3rd Annual SNO Days Camp

11665542_741260222648958_234697806314332480_n-320x320 3rd Annual SNO Days Camp

The 3rd Annual SNO Days Camp at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs will take place on June 19-21, 2018. On the evening of June 21, there will be a fundraising family picnic for the benefit of South Mississippi Special Needs Organization from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. At 7:00 pm inside the theater of the Mary C. the Songs & Stories Show will begin, with musicians Double Dee (Darwin & Dana) and the SNO Camp Participants.

The purpose of the this minicamp is to provide a two hour, three day class for those with intellectual and/or physical disabilities whose ages vary between 6 and 60. The show is free. The picnic will consist of hamburger or hot dog plates being sold for $6.00 each. All proceeds of the picnic goes to help SNO continue to offer their quarterly events for the benefit of the special needs community and their families here in the coastal counties area of South Mississippi.

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Ocean Springs Mayor’s Youth Council Completes Recycle Bin Project

Youth-Recycling Ocean Springs Mayor's Youth Council Completes Recycle Bin Project

The City of Ocean Springs Mayor’s Youth Council recently completed their first large-scale final community project with the fruition of the Recycle Bin Project.

The project has been an idea of MYC Special Events Coordinator Caroline Wiygul since her first year on the council in 2016-2017, but the council was unable to complete it until this year. The council contacted several Gulf Coast businesses to ask for donations for the project. After the bins were delivered, MYC members hand painted each bin with a native Gulf Coast animal at the Ocean Springs Public Works Department.

“This project was a way for the youth of our City to say that recycling is important to us and to start something that City leadership can continue to expand if they want to,” Wiygul said.

Youth-Recycling Ocean Springs Mayor's Youth Council Completes Recycle Bin Project

The five recycling bins are placed around downtown with two on Government Street, two along Washington Avenue and one at City Hall.

“This past year’s council was very environmentally conscious and felt like hand-painted recycle bins would not only be a way to encourage responsible waste management amongst our citizens but would also be fun and reflect the artistic spirit of Ocean Springs,” said Cristina Werner, executive assistant to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. “This project is important to our community because we have a responsibility as citizens to take care of our city, and the beautiful Gulf Coast that we get to enjoy every day.”

The Mayor’s Youth Council consists of 28 high school juniors and seniors from within the Ocean Springs School District. Each term lasts for one year. The council is funded by the City, but the council members fundraise year-round in order to maximize their annual budget. The council meets bimonthly and hosts community events and fundraisers and volunteers with the city’s special events.

“Being a part of the MYC is highly beneficial to our youth because it gives them the opportunity to exercise individual leadership skills, interpersonal communication with their peers and municipal leaders, public speaking, and to plan and execute special events,” Werner said.

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The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is a Registered Host Site for Global World’s Largest Swimming Lesson Event

The YMCA is proud to be a host site for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson 2018! 

On June 21, 2018, the lesson will begin promptly at 11:00am at the Blossman Family Branch YMCA on Government St.  Registration begins June 11 through 10:00am on June 21, the day of the lesson.  The lesson will be limited to the first 30 registrants, so register soon!  Ideal age for participants is from 7 to 16 years old.  

The cost?  $1!! 

WLSL018_640p The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is a Registered Host Site for Global World's Largest Swimming Lesson Event

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The purpose of the lesson? To provide kids and parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills and build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. Program organizers are working to connect the dots between the real risk of childhood drowning and the need for basic water competency skills and crucial parental supervision to keep kids safe in and around the water. Research shows:

  • The problem is life threatening for children: Per the CDC, drowning remains the leading cause of injury related death for. children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for children under 14. Internationally, the World Health Organization estimates drowning is one of the top five causes of death for people aged 1-14 in 48 of the 85 countries it monitors.
  • Many lack basic swimming skills: In 2014, a survey completed by the American Red Cross found more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.
  • Parents don’t recognize supervision is key: According to a 2016 Safe Kids Worldwide report, despite the fact that lack of supervision played a role in the majority of drowning deaths, less than half of parents (49 percent) indicate they remain within arms’ reach of their child in the water.

More than 41,000 swimmers in 27 countries on six continents participated in 2017. Each location and tens of thousands of participants help spread the Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ message each year.

For more information, please contact Michele Cateson, Aquatics Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA, at mcateson@mgcymca.org or 228-875-5050.

