By Fort Sill Tribune staffJuly 5, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. (July 5, 2019) -- Army wife Brittney York wanted her three children to socialize with other children through the summer, and also learn about values and morals, so she enrolled them in Fort Sill's annual Vacation Bible School (VBS), which ran June 21-28.
"They love it," she said. "They have fun, they enjoy meeting new people, and they sing the songs they've learned all the time."
VBS was sponsored by the Fort Sill Religious Support Office, and it drew about 140 children from pre-school through fifth grade at the Frontier Chapel Center, said Rob Plush, Garrison Religious Education director.
This year's theme was "Roar! Life is Wild, God is Good." The ecumenical program was created by Group Publishing, which creates religious education materials, he said.
VBS provided children with many opportunities, Plush said.
"They get a chance to build community and new friendships, and get to learn a little bit more about who Jesus is and how God relates to them in their lives," he said.
This was accomplished through games, crafts, snack times, and video Bible story reflections, he said.
Children were broken up into four groups. Each day VBS began at 8:45 a.m. with a morning animation, he said. This featured music and dancing performed by animators, who were older children, and adult volunteers. And, the VBS children, too, took the stage to sing and dance. Each school day ended with a closing animation.
"The animators spent a lot of time putting the music and dancing together," Plush said. "They've done an exceptional job."
Plush said he was blessed with 15 volunteers from across the post who helped make VBS a success. Teams arrived early and after a prayer set up for the day's activities. They would work until around noon. All volunteers had to undergo a background check. Civilian volunteers wore turquoise T-shirts reflecting the Roar! theme.
Volunteer Marine Pvt. Aviles Lopez, of the Marine Artillery Detachment, low-fived children as they walked by him to their next activity. He said he volunteered at VBS while waiting for his forward observer Advanced Individual Training to begin.
He was one of eight Marine volunteers. His duties were to make sure the kids didn't leave the facility, keep out unauthorized people, and set up decorations.
"It's fun to see the children playing," Lopez said.
Spc. Brittany Born, of the 100th Brigade Support Battalion, said her unit was gracious enough to allow her to volunteer at VBS. She served as a crew leader guiding about 20 children through games like Duck, Duck, Goose, and activities, including Bible discovery stories.
She said she gained much from the experience.
"I may possibly pursue teaching as a career after the military," said Born, who taught downhill skiing and golf to children in Idaho, before she joined the Army.
Plush said VBS registration was completely filled by June 1, and he had 20 children on a waiting list.
"Vacation Bible School is a wonderful opportunity to bring community and families together," he said. "It's different denominations so we break down those walls and gather in Christ's name, and have a good time."