CAPSTONE PROJECT: VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Vacation Bible School in RVA and OC finally concluded with the last day of camp in Owsley County, KY on July 17. The entire process involved two, week long camps for children in Richmond and Owsley, and despite the hours of work required to carry out VBS, it was most definitely worth it. For the first half of the project, I served as the Grade School Director at the annual Vacation Bible School held at Huguenot Road Baptist Church. I set up the worship space which included hours of painting, running to Lowe’s asking to leftover cardboard boxes, and staying at the church until 2 AM the Saturday night prior to the camp’s Monday start in order to transform the gym into a green pasture. After a week full of laughs, singing, and games, I spent hours carefully preserving all of the decorations and traveling room to room to collect leftover materials from each class. All of which went into trailer to take to Owsley County, KY. Owsley is one of the top three poorest counties in the U.S., and HRBC travels there each summer to do mission work and host VBS at a local church.
For the second part of my capstone, I took on the role of serving as the director for the Owsley camp. This past trip marks my fifth mission there, and each experience never fails to teach me new lessons; this trip in particular taught me so much more about practicing leadership rather than theoretical notions I have learned from freshman to junior year leadership classes. Since everything was brought from the first VBS, directing mostly involved registration and forming groups on site while dealing with other issues that may arise. While both events were VBS’s, they were entirely different experiences; both put a focus on teaching important lessons about how Jesus is their shepherd, but the main focus in Kentucky is building long-lasting relationships with the kids. Although we only get to share such a great experience with them for four nights each year, many come back each summer. Looking back on my capstone as a whole, I realized that, in the first few months, most of my work was independent, and I intended to rely on myself the whole way through. However, completing such a large project requires great followers. Reflecting on both weeks, I realized I relied heavily on the rest of the mission team. One of the team members lead a class that, at the end of the week, gave stuffed animals to all the kids which is definitely a rarer occurrence in Owsley than in Richmond. A ten year-old from HRBC reunited with Abby, a girl her age who she keeps in touch with after becoming great friends three summers ago.
Everyone at VBS either formed new relationships with the kids or strengthened old ones. Since the main need my project addressed was to continue and build upon a positive summer opportunity, learning to acknowledge that I do not have complete control and allowing followers to grow were two key lessons in leadership I came to understand.