Monthly Archives: July 2017

VBS 2017

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VBS 2017

Last week marked one of the most amazing weeks of my life. The occasion was Vacation Bible School at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. It’s incredible to think that only a year ago I arrived in Leavenworth and had never even heard of VBS. I recall walking into the sanctuary for the first time and seeing the decorations. And then I was enthralled with the voices of the children as they were the praise team that morning. I knew that I had experienced something really awesome, and that I wanted to find out more about VBS and the church’s role in the community.

Becky Goodman is the pastor for children and families, and we soon became good friends. This dynamic lady hales from Indiana and is a treasure in the ministry of the church. Her passion and drive are amazing. I am always in awe of how she remains so calm, collected and cool no matter how gargantuan the challenges may be.

I first got my toes wet when I helped at Light the Night last fall. I was back in Mexico for the winter when Becky asked me if I’d be interested in volunteering for VBS (Vacation Bible School). I was definitely interested. I told her that I was flexible and to put me where she needed me, as I was totally unfamiliar with VBS and what was entailed in planning the program.

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Becky decided that co-director of the preschool/kindergarten program would be a good place. When I arrived back in Leavenworth in May, I soon found myself engrossed in planning meetings. I met Heather, the other co-director, and we were soon busy organizing and purchasing supplies, as well as decorating and setting up classrooms for activities.

The statistics are impressive. There were 204 children registered and 134 volunteers involved. The children were divided into groups of five, each with a crew leader to assist them in the activities. Each station had two rotation leaders. Other volunteers were in registration, in the kitchen, doing security, assisting with light and sound, as well as setting up and taking down of decorations.

The mission project for the week was raising funds for a concrete floor to replace the existing dirt floor in a home serving as an orphanage in The Democratic Republic Of The Congo. Earlier that month, the missionaries themselves had visited our church and told us about their experiences working with the African people, describing in detail the poverty and the decrepit conditions in which they lived. The goal was to raise $1600. The generosity of the community was overwhelming, and the total amount raised was a staggering $5222.50. Not only will there be a concrete floor, but there will also be a ceiling and beds for the children.

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The theme of VBS was Maker Fun Factory. A typical day at VBS began with an opening program in the sanctuary. The children were introduced to a Bible Point and a Bible Buddy. A skit was presented by two teenagers. The 29 children in the praise team enthusiastically ensured that there would be lots of singing. Everyone sported wristbands to remind them to “Watch For God”. Each day God sightings were discussed and colorful lights were added along the walls in celebration. 

 

The elementary division held their activities in a separate area of the church. The children rotated between Bible Discovery, KidVid Cinema, Imagination Station and Maker Games. The preschool/kindergarten division rotated between Bible Adventures, KidVid Cinema, Craft & Play, Exploration Station and Games. There was even a group of nursery children all three and under who checked out these stations as well. All children were provided with a healthy lunch prepared by volunteers in the kitchen.

Here are some photos taken in the preschool/kindergarten division.

A closing ceremony at the end of the day showed a video with highlights of the day, as well as a discussion about the Bible Point and the Bible Buddy. Parents were encouraged to attend this daily event.

On the last day, a preview of VBS 2018 was shown on the screen and the squeals of delight from the children added to the excitement. 2017 was my first experience with VBS and I know that I will be back for more. Will you?

 

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Kinderfest

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Kinderfest

The more time I spend here, the more amazed I am at the various events here that are family-oriented. This time the event was Kinderfest and it was held on the fourth of July. Temperatures soaring into the 90s were no deterrent to the hundreds of adults and children who filled the streets in the downtown area. Front Street was transformed into a major carnival with a variety of games and activities.

The fun began with a bike parade at 11 am. Afterwards long line-ups prevailed throughout the day as eager children excitedly awaited their turns at a bouncy house and a water slide, not to mention all the other crafts and games that were set up. An incredible amount of volunteer manpower was evident and I am impressed with the giving spirit in this community.

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A popular area had fire engines, ambulances, tow trucks and tractors that were all kid-friendly. The children were delighted to clamber aboard and honk horns or blow sirens.

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One of the tables touched my heart. A friend of mine from Cashmere spearheaded this one. Children were encouraged to write a note and enclose a tiny flag that would be sent to soldiers serving overseas.

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There was a table where hats could be constructed.

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Games included fishing with magnets, basketball, balloons and more.

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The bouncy house was a favored attraction, as was the water slide for cooling off.

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The Rotary Club volunteers were hard at work building birdhouses.

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Here are a few miscellaneous shots.

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And that was Kinderfest 2017. 

 

Canada Day In The USA

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Canada Day In The USA

Today is July 1, 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday. But I’m not in Canada, so today I celebrated Nutcracker Day at The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum. That’s correct! This museum is totally dedicated to nutcrackers.

This friendly nutcracker greeted me at the door.

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I sat down to watch a short video on the history of nutcrackers. How interesting to see the different styles that have emerged in different countries. And how awesome to have a display of this caliber right here in Leavenworth.

There was a new activity for Nutcracker Day this year. Children of all ages were encouraged to design a nutcracker and prizes were awarded to the winners of the contest. Pictured here are a few of those that were on display.

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I then wandered through several rooms of glass-encased nutcrackers. The themes were of a great variety and here is a sampling of some of the photos I took.

Here is Karl, the life size headliner attraction. Children of all ages clamber to have their picture taken with him.

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There was even a table complete with nuts and nutcrackers for those who wanted to attempt to crack nuts.

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There was an interesting display of antique nutcrackers but unfortunately photos were prohibited in this area. I was able to take a photo of a rather informative display about walnuts.

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An hour and a half later I found myself back outside and made my way over to the Art Walk. Every weekend various artists display their creations that range from traditional works of art to jewelry and tattoos.

Next I found some shade and enjoyed the musical offerings from a trio at the gazebo.

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Every weekend throngs of people descend upon Leavenworth to enjoy this quaint little village. I heard a variety of languages spoken, but did not spot a single maple leaf or Canadian symbol of any type. This is very different from all the photos that my friends back in Canada have been posting today on Facebook. Red, maple leaf and Canadian flags are quite predominant in their photos.

But this is Canada Day here in Leavenworth. And this is how this Canadian spent her day.