Vacation Bible School went virtual July 21-23 because of COVID-19 precautions. Using Go! Curriculum’s format, the theme for the year was Backyard Bolt Towards Faith in Jesus.
“It is a virtual VBS program that allows the freedom for families to do it together online with Bible stories, music, crafts and games,” said Carl Tillery, religious education director. “It is important (to still offer VBS) so that kids have a chance to experience Biblical training in a way that they understand.
“Our hope is that kids can still connect with a program that is intended for their age and also provide families an opportunity to do this together at their convenience,” he said.
The three-day virtual program focused on a Bible story each day, and the music, games and origami crafts correlated with the theme.
Day one focused on Luke 8:4-15: the parable of the sower and the seed, teaching participants to listen to Jesus.
Day two focused on Matthew 14:22-36: Jesus walks on water, teaching participants to focus on Jesus.
Day three focused on Luke 5:1-11, 27-32: Jesus chooses his disciples, teaching participants to follow Jesus.
Packets to help guide families through the virtual program were available for pickup July 16 and 17 at Frontier Chapel. More than 100 families registered.
Retired Lt. Col. Jim Harbridge, Christian Fellowship officer’s representative to Fort Leavenworth, said his family, including his 12-year-old daughter Emily Harbridge and his 7-year-old son James Harbridge, began the virtual VBS program July 20.
“We’re not big on waiting, so we started early and it’s excellent,” Harbridge said. “We can do it at our convenience. There is flexibility in it this year.
“If something comes up Tuesday morning with the family, they can push it to the evening or they can do it Wednesday,” he said. “They’re not tied to the days that they’d normally be here.”
Harbridge said, even though the program isn’t in person, it is still effective and even more important.
“What they’re missing out on this year is the connection with their buddies and their personal connection with their instructors, but the program itself is excellent and easy to use from home,” Harbridge said. “I think it’s even more important this year because we don’t have in-person children’s church and our ability to interact in-person at the chapel just at a regular service is pretty limited, and this is a way to keep my kids engaged in studying and walking with the Lord.
“(VBS) is the thing they look forward to every summer, and what they get out of it is continued connection and focus on learning about God,” he said. “It’s been engaging and (my kids) enjoyed it. …As much as it could, it replicated being together with the things that they would do (in person) except they’re doing it at home.”
Where the virtual program lacked in peer interaction, it made up for in family interaction, Harbridge said.
“Virtual church is losing its luster…to my kids, and this is definitely a way that reaches them in a way that they connect with, and allowing us to do it with them is a great benefit.” For more information about the virtual VBS program, visit https://www.gocurriculum.com/bolt-vbs.