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Hidden Gems: Meet Garrett Callis of Jax Fray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Garrett Callis.

Hi Garrett, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Growing up just North of Jax in Yulee, FL. We lived an easy small-town life until I was diagnosed with Leukemia at 7 years old. The following year was tough for both my family and myself, but we were able to get through it, and I luckily have been in remission ever since. The only reason I’m bringing this up is that it directly impacted who and where I am today.

From this experience, I was able to attend a summer camp called Camp Boggy Creek, which is a camp for kids with serious illnesses and their families. Every year, I would count down the days till it was my week to attend this camp. It had everything a kid could dream of, a pool, lake, canoes, horses, zip lines, talent shows, and dances. All the recreation and programming they offered just blew me away, it was and still is one of my favorite places on earth.

Eventually, I aged out of Camp, graduated high school, and ran off to college with no idea what I was going to do with my life. My only plan at the time was to take my necessary classes, work odd jobs while at school, and wait till I was old enough to be able to go back to camp as a Counselor. Once I was able to, I went back to camp and ran the adventure program. In this position I facilitated, ran, and designed programs and activities including high & low ropes course adventures, large and small group team building, basic adventure skills, and countless games.

At some point, after these summers I realized I needed to choose and finalize a direction and degree. So I went with Hospitality Management, with a focus on recreation. With this, I thought that just maybe, I’d be able to run or own a Summer Camp one day. Or as a fallback, I could work in hotels or restaurants. Once graduated and on the job hunt, I eventually found and took a position in Construction Management. Nowhere close to what I had originally thought and planned.

For the next 3 years, I stuck to this path until I realized the mistake I’d made. I knew I had to make a change, and that it wasn’t too late to at least try. So I went back to school and attained a Master’s Degree from Clemson University in Parks & Recreation Management. Which is what helped get me to where I am today. As the City Commissioner for Jax Fray, I’m now able to continue doing what I fell in love with as a kid growing up.

I get to provide & create experiences and opportunities for people to get out, be active, have fun, and socialize. I’m extremely grateful for everything that’s happened on this path for me to get here and am excited to be a part of Jax Fray providing Adult Social Sports to the City of Jacksonville.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would say the toughest part was feeling stuck in my last career path. Being that I had done it for so long, I felt that jumping to something else, even with an undergrad degree, was going to be extremely difficult. It was then that I toyed with the idea of going back to school.

The thought of going through another 2-3 years of School in my late 20’s was daunting. But then I came across a forum on a similar matter and read something that really impacted me, it said “In 3 years you’ll be 30 either way, which version of yourself do you want to be?” I knew immediately that I was going to take the risk and go back to school.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Jax Fray?
At Jax Fray, we strive to Make Fun Possible. We aim to provide opportunities for people to be able to be active and have fun daily. We believe in the power of play to transform lives, build communities, and create a positive impact in the world. Recreational Sports Leagues, Tournaments, & pick-up games are the backbone of our company.

We also provide Events, Adventures, and Bar Crawls throughout the year to add some flair to your normal routine. For all of our leagues and events, you’re able to join in multiple ways. You can join as a Free Agent and be placed on a team, become a Captain and create your own group to invite friends to, or you can join an existing group if your friends already have one set up. We want to enable all to make friends here, share experiences, and grow closer with those you already have.

We currently offer 8 different sports leagues around Jax, including Kickball, Volleyball (Beach & Indoor), Softball, Flag Football, Bocce Ball, Cornhole, Skeeball, and Cross Country.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I absolutely believe taking risks is worth it. Looking back on my life so far, the best and most memorable moments are direct results of taking a risk. Whether it’s asking a girl to dance for the first time, climbing a tree to jump into the river, or going back to school, taking a risk is almost always worth it.

Sometimes it may not work out the way you’d hoped, but that’s just a part of the experience of it. Learn from it, and try again.

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