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by Kathy Carter, Children’s Minister
Every year at Kirkwood UCC we look forward to a weeklong celebration with our kids within our congregation and our neighborhood friends…. then this year rolls around with an unexpected challenge. During this time of CoVid 19 and the need for social distancing we just weren’t quite sure what to do about VBS. Do we cancel it? Do we postpone it to later in the summer? Neither of these options seemed like the best answer. After a few brainstorming sessions, we decided to hold a Virtual VBS.
A Virtual VBS brings with it a few logistical challenges. It can be difficult to hold the kid’s attention via the Zoom platform. We decided to split the kids into two groups. Our preschoolers met on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 50ish minutes and our Elementary kids met Monday through Friday for two hours. On Tuesday and Thursday, we added a youth lead game time for 30 minutes. In keeping with our theme, The Rocky Railway, we packed travel bags with everything the children needed for the week and their parents picked up their “suitcases” on Sunday morning before our Monday morning kick-off. With the help of a few members from our congregation, we pulled together a pretty amazing “Zoom-style” set.
We weren’t quite sure how any of this would go over and I’m super thankful to say it was a fantastic week!! While we weren’t physically together in one place, we were very much together in spirit on our virtual platform. The children enjoyed being able to spend time together and with us! We mixed it up each day by adding in prerecorded skits, dropping in curriculum videos and crafting videos, enjoyed a snack together, and even shared in communion. It was obvious that the children NEEDED time to connect with us and with each other. They were hungry for it! Our connections weren’t sidelined by being in a Virtual environment. They were deep and full and Holy. It was truly a very special week!!
While we hope to never need to host a Virtual VBS again, we are incredibly thankful we took the leap and made it happen!