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Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Gearing Up for the Best Summer Ever

2014-06-27_AOF_16523_CMYK Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Gearing Up for the Best Summer Ever

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YMCA Summer Day Camp keeps kids moving, exploring and learning all summer long

At the end of the summer, families want to hear their child had “the best summer ever.” To help make that happen, the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is offering Summer Day Camp, keeping kids adventurous, active, engaged and healthy all summer long. YMCA camp programs offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime.

Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But for some kids, summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year. Attending the YMCA Summer Camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to keep their minds and bodies active.

“It’s imperative that kids stay engaged socially, physically and academically throughout the summer. Summer Camp is a wonderful way to ensure that,” says Theresa Haynes, Youth Services Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA.  “In our Summer Day Camp, kids are in a welcoming environment where they can belong, they’re building relationships, developing character and discovering their potential. We really encourage parents to give their kids the gift of camp to keep them active and engaged all summer long.”

Ms. Haynes says there are five reasons why children should attend summer camp:   

  1. ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of new experiences and exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. Visit ymca.net or mgcymca.org for details.
  2. HEALTHY FUN: Day camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits.
  3. PERSONAL GROWTH: While in the welcoming environment of camp, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.
  4. FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The bonds formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.
  5. MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA offers Summer Day Camp at the following locations: The Taconi Elementary building in Ocean Springs, East Hancock Elementary in Kiln, and the Vancleave YMCA Day Camp building located in Vancleave behind the United Methodist Church. And, to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA offers financial assistance to those in need.

A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for over 131 years. The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA continues to give youth an enriching, safe experience with caring staff and volunteers who model positive values that help build their kids’ character.

For more information, visit mgcymca.org or contact Theresa Haynes at thaynes@mgcymca.org or 228-875-5050.

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Bishop Kihneman Presents RCS with $500,000 for Debt Retirement

IMG_0325 Bishop Kihneman Presents RCS with $500,000 for Debt Retirement

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Since first opening their doors in 1882, Resurrection Catholic School’s (RCS) mission has been to provide the youth of Jackson County with a nurturing and motivational atmosphere. One in which each student receives the opportunity to reach his full potential as a well-educated, caring, responsible Christian; one equipped to meet and overcome adversity in a challenging society.

Throughout its more than one hundred years, community service has been one of the basic building blocks RCS has utilized in helping to maintain and reach their primary goal. Today, the community decided to give back.

During an assembly at RCS, Bishop Louis Kihneman took center stage to make an announcement and present the school with a gift from members of the community. With all stakeholders, students, faculty and foundation members in attendance, the Bishop presented the school with a $500,000 check to assist in paying off some of the debt the school has accumulated since rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The money was donated by anonymous contributors in Jackson County.

“The bishop categorized debt as an anchor… we’re trying to help the school grow in all aspects, but then we’ve got this debt holding on to us, like an anchor pulling us down,” said RCS principal Noah Hamilton. Hamilton says once the debt is retired, it will free up cash flow to go back into the general fund and be used directly for educational purposes. “I say it’s time to cut this anchor. Let’s get it out of the way so we can get back to what are mission really is – preparing our students academically, spiritually and socially to take the next step of their lives.”

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Celebrate Earth Day at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center

Earth Day, celebrated in the United States since April 22, 1970 , is this weekend. With spring temperatures in the 70s  along the Coast, it’s the perfect time to get outside and learn about the natural world.

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center will be hosting an Earth Day Family Celebration from 10 a.m. til 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21st. Admission is only $1 for members and $2 for non-members, so this is a great opportunity to visit the Center.

2017-04-22-13.05.23 Celebrate Earth Day at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center

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Earth Day activities include: crafts, kayaking, a scavenger hunt, planting activities, a “sidewalk sale” in the gift shop, live animals, food vendors, and more. There will be tie dyeing, so bring a shirt to dye or purchase one in the store. Visiting groups include Wild at Heart Rescue with some of their education animals and the Jackson County Master Gardeners will be conducting Green House tours and talking about native plants.

Earth Day at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center is great for kids of all ages, from toddler activities in the Children’s Nature Discovery Garden to kayaking for older students. Come on out and celebrate!

 

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Donate Stuffed Animals Friday in Ocean Springs

Five-Days-of-Action-1 Donate Stuffed Animals Friday in Ocean Springs

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The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA has partnered with Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Inc. to collect toys for children who have been adopted from the local foster care system. CASA will be collecting large stuffed animals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Blossman Family Branch YMCA on Friday, April 20.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and YMCAs across the country are participating in Five Days of Action from April 16 to 20 to raise awareness about how to prevent child sexual abuse. The local five-day awareness event concludes Friday with the toy drive.

“April is a perfect time to share with our community what everyday citizens can do to help,” said Frances L. Allsup, executive director of CASA, an agency of United Way for Jackson & George Counties. “The number of children in Jackson County coming into care continues to grow and we aim to meet that need. Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent, trained adult to help them find a safe, loving home where they can heal and thrive.”

 

 

Allsup continued that they collect stuffed animals as a way to help these children simply be children and to provide them comfort with something familiar, such as a teddy bear. The stuffed animals and toys collected will go to the children that CASA serves.

Theresa Haynes, youth services director for the Blossman Family YMCA, said that they have a goal in mind for the number of stuffed animals they hope to collect during Friday’s event. “We would be very happy if we could get 100,” she said.

The Youth Services Department has displayed child abuse prevention boards at the Blossman Family YMCA this week during the Five Days of Action. Throughout the month of April, CASA is calling on members of the community to help their program serve more of Jackson County’s most vulnerable children.

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Take a Boat Ride During Gautier’s Earth Day Event Saturday

The City of Gautier will host its annual Earth Day Celebration this Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at George Martin City Park.

