This summer, the Vacation Bible School (VBS) program at St. Norbert Church just might have launched the careers of two future journalists. The parish sponsored a writing contest that was open to its campers and student-aged volunteers. Shana Martin, a parishioner who helped organize the writing contest, said that contestants were asked to describe their VBS experience to someone who has never attended, explain their favorite part of VBS, and comment on why they think God would want them to participate in VBS.
Submissions were evaluated on the basis of clarity, insight, creativity, and thoroughness. Out of many well-written and thoughtful submissions from children in second to 12th grade, two emerged as winners: Madeline Fetter, a 12th-grade VBS volunteer, and Lyrik Brown, a 6th-grade volunteer. Both winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
Sixth-grader Lyrik Brown wrote:
I would describe VBS to a kid from Mars as a very energetic camp that contains a lot of fun activities to do. Each day is full of different stations that include crafts, games, kid vid, bible discoveries, and saint skits. Each morning and afternoon we get to be in the gym, all together, while singing songs and dancing. It is a great way for kids to learn more about their faith and God while making new friends and having fun.
My favorite part of VBS this year was that I was old enough to be a part of the God Squad. God Squad has a variety of different jobs on campus that help run the camp. My favorite job was babysitting. I loved interacting with the little ones and they brought a big smile to my face. They were so cute and we had a great time playing together.
I think God would want kids to experience VBS because 1.) Kids have the opportunity to develop new friendships in their crews 2.) Kids can learn more about God and faith through crafts, games and skits while having fun at the same time 3.) The live music is very energetic and powerful, making people want to move and sing along about God and his great works.
Madeline Fetter, who is going into 12th grade, wrote:
Vacation Bible School (VBS), in a nutshell, is love. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of dancing and singing. Love of faith. But, most importantly, love of God. Throughout the entirety of VBS, kids of all ages band together and take on each day of VBS with joy and enthusiasm. Every day provides the opportunity to create an art project in Crafts, make the Bible come to life in Bible Adventures, learn about other children around the world in Kid Vid, eat silly snacks and play amazing games during Snack and Games, and learn about our blessed saints in our Saints Alive Skits. Going through the motions of our faith is one thing, but being at VBS we bring our faith to life and join together as one family of God. We remember God’s message to us through our daily Bible points, and Bible buddies, specific animals chosen to help us remember our Bible points for each day. The whole week is filled with laughs, joy, happiness, tons of spirit, but most importantly spreading our love for God through our actions, songs, and prayers. Our love for God is what brings our campers, from preschool to fifth grade, student volunteers, and adult volunteers back each and every year. It is our love of God that calls us to learn and celebrate in His greatness. It is in VBS that we, as a parish, are truly able to see the power of God’s love from the youngest camper to the veteran volunteer.
Vacation Bible School in its entirety is a faith-filled week, full of games, singing and dancing, and one of my favorite parts – the cheering. The way VBS kids cheer is so full of love and joy that God himself would be impressed. Cheering at VBS is a way of getting all ages involved, and once you start cheering, you simply just can’t stop. Cheering “We Love Jesus” down the hallways, additionally filled with a variety of cheers, summarizes the VBS experience quite well. VBS is all about spirit and cheering for God, it is about love and friendships that last forever. Being at VBS is where I love to spend my time because it invites me to reflect more on my faith as well as be a captain of God’s cheerleading squad.
Simply, God wants kids to go to VBS for three reasons: He wants them to experience His love. He wants to show them His story. And He wants to them to know of His message for them. God’s love is infinity, having no end for all of His children. At VBS, you can feel His love adorning each child and it is through VBS that kids are especially reminded that no matter what, God’s love will never falter or fail, it is always abundant and with you. Furthermore, VBS provides the opportunity for God to spread His Good News. Throughout each day, kids read, hear, and reenact stories from the Bible. They learn about the word of the Lord in a way that they can understand. VBS grants kids the opportunity to understand the mysterious stories of our Lord through a variety of ways. Most importantly, God’s messages of love and encouragement are found at VBS each and every day. Sometimes, we have moments in our lives where we may feel sad, but we remember at VBS about how God is always with us and will always love us.