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Octavia Jolley first visited Sayulita just over 14 years ago. At the time, she was living in the Monterey Peninsula area in California and was immediately struck by the groovy vibe of being in Sayulita. She had come to visit a University friend for a quick winter break and entered into a world where language, culture, dance, music, and food allured her into coming back several months later. Then she came back again, and then again, and her love affair with Sayulita began. Each time she drove that stretch of road from the highway into town, she knew she was where she was destined to be, and made the full time move to Sayulita in 2002. Over the years, she became more entrenched in the community. As a business owner and having kids, her interest in creating opportunities for the children in town began, and has since morphed into several interesting projects.
You started an Ocean Speakers Series. Will you share more about this?
Two years ago, I started what I named the Ocean Speakers Series. It is based on pulling together professional people that work in the ocean ecosystem, and doing a free monthly workshop for kids. The idea is that there are already folks doing excellent work in the area, so getting them to teach what they know. We have had various speakers from organizations such as MexiTreks, EntreAmigos, San Pancho Birding, and San Pancho Turtle Project do awesome workshops in the past. The workshops pull together a range of kids in age and backgrounds, and are always interactive and fun. Since Sayulita is primarily a beach community, the education component for kids (and parents) is vital to maintaining the integrity of this environment. This is a great opportunity for anyone who has a specialty in this field to do a workshop. I hope to offer this Series again starting in the fall, so be on the look out
You were also very involved with SayuParke. Will you share more about your involvement?
This past year, I was active with founding, organizing and creating the SayuParke project. Along with Tessa Stobbe and several other important people (Summer Helms, Anne Menke, Barbara Roche, and Sonia Gallegos) who helped tremendously, we were able to procure a piece of land within the baseball field, and organize the funding, designing and building of the park, as well as the daily maintenance, which is ongoing! The SayuParke project was formed by the basic need for a safe place for children to play. With weekly start up meetings, we were able to talk to all key players and get everyone on board with the idea of having a community playground. The financial support from many community members and Sayulita supporters came in, and the park was able to commence. It is a beautiful example of many people coming together to make it happen- in the form of donations, physical labor, art work, and general interest- and it is certainly a busy, well used spot in town. It provides an enclosed area for children to play with actual playground equipment that is only for them- no adults allowed if not accompanied by a kid!
How has SayuParke made a difference in Sayulita?
The SayuParke project has allowed a place for local schools to go to for playtime, families and community members to have a safe, positive area to take their kids and it has proven that dreams can come true despite obstacles
What motivates you to continue to try to make a positive impact in Sayulita?
Having two children that are totally integrated into this community motivates me to create opportunities with positive focus. I want my children to learn and be educated in this world, and have access to other activities outside of school that foster development into socially and environmentally responsible humans! Also, as we know, the kids are not only our future, but our present. Its important for me to help guide kids to be aware and preserve the community and environment for the future, but also enjoy the best childhood they can have today!
What role do you play?
The park is taking care of itself for the most part, as long as everyone respects it and maintains it. I oversee the maintenance by employing one full time person to clean the park on a daily basis and another person to open and close the park. Basically, I keep a watchful eye on the park, and try to keep things fixed and looking good!
What have you gained from your involvement with this group?
I personally find importance to doing something for your community- in whatever form you can find to make a difference. A community such as Sayulita needs those within it to care for it and its people. I love to be part of the bigger picture, where Sayulita is more than just a tourist town, but rather an engaging, dynamic place for long-term residents.
What positive changes do you want to see brought about by your efforts?
I want the kids in this community to feel self-empowered and educated to make great choices in their lives. Lets give them opportunities and experiences and then hopefully they will be equipped to live positive lives, with ideas and inspiration.
What additional changes would you like to see in the future and what are you doing to make this happen?
I love how life in Sayulita allows one to have an idea and run with it. Through a supportive community, I believe any positive ideas will be allowed to happen. I would love SayuParke to be used for children’s activities that encourage fitness, socializing, and pure fun. Ideas for classes such as children’s yoga classes, music class, and a fitness class using the park structures would be great!
How can others help?
We can always use monetary donations for SayuParke for our full time person to clean the park daily, plus the maintenance of repairing and upgrading the park structures. We are currently trying to raise money for purchasing another structure, since we still have the space for more equipment. We also need volunteers to join in to water, weed and mow the grass. Please contact us on our SayuParke Facebook Page or email me at email@example.com.