Eco-Tours of South Mississippi will be providing free boat rides on the Pascagoula River during the City of Gautier Earth Day event at George Martin City Park on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During the event, Captain Kathy Wilkinson, owner of Eco-Tours of South Mississippi, will offer free 30-minute rides up the Mary Walker Bayou. They have been part of the event since opening Eco-Tours in 2006. The boat rides are popular during the Earth Day event and give families that may not have the opportunity to get out on the water a chance to do so.

“We do not charge for the event as it is our way of giving a little something back to our community,” Wilkinson said. “We enjoy the opportunity to take locals out, as most of our guests on our tours are from out-of-town.”

The tours during the event are shortened versions of the tours Wilkinson regularly gives. According to Wilkinson, they tell guests about the flora and fauna they see, the ecosystems, local history and culture, wetlands and conservation, and stewardship and volunteerism while enjoying the views along the way.

“While it is educational, it is also fun, and we see some pretty cool things out on the river,” she said. “We started the business because we are passionate about the river and thought people might be interested in learning about the Pascagoula River. We have taken out visitors from all over the world, in addition to locals.”

For more information, you can visit www.ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com or visit the Eco-Tours of South Mississippi Facebook page.

 

 

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FABLAB Summer Camp Dates Are Set!

fablab-camp-flyer FABLAB Summer Camp Dates Are Set!

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A FABLAB consists of a suite of digital fabrication and rapid prototyping machines, including a large computer numerical control (CNC) router (the ShopBot), a vinyl cutter, a laser engraver, an electronics work bench, a 3D printer, and the accompanying computers and software for design, programming, and machine communications. This equipment allows students to use computer-aided design to make almost anything they can imagine.

The FABLAB Jackson County in Vancleave will be putting on events throughout the summer for kids of all ages. Please check out the flyer to see what they’ve got coming up.

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YMCA Healthy Kids Day to be held on April 28th

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is holding a free community event, in conjunction with the Junior Auxillary of Biloxi/Ocean Springs, to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active all summer long. Healthy Kids Day® is the YMCA’s national initiative to improve families health and well-being.  Games and activities will demonstrate, motivate, and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 8:00 -11:00 a.m.

Ft. Maurepas Park, Front Beach, Ocean Springs, MS

Joey Conwill, Wellness Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA–Blossman Family Branch, 228-875-5050

 

Healthy-Kids-Day-2018- YMCA Healthy Kids Day to be held on April 28th
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Spring Arts Festival: Herb, Garden & Art

The annual Spring Arts Festival in downtown Ocean Springs celebrated its 25th year last weekend. Over 150 vendors participated and, while the numbers are still being calculated, it is estimated to have had around 15,000 visitors. The event is looked forward to each year by festival-goers from near and far as well as the local gardening and art communities.

“We are so proud of the amazing turnout of 150 vendors and Nearly 15,000 visitors this year.  The turnout numbers are still being calculated. The weather was amazing and our community and visitors alike were able to get out and find unique arts, crafts and get their green thumb ready for Spring! -We were excited to introduce new vendors and a variety of demonstrations.” ~ Cynthia Dobbs Sutton, Ocean Springs Chamber – Mainstreet – Tourism Bureau

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First Lady Deborah Bryant of Mississippi Reads to Moss Point Preschoolers

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First Lady Deborah Bryant of Mississippi visited the Moss Point School District Family Education Center this morning to read with a group of preschoolers. After Mayor Mario King made the invitation, MPSD superintendent Dr. Shannon Vincent worked with her staff to organize the event. Deborah Bryant is passionate about early childhood education in Mississippi and travels throughout the state to encourage it.

Preschoolers from Little People Learning Center and Mary’s Little Lambs arrived and waited excitedly. Excel by 5 Chairman Debby Renfroe entertained the children before Carolyn Moore, School Board President and chief professional officer at United Way for Jackson and George Counties, welcomed Mrs. Bryant.

The children listened intently to an interactive story about ice cream, dogs and dinosaurs that taught the importance of sharing, and even sang along with some of the words.

“Excel by 5 in Moss Point was honored to be included in this event with our State’s First Lady,” said Debby Renfroe, Chairman of Excel by 5, Inc. “Many thanks to Mrs. Bryant and the Moss Point School District for recognizing the importance of reading to the preschoolers from some of the wonderful child care centers in our city.”

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FABLAB Jackson County opening Thursday in Vancleave

image003 FABLAB Jackson County opening Thursday in Vancleave

Chevron and the FAB Foundation will host the grand opening of FABLAB Jackson County in Vancleave on Thursday, March 15 at 11 a.m.

The FABLAB is a nonprofit digital fabrication laboratory that encourages students and aspiring inventors in the community to play, create, experiment and build their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).

The grand opening and ceremonial ribbon-cutting program will include remarks by representatives from Chevron, Jackson County School District, FAB Foundation and Mississippi Department of Education. A tour of the facility will follow. Students will also demonstrate the hands-on learning, technology resources, and tools that FABLAB Jackson County offers.  

Chevron is committed to increasing the quality of and access to STEAM education in the United States. Through its partnership with The Fab Foundation, Chevron provides students and teachers with the tools and resources they need to instill an interest in STEAM and inspire the next generation of innovators. 

FABLAB Jackson County is the ninth of 10 Fab Labs that Chevron has brought to areas where the company operates through its partnership with The Fab Foundation. 

FABLAB Jackson County will work to advance STEM education, human-centered design, collaborative projects and the creative economy, connecting people and creating opportunities for learning, research, experimentation and business. Visit www.fablabjacksoncounty.org for more information about the lab.

 

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