By Kelsee Ford
I arrived to this summer's program a day late, June 3, because I had a JROTC event the previous day. I walked into this bright office looking the same as last year, but seeing unfamiliar faces. I introduced myself to those I didn't know, and hugged those I had made close bonds with last year, noticing an abundance of new kids ready and willing to learn. I remembered some of those faces from Murrah High School, but students I rarely saw.
I then had to miss a week because of Girls State hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary at the University of Southern Mississippi. I returned June 12, and since then I’ve started my day off with 2 doughnuts for $1.74 at Monroe's downstairs.
Monday, June 5, was a day I wasn't prepared for; I wasn't aware that we were having a Youth Day of Dialogue that day. We split into groups and talked in-depth about certain words dealing with race. Knowing how to use words is vital, because obviously I haven't been using them in the correct way.
by Darryn Price
I got onto the elevator all by myself (which I completely dislike) on my way up to the 13th floor for the Youth Day of Dialogue. I walked into the Youth Media Project office, and Aja Purvis and Maisie Brown greeted me immediately. I hadn't seen them in a while. It felt good to catch up with friends that I've sort of lost touch with.
A while later, we separated into groups and discussed the topic, "Does race matter?" It was an array of emotions throughout the room, but I believe we all agreed that we are aware of the issues dealing with racism, and want to do something to lessen these issues. I never thought we could sit around and talk about race for hours upon hours without running out of things to say.
by Lailaa Bashir
YMP has been a very interesting experience, as I have not had any training in media prior to this. I was somewhat nervous when I first entered the building and began my first journey by going up the elevator to the 13th floor. When I arrived, I was relieved to see a couple of familiar faces, but because of my introverted nature, I proceeded to stand in the farthest corner of the main room my myself.
Emily Henderson, who appeared very young and charismatic, then gathered the 2017 YMP group toward the center of the room for some introduction exercises. As time passed, I began to become more comfortable with these unfamiliar surroundings, but was still apprehensive to speak. As we were finishing our introduction exercises and segued into lunch, I seemed to lose track of time easily, and the rest of the day flew by and came to an abrupt end.
by Kenytta Brown
My YMP experience so far is unpredictable and marvelous. I've gotten to meet new people from all over Jackson and even across Mississippi. Meeting new people is great because I get to hear the incredible stories they are willing to tell. It's just something that we all enjoy. We spend so much time with each other in sessions and then even during breaks to get to know each other more. It's like we are not just becoming great journalists, but we are becoming more of a family that learns from each other and succeeds together. We are creating a bond that is so beneficial that we won't forget this experience. We are creating memories and great stories, not just to report but also to tell.
Let me tell you a story.
by Chauncey Nettles
My experience in the YMP media camp has been really good. I've met a lot of new people and learned new things. On the first day I walked in the room, I saw a lot of people that I had never met before. Then I was talking to everybody in the room, and I found out that I was one of the youngest kids in the camp, but I am the tallest. I thought that was weird at first. But I got used to it.
Everybody here are so nice to me. There are a lot of different personalities. We did ice breakers and went over the rules for our camp. Then it was lunchtime. It feels like a real job when we stay in a building for seven hours and get a one-hour lunch break.
When we were on our lunch break, I did not know where to eat. So I ended up eating at Chick-fil-A and bought the grilled chicken sandwich. When we got back, we learned about more things that we are going to do this summer.
by Asia Mangum
I have a good feeling about this year of YMP. We have even more people then the last group when I was here last summer. The new students have a lot to offer and are genuinely excited and passionate about the program. But to be honest, I was worried that we couldn't work together as well as I worked with the last group. However, every day I come here I'm reminded that not only do we work well together, but I'm confident we will achieve more and better things this year.
Making friends came easy this year because I felt comfortable in a familiar environment. Meeting new people is an opportunity I can never pass up, so getting to know the new students was my favorite part of the experience. They are each different in their own way. I don't think anything is forced between us; we share common interests and learn from each other every day.
by August Harp
What is the Youth Media Project? Is it a summer camp? Is it a group of journalists? Is it the Marilyn Monroe cut-out that greets us at the door? The Youth Media Project is a group of young adults using the pencil to defeat the sword-wielding stereotypes that are handcuffed to young people, especially Mississippi youth.
What is YMP all about to me?
When I press this lead against the smooth white paper it will leave a line, dark and grainy, which I will move and make my mark on this paper. I could finish writing this essay, or I could scribble all over this paper, which I won’t … but I could. When it’s all said and done, I can erase anything and everything I write or I could turn this essay into something. But how? How can I use a blog post on my experience in YMP to change the perception of a total stranger?
by Raha Maxwell
Costa Rica was my first trip abroad and how I started my summer. The nine-day trip was an adventure! Murrah 10th-grade APAC teacher Mrs. Gough-Jones organized the trip through her nonprofit, the Wild Horses Travel Club.
My classmates and I went to a coffee plantation and La Fortuna Waterfall. We went kayaking in Lake Arenal and horseback riding. We also relaxed in Arenal hot springs, zip-lined, hiked in Santa Elena Cloud Forest, explored Rainforest Adventure Park and enjoyed the beach at Manuel Antonio National Park. There were beautiful birds flying in the sky, like scarlet macaws and toucans. Pesky white-faced monkeys tried to steal food from us. Big, unique bugs crawled under my feet. Costa Rica was a great adventure! I hope to go back and spend my colones.
By Michael Collins
I have always hated doing work, ever since I was a little kid, so much so that in kindergarten I always used to get my twin brother Sean to do all of my work for me. That is how I ended up being held back and having to repeat kindergarten.
Repeating kindergarten just made me detest doing my work even more. In third grade, I was notoriously bad about doing my work. One day during a blackout at school, the teachers openly celebrated me completing the bare minimum of work I was supposed to have completed.
This dislike for doing work is the reason I have taken so long on writing this blog post. Through the friendly learning environment that i have experienced and the great journalistic opportunities that have been presented to me, I feel that the YMP program will help me get past my hate for doing work. I feel like this summer is going to be fun—and hard work.
by Kaitlyn Fowler
I believe in stories. I believe in the art of storytelling. I believe that stories are always changing, evolving and continuing. I believe that many people can, and should, tell stories. I believe that no person sees a story the same as another, and no person tells a story the same as another. I believe the differences are important.
Everything that I am involved in and passionate about is a way to tell stories. Theatre, speech and debate, photography and journalism are vessels that I, and many others, use to share stories with the world.
My first day with the Youth Media Project was later than that of many others, but I quickly fell in line with everybody’s purpose: telling stories. Our main focus for the day was racism, particularly how the systematic oppression of people of color affected every aspect of people’s lives and thought processes, no matter their race.