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YMCA and Gulf Coast Running Club to Host 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run/Walk and Children’s Run

2014-06-23_AOF_6731_RGB YMCA and Gulf Coast Running Club to Host 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run/Walk and Children's Run

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA’s Blossman Family Branch along with the Gulf Coast Running Club will be hosting the 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run on July 4, 2018.  Events for the day include a 2-mile Health Run/Walk at 8:00am and a 1/4-mile Children’s Run at 8:30am.  The starting and ending location will be at the YMCA on Government St., and the running course is a beautiful and scenic one as well as being USTAF Certified.  The cost is $17 for GCRC and YMCA members, $18 for non-members, and $10 for children 12 years and under participating in the 1/4 mile Children’s Run.  Race entries should be postmarked by June 29.  Late registration will be on race day from 7:00-7:45am.  Awards will be given to participants dressing in their best patriotic outfit!  Registration forms are available at the YMCA, and for more information about the event, please contact the YMCA at 228-875-5050, or Leonard of the Gulf Coast Running Club at 228-380-7037, or visit the Y’s website at mgcymca.org.  See you at the run! 

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SMHS Valedictorian Bringing Robotics Summer Camps to St. Martin

JSM_6956-copy SMHS Valedictorian Bringing Robotics Summer Camps to St. Martin

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St. Martin High School Valedictorian Taylor Barnes believes students who are given opportunities to create with technology when they’re young will become students who are interested in studying technology when they’re older.

Barnes, a National Merit Finalist who made a perfect 36 score on the ACT, will be studying computer engineering on a full ride scholarship at the University of Central Florida this fall.


During his senior year, Barnes spent part of his school days at the Jackson County School District’s “Fab Lab” (short for “fabrication laboratory”) down the road from the high school. The Fab Lab, stocked with all the computers and machinery necessary to take a project from concept to final product, is designed to give Jackson County students hands-on experience with the entire engineering design process.

During the summer, Barnes will be running a series of summer camps to teach children programming for robotics. Barnes, along with the Fab Lab manager Scott Beebe, wrote a $5,000 grant to fund the summer camp.

As a student ambassador for the Fab Lab this year, Barnes helped younger students visiting the lab with projects like laser printing, vinyl cutting and more. Places like the Fab Lab pique students’ interest in STEM studies—science, technology, engineering and math—and give them a head start in preparing for the future if they are interested in those types of jobs, Barnes said.JSM_6956-copy SMHS Valedictorian Bringing Robotics Summer Camps to St. Martin

“That kind of thing gets students interested in technology early in their lives,” Barnes said of the Fab Lab. “That way when they’re older they have that foundation in STEM so they can learn even more when they get to those high level math and science classes.”

St. Martin High School Principal Dina Holland described Barnes as “focused”—a leader on campus who has been instrumental in bringing robotics programs to St. Martin High School and even to the middle school.

“I’ve been in this business for 35 years and have gotten the opportunity to work with a lot of amazing students, but he has set the bar that’s going to be the new standard,” Holland said.

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This Popular Ministry App With 30k Downloads Was Made Right Here in Jackson County

LBAPPLOGO_512 This Popular Ministry App With 30k Downloads Was Made Right Here in Jackson County

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OCEAN SPRINGS–When Greg Arnold moved his online Christian men’s ministry from blog to mobile app in 2016, he had modest hopes for its success.

“It took a year to get the first 5,000 registered users, which is what I was shooting for,” Arnold said. “I thought I had hit the moon when I got to 5,000.”

Fast forward a year and a half later, and the Live Bold application has been downloaded more than 30,000 times from the iOS and Android app stores by users in 163 countries. Of those downloads, about half are registered users. In both app stores, it has climbed its way to the number one spot in the search results for Christian Men’s apps, and it consistently remains in the top five apps in the search results for Christian apps in general.

The Live Bold app offers daily devotions with the option to add comments and interact with other users, articles for Christian men categorized by topic, forums for sharing prayer requests, and options to search for local Bible studies. Paid subscribers receive access to more study tools and other enhanced features.

The Ocean Springs resident started Live Bold Ministries a decade ago as a blog where he spoke to Christian men about their unique struggles and called on them to deepen their faith in God.  

“Over time, that developed more into a relationship with the readers, and I started listening to what the readers were asking for,” Arnold said.

LBAPPLOGO_512 This Popular Ministry App With 30k Downloads Was Made Right Here in Jackson County

Arnold continually adjusted the website format, the writing style and the ministry offerings to suit his readership. About two years ago, he noticed the website statistics showed a major shift from desktop to mobile, so he spent the next six months developing an application to transfer the ministry primarily to a mobile platform.

“I launched it quietly, and the traction became immediate,” Arnold said.

For Arnold, the numbers are fun to crunch, but they aren’t the measure of his success. Sure, he admits he hopes to see the app reach the coveted 100,000 downloads, but it’s much more gratifying for him to see men connecting with one another and growing in their faith.


