Vacation Bible School is a program that many churches offer nationwide. The purpose of this program is to incorporate enjoyable activities that entertain the children, while also giving them an opportunity to learn more about their religion. Vacation Bible School is an easy way to get kids involved in church. Typically, Vacation Bible School is about a week-long event that takes place in the summer. During this week-long event, children usually attend around three or four hours each day.
It takes a good number of people to make Vacation Bible School run smoothly. Attending to the children at the event all week for three or four hours a day takes a lot of work and dedication. Vacation Bible School relies heavily on their teachers being church staff as well as church members all volunteering their time. Many of the church members that help with Vacation Bible School also happen to be parents of the children that are there.
Typically, at Vacation Bible Schools, one theme is chosen for that week. The teachers then use that theme to come up with creative ways to teach things from the Bible. Some typical themes that are seen a lot at Vacation Bible Schools are: beach party, environment, jungle, road trip, science, shipwreck, space, superhero, and western. Some activities that are usually done at Vacation Bible Schools are: arts and crafts, Bible storiies, character-building activities, games, puppet shows, skits, songs, sports, and team lessons.
There are many possible benefits of Vacation Bible School. Some of these benefits can be, children learning about religion through fun, age-appropriate activities, kids meeting new friends, life lessons that help children learn how to be a positive influence on others, and it can be perfect for younger children to get a feel for summer camp without having to go away overnight. Many Vacation Bible Schools are either free or charge a small fee, which usually just covers snack and craft supply costs. Sometimes, T-shirts are offered to the children which can be an additional fee but is always a great way to remember a great experience.
Most churches begin their preparation for Vacation Bible School almost right after the current year’s program ends. Although this process starts very early, churches will almost never turn down a volunteer, even up to the day that their Vacation Bible School begins. Volunteers will usually help with snacks, crafts, childcare at the church, registration, setting up, breaking down, storytelling, and coordinating other volunteers. If a volunteer were to prefer more of a “hands-off” approach, churches also ask for donations of household items, such as toilet paper rolls or popsicle sticks, for some of their crafts or decorations.
The world’s first Vacation Bible School was actually held in Hopedale. It was held in May and June of 1894. Mrs. Mattie Pritchard Miles, the wife of the Hopedale Methodist Minister, conducted the classes of the first ever Vacation Bible School. Hopedale held their Vacation Bible School at Living Hope Community Church and Hopedale Mennonite Church from June 7-11, and it went from 9 AM to 11:30 AM. This Vacation Bible School was a free one week for children from Kindergarten through 5th grade, so be sure to look out for this one next summer.
Other local towns hosting Vacation Bible Schools include Armington, McLean, Minier, Stanford, and Waynseville. Armington’s will be July 18 to July 22, from 6 - 8:30, for children who are entering 1st grade in the fall to those entering 6th grade in the fall. McLean’s will be held by three churches joining together to bring a Vacation Bible School to the area for children 4 - 12 years old. It will be held August 3rd through 6th in the evenings from 6 - 7:30 at the park in the center of the square. Minier’s St. John’s UCC held their Vacation Bible School July 11 through the 14th. Minier Chirstian Church will be held July 19 to Jully 22 from 6 - 8 PM and is open to children ages 3 through 5th grade. The Stanford Church of God held their Vacation Bible School June 13 through June 18 for children from age 4 through 5th grade. Lastly, Waynesville will be holding their Vacation Bible School from July 25 through July 29, from 6 - 8 PM. It will be held at the Waynesville Christian Church and will be open for children going into the grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Local community churches work very hard to put together a quality Vacation Bible School. A great Vacation Bible School can have a very positive impact on the youth in our communities.