We live in a time where teens get a bad wrap - but for the children who were able to spend a week at VBS with about 75 teenagers this month, they would tell you a different and inspiring story.
I have been directing Vacation Bible School for more than 10 years (I have lost count - and not all of them have been at Montrose Church) and this year had to have been one of the best and most memorable. It wasn’t because we were without power for one entire evening doing our closing by flashlight, glow bracelets and headlights or because we had unexpected July rain showers, it was because of the volunteers - most of them in high school.
We begin training our volunteers in early June for their week at VBS, drilling home the idea that they are the grown ups every night that they show up and that it is not their time to be with their friends but to focus 100% on their kids and not each other. As a team, they are responsible for groups of 25 plus children (our two youngest groups had over 40!), many of them just out of kindergarten, for 3 hours every night while singing, listening to stories, playing games, doing crafts and working on a mission project.
They are expected to be outgoing, energetic, engaging, fun, silly, creative, responsible, attentive, encouraging and most importantly, get to know their children and love them. They memorize Bible verses and help their kids do the same. They lead small groups. And, they set up, clean up and run a carnival on the last night. Some lead music. Some show up early to organize the mission project, make gallons and gallons of lemonade, set up chairs and tents and whatever else they are asked to do. Some rush from football, volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball or basketball practices and then return home at the end of the night to finish homework for summer school.
I am very proud of this year’s group of volunteer leaders. For some, it was their first year ever doing anything of this sort - many having never even attending Vacation Bible School as children. For others, it was another in a long history of being a VBS leader - some have graduated from high school and have come back and provide strong leadership and a great example for the younger ones. For still others, it was a realization of leadership skills or the new experience of being in ministry. For a few, it was the first time to work with children in this age group and a desire to do more. For me, this group was something special - I told them that every night.
So, a very special thank you to: Katie, Taylor, Madison, Richie, Michele, Edgar, Vahe, Alec, Jacob, Lukas, Kailey, Taylor, Rebecca, Jesse, Jordan, Brendan, Christina, Shannon, Lexi, Matthew, Nick, Katherine, Brandi, Nathan, Jonathan, Charlie, Kiko, Jiani, Elika, Jessie, Eli, Shawn, Sunni, Britney, Evan, Victoria, Haley, Zak, Mitch, Madison, Marina, Rebecca, Michael, Zach, Kevin, Joe, Dylan, Jonathan, Christian, Braeden, Abby, Macie, Jordan, Camille, Saylore, Vilo, Faith, Victoria, Colbi, Jack, Jeweliana, Paige, Brianna, Natalie, Aaron, Shawn, Chase, MacKenzie, Elena, Ale
VBS 2012 in their words:
“VBS is, by far, the best week of the year because the kids and my fellow counselors constantly remind me of how amazing our God is!”
Victoria Ing, 2nd year leader, Senior at Arcadia High School
“VBS is a great experience to serve God, spread His Word and love AND have fun doing it!"
Brendan Murphy, 4th year leader, Senior at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
“One of the few chances older students get to reach out to kids, share their love for Jesus, and really let loose for a week while God speaks through them.” Sunni Roberts, 5th year leader, Freshman at LA Mission College
“VBS was SO much fun! A great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with God, while having an amazing experience at the same time.” Christina Benson, 6th year leader, Senior at CVHS
"VBS has the uncanny ability to send everyone involved home with a smile on their face at the end of the night. In that simple fact, God's presence is embodied." Mitch Collins, 5th year leader, Sophomore at Northeastern College, Boston
“VBS is the best week of the year; it's a time to pull back and focus on God while helping kids do the same.” Rebecca Ahlers, 4th year leader, Freshman at UCLA
Mon, July 30, 2012
by Kim Villa filed under