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Rethinking VBS

March 8, 2021 jill Blog
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The new VBS Playbook from Orange VBS spotlights nine churches and how they adapted their Vacation Bible School last year in the midst of a pandemic. The Playbook was created to walk you through all the possibilities they discovered for VBS curriculum. For all nine ideas, you can download the complete VBS Playbook by visiting www.orangekidmin.com/vbsplaybook.

One idea is for Hybrid Virtual VBS + Backyard VBS Gatherings. This idea comes from Kathy Price, director of elementary ministries for Oakwood Community Church in Waconia, Minnesota.

What was the general concept of your program?

When our VBS planning had to shift from working on an in-person event to a COVID-19 friendly event, we saw it as an opportunity to get creative. We brainstormed and researched and put together a hybrid program that was part virtual, part backyard groups and part socially distanced party!

Our team created resource boxes that we sent home with families (118 boxes total!). These boxes contained supplies for activities and crafts as well as an agenda for each day of VBS. We also posted fun and engaging teaching videos online through Playlister. This allowed us to customize the video elements we wanted the families in our community to see.

Families purchased the boxes for $5 each, and then we encouraged them to invite their neighbors and friends to participate in VBS with them in smaller settings. We gave families the freedom to schedule their VBS program in a way that best served their group. In all, they needed to complete the program within one month. To culminate the month, we met together on our church lawn to play games, sing the awesome songs from our VBS program together, and enjoy ice cream and popcorn snacks.

During our VBS time, we encouraged families and groups to participate in a mission project to support RiceBowls.org, and they raised almost $800! We were blown away by their generosity!

How did you staff your program? What roles were involved in planning and execution?

Our original team of three staff members were the core of the planning efforts. We made the shift to this new VBS model in quarantine. So, our planning meetings took place over Zoom, group text messages, and emails. As we got ready to pack boxes, our team grew with volunteers who came in to help us with this task.

Did you charge a fee per child or per family?

Our boxes cost $5 each. Other than that, there was no fee to participate in the program.

Did you provide any resources to parents, families, or kids for your program?

The boxes that we handed out to host families included as many of the resources they would need for activities, crafts, and missions as possible.

How did you promote or market your program?

We created a registration and listed on our church website, promoted through our announcements on our online service and made videos and announcements on our private Facebook page. We also sent a postcard to everyone that participated last year.

What kind of follow-up did you do with those that participated in your program?

We engaged our participants on our Facebook page and asked them to send in photos of their participation.

Is there anything that you plan to change if you repeat this VBS program in the future?

We received very positive feedback through our Facebook page and private messages from those participating. If we repeat this program, I might look for group leaders that would be more intentional about hosting groups of kids in their neighborhood.

Orange Kids creates resources, strategy, and curriculum to help you lead kids, volunteers, and parents, www.orangekidmin.com.

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