Special thank you to Holly Scott Photography for providing these images for our blog!
Sometime in spring 2013, Susie and I sat together both very pregnant, reviewing an opportunity that we didn't know then would change everything. Determined to make an income for our families while still having time for our young children, we decided to take the plunge and build a website. We worked tirelessly to add 4,000 listings making sure to uncover everything that families in Jacksonville might want to do for fun. In November 2013, Fun4FirstCoastKids.com was born so families could know about all the resources, events, programs and fun happening in Jacksonville.
Some of our favorite memories
We had no idea how the journey would unfold, nor how much dedication it would take to grow to 133,500 Facebook followers, 18,700 Instagram followers and over 2 million page views last year! Whew! We're tired just writing those numbers!
We have worked hard over the past six years to raise our families while making sure Fun 4 First Coast Kids is the best resource for Jacksonville families. Along the way, we've met so many of you - the families who we share this amazing city with! Some of our favorite memories include Halloween in Hemming Park, handing out backpacks to students in need at Downtown Jax Art Walk, hiking some of our favorite Jacksonville trails, and enjoying a beer while watching our children play on the banks of Goodby's Creek. We've had SO MUCH FUN, and the common thread through all of these memories has been you - our Fun 4 First Coast Kids followers, families and friends.
We've also had the honor and privilege to help many businesses advertise and get the word out to our community. Those friendships with theatre owners, restaurateurs, grocery store operators, farmers, boutique owners, and everyone from our locally-owned businesses to the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars have been so meaningful and, we are forever grateful.
Our next chapter
Now, as Susie sits next to me yet again (this time only she's in the hospital nursing a 12-hour old baby boy!), we both want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us and helped make Fun 4 First Coast Kids what it is today. We want to announce that we have sold Fun 4 First Coast Kids!
As we transition to the next chapter in our journey, Susie and I are still focused on our families, and still love Jacksonville with all our might. However, as of July 26, we are no longer owners of Fun 4 First Coast Kids.
And we're excited to announce that it's a family affair! We're turning things over to our cousin Jonathan Meide and his wife, Jezmyn, and their dear friends, Ryan and Katrine Strickland.
The new moms behind the site : Kat & Jez
We're so excited about Katrine (or Kat, as you can call her) being part of the ownership team. She's a marketing and communications pro and woman leader in the tech industry recently developing and launching her memory capturing app for parents called Soulments. She brings innovative marketing and content strategy to our site as she's spent the last 15 years in the industry. Originally from Miami, she holds a bachelor's degree in public relations from the University of Florida.
Jezmyn (you can call her Jez) has been working with us since January and is well versed in operating the back end of the site. Her favorite part is learning more about our fun city and all that we have going on for families. Jez was a fourth grade teacher in Duval County for seven years, so she brings impeccable organization and logic plus a genuine love for kids. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, she earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and child development from Florida State University and then went on to earn her master's in elementary education from the University of North Florida.
And we cannot forget about the Dads! Ryan and Jonathan will be the supporting dads, and we're excited to add their perspectives to Fun 4 First Coast Kids! We know you'll love seeing them around town with their kids in tow sharing all things fun for families!
We'll still be around town
Susie and I cannot say enough thank yous to all of our followers from across the First Coast, Georgia and beyond! Your kind words, stopping by to say hi at events, and all your comments, likes and shares on social media, mean EVERYTHING and make being a mom and working to keep the site relevant much easier and way more FUN!
Our new owners will not only provide the same great content and ideas for fun but they will provide EVEN MORE and do it EVEN BETTER! They will not skip a beat, and you will love following them on Fun4FirstCoastKids.com! We hope you give them a warm welcome and say hello to them when you see them out and about!
As for Susie and I, we won't be able to stay away long. We're already planning on having support roles for Fun 4 First Coast Kids. We'll still be working on the back end to keep the site fresh, and you might see us out and about covering events around town. We'll always support the site in any way they need us. After all, that's what families do!
So now, before we get too teary eyed, it's time to turn this blog and our site over to our two families: Katrine, Jezmyn, Jonathan and Ryan! Let's hear a little bit from them!
From the new families
We are honored and thrilled to be the proud new owners of Fun 4 First Coast Kids! We know we have big shoes to fill, as Terri and Susie have built Jacksonville's top resource for family fun from the ground up, and in the process, created an amazing community. We couldn't be more excited to lead this next chapter for Fun 4 First Coast Kids.
Our two families have been in the Jacksonville community for a long time and know there isn't a better place in the world to raise our children. We are excited about the opportunities Fun 4 First Coast Kids will provide for our families to explore, have fun, and give back to the First Coast - a place that we all value and love.
About the Meide Family
Jonathan and Jezmyn have two girls, and fun for them means going to the beach, working on their latest arts & crafts projects, and attending sporting events. Go Jags!
Favorite family-friendly Jacksonville spot: The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens. The girls love the animals and especially enjoy visiting the elephants and feeding the giraffes. Our favorite park is Sunshine Park in Jax Beach.
Fun Fact: Jezmyn had 27 foster brothers and sisters growing up, and at age 17, her family adopted her identical twin brothers through the foster care system. The Meides would love to someday foster or adopt right here in Jacksonville.
About the Strickland Family
Ryan and Katrine's daughter and son are the same age as the Meide girls, which makes planning family outings a breeze! They love anything outdoors whether it's biking to their community playgrounds, taking their standup paddleboards to explore our area's waterways, or planning the hikes they'll do on their next National Park visit.
Favorite family-friendly Jacksonville spot: Any big playground where the kids can run around, use their imagination and meet new friends.
Fun fact: Before kids, Ryan and Katrine competed in many triathlons with their last race together being Ironman Wisconsin in 2011, which included a 1.2-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
We want to hear from you!
We look forward to meeting many of you out and about and connecting on our social platforms. If you see us around, please stop and say hi, because we want to get to know more of you! We also want to hear from you because your comments, suggestions and insights are all very important to us. If you have something to share, please don't hesitate to contact us via email or wherever you follow Fun 4 First Coast Kids on social media.
We have some exciting things on the horizon that we cannot wait to share with you. So stay tuned and in the meantime, know that we are committed to being your number one resource for all things FUN for families across the First Coast!
As our four families join in a resounding THANK YOU, we thought it would be the perfect time for a GIVEAWAY! As our first giveaway and their last and since we're Fun FOUR First Coast Kids after all, we're giving away several sets of FOUR. There will be multiple winners for more chances to win!
4 tickets to Crayola Experience
4 tickets to St. Mary's Aquatic Center
4 tickets to Wild Adventures
4 tickets to a Jumbo Shrimp game
4 one-year subscriptions to Soulments, the memory capturing app
4 kids scoops to Whit's Frozen Custard
How to enter? Enter to win here: www.fun4firstcoastkids.com/giveaway.
Winners will be announced in a special Meet Jez & Kat Facebook Live on Thursday, August 1 at 8 pm. Tune in then to help us pick the winners and celebrate Jezmyn's Birthday!
Cheers to the next chapter & adventure! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
Terri & Susie and Kat & Jez