Family-friendly. That’s the vibe that keeps Albany, GA-based Matt and Kelsey Reed coming back.
“One of our favorite things about Jekyll,” said Kelsey, Director of Patient Services at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, “is that it’s a true family experience where even our dog can join us on vacation.”
Matt—President and Chief Executive Officer of Georgia CEO/South Carolina CEO as well as chair of the Nominating Committee for the Jekyll Island Foundation (JIF) Board of Directors—has known Jekyll since youth, but Kelsey’s appreciation for the Island’s charm didn’t begin until a year after the two were married.
“My first time on Island we stayed at the (Jekyll Island) Club,” she said, “and I loved that we could park the car and not have to get back in it to explore.”
“We love the pace here,” said Matt, “and we love that it’s not overdeveloped.”
In fact, Matt was moved to Board service, in part, because of the Foundation’s funding commitment to conservation. “I really believe in our mission…in protecting the environment. And Jekyll’s mandate to do this makes it unique.”
He feels Jekyll is a “true gem for Georgia,” especially given the revitalization efforts of the past two decades. “The (Jekyll Island) Authority has really done such a good job” of enhancing amenities and overseeing efforts to optimize previously developed acreage without sacrificing that charm, he said.
“I joined the Board just as Mosaic (Jekyll Island Museum) was opening and COVID was shutting everything down,” Matt recalled, “so I’m excited to now have an opportunity to invite people to experience what Jekyll has to offer.”
As chair of the Nominating Committee, Matt’s platform is well suited to do just that as he seeks out and speaks with potential Board candidates. “One of the things that has been a welcomed surprise is that almost everyone we talk with has some sort of tie to Jekyll.”
He is particularly looking forward to leveraging the JIF’s involvement with the planned Georgia Sea Turtle Center expansion project. “It’s going to be transformational for the Center, but also for the Island and the state,” he said. “I think the impact of this project can help us explore and secure a variety of partnerships—certainly those focused on education and research—that support the Foundation’s goals.”
Kelsey and Matt are both hopeful that the future also holds more opportunities for JIF to engage Island residents and frequent visitors. “I’d love to see a time when everyone feels value in being a member of the Foundation,” said Matt.
For now, the current vibe for these parents of a three-year-old is just right. “Compared to other island destinations, Jekyll is so accessible, and everything is so clean and nice, so easy to get to quickly,” said Kelsey. “Even when it’s raining,” Matt offered, “there are plenty of activities other than the beach or the pool for kids and families to enjoy.”