Fort Leonard Wood will hold its annual Vacation Bible School from July 22 to 26 at the Main Post Chapel.
According to the director of Religious Education, Martha Strong, the program expects to see more than 175 children in attendance, an increase from last year.
“We already have over 140 kids signed up,” she said.
According to Doreen Horn, registration volunteer, the program was so popular last year they had to turn interested participants away due to lack of space and available staff.
“We’re hoping not to do a waiting list (this year),” Strong said.
This year, “we’re excited that we have enough room for everybody to spread out and do all this,” she said.
Vacation Bible School will incorporate preschool aged children this year as well.
“Last year, they didn’t (include) the preschool kids,” she said. “We added preschool in, and within the first two weeks, we had over 30 registered.”
Strong said that because the program will receive more help from volunteers this year, it will allow for more age-tailored lessons for younger children.
“We’re going to have one for 3 to 4 year olds, and one for 4 to 5 year olds,” she said. “We can be more age appropriate too.”
The theme of the event is ‘The Incredible Race,’ which is both a double entendre and a play on words, Strong said.
“(We’re) incorporating that into the idea that we, as the human race, are an incredible race,” she said. “So, they’re using ‘The Incredible Race’ with the kids, (who) are all in race teams.”
Surrounding the theme, children will be educated on cultural differences around the world.
“(Children) will be put into different continents,” she said. “We’ll have three groups, each one will be a different continent, and then within that group, we’ll have smaller groups that are each a different country.”
“Because of the international theme, each day, we travel to a different continent,” she added. “So the first day, they’ll be in South America, and the games, food, everything relates to that continent.”
The next day, she said, is a secret, as children will be quizzed on their ability to identify which territory they are currently in based off of clues and decorations.
“The lessons themselves are focused on the idea that we are all human beings… regardless of our skin color or where we’re from in the world,” Strong said.
“(VBS) is really a great program for kids at a military installation because they live in countries all over the world, they’ve come from countries all over the world and they come together for this period of time they live here.”
Horn assured parents that their children are in safe hands.
“Children will not be released to anyone that has not been authorized,” she said.
VBS is nondenominational and is a joint effort from all the installation’s chapels, Strong said.
With the inclusion of preschool-aged children, ages 3 to those going into 6th grade are welcome. Each day will start at 9 a.m. and finish at noon.