Nassau County Council On Aging (Fernandina Beach location)
Nassau County Council On Aging (1901 Island Walk Way, Fernandina Beach)

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.


A treasure trove of activities/services for seniors has been unearthed in Nassau County. Ironically, some hidden treasures are part of it.

Nassau County Council on Aging

Since relocating into its impressive new headquarters, the Nassau County Council on Aging has exponentially expanded its operations and its offerings to the community. A presentation last week on treasure hunting by Amelia Research & Recovery was another of the unique programs at the center.

There are practically enough classes and activities to keep the entire county busy. Not only does the COA offer essential services like transportation and support/assistance, it also provides entertainment and learning activities.

Many Programs & Activities

Consider these topics for the next few months: motivational Ted Talks, Chinese folk art, learning Spanish, how to declutter, medication safety, drawing, how to avoid scams, creating websites, how to use Facebook and Twitter and your Apple/Android phones and tablets, and Powerpoint.

There are other interesting programs and activities, such as: gardening, Asian cooking, belly dancing, line dancing, investing, chair yoga, fitness, meditation, Bingo, chess, poker, music, guitar and photography.

Senior Life Magazine

Therefore, the meeting rooms at the center are buzzing with activity. A new and improved “Senior Life” magazine is published quarterly by the News-Leader outlining the COA classes and activities. In addition to the fun and learning activities, there are programs for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, as well as assistance for home health and legal services.

The growth of the membership and the quality of the programs have been impressive under the leadership of Janice Ancrum, the president/CEO. Ever the innovator, Ancrum describes how NassauTRANSIT has grown from a single station wagon to more than 20 buses forming the public transportation system for the county (with 55,000 trips last year alone).

 The other merits are equally praiseworthy. The Meals on Wheels and other services provided more than 33,000 meals to seniors last year. The Home Health division increased its services by 18 percent last year. More than 270 talented volunteers donated 11,000 hours to the center and its members. And the membership of the COA is soaring like an eagle on a windy day.

“With appreciation for the past and excitement for the future” is the way Ancrum signs off on her latest address in the “Senior Life” magazine. It’s the way the COA rolls these days. The agency has truly discovered treasure at its new location at 1901 Island Walk Way in Fernandina Beach (not to overlook its smaller center in Hilliard).

Treasure Hunting

The "Polly L," Amelia Research & Recovery
The “Polly L,” Amelia Research & Recovery

Meanwhile, the presentation last week by Doug Pope of Amelia Research & Recovery was well-attended. Pope has appeared at the COA before. Pope’s presentation focuses on his group’s efforts to unearth buried treasure, with its high-tech, three-legged ship.

The group has found some treasure, like coins and trinkets. It even has its own museum downtown filled with artifacts. Many local residents are its investors, some of whom attended the speech.

The treasure-hunting presentation is another cog in a diversified wheel of programs at the center. And the COA has become a wheel of fortune – and goodness – for our county. Indeed, we are fortunate to have it here.

Steve Nicklas Financial Advisor
Steve Nicklas, Financial Advisor

Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a U.S. brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, as well as his website: He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of some of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].