Lt. Col. John Kallo, Mission Command Center of Excellence, watches 9-year-old Victoria fold an origami flower as 9-year-old Timothy watches Nicole Kallo get the family back online after losing the virtual Vacation Bible School feed for a second July 21 at their on-post home. Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, in-person VBS was replaced with a three-day online curriculum complete with Christ-centered lessons, games and crafts. Families registered and picked up craft kits last week in preparation of the nondenominational VBS. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

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.

Nine-year-old twins Timothy and Victoria Kallo listen to their father, Lt. Col. John Kallo, Mission Command Center of Excellence, give “head” and “shoulders” commands, waiting for the “cup” command to try to grab the cup first, as their mother, Nicole Kallo, keeps tally of successful cup snatches during a Vacation Bible School game July 21 at their on-post home. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“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.

Nine-year-old twins Victoria and Timothy Kallo watch instruction, delivered by sportscasters in an online video as if origami were a sport, and fold paper flowers during Vacation Bible School July 21 at their on-post home. Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, VBS was offered virtually this year in an online video curriculum with related games, crafts and lessons. The origami flower craft related to the day’s parable about the sower and the seed. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


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.

Lt. Col. John Kallo, Mission Command Center of Excellence, watches his 9-year-old son, Timothy, participate in Vacation Bible School via online curriculum, complete with origami crafts and games, July 21 at their on-post home. Instructions to fold an origami flower were delivered by sportscasters as if origami were a sport. The origami flower craft related to the day’s parable about the sower and the seed. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


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.

Nine-year-old Timothy Kallo watches origami instruction to fold a paper flower during virtual Vacation Bible School July 21 at his on-post home. Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, VBS was offered virtually this year in an online video curriculum with related games, crafts and lessons. The origami flower craft related to the day’s parable about the sower and the seed. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“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.”

Nine-year-old twins Timothy and Victoria Kallo vie for a cup, with Victoria grabbing it first, while playing the Vacation Bible School game “Head, Shoulders, Cup” July 21 at their on-post home. VBS was offered virtually this year in an online video curriculum with related games, crafts and lessons. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Where the virtual program lacked in peer interaction, it made up for in family interaction, Harbridge said.

Nine-year-old twins Timothy and Victoria Kallo listen to their father call “head” and “shoulders” until finally announcing “cup” to try to be the first to grab the cup during Vacation Bible School July 21 at their on-post home. VBS was offered virtually this year in an online video curriculum with related games, crafts and lessons. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“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.

Nine-year-old twins Timothy and Victoria Kallo listen to their father call “head” and “shoulders” until finally announcing “cup” to try to be the first to grab the cup during Vacation Bible School July 21 at their on-post home. VBS was offered virtually this year in an online video curriculum with related games, crafts and lessons. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

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