The dust has settled. The walls have come down. The screaming, shouting, and noise have transitioned to silence. The Family Life Center has become a motionless void swept of Cheerios dust, cleaned of the life size gears, outlets, and decorated walls, and vacant of the more than one hundred children shouting ‘WOW GOD’ at the top of their lungs. Vacation Bible School has ended for 2017, but what a wild and crazy ride it was. Not just for the kids, but for the volunteers too.
Maker Fun Factory marks the second years I was able to assist with Vacation Bible School (VBS) for Elkhorn Hills, but it was a year I will not soon forget. I was the solo photographer and chief Audio/Video technician for the camp. I can’t even begin to describe the whirlwind of emotions I experienced this week. The highs of watching the kids go crazy and give out dozens of high fives to the lows of panicking when the laptop decided to stop working on Sunday evening. Watching these children learn about the wonders of God making each of us for a purpose was a memory I will not soon forget…. or at least try to remember once I get caught up on sleep, anyway.
While the kids were the primary focus for the last week, I want to tip my hat with a special nod to the unsung heroes of VBS, the volunteers. During my running around and snapping photos for each nights Spotlight segment, I was privileged to encounter so many like myself who selflessly offered their time and talents to giving the kids a memorable experience while learning about God.
Our emcee for this year, once again, was Heather McBeth, who brilliantly holds a patience, love, and understanding for these educational moments with the kids of which I will never be able to comprehend. “VBS was a truly amazing experience this year,” said Heather. “I love that I get to be a part of these kids lives, even for only 5 days.” Her level of excitement and intrigue was beyond the 100% she needed to have night after night. The kids would feed off of her energy as she worked up the science experiments, discussed God Sightings, and encouraged small group talks, while making them fun and exciting at the same time. “One boy even found me after it was all over just to say how much he loved it. What more could we ask for?”
Tyler Hughes was her sidekick, Ian Victor, the cool, suave, jersey-wearing, goof-ball who struggled at making his mother the best invention ever…. despite his big talk of being awesome. Ian’s comic relief helped to break up the segments with side-splitting laughter as he nailed his thumb on a board with a hammer, or slipped and dropped a massive pile of blue prints. The kids were simply excited to see what his next wacky and crazy attempt would entail. After the group sessions, Ian would return back to Tyler who would teach the pre-school age kids through the songs and dances for the week. “It was amazing to see their love for music progress day by day all the way up to the closing ceremonies where they were able to sing with all of the other VBS kids.”
The biggest shout out definitely goes out to the leader of the week, Ashley Bossert and her team for organizing such an incredible event. We may only hear about the ‘Volunteer Announcements’ during service on Sundays and maybe the occasional notice in the bulletin or weekly shout out, but several WOMAN-hours went into putting together all the activities, games, and teachings for these kids…. Not to mention the covert operations to wrangle volunteers for the events to run smoothly. Not a task to be taken lightly or to improvise as you go along.
We are so blessed to be apart of a church with so many caring people willing to step up and give up their evenings for an entire week just to help children learn about God’s love and his purpose for creating each one of us. While this year has drawn to a close, I am already excited for the possibilities of what next year will bring, the new and exciting theme, and the wonders of new ways to teach the children about the love and promises of God.