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.

Our Team


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, 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 and intensively studied the science behind adolescent cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development and community organizing while working in non-profit administration in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is now living her dream of fostering positive youth development in Hartsville, South Carolina.



Jauron Smith, Program Coordinator

Jauron grew up during his formative years between New York and California. He moved from Newburgh, NY to Hartsville, SC in 1990, where he graduated from Hartsville High School in 1993. Jauron joined the Cypress team in January 2018 and currently serves as Program Coordinator for the after-school Youth Leadership Development Program. Before finding his passion for supporting Positive Youth Development, he was a leader in the fitness community for over 20 years, 7 of them being a personal trainer, which also led him to be a 1st time inventor. Jauron is a deep thinker, is passionate about the healing powers of Nature and loves playing the games and leading nature trips with adolescents.

Jalecia Williamson, Program Assistant

Jalecia, affectionately known as “Jay”, was born in Macon, GA and raised in Florence, SC. Jay has always been athletic and outgoing. She ran track for 10 years, and in high school won region champion in the 400 meter and the 400x100 relay. At Coker College, Jay and her teammates were the first to compete through the College’s new Track and Field Program. All 4 years she ran track and continued to break records every year in her events (400M, 400H, 400x100 and 400x400 relay). She began interning for Cypress Adventures during her Senior year at Coker, learning new things about herself and other students and developing a passion or outdoor adventure. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology in 2018 and began serving full-time with Cypress as Program Assistant. She continues to enjoy connecting with students, having fun, playing fun activities, and caring for others.

Board of Directors

Alexis Weaver, Sonoco

James Hudson, Lee County Sheriff’s Department

Emily Peel, Sonoco

Christopher Shirley, First Citizens Bank

Jennifer Marshall, Brown & Coker Realty