We are Sportable—a TEAM that is small but mighty! We are the TEAM that is always finding ways to create accessible opportunities for our athletes to engage in the abundance of sports opportunities available in our community—it may require some creative solutions but we are ready for the challenge!
Our main goal is to free our athletes to see beyond their disabilities. We feel strongly that sports are just the catalyst needed for individuals with physical disabilities to create that support system that is needed to reduce social isolation.
Each member of our team, which includes our athletes, parents, volunteers, board, and partners believes that Sportable exists to facilitate a change needed in our community—looking beyond one’s physical limitation and empowering them to focus on their abilities!
The great thing about the work we do is the inspirational stories we have to tell about our athletes—whether it be sinking their 1st basket in wheelchair basketball, the smiles on their face when they score a goal in power soccer, their amazement as they refine that serve or kayaking roll, even simply the sense of accomplishment they feel in hand cycling 26.2 miles. We come to work each day to see our athletes transform both on and off the courts!
Doing his best to share the Sportable story with everyone in RVA and beyond, Hunter Leemon is the Executive Director of Sportable. Hunter was introduced to Sportable when he volunteered to lead the Power Soccer team in 2009 – that began a love affair with the organization that carried him to his current position.
Hunter has a passion for sports & the city of Richmond, and he strongly believes that both communities are enhanced by the Sportable team, including athletes, volunteers, staff, board & supporters. He leads the entire organization on a mission to tell the story of Sportable and create a greater impact in Richmond & beyond.
When not busy telling the story of Sportable you can find Hunter chasing his son Oscar around the back yard playing soccer, baseball, kickball or Calvinball. The games always provide good entertainment for wife Dee Dee & cat Bonds.
Alecia became aware of Sportable while in college at Longwood University. Sportable has been on her radar since graduating in 2012 with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation.
Upon graduating and becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Alecia worked at MedStar National Rehabilitation. While only with MedStar NRH for one year, she had great exposure to leading therapeutic recreation programs for patients recovering from traumatic brain injury and strokes, as well and managing the hospital’s wheelchair basketball program.
An opportunity became available for Alecia to move to Seattle to work for the Outdoors for All Foundation in July 2013. Alecia jumped at the offer and packed up her skis, bikes, and kayak to move west. While with Outdoors for All, Alecia managed the organization’s military programs for three years and was promoted to Program Director in 2016. During her time with Outdoors for All, Alecia had the opportunity to work with thousands of participants of varying abilities, talents, and ages. She also earned coaching certifications in cycling, mountain biking, and adaptive skiing.
With a watchful eye on Sportable’s growth in the past few years, Alecia threw her hat in the ring for the Athletic Director position, hoping to join the staff and make a difference in the Richmond area. Now that she’s on the Sportable team, she’s anxious to meet all of the athletes and jump into programs where needed. She’s also stoked to call Richmond home. When not at work, Alecia can be found mountain biking, kayaking, playing soccer or spending time with family.
Director of Programs
Nicole is from Chesterfield, VA and has grown up with a passion for sports of all kinds. As for playing sports, travel soccer and field hockey were the top two in her book. When it comes to interests and watching sports Nicole loves it all, but most importantly the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Washington Capitals!
Sports played such a large role in Nicole’s youth that it lead to Nicole attending Virginia Tech and majoring in Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise. After joining a service sorority, Nicole found her love for volunteering and helping out non-profit organizations in any free time she had in Blacksburg. To continue her education, Nicole enrolled at the University of Virginia to obtain a Master’s Degree in Adapted Physical Education.
While studying in Charlottesville, Nicole stumbled upon Sportable while searching for adapted sports in her hometown. She then started volunteering on the weekends for Sportable’s Road Racing practice & instantly fell in love! After finishing studies at UVA, Nicole moved back to Richmond and spent the summer with Sportable as the Program Intern. Nicole spent a year teaching adapted PE in the Richmond area, while continuing to volunteer with Sportable in her free time. Nicole is thrilled to be an official member of the Sportable team!
Director of Programs
Forrest grew up in Chesterfield, Va and attended Matoaca High School. Throughout his childhood, his parents gave him the opportunity to play as many sports as he could. This allowed him to expand his experiences through sport whether it be building new relationships with teammates or learning new skills.
