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Summer is just around the corner, and with summer comes Vacation Bible School.
The Covid pandemic resulted in many churches pausing their VBS the last couple of years out of an abundance of caution.
The good news the worst of the pandemic is behind us and churches are again planning for their big summer kid event.
Why Do Churches Host Vacation Bible School?
Many churches host vacation bible school to serve their members and the community.
They do this by providing a safe place for kids to enjoy summer activities while providing a Biblically-based, life-changing experience.
Vacation Bible Schools come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Each custom-fit for its church and members.
Hopefully, your church is one of them!
As you finalize your preparations for this year, here are some tips to make sure your vacation bible school runs smoothly and provides the kids with an efficient and safe experience that you planned for.
How To Ensure A Great Vacation Bible School?
1. Background Checks
Volunteer labor is at a premium during vacation bible school. It takes many hands to manage all the kids.
There needs to be lots of hands to set up the event, wrangle the kids, manage the parents and teach the lessons.
Oftentimes there is a shortage of this necessary manpower because so many parents (potential volunteers) work outside of the home.
This results in a tendency to grab any person who is willing to help.
While this is often a necessity, don’t forget to do your due diligence and conduct a background check on all volunteers.
Particularly those who interact with the children. It might be tempting to skip this step on a well-known member, but background checks are the only way to be sure of who is helping with the kids.
No one wants to have a great event blow up because the wrong person got placed in a slot simply to fill a hole.
If you think you don’t have time for this, ask yourself, “is the safety of our kids our highest priority”?
If the answer is yes, do the background check!
There is a cost to doing a background check, however, the safety of the kids makes it worth every penny. Invest the time and money on this crucial step.
2. Volunteer Training
Vacation Bible School is like a well-oiled machine. There are many moving parts that require many hands and jobs.
There are countless jobs that need to be done during an event like this and each is unique in its own way.
Not everyone has a sense of appropriate responses, particularly when dealing with kids.
So, describe all possible scenarios and help the volunteers understand how your church chooses to respond.
For instance, kids come with all sorts of behaviors. Take the time to explain your policy for handling unruly or disruptive kids.
What you don’t want is a volunteer taking the discipline process to an inappropriate level.
Give volunteers the tools and insights to do their job the way you want it done.
3. Organize Activities
Anyone who has ever worked with kids understands the necessity in being organized with their activities.
Organization on the front end eliminates a lot of unnecessary stress during the event.
For instance, have activities and supplies clearly marked and have them available for easy access when needed.
Make sure that activities are organized and that they have all of the needed supplies; that instructions for the activities are written down and easy to understand; and there is a go-to person to help resolve any unforeseen issue that arises.
The more organized and prepared you are for activities the easier it will be to get the kids excited and involved.
4. Communicate with Parents
Parents have an interest in their kids and what to be kept informed about activities, events, and how the week is going.
As you go through the week don’t forget to think about the information that parents need.
Think about every day of the event and make a list of questions that parents might have and be proactive in answering those questions.
For instance, let the parents know if the child needs to bring their lunch or sunscreen, and what to do if they need to pick up the child early.
The more information you can share in advance will eliminate the bombardment of phone calls you get during the event.
5. Plan for the Unexpected
It is always great to have a plan. But sometimes the unexpected happens.
Many VBS are held outside so make sure you have a plan for inclement weather.
Included in this plan should be when to make the call to go inside, how to shift activities to indoors and how to communicate with parents in the event of early dismissal.
For instance, if a major storm blows through you will want to get the kids indoors.
Kids get hurt at these types of events so make sure you have a stocked first aid location and hopefully a healthcare professional that can help triage injuries and make the call if an injury needs a higher level of care.
Parents and Kids Love VBS
Everyone loves a great VBS. Kids love the experience, parents love that their kids have a safe environment to interact with other children and learn biblical lessons.
A little organization and preparation before the event help to ensure the outcome is exactly what your church had hoped for!