Recently we Jacksonvillians found ourselves a little puffed with pride when Forbes magazine named our city number two in America to move to. While low unemployment and cost of housing do make an area desirable, not having a fraction of your village to pack in your moving boxes can make any relocation a bit dicey.
My family and I have made the mushrooming town of Nocatee our home for the last four years. I’m amazed at how many families have handpicked the area to move to without any relatives nearby.
Meg James left her village in New Jersey, and when she moved to Nocatee from more central Jacksonville three years ago, she missed the moms group she had grown to love. She saw a need to create an official moms club for Nocatee, so that’s what she did.
The Real Housemoms of Nocatee is now 900 members strong and is a group of highly engaged women who are collectively building that sense of community they sought when choosing to move to a part of town that only recently made it to GPS.
In just a short time Nocatee has truly put itself on the map for being a wonderful place for families to live and grow. While the community is blossoming at record pace, you’ll still find the small town feel at Food Truck Friday, Annual Daddy Daughter Dance, holiday celebrations at Splash Waterpark, and the creatively themed monthly Farmers Markets. The happenings around Nocatee continue to foster that sense of village we find comforting.
There are pockets of support here for every life stage and interest. One Nocatee mom recently held a donation drive for hand-me-downs of outgrown clothes and toys and then shared the items at a pregnant moms event for their pending arrivals. Another group has organized shared babysitting events where they switch off who watches the little ones and who gets some free time to catch up on errands, work, and life. There’s a meet up for everyone whether you’re into women’s wellness, growing your business, or relaxing to some live music.
Some of the recent mom events were a monthly baby story time meet up, Valley Ridge Academy rising first-graders pool party, and a movie night outing to see “Bad Moms.”
Local businesses in Nocatee are thriving on this “build your village” mindset. Big Fish Power Yoga recently opened its second studio in Nocatee and held a Moms Night Out where close to 50 moms enjoyed a free yoga class and then some shopping and wine. The studio also offers a weekly Family Flow class for children and those who care for them.
Psych Ed Connections put on its first Academic Enrichment Camp this summer that included team building games, math centers, science experiments and a final presentation where each child talked about what they learned and shared a project with their parents. The camp sold out with plans to expand it for next summer.
Nocatee will have its inaugural Psych Ed Connections Turkey Trot and Parade on Thanksgiving Day with proceeds benefiting the Youth Crisis Center of Jacksonville. Psych Ed Connections has a Nocatee branch and provides coaching, assessment, therapy and tutoring.
Another holiday time favorite is the chance for Nocatee kids to sing Christmas carols at local retirement communities and spread some holiday cheer in a way that only little voices singing “Rudolph” can.
The bustling town of Nocatee is full of reasons to get out and mingle, and that’s why we love it. The friendships I’ve made are the organic, warm your soul kind that happens because of our intrinsic nature to want to raise happy, healthy kiddos and have some fun along the way.
Are you Missing your Village?
Did you know that Jacksonville Moms Blog has 13 Neighborhood Moms Groups already set up to connect moms online, as well as offline through playdates and our events? This is a wonderful way for you and your kids to make new friends and connections in your own neighborhood.
We all can agree that Momhood can sometimes feel like moving mountains, but there’s strength in numbers (and even maybe a bit of wine, too).
About the Author
Katrine Strickland is mom to Finnley and Stein and owner of Cerulean Communications where she helps brands connect with their audiences in meaningful ways through marketing, public relations, social media and content generation. A sentimentalist at heart, she has a passion for documenting the moments that matter and noticing the simple pleasures that make life sweet. She blogs at Soulments.com about a journey along the path of mindfulness and savoring life’s moments. She loves traveling to new places, family runs exploring Nocatee and paddle boarding. Katrine is also part of the movement toward safer beauty through education and shifting public policy by fighting for stronger laws on cosmetic ingredients as a consultant for Beautycounter.