By Beth Lema
St. Elizabeth Seton’s parish hall and meeting rooms were transformed to host our annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) this past July 11th through July 14th. The theme this year was “Cool Kingdom Party” and focused on Our Mother Mary leading us to know her Son Jesus in a more intimate way. 41 children of our parish attended the five-day program. Their ages represented kindergarten through 6th grade. Each day was given a specific theme and filled with a rotating schedule set for each of the four groups of children. This daily schedule was presented and coordinated by our volunteers. At the end of each day, as the parents came to gather their children, they were given information to review on what the theme of the day was and what their children gained from it. The 46 volunteers from our parish, including Junior and Senior high school youth, played a vital role by presenting skits, decorating, teaching, cooking, and leading the children. They also helped with games, paperwork and countless other behind-the-scenes activities to make VBS a success for our parish. Indeed, it takes a parish community to come together to present this program to our children.
Our volunteers served tirelessly over several weeks to coordinate this event. From their perspectives, many stated that they received more from their involvement than they thought they would. “Engaging with the children about Mary and Jesus was rewarding and exciting” said Barb Brown, a volunteer in the snack area. She mentioned that she enjoyed working with the other volunteers as part of a team and was rewarded by making new friends from the parish through this experience.
Experiencing VBS as a family, the Martinez family volunteered their time and talents, and their youngest daughter Julia participated in each of the sessions. Other Martinez family members Julian, Miranda and Adian worked behind the scenes decorating, setting up, and participating in the skits each day. Julian served as our timekeeper and made sure the flow was smooth, and Miranda helped Toni, the artist who gathered a team of volunteers to paint the sets, with the decorating and setup of the hall. Participating in these roles offered them the unique perspective of seeing the program from beginning to end. Adian, their son, participated as an actor and he commented that it was a great learning experience and fun. Julian stated that he observed that the children seemed to have a great time, and Miranda enjoyed documenting the event as the official photographer.
Their daughter Julia had a unique perspective as well. She stated that it was indeed fun and that she learned a lot about our Mother Mary and her life. She especially enjoyed the Faith Room where they prayed and learned about the meaning of prayers to Mary. Julia also mentioned that the crafts were fun as well as meaningful. She has them in her room so that she can enjoy them and remember the experience.
This indeed was a Cool Kingdom Party that touched the lives not only of the children but also the volunteers. May God and Our Mother Mary continue to bless each of them this coming year.