Seventy children attend Osco VBS

Ethan Shook
Tom Akers, in back at left, tells the story of the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck to third and fourth graders on Tuesday morning, June 22, during “High Seas Expedition,” the Vacation Bible School at Osco Community Church.

Osco Community Church held its latest Vacation Bible School from Monday, June 21, through Friday, June 25, with around 70 children in attendance on each day.

The activities began at 8:30 a.m. Monday, with co-directors Jennifer Johnston, Amy Kayser, and Crista Downing and many adults and high school students volunteering their time.

Each day began and ended with a group time of singing, prayer, and an overview of the lesson for the day. The curriculum the church chose was called High Seas Expedition, which used a sailing theme to help the kids “Explore the mighty love of God,” declared the motto of the week.

The stage in the sanctuary was changed to look like the deck of a ship, with the pulpit and altar replaced by a ship’s wheel and a cabin that led down to the “hull of the ship” in the basement of the church.

“We’ve talked about the voyage we’re on,” Johnston said. The leaders used the theme of a sea voyage to teach children about the different struggles that Christians experience in life, while also teaching them stories from the Bible, such as the Apostle Paul being shipwrecked.

The group used creative methods to incorporate the idea of being at sea into the lessons and activities.

Johnston said that the children loved the theme and the week overall.

“One day we had the story in the hull of the ship,” she said.

A recent graduate of Orion High School, and one of the first and second grade teachers, Lauren Shook said that they took students down the steps and had sound effects and an adult helper in a corner spraying water at the kids to make it seem as if they were in a storm.

Shook’s impression of the week was also positive.

“I think it went really well,” she said. “It was pretty tiring, but the kids had fun, and they really learned a lot.”

Shook also teaches Sunday School for the same age group, so she knew many of the students she had in her group, but many kids were not regular attendees.

“I don’t know exactly how many we had that weren’t from Osco [church],” Johnston said. “But I’d say a third to a half weren’t.”

Many children practicing songs for their Sunday morning performance were wearing shirts from the Galva and Geneseo school districts, a testament to the different communities represented.

The format for each day consisted of age groups from pre-school through 6th grademoving from one station to another, similar to a high school class format. The leaders of each group took the kids from the opening collective event to their first station, which was crafts, music, snacks, “Ship Rec Games,” or the daily lesson. Once time was up at that station, everyone rotated, and by the end of each day, every class had been to every station.

Johnston said that the leaders learned quite a bit about putting on a VBS program this year. By having three co-directors in charge of the event, it allowed for a much more efficient division of labor. Shook noticed that the kids were more attentive by moving around rather than staying in one place for the entire morning.

The week on the whole, everyone agreed, was a success. Though Johnston admitted that it can become stressful making sure there are enough volunteers to cover every need, the church and the community always pull through.

“We always had enough people,” she said.