“My lane, my call, has been to help a man get out of the ditch, stay on the track and make some positive gains in his life—through God and through Christ,” Arnold said.

iOS: https://loom.ly/xaHMeUo 
Android: https://loom.ly/etq4d_Y

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Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Takes on Childhood Obesity with New Program

HWYC-jpeg Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Takes on Childhood Obesity with New Program

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Healthy Weight and Your Child pilot program aims to get kids and families to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Ocean Springs, MS, April  23, 2018 – This summer, the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA will begin offering Healthy Weight and Your Child, a pilot program designed to empower children between the ages of 7-13, with the support from their families, to reach a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is one of 10 YMCA’s in the U.S. to run this pilot program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago. Today, one in six children are obese and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and mental health issues.



“The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of children on the Gulf Coast, and helping children reach a healthy weight is important now more than ever,” said Jodi Ryder, Community Impact Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA.  “Healthy Weight and Your Child will help children experience improved health outcomes and higher self-esteem, and families will feel empowered to make and support healthier choices.”

The 25-session program engages the whole family, so together they can understand how the home environment and other factors influence the choices that lead to a healthy weight. Additionally, the program combines three elements of healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.

Made up of groups of eight to 15 children and their parents/caregivers, the program creates a safe, fun, and active environment for children and their families to explore and adopt proven methods to living a healthier lifestyle. Sessions are two hours in length, with the first hour delivered in a classroom setting and the second hour focusing on physical activity.

Children eligible for the program must be between the ages of seven and 13, have a body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, receive approval from their doctor or a health care provider, and accompanied by a parent or caregiver at every session.

The YMCA will be holding an informational meeting for anyone interested in participating in Healthy Weight and Your Child at the Blossman Family Branch YMCA, 1810 Government St., Ocean Springs, MS, on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 5:00pm.

For more information including program qualifications and session times, contact Jodi Ryder at 228.875.5050 or jryder@mgcymca.org.

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1699 Weekend of Discovery: Celebrating Our Heritage

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Ocean Springs – In 1971, a group of dedicated citizens formed the 1699 Historical Society in order to preserve and celebrate the unique culture and history of Ocean Springs and the surrounding Gulf Coast.

Every spring, the Society stages a dramatic reenactment as the showcase of its annual “Weekend of Discovery.” The event brings to life the April 1699 story of Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d’Iberville and his armada of ships sailing into Biloxi Bay. Commissioned by King Louis XIV to explore the shores of the upper Gulf of Mexico, he and his expedition crew first discovered Ship Island before stumbling upon a high, defendable bluff, known today as Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Stopher Haug, chairman of the event this year, believes it’s important to help the public realize the significance of the landing. “I think that the culture and the heritage and influence that the d’Iberville landing had on the Gulf South in 1699 is essentially equivalent to the Jamestown landing in the Northeast back in 1603,” said Stopher. “So we’ve worked hard to try to get that message out and bring the history to life.”

The weekend kicks off Friday night with the Mary C. House Party featuring the Mardi Gras Indian Collective from New Orleans. Admission to the event is free, but donation opportunities abound with a full bar, art auction, and a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament. Festivities resume Saturday morning and include a 5K race, kids fun-run, paddleboard races, pet parade, a regatta at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club and will wrap up with the 1699 d’Iberville reenactment. Haug says he hopes everyone goes back home having had a great time at the event, but also with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the significance of the 1699 landing. “One thing that we would like folks to be aware of is that we’ve partnered with the Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw, who descend from original native Americans that were here in 1699. We’ve been working with them to try and bring more authenticity and historical accuracy to the reenactment this year and to recognize their culture and contributions as well.”

Everyone is invited to join in this exciting time and become a part of this commemorative celebration!

Learn more by visiting www.1699landing.com

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Vote for Ocean Springs as US Today’s 10 Best Coastal Small Town

Ocean Springs, MS – Ocean Springs is up for another award, USA Today’s Best Coastal Small Town. As the only town in Mississippi up for the award, the community is encouraged to vote for Ocean Springs now through May 14.

With a population of fewer than 25,000 people, these towns nominated offer uncrowded, unpretentious and affordable seaside fun in small packages. Move over Miami, Honolulu and Los Angeles, Ocean Springs is in the running.

“With its quaint, eclectic charm, we are delighted to have Ocean Springs nominated once again for this award,” says Executive Director Cynthia Sutton of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau. “Ocean Springs is a tourist favorite and, we encourage our entire coastal community and those throughout the state to promote Ocean Springs for this award.”

Vote for Ocean Springs once per day as Best Coastal Small Town until polls close on May 14 at noon, ET. Visit https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-coastalsmall-town/ to vote.

For more information, contact us at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau at 228-875-4424 or visit us at www.oceanspringschamber.com.

Mission: To promote tourism, provide progressive leadership for economic and community vitality for the greater Ocean Springs, Jackson County area and gulf coast and to enhance local culture and preserve quality of life through planned growth, diversification and beautification.

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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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