This time last week we were wrapping up our last day at VBS 2007. I can't believe how quickly that week went by! If you are involved with a VBS at your church you know how much planning and effort goes into preparing for such a special week of the year. It's an amazing experience for the grown-ups and children alike - really, for the whole parish! I have lots of pictures from VBS week to share, but I will try to restrain myself a bit and show just a few (or 16). :)
To clarify, VBS is shorthand for vacation bible school, and each summer Catholic and Protestant churches alike all across the country organize these day camps for the children of their parish. Last year it was all about Fiesta, and this year we took a Wild Ride through God's Word! (And next year, rumor has it, will be a science experiment theme!)
Bookworm, Crackerjack and I have participated in VBS these past two years. (Earlybird is still too young, so my mum stays with him on camp mornings.) It's a lot of work for everyone involved, but a wonderful way to get to know the families of our parish. I love how many children know "Mrs. Hanigan" as the "Games Lady" by the end of the week. :)
So without further ado, here are some scenes from Avalanche Ranch!
Every morning the entire VBS group (100 children, 70 volunteers) gathered on the lawn to sing songs and get into the spirit of things. The children were grouped into "ranch crews" with fun names like Spinning Spurs, Bucking Broncos and Kickin' Colts. Seven or eight children to a crew, led by two or three teen volunteers.
At our small church we use the inside and outside for VBS. Volunteers worked tirelesslely to transform walls and hallways and every little corner into a western ranch scenario.This is a corner downstairs in the church hall where the children had pictures taken for "Wanted" posters:
Pretty cute if I may so myself. :)
I don't know what was behind this door - I took the sign to heart!
Here is a portion of a lovely sunflower mural that adorned one end of the hallway - each crew had a flower blossoming with its members' names.
At midmorning, snacks were served that went along with the Bible Point of the day. This day's theme was "God is Real" and the song of the day was "Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze ..." Hence the baggies of trail mix!
Here's a long shot of the hallway. Aren't those murals fantastic?
Even the doors were transformed!
Here are my two buckaroos, posing one morning on our way up to the lawn.
Above you see the craft room in action. These ladies did a terrific job coordinating meaningful projects for the kids everyday. This was one of the stops on the crews' daily rounds. The crews would rotate every 20 minutes from crafts to games to Bible stories to Heroes of God (saints etc.) to helping with snacks. We gathered together as one large group three times a day - at Sing and Play Stampede (opening songs and welcome), Chuck Wagon Chow (snacktime) and Showtime Roundup (more singing and dismissal).
The youngest children (pre-K and kindergarten age) were kept in one spot, under tents tucked beside the church. We called them "Prarie Dog Campers" and they were as cute as the name would suggest. Their leaders had their hands full, though!
The kids in my son's crew trapped one of their leaders in the "jail." I don't think he really minded, lol. ;)
The above picture was as close to a wide outdoor shot as I could get. This shows the back of the gathering area where everyone was dancing and singing on the second to last day of the week. This was taken during "Showtime Round-up" which was the last activity before dismissal each day.
Gratuitous sky photo ... the weather held up for the most part - we just had two drizzly days, but we were still able to hold the games outside (since we were under tents).
Here are my two guys doing the movements to one of my favorite Avalanche Ranch songs, "Awesome God." (By the way, the CD is wonderful - and I'm not typically a country-western fan, but this music is great!) My two are the ones in blue in front and in red with the hat in back. Crews were invited up to sing with our VBS leader (our music director) in turn throughout the week.
Thursday is always a reflective day in the week and the above photo shows a part of a wonderful activity. Just before we began, our VBS leader talked about sin, and the crew leaders handed out dry blades of grass to the children in their group. Each child and leader in turn spoke of something they had done in the past that they felt badly about. The leaders then took all the grass and sprinkled it at the foot of this cross ...
And then, while our leader led the children in song, facing away from the cross, (a truly goosebumpy song called "Were you there?"), the teens "planted" beautiful silk flowers in place of the dried grass. The children turned around at the end of the song and this is what they saw.
It was such a sweet moment - just one of many in the course of the week. I was blessed to be part of it all, and I am so looking forward to next year.
Well, I hoped you enjoyed this peek at our week! With VBS over it feels as though summer is coming to a close, and well, I guess really it is! I'm perfectly OK with that - this is one of my favorite times of year!
I hope you all have a great weekend. We have birthday parties to host and attend and in between I will be working on lesson plans and learning room preparations. All just in time for Kim's Loveliness of Back-to-School Supplies and Lesson Plans on Monday.
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Friday y'all! :)