The Fort Leonard Wood Religious Support Office will be hosting its Vacation Bible School virtually this year due to ongoing social-distancing protocols.
Participants can visit the RSO Facebook Page from July 20 through 24, where educational materials and media will be uploaded beginning at 9 a.m. each day, with an end-of-day update and theatrical production appearing later at 7 p.m.
The curriculum is meant for children from pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade, according to the RSO.
Families may pick up preorganized drawstring bags filled with lesson plans, crafts and snacks at the Main Post Chapel until 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Martha Strong, director of religious education, said the virtual releases and lack of onsite programs have resulted in a more flexible schedule for children and parent participants alike.
“(Parents) can work with their children doing the crafts and activities, but they’re flexible in that they can do it anytime that day – or, actually anytime from when it posts next week to clear until the end of August,” she said. “So, if they have a different commitment next week on one of those days, they can do it later in the afternoon or whenever they want.”
As was custom in previous years’ VBS, this year will include theatrical productions from several chapel members, Strong said. However, videos were pre-recorded so participants can watch from the safety and comfort of their own home.
Kimberly Grosso directed the play, which revolves around this year’s theme, “IncrediWorld.” The production is set in a fictitious amusement park where children are taught lessons ranging from scientific topics like biology to moral-centric ones such as ethics and forgiveness.
Grosso, who has had a hand in producing the theatrical portion of VBS for multiple years now, said inclusivity is also a recurring theme.
“It’s not judging people for who they appear to be, but just taking everybody for who they are,” she said. “The idea is that IncrediWorld is a theme park not just for fun, rides and excitement but … you’re going to come and learn.”
She said she hopes the children enjoy the play and wishes she could see their reactions.
“We are big drama buffs in our family,” Grosso said. “We love seeing the kids get excited and encouraged by the programs.”
Strong said the virtual setting of VBS may be a blessing in disguise as it allows parents to actively get involved with their child’s learning experience.
“I’ve heard from a couple families and some kids’ disappointment because they’re not going to make new friends at VBS and that sort of thing, as far as being with the other children,” she said. “We want to provide them with the educational experience, and in some ways, maybe it’s a good experience for the parents to be doing it with their child.”
She added the RSO worked in the interest of the community and its children to make VBS possible this year. While many in the chapel wish in-person programs were feasible, staying healthy and safe is a top priority.
“We want to make it fun for them, and still let them have that experience (while) staying safe in our community with the social distancing and restrictions that we have right now,” she said.
To sign up for VBS and for more information, visit the RSO Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fortleonardwoodrso.