FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2016) -- Children are invited to travel back to biblical times and immerse themselves in Joseph's journey during Fort Rucker's Vacation Bible School June 6-10.

Nancy Jankoski, Fort Rucker Religious Support Office director of religious education, said several stations scattered throughout the Spiritual Life Center will provide a complete sensory experience for participants.

"We are following a similar format from last year," she said. "Each student is assigned to a 'tribe' and will start the day off in a brief 10-minute 'tribe time' where they will discuss the object lesson of the day to set the tone for that day's theme. Then everyone will gather in the chapel for a time of opening celebration and lively praise music.

"After the opening praise celebration, each tribe rotates through a series of activity stations and marketplace shops," she added. "In the activity centers, they will participate in skits and music, games from the time of ancient Egypt, and make a craft. They will use all five senses in the marketplace shops as they rotate through the Life in Egypt station and the scribe school to learn about hieroglyphics as a form of art and communication. They will eat at the bakery and the farmers market, get to touch the live animals at the biblical petting zoo, and do some really fun things like learning how to make bricks and how the ancient Egyptians did embalming. They end the day back in their tribe rooms to reflect on what they have learned and get ready for the next day's fun."

The week-long VBS is open to children kindergarten (age 5 by Sept. 1) through sixth grade. This year's VBS will be held June 6-10 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Main Post Chapel Complex, Bldg. 8939 and Bldg. 8940. The theme is "Egypt, Joseph's Journey from Prison to Palace."

"Most years, the VBS theme will rotate between the Old and New Testaments, so that, over time, students have a good idea of both," Jankoski said. "Last year's theme was 'Hometown Nazareth, Where Jesus was a Kid,' and it focused on childhood of Jesus told through the eyes of the person who knew him best -- his mother, Mary.

"This year's theme, 'Egypt -- Joseph's Journey from the Prison to the Palace,' features another young person, Joseph, and deals with the fact that Joseph's family had some problems getting along with each other, ultimately leading to Joseph's being separated from his family and forced to live in a foreign culture," she added. "Joseph is a young person who has many times of hardship, but he maintains his character, his integrity and his faith in God throughout every crisis he faces. Ultimately, he overcomes a lot of hardship to rise to a position of great power, and when the time comes that his brothers need help, he is able to reconcile with them, forgiving the wrongs of the past. It is an important lesson for young people to learn."

According to Jankoski, VBS provides more than fun and activities for youth who attend.

"Joseph can be a role model for children," she said. "He experienced problems in getting along with his brothers, he had to figure out how to survive and thrive in a foreign culture without the support of family and friends. He had to grow in his understanding of life and find a way to overcome difficulties.

"VBS is a chance for children to make new friends and experience some fun while learning," she added. "The VBS program allows children to be themselves. They can laugh while putting together dirt, straw and water, and mixing it up to form a brick. They can expend their energy doing games that children down through the ages have done. They can sample treats, try new skills and make friends. Most importantly, they can understand the importance of their spiritual side. Joseph was able to forgive all those who had done him wrong and even help them when they were in need. He didn't become bitter, angry or selfish. His faith made him whole.

Jankoski added that the VBS program is open to everyone.

"In our VBS program, the various Christian chapel communities come together to teach things that all the different denominations have in common," she said. "It is a wonderful thing for the children to see youth and adults from a variety of traditions being able to work and share together. Our volunteers come from at least five different chapel services, and from several additional chapel or post entities. It helps build a sense of spiritual community within the post community."

For more information, to register or to volunteer, call 255-3946, 255-2989, 255-2051 or 255-9566.