For some in Dawson County, vacation Bible school is more than a week of classes about Christianity.
“It’s a tradition,” said the Rev. Pat Dunbar of Dawsonville United Methodist Church.
“What better way to teach our children about the Bible? It’s something we pass on to them, because it made such an impact on us when we were young,” Dunbar said.
Like many other church leaders in Dawson County last week, Dunbar welcomed visitors to enjoy Christian-themed lessons, activities, food and fellowship — a gathering known commonly as vacation Bible school.
It’s somewhat like a vacation too, according to Steve Harmon, a minister to students at First Baptist Church.
“We played crazy games with water balloons, there were neat arts and crafts ... and it was a cowboy theme, so everybody put on big belt buckles and big boots and hats,” Harmon said. “Everybody had a real blast.”
Dunbar said her church had a “Heroes” theme, celebrating spiritual leaders from the Bible, who made an impact.
“To set an example for the kids, we wanted to help them make an impact on their community,” Dunbar said.
Participants went out and collected new and gently-used shoes and stuffed animals to give to needy children. Money was also raised and given to a local charity to help family’s buy Christmas gifts for their children.
“They collected enough money to give one child a complete and wonderful Christmas,” she said.
Dunbar said vacation Bible school is beneficial to its students and to the hosting church.
“The church gets to extend its reach in the community,” she said. “Kids get the opportunity to make new friends, people they might not know at all who live nearby.”
Added Dunbar: “For the parents, there’s some excellent moral values and ethics being taught to their children, and of course it’s a wonderful break for mom and dad.”
Harmon said First Baptist Church had vacation Bible school for adults too. “We want everybody to be able to share the experience,” he said.
“This is just one of the biggest ways a church can reach out to the community,” Harmon said. “Everybody has fun too, and that’s important.”