It’s been a doozy of a week at Lake Kirkplatz. I’ve been the director of our church’s Vacation Bible School: God’s Big Backyard.
Full is one word to describe it.
Fast is another.
Oh, heck, let’s just make a list of words to sum up VBS:
And did I say fast??? Did I mention I carried Saralyn on my back? I felt like Pocahontas!
Most of the kids were just great. The 2-4 year-olds were tops in my books. They are so much easier to work with than the 11 and 12 year-olds, who are just too cool for bible school. The 8-10 year-olds still enjoy the music and stories and crafts and are old enough to not need constant nose wiping (or the other end…). Just about everyone pitched in the extra effort to make VBS just over the top.
We had 40 slots for kids this year. I was feeling optimistic, as last year they had only about 32 or thereabouts. However, we had the added draw of toddler sessions, which no other church does. About 2- weeks before VBS, I barely had 20 kids. A week before I had 31registered and on the morning of VBS, I had to turn one child away. 2 of the children who preregistered did not show up, and I gave away their slots by 9:30 the first morning. And I found a place for the toddler I turned away on day 2. So on day two, I had a true full house. 16 toddlers.
In case you were wondering how it was that I could accommodate toddlers at VBS when so many other churches won’t, here’s the rule: If your child is potty trained, but has not yet gone to kindergarten, a parent must volunteer to assist the toddler group on one of the five VBS days. IF you child is over the age of two and is wearing diapers, a parent MUST accompany the child on all five days. Of the 16 toddlers we had, three were in diapers. One was mine, and my husband took vacation this week to be Eleanor’s helper. How about that?!?! We can talk about how cool my husband is and how he’s the best guy in the world, but that’s another post. I will tell you that his reward is a big date tomorrow night. We’re going to Trader Vic’s. And yes, I want to order a Pina Colada (Ahwooo… Werewolves of London…). And, that will be another post… Any road, most of the toddler parents did come by to give a day’s service, and most seemed to have a great time. However, my double – super secret plan was to get the parents inside our church for a day to meet other parents and church members. I wanted them to see what great folks we are and what a great community we have to offer to their kids. We will see on Sunday if any of the parents and kids come to the outdoor service and picnic. You’re invited, too, you know. Just let me know you are coming so I can get a burger ready for you. K?
Different community service people came to visit the kids. On Monday we had a nurse. Tuesday, a librarian. Wednesday, it was the firemen (they brought a truck and let the kids try on the fire suits!). Thursday provided a motorcycle cop and another office with a squad car. On Friday, our pastor took a turn. I teased Pastor Ed that, after the fire truck and the police Harley, he would have to produce Jesus Himself to wow the kids more! He really is a trooper! Also, we collected canned food for the local coop this week as well and we got a TON of food. Literally. The kids really came through (the pantry like a storm of locusts!). The final sing and dancing show was super cute. I hope to get some pictures up at some point.
Some kids brought friends with them at the end, 3 or 4 children dropped out because they got sick (there was a chicken pox scare for a day or two), and some older siblings came to help out as group leaders and volunteers. All in all I had about 45 -50 kids come through our church.
Sadly, Vacation Bible School sometimes becomes a dumping ground for kids during the summer. Several of the kids that come through our program will be attending 3 or 4 VBS’s this year. From a parent’s perspective, it’s free daycare. From our perspective, we get to share the GOOD NEWS with a group of kids who might otherwise note get the memo. Financially, it’s a dog. I decided before this years VBS, that we wouldn’t do a daytime program next year. I think that an evening, Family VBS would serve our existing congregation better. Now, I am not so sure. Despite the great expense, I think VBS turned out great, and it make a lot of children happy. I will have to think on what to do next time.
But till then, Pina Coladas….