For more than three decades WayPoint Church has held a free, week-long Vacation Bible School in July for kids through sixth grade.
According to Sharron Dean, a Vaughn resident who has served as VBS volunteer coordinator since 2012, this year’s session drew more than 160 kids and 80 volunteers.
Many of the volunteers are themselves youngsters, Dean said, and many are former VBS kids.
“They’re 12 and 13 and 14 and 15 years old. They can’t drive yet and they don’t have a job so they come and help. I think they get just as much out of it as the kids themselves.
“They’re helping and giving of their time but they’re hearing the bible story and the missionary story every day.
“They don’t get to do the crafts, but they help with that and they fully participate in the opening and the closing lessons.”
Maitlin Banks, 16, was one of this year’s volunteers. “I was a navigator for the parents of the 6-year olds,” the Gig Harbor resident said. “I led them around and made sure they’re all in order and all having fun and safe.”
VBS is important to the kids because “they’re growing spiritually. They’re growing and they need to know how Jesus Christ died on the cross for us. It’s really neat to watch them spiritually grow,” Banks added.
Nine-year old Gabriel Nieto had attended VBS at another church before his family moved to the Key Peninsula. “I got experience from my old church,” he said.
“Here we learned a lot about how to Jesus saved us when he died on the cross, and all the teaching is good lessons,” Nieto said.
Each day at VBS is carefully orchestrated, Dean said. This year’s schedule included a skit that was performed every morning and afternoon.
This year’s skit, called “Arizona Slim and Carolina Jane,” featured Jonathon Brewster as Slim and Anna Marshall as Jane. A third character, Jungle Jim, was played by WayPoint pastor Tim Stobbe, a Lake Holiday resident.
The scene was decorated with vines and artifacts reminiscent of an Indiana Jones setting, and there were work areas throughout the church where kids did crafts, had snacks, played games and listened to bible stories.
The youngsters also took part in a missionary project to raise funds for KP residents Jon and Jen Meyers who recently relocated to Papua, New Guinea. “They live in a very remote area,” Dean said. “Jon really helped with our youth group here at our church.
“They send us videos that the kids watched each day about what they’re doing –– like planting banana trees. The kids were so engaged with that and they raised money for a water tank for their house,” she said.
This year’s VBS attendance was quite a bit bigger than last year, Dean said.
“But it’s not about the numbers. For me, to look at the kids at the end of the week and to know that they had a good, safe time and that they learned some really valuable things –– some truths for their lives –– that’s the most important thing.”
For information visit waypoint-church.org.