Youths aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) learned how Jesus rescues people during an island-themed Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the base chapel June 18-22.
Around 80 youths ages 5-10 participated in the activities.
“We tried a different approach with VBS this year,” said volunteer Jennifer Baker, who started getting the word out and finding volunteers months ago.
Around 30 volunteers assisted during the week from helping to get lunches together to teaching classes.
This free event was open to those children with base access and attendees were provided lunch daily.
“Since I have kids, we served them food we knew they liked, such as corn dogs but also with fresh fruit and veggies daily,” said CS2 Karlton Gregson, who participated in the opening ceremony each morning and had his own children attending.
Unlike previous years when children were split into groups by age, this year, children were put into smaller groups with different-aged children.
“We are trying to create more of sense of community,” said Baker.
Attendees began and ended each day singing songs and learning a Bible verse. Throughout the morning, they moved through activities from crafts to music that all followed the theme, “Shipwrecked, Saved by Jesus.”
Animals were used during the daily theme, including a bird named Beacon. Crafts made in the imagination station, such as flying objects that were retrieved by attendees and used in a lesson.
“You had to rescue your airplane, just like how Jesus rescues you,” said the class leader.
Volunteer Fred Cole lead the children in an exercise on the first day to get to know each other better by putting cards with animals on their heads and having them ask questions.
The children were when split up into their animal groups.
“I’m a sloth, just like my brother!” exclaimed one attendee.
During the second day, the children were taught about friction. Participating in exercises using friction, they learned how to apply strategies during struggles in life and how to overcome them.
The children made crafts to take home to reinforce their daily lesson.
NAS Jax Executive Officer Capt. Brian Weiss made a surprise debut in a skit June 19, acting as “William the Worrier” carrying a large cooler with the word “Worry” on the outside.
“My favorite part of this week was getting to act and dress up, so I could help the kids become more interested in the lesson,” said Jesse Baker, who volunteered during the week.
A special program was held for families and friends at the end of the week featuring the children singing songs that were learned during the week.