While Vacation Bible School is one of the most high-energy weeks of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful. Lots of volunteers you may or may not know well combine with dozens of children of all age groups bouncing around and being kids in organized chaos. Here are a few tips to help you keep your head when it seems like everyone else in the room is losing theirs.
- Remember that you can’t do it all by yourself. If you are a DRE, you know that it can stand for “Does Really Everything.” But it is important to remember that we really don’t have to do it all. That’s why you’ve got all those volunteers—delegate, delegate, delegate! If there’s some part of the program you really enjoy—maybe the opening and closing activities, acting out the Bible stories, or making the snacks—do that. But try to leave everything else to the volunteers (including the teens) who are there to help.
- Appreciate your volunteers. This is the second part of delegating. Most parishes can’t afford to pay the VBS volunteers, but we can praise them and serve pizza! At the beginning and end of each day, offer prayers with your volunteers and proclaim your thanks for them loudly and often. At the end of the week before everyone does clean up, provide lunch. Remember, if you feed them, they will come.
- Enjoy yourself. This really is a great week to get to know the teens and adults who volunteer, the children who come for the fun, and the parents who bring the kids. Take the time to stop and chat, smile, give high-fives, and get hugs. It makes all the effort even more worth it.
- Don’t worry! Put it all in God’s hands where it belongs and just do your best. Make sure you remind the volunteers about this too. If something doesn’t go as planned, let the Holy Spirit guide you. Besides, the children will be having too much fun to notice.
Heather Felton is a teacher and former Director of Faith Formation in Florida. She lives in northern Manatee County with her husband, two children, two dogs, and bunny. When she isn’t working, Heather can be found reading, playing video games with her family, or writing children’s stories.