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Memorial Day is behind us, which means summer is just around the corner, and with summer comes Vacation Bible School.
Parents are finalizing summer plans, and VBS is one event that parents like sending their kids to.
Why Do Churches Host Vacation Bible School?
Many churches host vacation bible school to serve their members and the community.
They provide 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 ensure your Vacation Bible School runs smoothly and provides the kids with the efficient and safe experience 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 the home.
This results in a tendency to grab anyone willing to help.
While this is often necessary, 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 in 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.
Countless jobs need to be done during an event like this, and each is unique in its own way.
Ensure you have spent time writing job descriptions for each role and training volunteers on how you expect them to perform their duties.
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 of 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 marked and 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 that there is a go-to person to help answer questions or 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 are interested in their kids and want 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 parents need.
Think about every day of the event, make a list of questions 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.
This plan should include when to make the call to go inside, how to shift activities 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.
6. Celebrate A Successful Event
Vacation Bible School is a significant event for most churches requiring much help. Take the time to plan a post-event celebration to thank staff and volunteers for all of their efforts.
Host a lunch or dinner and ask volunteers to share highlights and testimonies from the week. There is nothing more encouraging than sharing the life-changing experiences that kids have during VBS.
Use this session as an event debrief and solicit feedback from staff and volunteers about what worked and what could be done differently next year to improve the event.
For instance, if a volunteer shares that it would be helpful to add certain supplies to their craft kits, make notes, and work to make that improvement next year.
Feedback is your friend. The more feedback you can gain from those working the event, the more you can improve the event for next year.
Tiny improvements year after year leads to successful events!
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!
Need help with planning? Access our growing library of forms, documents, and job descriptions that can help you!