Monday, August 11, 2008

Power Lab/VBS Part II

This last week was busy. I helped in my second VBS of the summer1--I guess after years of not being around for VBS's, I need to catch up. Oh--and I'd better warn you before you follow that link: Last time I looked, they still had the music video for Avalanche Ranch up and it was LOUD. Why, then, am I linking to it? 'Cause I hope they'll get some of the Power Lab music up and most of that was really good. It passed the kid-test, too--I heard different ones singing or humming it during the day. Edit: Ah, ok, there are some clips on the Power Lab website. Before you go--turn your computer volume down. It's quite loud, and there appears to be no way of adjusting it on the site itself.

Backing up for a minute, as you might be able to tell from the link, this one was at my church, and this time rather than being a craftsperson, I was a crew leader, so instead of staying in one place and teaching bunches of kids a craft, I moved from place to place with the kids. It was, as I said, tiring, but fun. I had five kids and an eleven-year-old assistant crew-leader in my charge. Lots of giggling, some wiggling, both authorized and not.

The authorized variety included such activities as dancing and singing, walking around blindefolded, playing tag, and water fights2. The unauthorized involved chanting "MAKE IT GO BOOM" for five solid minutes while the storyteller set up her mock lab. No, I didn't start the chant. I also didn't try to stop it. And, they did, for a wonder, actually listen to the story and demonstration when it started, even though nothing ever did "go boom."

I am inclined to be somewhat critical evaluating these things. I don't, by nature, really like scripted setups, and this series of VBS's is made by some company out there who creates a very, very scripted sort of setup. Even the photographs are selected out of a list of "needed" pictures for insertion into a pre-made slide show.

But then I ask myself why I'm fussing. After all, the kids had a fantastic time, the photographers themselves didn't seem to mind the list, the kids loved posing, the songs may have been on video rather than 'really' led, but the kids danced to them and sang them all the same, and they got the really important messages loud and clear: God loves you, we love you, and church is a good place to be.

Hopefully they also got the focus messages about God's power: Jesus gives us the power to be thankful, Jesus gives us the power to help others, Jesus gives us the power to be brave, Jesus gives us the power to live forever, and Jesus gives us the power to tell others about God.3 And all of those are good things, worth thinking about and remembering.

And, yes, if I'm here next year, I'll do it again!

1Also known as Vacation Bible School, but who wants all those syllables?
2Strictly speaking, only one of the water fights was completely authorized. The other was supposed to be some sort of elaborate game where the crew attempted to get the other crew leader wet while protecting their own. However, it quickly became apparent that the only rule they'd actually heard was "Get the crew leaders wet"--though they had lots of water to spare for one another as well. Fortunately, it was a hot day.
3 After which phrases I'm now conditioned to yell "Ah-ha!" I suppose that part will pass. Each phrase, by the way, has a cute little buddy to demonstrate it. I was skeptical about those, too, going into the week, but they are cute and the kids love them, and hopefully they will help them to remember the messages, or at least the fun.

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