For his undergraduate degree, Forrest attended James Madison University and majored in Sports & Recreation Management with a minor in General Business. During the summer after his sophomore year, Forrest completed an internship with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, which consisted of assisting with game-day tasks that were crucial to the operation of the Minor League Baseball team. That next summer, Forrest completed another internship in Jacksonville, FL with the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, who put on golf tournaments for the sports’ youth players all throughout the Southeast U.S.
In order to further his education and attain more practical experience in the sports industry, Forrest decided to pursue his master’s degree at the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (with Marielle!). Throughout the one-year program at VCU, Forrest was the graduate assistant for the Facilities and Events department of VCU Athletics. This allowed Forrest to gain ample amounts of experience learning the behind the scenes aspect of what it takes to run collegiate athletics from a facilities and operations standpoint. After graduating from the Center for Sport Leadership, Forrest accepted an internship in the operations department at Richmond International Raceway for the summer to complete his master’s degree. Throughout the summer, Forrest assisted the operations office in preparation for their September NASCAR race that hosts over 50,000 people on the property of RIR, as well as the other events that fill up the 365-day calendar.
Forrest was first introduced to Sportable through volunteering with the power soccer program during his spring semester at VCU, and is extremely excited to officially be a part of the organization now!
Outreach and Communications Director
Josh has been an athlete and volunteer with Sportable for nearly three years after a Spinal Cord Injury rendered him quadriplegic in November of 2014. Henceforth, he will also be working with us on a part-time basis as Outreach and Communications Director.
Josh grew up in Chester, VA and earned his bachelors and masters degrees at VCU. He studied English as an undergraduate and teaching as a graduate student. Josh has lived and worked as a high school English teacher in Chesterfield, VA; Denver, CO; and Quito, Ecuador. Since his injury, he has worked at the Appomattox Regional Library in Hopewell, VA.
Sports have always been central to Josh’s life. He grew up playing team sports, but found his passion in outdoor sports like snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, and rock climbing. As a Sportable athlete, Josh participates in kayaking, cycling, archery, rowing, swimming, and has tried most everything else.
Part-Time Director of Finance
Bill has a few decades of experience in accounting and finance, which is why we have him around although not physically that much. You see Bill hails from the Hill City (Lynchburg) and works his trade over the internet. He came to us a few years ago as a program participant and grew his involvement. His belief in Sportable comes from his personal experience in adaptive sports. Competitive by nature but not having participated in sports since a teenager, the barrier to adaptive sports were many for this wannabe athlete. It really came down to equipment and coaching for which a solution was difficult to find until happening upon Sportable. Here he says, he had the opportunity to try many sports until finally settling in on his favorite of handcycling. Now you can find Bill on many weekends for 9 months of the year racing somewhere on the East Coast. Along with training, he enjoys time with his wife and two labs and visiting their 3 grown children.
Wendy was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine and moved to Richmond just over a year ago with her husband Mark and two sons, Cody and Elijah. Elijah had been playing wheelchair basketball for 5 years. Wendy’s family decided to move where he could continue to play. After a search online, they found Sportable. After seeing all that Sportable had to offer her kids, they knew they wanted to be in Richmond. One week after moving, they signed Elijah up and he started playing the next day. Wendy began to be amazed with what Sportable was offering the community. It was an organization that she became passionate about…not just as a parent, but as a member of the community. She is excited to be on staff with Sportable!
Co-Founder of Sportable
Kristen Lessig, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, is the co-founder of Sportable. Her belief that every individual posses an innate drive to compete and therefore equal opportunity to do so was the driving force behind her decision to launch Sportable in 2005 with her friend Jennifer Yocco. Sports and recreation always played a leading role in Kristen’s life, and was the primary reason she pursued her advanced degree in Physical Therapy. Once introduced to the world of adaptive sports-she quickly found her true passion-one that joined her love of helping others and being physically active. It was from there that Sportable was born- a means to target a previously underserved population in the community- providing them with the experiences that are proven to have resounding effects on their overall physical, social, and psychological well-being.
Kristen’s leadership, determination and vision for this organization provided a foundation that is still strong and thriving today. We are forever indebted to Kristen – thank you!