Story and photos by Douglas M. Rule
Fort Carson Public Affairs
This week 180 children and 100 volunteers congregated at Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel for Vacation Bible School.
Keeping with the “swamp” theme, the activities take place in the Sing & Play Swamp Stomp Theater, the Bible Bayou, Gator Games area and the Dockside Drive-In.
“The theme for this year is ‘Crocodile Dock,'” said Pat Treacy, director of religious education. “This is where the kids experience God’s love. Each day there is a Bible point. Today (Monday) is ‘God is with us, fear not!’ So they hear scripture stories dealing with fearing and not fearing because God is there for us.”
This was most evident in the Gator Games area. The children started off in the “swampland” enclosed by swimming pool noodles. They were to find another child with the same color piece of candy they had and talk to them about what was most bothering them. The next exercise was to teach them not to fear the “crocodiles” but to put their trust in the belief that they are not alone. While this is an exercise for all children, it is especially important for children of deployed Soldiers.
“It helps the kids focus on praying for the people that are deployed. It also helps distract them a bit to be with kids of their own age group, not only to have fun, but to learn lessons about Jesus and how God loves them,” Treacy said.
As important as the lessons learned are the volunteers, who help run the VBS.
“We have 100 volunteers working this, ranging from late middle-school through adulthood. I think our oldest volunteer is near 70, retired military. Without the volunteers here, we could not support Vacation Bible School,” Treacy said.
Stacey Chapman, who was dressed as a shepherd, led a “flock” of children into the Bible Bayou.
On Monday, she talked about Moses and had the children discuss how Moses faced his own fears.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) the kids will have fun throwing plagues at the Pharoah,” Chapman said. “I have volunteered for 10 years and love it. It’s absolutely awesome.”
Treacy said the only thing that disappointed her was that they were limited to only being able to reach out to 180 children because of space and fund limitations.
“I think this is a great week. Every year we have this. And if we had the funds, we could do it twice this summer,” she said. “I hope the post someday considers building us a brand new education wing so we could take in more kids.”