Virtual VBS: Compassion camp at FUMC Santa Rosa

August 06, 2020

 With summer activities being impacted by the pandemic, Vacation Bible School, a big part of our Children's Ministries program at First United Methodist Church Santa Rosa, needed a reboot.

Children's Ministries Coordinator, Elizabeth Walton, quickly discovered "Compassion Camp", an At-Home /Virtual Vacation Bible School curriculum, focusing on what it means to have compassion for others, ourselves, and the world.

Walton, several volunteers and her high school senior son, videoed five days of storytelling, yoga, music and craft sessions.

"During a typical VBS experience, we would rotate between stations every 25 minutes to complete a three-hour day.  A huge benefit of an at-home VBS is that you can take as much time as needed to let the concepts sink in and not feel rushed.  With a recorded guide, you are free to stop and start as it fits your family's needs," Walton said.

A bag of materials for each of the five days was delivered to each family including craft materials, activities and a packet of puppets.

A Kindness Challenge was included.  "Typically, we would engage in either a local or world mission project at VBS," Walton said.  "This year, I chose to include a personal mission to become more compassionate in our daily activities.  The goal is to engage in at least one act each day over the next month to encourage compassionate mindfulness.  Hopefully, this challenge will take root and daily acts of kindness will be a part of their entire lives."

Parents are encouraged to take pictures of their children engaged in Compassion Camp activities.  Those pictures will be shared with the congregation on Facebook and the church's Weekly Eblast.

The church's Vacation Bible School - Compassion Camp - taught the children how to be compassionate to others and themselves during this time of stress and uncertainty.