We are Cypress Adventures
A Cypress tree is able to withstand extraordinarily severe weather and to thrive in wet, swampy environments; few other trees can survive in the face of such adversity. A Cypress tree endures and overcomes many trials and tribulations because of the strong foundation provided by its expansive root system. We are Cypress Adventures, and we operate with the mission to “cultivate leadership through personal reflection”.
We believe that youths and adults can become healthier and happier in their personal and working lives by honing the foundational skill sets that strengthen personal relationships and that are essential workplace competencies. We are a youth advocacy organization that focuses on skill development through experiential group activities. We provide adventure-based, experiential, group learning opportunities for adolescents, businesses, schools, and other agencies to strengthen teamwork, leadership skills, and cultural competency.
Aimee Cox-King, Executive Director & Board Chair
Since 2005, Aimee has worked with adolescents in the outdoors in both prevention and therapeutic settings. She earned her Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University in 2011. Aimee founded Cypress Adventures in April, 2015, in order to bring all that she has learned from her adult and youth teachers back to her hometown of Hartsville, South Carolina.
Aimee began working in outdoor education in New Orleans through the Louisiana Office of State Parks' outdoor outreach program, LOOP, where she was honored to work with youth of Northern Caribbean culture. After Hurricane Katrina disrupted everything, she relocated to Albuquerque where she worked with youth of Mexican, Mexican-American, and Navajo cultures in Cornstalk Institute's after-school program that was awarded New Mexico's best alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention program. This is the program that became her inspiration. Working as a field instructor for Second Nature Cascades (now Evoke Therapy Programs), in Bend, Oregon, Aimee gained confidence working with teenagers living with autism, ADHD, addiction, suicidal ideation and other learning and behavioral challenges in addition to gaining wilderness survival competencies.
Aimee returned to her southeastern roots in 2009. She intensively studied the science behind adolescent cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development and community organizing by pursuing her Master's degree in Youth Development Leadership. After gaining 2.5 years experience in non-profit administration, she began living her dream of fostering the positive development of youth in her hometown of Hartsville, South Carolina, by founding Cypress Adventures.
Jamaal Thompson, Program Assistant
Jamaal Thompson began practicing leadership at an early age. At 14, he began mentoring elementary aged youth in a summer program in the Bronx, New York. At 16, he began mentoring middle school aged youth and while in college, mentored high school aged youth through the same program. Jamaal served as Class President during his Junior year of high school before serving as Student Body President during his Senior year. Since then, he has worked passionately in marketing and public relations for the entertainment industry while volunteering for a multitude of youth serving and community development initiatives. Jamaal returned to Hartsville, South Carolina in 2014. He brings to his role as Program Assistant a passion for youth, a passion for learning, and inspirational ideas for community development.
Christopher Scott, Board Treasurer
Christopher Scott was born in Lubbock, Texas. After losing his mother to cancer at age six, he was fortunate to be raised by his grandparents. As the years passed, he realized that he did not have to look far to find heroes. His grandfather was a B52 pilot in WWII and a recipient of the Purple Heart. His grandmother dedicated her life to helping the mentally handicapped, was called a “sermon in shoe leather” and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Carol Campbell.
Christopher attended a variety of primary schools; Emmanuel Baptist Elementary, Mayo Magnet School, and Hartsville High School. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Political Science, Christopher spent a year working in the Financial Sector in Charleston South Carolina. Still searching for the right career, Christopher recalled the spirited debates that would often find him catching the ire of a College Professor or Sunday School teacher. He decided his calling was “arguing” and that law school was the simple answer.
Christopher entered the USC School of Law in the Fall of 2007 without any exposure to the legal field; to this day, he refuses to watch TV shows about lawyers. Shunning the traditional approach to law school, Christopher elected not to enter the journal competition, instead favoring writing lengthy papers exploring philosophers such as Mill and Benthem, or the audacity of the Federal Reserve System. Christopher received two Cali awards in law school, finally framing them after five years practicing law. He enjoys all things outdoors: especially golf, hiking, wakeboarding, and duck hunting.
James Hudson, Board Vice Chair
James Hudson was born and raised in Hartsville, South Carolina and is a graduate of Hartsville High School and the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Since 1995, James has served in law enforcement through the Darlington County Detention Center, Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), and as Chief of Police for the City of Hartsville.
In his ten years with DCSO, he served as supervisor for four and in the criminal investigation division for three before being appointed in 2009 to patrol commander with the rank of Captain by Sheriff J. W. Byrd. James served as Chief of Police for the City of Hartsville from 2011 to 2015 and currently serves as Chief Deputy of DCSO.
James is an avid supporter of youth and their education. Since 2011, he has been a member of the TEACH Foundation and Rotary Club. Both organizations strive to expand curriculum opportunities and further improve student achievement though collaborative academic and social development initiatives. James also serves as a volunteer mentor to assist with enhancing a student’s cognitive, psychological, physical, social, language, and ethical pathways. James has spearheaded a local, annual Youth Summit event for three consecutive years to help advocate for Darlington County youth and to foster local teens’ commitment to learning and connection to Hartsville.
James and his wife have been married for 30 years and have two sons. James enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching football, playing basketball, and cooking on the grill.