By: Gian Morrison- Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel participant and 2017 Ambassador Scholar

Living in Branson, Missouri has been a wonderful, awesome, and splendid experience! Unfortunately, my time of departure is hastily approaching. Nevertheless, I will continue enjoying myself with fun, laughter, and bonding with my newly- found friends until it’s time for me to go.

During my time here, I have made a lot of observations about Branson and the surrounding areas, which my colleague, Kimone Montique, and I have sought to address. One of the biggest things we have noticed about Branson is that people do not drink enough water and it is affecting their body’s metabolism! In early July, there was an incident where a coworker had heat stroke while on duty. Additionally, we’ve had customers at the amusement park who have passed out due to dehydration. On any given day, Branson’s temperature ranges from 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit! As Jamaicans on the Work and Travel program, we consider this to be an extremely hot and humid area, although some residents say it has been worse in the past.

After looking at the side effects of these high temperatures on the community, Kimone and I decided to create a campaign about water. This project basically aimed to increase the community’s awareness about the importance of water and why it’s so important that they stay hydrated. We got a few companies to sponsor us through the influence of our Human Resource Manager, and they donated water we were able to distribute. We decided to set up a booth where we would give away the water, and use that opportunity to educate people about hydration.

While doing that, we also created a recycling bin where we encourage people to recycle; this is another problem we have noticed in the Branson community. There is not an issue with littering, as the place is always clean and presentable for the tourists, but we do have an issue with recycling. Instead, it seems like all of the garbage is dumped in one place. Through this project, we hope to reach out to the citizens and visitors of Branson, especially the ones that visit the amusement park where we work.

Hopefully, through our efforts, the community will start to see the importance of water and hydration, and we will be able to reduce these serious and life-threatening incidents.

Every host community is different – how can you make an impact in yours? Head over to Greenheart Exchange’s website and learn about the Summer Work Travel program and the importance of getting involved in your community!