Summer Programs High School
June 27 – July 20 • $4,300 • 75 Service Hours
July 24 – August 1 • $1,850 • 25 Service Hours
Coastal Mississippi has a soft beauty and warm hospitality that are legendarily captivating. It is home to cultures ranging from long-established African-American communities to a Choctaw reservation to the lively Cajun traditions of music and food.
OUR HOME BASE:
Moss Point and Turkey Creek are coastal communities rooted in African-American history. Settled in 1866 by recently emancipated slaves, the few acres now known as Turkey Creek were a vibrant, self-sufficient neighborhood with farms, homesteads and the first African-American school in the region. Its location on the “other side of the swamp” kept it insulated until recently, with developers trying to stake claim and residents fighting to preserve this culturally and ecologically important area.
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Turkey Creek was the site of numerous historic homes and minority-run businesses. Residents had been working hard to obtain historic preservation status and build affordable housing. Now, the community is fighting to survive. Since 2006 and initially in response to Katrina, VISIONS teens have accomplished impressive service in Mississippi: environmental walkways, a 50' footbridge, and a green-certified outdoor classroom where Robert Kennedy Jr. named one of our project liaisons the nation's new Waterkeeper. High school summer volunteers also have planted trees, developed a community garden, and repaired homes damaged by Katrina. Partnerships with the Audubon Society and local land trust are the heart of this high quality summer program.
MISSISSIPPI SERVICE PROJECTS
We live in a warm and welcoming community with people who have preserved their culture handed down through the generations. Our closest liaisons are Mark LaSalle, Director of Pascagoula Audubon, whose Cajun hospitality and endless knowledge of coastal ecosystems captivates us; and Rose Johnson, a fearless local advocate whose descendants are among Turkey Creek's first residents. Derrick Evans, also from a long Turkey Creek lineage, gives compelling accounts of Turkey Creek's history and its position as a protective wetland. You’ll go to fish fries at the home of Flowers White and attend barbecues complete with live music and tall Southern tales. Days are jam-packed and lively, and you will gain a real feel for life in Coastal Mississippi.
"One of the best experiences I've had was my summer in Mississippi. Kids and leaders were great, and it was so rewarding when the community thanked us for the projects."
Anna Vanderwende – Bozeman, Montana
You'll fish on the bayou and take a flatboat spin to try crabbing, spend a day in New Orleans, explore Shipp and Dauphin Islands, and discover coastal backwoods by canoe. You'll attend a pow wow weekend on the Choctaw Indian reservation. There are kayaking and camping excursions offshore, and regular trips to the beach to swim and play.
- Staff leaders receive students at the Biloxi airport and then travel 30 minutes by bus to Moss Point. Airfare is not included, but VISIONS assists with travel plans.
- High school campers and their leaders live together at Moss Point’s Methodist Church, where there are showers, bathrooms, kitchen, even air conditioning!
- Boys and girls sleep in separate rooms. VISIONS provides floor mattresses and you will bring your own sheets and pillow.
- You typically choose your service project four days a week and spend the other day on “homebase” crew, cooking breakfast and running errands for the group.
- Weekends are for travel adventures and many afternoons after work are for closer-to-home activities. A few nights a week we meet to discuss our volunteer and cross-cultural experiences.
- Details such as packing lists, travel parameters, and health forms are provided upon enrollment through your own login web pages. The process is straight-forward and we also are here to help.
- Mississippi I: 75 service hours; Mississippi II: 25 service hours.