Castles, dragons, knights and princesses provide fertile ground for a child’s’ imagination, and as the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Religious Support Office discovered, a majestic stage for its summer outreach ministry.
Amidst a medieval setting, the contemporary vacation Bible school held at the Patch Elementary School last month taught 200 children entering grades one through six to “stand strong for God” through songs, activities and Bible stories.
The interdenominational Kingdom Rock curriculum by Group Publishing included multi-media slide shows and videos; infectious, catchy praise songs; skits, games, science projects and snacks, all designed to reinforce a daily Bible teaching or “Bible point.”
More than 100 volunteers, 60 youth and 52 adults, kept the children in constant motion as they moved in multi-age “crews” from station to station ― Epic Bible Adventures, Imagination Station, Tournament Games and Chadder’s Royal Theater ― every 20 minutes or so.
Hayden Kruckeberg, 10, a first time VBS participant, said the imagination station was her favorite because of the “fun science experiments.”
Her crew-mate, Sophia Feeney, 9, said she preferred the music. “I like how some of the music is Irish. My family is Irish,” she said.
In keeping with the medieval theme, the PES multipurpose room was transformed into an elaborate castle complex complete with arched stone walls, columns, flags, banners, three-dimensional cardboard jousting horses and a towering, six-foot tall knight.
“Isn’t it fabulous? asked Karen Jamison, the RSO religious education coordinator and VBS coordinator. “All the arches you see are made out of banana boxes. Our set director, Kelli Jones, has worked tirelessly since June. Every day she would go to the commissary for more banana boxes.”
VBS is a great means for community members to learn about what the RSO offers, according to Jamison.
“This is a premier event for us. It provides us the opportunity to meet the broadest audience possible: adults and kids of all ages, all backgrounds ― faith and non-faith,” she said.
VBS also presents an opportunity for newcomers to the community to network, especially those who recently arrived in Stuttgart during the summer PCS season, Jamison added.
A part of almost any vacation Bible school focuses on a special mission project.
For the past several years, the RSO has supported a program called Portion for Orphans, a not-for-profit organization established to “raise public awareness about orphans worldwide and improve the quality of care provided to orphans,” according to its website.
The VBS participants also supported this organization, donating over $3,000 to the charity.