Eagle River’s Community Covenant Church (CCC) provided Bible lessons, music, crafts and games for over 60 children during its Vacation Bible School from July 17 through July 20.
Vacation Bible School is an annual program that many churches in Eagle River host during the summer. Pastors and volunteers aspire to positively influence children by presenting Bible lessons in a fun, interactive setting that revolve around a theme. Church members and nonmembers alike are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
Though programs at each church may differ in their themes and dates, they share the mission of creating a fun experience while providing Biblical lessons. Children eagerly anticipate Vacation Bible School and so do parents, as it provides a wholesome activity that preoccupies their children for a week.
Community Covenant is a church that hosted a Vacation Bible School this year. Rachel McConihay serves as Community Covenant’s Children’s Ministry Director and organized the church’s renewal of theVacation Bible School program. She and Dana Chadwick wrote the curriculum, emphasizing the theme of “Follow His Light” by using campground imagery. They picked the campground theme to make Vacation Bible School relevant, “it has to combine what they [children] see and do in their daily lives with religious teaching.”
This is McConihay’s first year to direct the program for CCC but she has been involved with Vacation Bible School across the country for 20 years.
Though she likes many aspects of the program, one of the most enduring things that McConihay enjoys is remembering her own children attending when they were younger and now seeing them excited to volunteer as teenagers and young adults.
Sandy Gold has been a member of Community Covenant for almost 20 years and her children and nephews attended in previous years. She described how this year an initially skeptical child finished the first day and said, “That was the funnest [sic] thing ever! Can I come back every day?” Gold continued, “It’s well-organized, it’s safe, and the kids and adults are having a blast.”
Vacation Bible School relies heavily upon volunteers of all ages to keep the activities moving smoothly. Bennett Chadwick, 17, volunteered this year. Getting to know the kids and seeing smiles on their faces gives him great satisfaction. He was partly motivated to volunteer because he remembers attending Vacation Bible School as a child and that, “It was one of the best weeks of the year for me.”
McConihay believes that parents should mark their calendars for Vacation Bible School because it is a condensed period of time that creates a community for children and helps grow their faith.
“All children grow up in their family and have a social life,” McConihay says, “but if part of their social life is a faith-based experience that is loving and encouraging and fun, they will want more of that in their lives.”
Jamin Goecker is visiting family and making friends in Alaska before commissioning with the military. He holds a graduate degree in International Affairs from Texas A&M University. When not hiking, fishing or working out, he is editing his manuscript for a novel. To reach Jamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org.