenter is a frequent visitor to Richmond and Persky will be making his first trip here, they both feel the blend of active living and Virginia Capital Trailoutdoor sports and fitness events make it a natural location for Movement Makers. “I come to Richmond 10-12 times per year…I have participated in many events like the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, and have ridden parts of the Virginia Capital Trail. I love all it has to offer as our capital city,” said Bundy-Carpenter. “I’ve never personally been to Richmond before, but we view Sports Backers as one of the leaders in our industry in terms of creating events and having a successful model,” added Persky. “I’m looking forward to visiting!”

Many local organizations in Richmond are engaged in the work of making communities healthier and more vibrant through active living and Movement Makers will benefit from their presence as well. HHHunt is a real estate development and management company based in Richmond and supports active lifestyles through their master-planned communities, apartment homes, senior living communities, and within their corporate wellness initiatives. Jonathan Ridout, Director of Development for HHHunt, is attending Movement Makers and thinks it’s a great opportunity to learn ways to expand what they already have on offer for residents and employees. “We are always researching new opportunities and best practices about how to make a lasting difference through physical activity,” said Ridout. “Movement Makers is the perfect forum to explore those opportunities. There really is nothing else like this in the entire country.”

Walking trailsIn looking at the speaker lineup and agenda for the Summit, Ridout is most excited to hear about advocacy and policy successes that presenters have undertaken. “HHHunt is always seeking new ways to enhance our amenity offerings in our master-planned neighborhoods by creating innovative solutions that bring people together and promote physical activity. Things like bike paths, walking trails, and other amenities promote the wellbeing of our residents and enhance quality of life,” Ridout said. “I am also excited to learn more about workplace wellness initiatives. HHHunt has an extensive wellness program and we are always seeking new ways to build on its success by learning from other companies and organizations.”

Like HHHunt, the Sportable adaptive sports organization is based in Richmond, and their mission is to transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities through sports. Hunter Leemon is Sportable’s Executive Director and is attending the summit, and his colleague Cat Anthony is leading a session on supporting active living for specific populations. Leemon feels that the content and networking opportunities available at Movement Makers will be most beneficial for his staff and organization.

“We are always looking for ways to improve what we provide, and the content available at Movement Makers will certainly help Sportable. Learning Sportable athletesmore about how community collaborations can take place, how to more effectively run a program, or embracing programming outcomes that might be a bit beyond our normal are all opportunities we’re looking forward to,” said Leemon. “We know it will be a top-notch event and many of the topics are relevant to long-term outcomes that our programming can impact, so the subject matter is good for us…the networking aspect is important as well because there is tremendous value in sharing ideas, best practices, and high-level strategies with those immersed in our line of work.”

“Richmond has a lot of momentum. Citizens, companies, and elected officials are actively promoting our natural resources like the James River Park System and outdoor amenities like the Virginia Capital Trail,” added HHHunt’s Ridout. “Everywhere you turn, we are making investments in multi-modal connectivity, increased walkability, and physical activity.”

The active cities movement is growing in the Richmond region and around the country, and the Movement Makers National Active Living Summit is the perfect opportunity for organizations and individuals to embrace this positive energy. Go to to register and join these attendees in the movement to improve community health through physical activity!