- I love working with great leaders. The Valley volunteers were awesome. For the last several years they have been putting this VBS without a staff member devoted to the organization and operation. It was cool to be part of a ministry team that operated so smoothly. Everyone was fantastic; but I want to highlight one leader in particular. Hat’s off to Angela P, the boss lady in charge. Angela is the type of leader who has every problem thought through and taken care of before you can think of it even being a possibility. She was not afraid of hard work. She cared primarily about the kids and their experience. She encouraged leaders through the week. And she was not satisfied with the status quo, but rather has dreams to take the program somewhere exciting in the future. Angela set a fantastic example of leadership. It was a joy to serve under her.
- 2. Kids really do “speak a thousand languages.” That is a phrase I’ve picked up from City Neighbors Hamilton. It means that each child is beautifully unique with the potential, natural curiosity, and passion to learn. A teacher’s goal should be to engage that curiosity by finding how the child best learns. I led the Bible study portion of the program and tried to apply this principle. Each 30 minute I tried to engage the kids with movement, story telling, and some form of hands on project. I think my most successful attempt came on day one. The theme was “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” and the story was the Genesis 2 creation account. Before the lesson began I passed out a small ball of play dough to all the kids and told them to knead it in their hands. As they worked the play dough we talked about God forming man out of dirt. To explain what it means to be fearfully made I had them mold the play dough gently as if they might break it. To explain wonderfully made I had them hold the play dough in the air and exclaim, “This is awesome!” That image of God holding them in the air and proclaiming them to be awesome even stuck with some of the kindergarteners at the end of the week. We also made banners we displayed in the halls, sang songs, played games, did some drama, etc… The more creative I could make the lessons the more kids I found myself engaging. I’m no Reggio Emila pro…but I’m learning.
- 3. I need to constantly be reminded that just because I kid isn’t sitting still, it doesn’t mean he is not learning and paying attention. I need to be more patient. I need to constantly remind myself that it is not about getting through the material; it’s about the kids.
- Water day rocks! In the middle of the camp experience Angela planned a day where huge inflatable bouncy things with hoses connected to them showed up and the kids had a crazy free-for-all bouncing on them. This was just pure fun. No one ever did this for me when I was a kid. My only regret is that I was to big to jump in the water filled moon bounce.
- I’m not sure how I feel about VBS hoppers. We had some kids, not a lot…just some, that were spending their summers hoping from one VBS to the next. These families were members of other churches in the community. I think this was accentuated for me because we had to cap registration. More kids wanted to sign up but we didn’t have the man power to handle them so we had to turn them away. Not sure what to do about this.
- Music is a powerful tool. One of the songs in the musical quoted a verse – James 1:5. Even the kindergarteners could repeat that verse to me at the end of the week. Crazy.
- The following is my favorite conversation (names changed to protect the children)…
Girl: He be-served it.
Me (smiling and reflective): That’s true. But we still don’t punch.
It was a great week. Everyone did a fantastic job. I had a blast! Great work Valley. Way to hit a home run.