In the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Dawson County churches have been unsure whether or not to hold their usual summer vacation bible schools, and if so, how to make sure they keep volunteers and children safe.
For the churches that do plan to host a vacation bible school (VBS), some will host online activities, while others will hold in-person activities just a little bit later than usual, with extra precautions in place.
Becca Stowers, VBS director at Harmony Baptist Church, said that their church will host a virtual VBS this year.
“After a lot of prayers and discussions, we have decided that a virtual vacation bible school would be an exciting way to host our Concrete and Cranes VBS,” Stowers said. “Canceling VBS was the last thing we wanted to do. Since our directors are teachers and with our church having other educators and leaders who are experienced with virtual outreach, we believe virtual VBS will be an incredibly fun and engaging experience for all ages.”
Harmony Baptist Church’s virtual VBS will be held June 15 to 19 and will be broadcasted live on the church’s Facebook page each night starting at 6 p.m. For people unable to tune in at that time, the video will be saved and posted to both Facebook and Youtube each night.
“We will have an opening ceremony, music, a devotion, explain the craft for the night and end with our closing rally that will lead us into the following day,” Stowers said. “After all that they have been through this year, we through this would be a safe way for all of us to connect and have some type of enjoyable summer activity to remind us that, ‘Jesus is our strong foundation!’.”
In preparation for the virtual VBS, Harmony Baptist Church will be hosting a drive-through pickup, so children who have pre-registered can pick up VBS supplies, including crafts, a lesson and activity books, and a VBS t-shirt. Pickup times are Saturday, June 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
While churches like Harmony Baptist are moving VBS online, other churches like First Baptist Church of Dawsonville will hold in-person VBS activities later in the summer.
Caren Baumann, children’s director at First Baptist Church, explained that they will be holding an abbreviated in-person VBS with different activities on July 31 through Aug. 2.
“We will be holding a family movie night on July 31 at 7 p.m. and VBS for Pre-K through fifth grade on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Baumann said. “And then Aug. 2 will be promotion Sunday, so we’ll be holding a 6 p.m. event at the pool at Veterans Memorial Park that day.”
Extra measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the children and volunteers in attendance, Baumann said.
For the movie night, social distancing will be encouraged and families will be asked to bring their own blanket and chairs to sit outside. For the VBS itself, most events will be held outside, all volunteers and children will have their temperatures taken, and hand sanitizer and hand washing will be done frequently.
Class sizes will also be limited with no more than 10 people in each classroom, and social distancing will be greatly encouraged.
“With VBS being one of many children’s favorite summer activities, it’s hard to imagine a summer without this event,” Baumann said.
For questions about the virtual VBS, contact Becca Stowers at (706)344-9481 or Stephanie Moore at (706)974-5091.
For further questions about VBS at First Baptist Church, call the church at (706)265-2612 and ask for Caren Baumann.