By Laura Lea Williams, Mississippi Conference Staff
Photo right: Christy McNair (left) play with the children in the day care during the 2014 annual conference session.
For parents attending the Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference, childcare can be an issue. That is why conference leaders are happy to offer options for parents during the 2016 session, June 9-11 at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Mississippi.
The childcare option for children aged 8 weeks to 11 years old will be supervised care by professional child care workers who will be following state regulations as well as safe sanctuary guidelines. The director and workers plan varies activities so that the weekend is enriching for the young attenders of the session of annual conference. Some of the planned activities include: Bible stories, crafts and even ball pits.
There is a $20 registration fee per family, plus a fee of $15 per session per child with a family max of $50 a day for sessions. These fees aid in offsetting program cost. Pre-registration is imperative to ensure that there are an appropriate number of childcare workers on duty for the child to worker ratio required by law. Registration forms will be available in the pre-conference journal with specific details and can be found at www.mississippi-umc.org/childcare2016.
For youth, 12 years old through 18 years old, there will be The Zone. The Zone is a space within the Jackson Convention Complex that will be transformed into a supervised arcade retreat where youth can gather.
Mike Howington, Mississippi Conference Youth and Family Ministry coordinator, hopes that The Zone will foster communication and fellowship among the youth. "Annual Conference is a place that brings people together," said Howington. "There are so many luncheons and events that bring together the adults. This area gives students the chance to connect with their peers at the conference in a safe, supervised, and fun area."
This is an open door space with no cost for the youth. While this is a supervised area, it serves as a hang-out location that youth can use to connect. For this age group, there is no official check in or check out. There is no food or drinks offered in The Zone. Parents are reminded to connect with your youth for lunch and throughout the day. The Zone staff will follow state regulations and safe sanctuary guidelines. This space will be closed during worship and Nexus.
Nexus, a one day youth event planned by the Conference Council on Youth Ministry begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday. It is an afternoon event that will involve games, speakers, and more. For more information and to register for Nexus, please visit www.mississippi-umc.org/nexus.