In my experience with VBS, Day 4 (Thursday) is usually the hardest day, but with God’s help and supernatural strength, we made it! (Read about Day 1 hereDay 2 here, and Day 3 here.)

By Thursday, I usually feel like I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks.  I know that many of our volunteers feel the same way. so we usually try to be very intentional in keeping momentum going with volunteers who might be growing weary.  Here’s what we did today to fuel and re-energize the team:

We asked volunteers to arrive 30 minutes earlier so that they could enjoy a light breakfast (bagels, coffee and juice) with us. We then made a few important announcements before leading the troop in a pep rally.  I recruited one of our more energetic leaders to lead us in an energizing chant, complete with noisemakers!  It was awesome!

We also began assembling gifts for volunteers.  Our craft team leader assembled these gifts for her team:

Contents of these small tokens of appreciation: toilet tissue tube wrapped with paper, a tea light candle, a mint and chocolate kisses.

Contents of these small tokens of appreciation: toilet tissue tube wrapped with paper, a tea light candle, a mint and chocolate kisses.

 

The finished product and a note

The finished product and a note

 

We are all exhausted but we’re hearing stories of life-change and it makes it all worth it!

Verse for the day:

” ‘For I am with you and will save you,’ says the Lord.”

Jeremiah 30:11

We are half-way through our week of journeying with Moses and the Israelites.  Day 3 of our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS) did not disappoint!  (Read about Day 1 here and Day 2 here.)

There were many highlights but before I share some of them, I wanted to talk about the different Israelite Camp (crafts) we offered this year.  The different options were designed to stand alone but several of ours were combined to better suit our needs.  Here’s what we chose (some of our crafts were altered from those suggested in the curriculum):

Tent Cleaning & Operation Kid to Kid:  Wandering in the wilderness can make for lots of dirty, sandy feet and clothing. At this tent, campers get to learn about the importance of having clean water.  They engage in water activities and fold paper to make a cup to drink from.

Tent Cleaning & Operation Kid to Kid

Tent Cleaning & Operation Kid to Kid

Music & Camel Herder:  The children made tambourines and camel bell jewelry at this area.

Camel Bell Station

Camel Bell Station

Sand Artisan:  Sand was added to homemade colored clay and provided to campers and could be molded into any creation they chose.  Most children chose to make medallions or pots.

Sand Artisan tent

Sand Artisan tent

 

Some of the treasures created at the Sand Artisan tent.

Some of the treasures created at the Sand Artisan tent.

 

Baker/Butter Making Tent:  Here, campers work together as a group to make butter by shaking a large mason jar filled with heavy whipping cream.  The butter was then spread onto slices of bread.  Yum!

Bakery & Butter Making Tent

Bakery & Butter Making Tent

 

Rope Making:  Campers make their very own jump ropes at this station.  What makes these jump ropes unique?  They are made from plastic grocery bags.  Yes, our crafts team leader cut 900 strips of plastic by hand – we love her!

Rope Making Tent

Rope Making Tent

 

A close up of a jump rope, complete with our day's verse attached.

A close up of a jump rope, complete with our day’s verse attached.

Now for a few highlights:

Since our volunteers are so valuable to us, we offered them very special chocolates.

Sweet treats for our volunteers

Sweet treats for our volunteers

Our morning celebration is always one of my favorite parts of the day.

There's something amazing about worshiping with hundreds of children and volunteers - it's a great start to the day!

There’s something amazing about worshiping with hundreds of children and volunteers – it’s a great start to the day!

Our tummy-filling (aka snack) team makes yummy snacks for our 500+ campers and volunteers each day.

Healthy snacks for our wilderness journey

Healthy snacks for our wilderness journey

 

One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing our custom “Hump Day” video made by our Middle School Director and a few of our student leaders.  If you have ever watched the Geico “Hump Day” commercial, you will get the idea behind this – Humphrey the Camel was awesome!

Verse for the day:

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 of our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS) was great!  (Read about Day 1 here.)

I always love the chance to roam around and personally say ‘hi’ to everyone, so I took some time this morning to visit with most of our family groups.  While visiting, I heard children recite Day 1′s Bible verse and hear some of their God sightings.  I also got attacked (I mean hugged!) by some of our campers, which was very sweet.  My heart was filled even more when I walked past two of our God Sighting posters and saw them filled with all sorts of ways that our campers have seen God around them.

Another highlight was carrying around a box of doughnut holes for our volunteers.  By carrying the snacks around vs setting them on a table, I was able to personally thank them for serving and hear how their first day went.  I LOVE that.

After our opening worship celebration, I was able to sit in on the drama – today the children tasted ‘quail’ (marshmallow peeps) and ‘manna’ (frosted flakes) – and see our sand art and rope making stations in action (I will share more specifics about this tomorrow).

Verse for the day:

“For your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

Matthew 6:8

Here are a few pictures from Day 2:

Showing our volunteers a little love

Showing our volunteers a little love – they were a BIG hit!

 

These personalized onesies for our little attendees are so very adorable!

These personalized onesies for our little attendees are so very adorable!

 

This sweet girl loves her Wilderness Escape onesie!

This sweet girl loves her Wilderness Escape onesie!

 

Moses in his 'tent', sharing how God know what we have have need of without our needed to ask

Moses in his ‘tent’, sharing how God know what we have need of before we even ask.

 

One of our God Sighting posters - the children's God sightings are written on footprints, which follow along a path.  Very cool!

One of our God Sighting posters – the children’s God sightings are written on footprints, which follow along a path. Very cool!

 

One of our bins holding canned and boxed food that will be donated to a local food pantry that our church supports.

One of our bins holding canned and boxed food that will be donated to a local food pantry that our church supports.

 

Some of the treasures created at the Sand Artisan tent.

Some of the treasures created at the Sand Artisan tent.