Birding Camp | Photo: Millsaps College

Summers mean vacations, pool parties, leisure time and carefree days – unless you’re at Millsaps College. While there may yet be a bit of a break before school’s in session again in August, a different kind of classroom experience is being had by grade schoolers, teachers and others who are part of the college’s annual summer camps and enrichment experiences.

“We were asked by our president at the time to offer camps (other than sports) to get kids on campus and showcase our faculty and staff whenever possible,” says Nola Gibson, Millsaps’ Director of Enrichment in the Continuing Education Department. “We strive to offer some camps that are unusual and one-of-a-kind in the area.”

Those have included this week’s birding camp directed by Chris King and bird experts from Audubon Mississippi and the Jackson Audubon Society. Students with a creative flair were at Jackson Academy this week as well, learning how to draw their favorite cartoons in a character animation course.

During the week of July 15-19, local artist and teacher Kenny Richardson will host discovering the young artist and Jimmy Turner, adjunct instructor of guitar at Millsaps, will offer guitar camp for students ages 14-17. Puppets and Plays for grades 4-9 will also be hosted that week, a full-day, hands-on camp where campers will make puppets, study acting and put on a performance of some of Aesop’s Fables. That session is taught by Peter and Jarmila Zapetal and Lawrence and Lesley Raybon.

July 22-26 brings advanced drawing for the young artist to campus (taught by Richardson) and Chamber Music Day camp, taught by Millsaps’ own Dr. Rachel Heard and others. Manners with Ms. Wright, for grades 1-5, rounds out the week.

But children aren’t the only ones who benefit from the college’s reach beyond their campus. A total of 80 teachers and librarians will attend “One Place, One Time: Jackson, Mississippi, 1963,” a workshop that will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers and focus on the year 1963 in Jackson.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has provided funding to Millsaps College and the Eudora Welty Foundation for the two one-week Landmarks in American History and Culture Workshops.

The workshops, scheduled July 14-19 and July 21-26, were open to applications from full-time and part-time classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents from all over the country. Each participant will receive a $1,200 stipend at the end of their workshop to cover travel to Jackson, lodging and food.

When fall rolls around, there are other opportunities to learn, too. “We have many programs including the largest, the Community Enrichment Series, which has been going on for more than 30 years,” Gibson says. Millsaps offers three series a year- fall, winter and spring- and these include 50 to 60 fun, non-credit classes for adults, held mostly at night on the campus. A few are held off campus at local businesses like dance and art studios. Instructors include Millsaps faculty and staff, as well as experts from the metro area.

Millsaps’ Department of Continuing Education has a mission to offer outreach and lifelong learning opportunities to the community and surrounding areas. The college offers Great Topics Seminars each spring semester featuring a Millsaps faculty member. These include large amounts of reading, writing reaction papers and class discussion with subjects like Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Greek tragedy, philosophical, anthropological and historical subjects.

And, for the lover of a great, enlightening evening out, Millsaps’ Arts and Lecture Series offers eight night time programs of music, literature, history and more. The series, in its 46th year, offers special programs featuring people who are from the state or have a Mississippi connection. Season tickets are available or individual program tickets may be purchased.

Summer camp registration is still open for many July programs. Learn more about Millsaps’ Continuing Education and upcoming schedules at Millsaps.edu.

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