After two straight weeks of silence, I think it’s time to resurrect this blog, am I right? I’m so sorry for not posting anything! I’ve been feeling especially anxious and insecure these past few weeks. You’d think the amazing comments in the last article would have cheered me up. . . 😛
In all seriousness, thank you guys so much for your encouragement and support. Even if I didn’t reply to all of them, I really appreciated it. I’ll try to post more often in the future (it helps that I’m doing Camp NaNo 🙂 ).
I love Vacation Bible School. I’ve been involved in it since age five, and have adored every year of it as both student and volunteer.
This year was no exception. Today (Friday) was the last day of this year’s VBS. It was a lot of fun as usual, except for one little detail. . .
I don’t know how to work with kids.
It’s an impediment I’ve struggled with every year I volunteer. Don’t get me wrong, kids are great. They’re a lot of fun to watch, but as soon as I have to interact with one, I have a mini panic attack. A kid would come up to me and say, “Look at this cool craft I made!” and instead of getting all excited and saying, “WOW! It’s amazing!!!” like I guess you’re supposed to, I just stand there and smile. . . and maybe say “That’s nice” or something. . . and then just walk off. It’s not like I don’t feel their excitement, I just don’t know how to act!
And you know what makes it worse? One of my key jobs at VBS this year was leading skits on stage. . . which means the kids expected me to act all interested. Every time I talked to a kid when it wasn’t on stage I would get so nervous that I made a bad impression on him or her, like I blew them off or something. At least they seemed to like my acting. 😛
That’s another thing: I can’t act. Well, okay, I can, but I don’t like making a fool out of myself. And that’s exactly what you have to do when acting in front of a young audience: make a fool out of yourself, because it’s more funny and entertaining for the kids. Thankfully after a day or two of practice and learning the system, I think I (mostly) got the hang of it.
Anyway, basically how VBS at our church works is the kids come to the main room, dance and sing some songs, hear some announcements, watch a skit, and then disperse in groups throughout the church to different stations, including crafts, games, Bible study, missions and snacks, and finally head back to the main room to sing more songs and watch another skit before their parents pick them up.
As aforementioned, I helped lead the skits. I also led the dance motions to the music (my favorite VBS job 😀 ). This proved to be very tricky because I had to put on and take off my skit costume a lot, and often very quickly, because dance and skit were practically back-to-back. Sometimes I’d have to say to the kids onstage, “Sorry, I lost my way down the wrong trail” just to cover up for taking so long getting my costume on. And sometimes I didn’t dance at all (there were four other dancers so it wasn’t a big deal).
I’ve had a couple kids come up to me this week saying how impressed they are at my “superhuman” costume-changing speed. X’D One of them was a young boy. “How do you change clothes so quickly?” he said.
I replied, “I dunno, I just go really fast!”
He gave me a rather skeptical look like he didn’t believe me, and then he said, “You’re an alien!!”
Was I supposed to laugh? Feel insulted? Agree??
In any case, I just kind of started staring off into space like, “what did I just hear” and the boy ran off. Kids are weird.
My costume, by the way, was just a plaid buttoned blouse and a backpack. I would put on the blouse over my t-shirt, and maybe throw on a hat as well, and then I’d be done.
I was also an assistant teacher at the missions station. Except by “assistant teacher” I mean “audio visual” because pretty much all I did was run the projector as we would watch a couple videos about missionaries everyday. I suppose I could have been an assistant teacher, but as expressed before, I’m too awkward around kids to be qualified for that kind of stuff. I did help the other assistant teacher draw something on the whiteboard for the kids. I also fixed the sound when it was weirdly quiet that one day (turns out the sub-woofer was turned down).
So the overall schedule was, be there at 7:30 in the morning (because Mom had to be there early to set things up), practice the opening rally skit before it started, lead dance at 9, rush off the stage, put on the costume, rush back onstage, lead the skit, rush off again and whip off the costume, get back on the stage again and dance some more, run to the missions station and sit at the projector for a few rotations, practice the closing rally skit, BREATHE, come back to the main room at 11:30, dance some more, rush off and on the stage for another skit, then off and on again for another song, and finally VBS is done for the day. Fun, right? x.x
Between three jobs, especially the two onstage jobs, this year’s VBS was busy, and pretty stressful. But it was all worth it to see the kids have fun and learn about Jesus and His love for us. I’m so thankful for all the kids who came and for all the volunteers who helped make it happen. I forever respect those who have to put up with kids, whether it’s for a day, a week, a school year or their whole lives. Great, now I’m nervous about having kids of my own. 😛 I guess there’s no point worrying now, is there?
I love working at VBS despite my non-existent childcare skills. It’s so much fun watching the kids learn and play and dance. They genuinely enjoy it. I know I did when I was a student myself. Not that I don’t still enjoy it.
The next time you have an opportunity, I encourage you to volunteer at a VBS program. I promise it’s fun, at least when done right. And you don’t have to be a master at childcare. I’m certainly not. 🙂 It would be a perfect opportunity to get some much-needed experience around kids.
Do Tell! Have you ever volunteered or been a student at VBS? Did you like it? What are some funny experiences you’ve had with kids?
Sorry again for the late post! I’ll start writing more frequently. Until next time!
P.S. I officially have an Instagram if you’re into that kind of stuff! So far I’m mostly posting art. 🙂