Jul 28

Van Orsdel UMC (Havre) Youth provide an AWESOME Day Camp VBS for campus!

This week, Intermountain hosted twenty youth and adult volunteers from Van Orsdel United Methodist Church. The group had visited last November, while the Van Orsdel Commons and chapel was still in construction, and I invited them back to do VBS… and they said YES!

The group came and shared a modified version of the VBS curriculum by Group called “Shipwrecked,” complete with games, music, special art projects and engaging Bible lessons. I purchased t-shirts for the kids that carried a major theme for the week, that Jesus rescues… so the shirts read, “My Lifeguard Walks on Water!”

The shirt reads, "My Lifeguard Walks On Water: VBS Day Camp 2018"

The shirt reads, “My Lifeguard Walks On Water: VBS Day Camp 2018”

In addition to the VBS Day Camp, other helpers made themselves useful around campus. Under the leadership and direction of Tina Thomas, the group took one afternoon to help revitalize the chapel garden space. I was able to obtain a Thrivent Action Grant that provided funds for the raised beds, ground cover and mulch!

Throughout the week, there were plenty of opportunities to learn about how to do ministry with a group of children who have significant trauma-related issues. For instance, one of the “KidVid” videos that Group Publishing prepared focused on the story of an African child that had been abandoned. I had to explain that if we showed that video, it would be too difficult for a number of our children whose trauma-stories are too similar to that depicted on the video. As youth leader Tina Thomas reflected, “I think we had a lot of good information from you [Chaplain Chris] about things to avoid and things that would work well. I appreciated being able to take time with the VOUMC kids to give them alternative suggestions [to aspects of the curriculum that might re-traumatize]!”

The youth and their leaders had a wonderful time with the children and staff of Intermountain. Here are a few of their comments at the end of the week:

  • “The best thing was having the opportunity to meet the kids… the hardest thing will be leaving them.” –Stanley
  • “I would tell any church considering volunteering at Intermountain that if you get the opportunity to come and spend time or help these kids in any way, you definitely should… it was a really fun and amazing time.” –Ivy
  • “The hardest thing was that one of the Intermountain kids had a break down, but the adults in our group handled it and are so great with all the kids… I really liked just being able to meet and interact with the kids; it was a great experience.” –Christina
  • “I really enjoyed my time and getting to know some the kids.” –Charles
  • “I liked how the Intermountain kids had VERY good manners. They would always say please and thank you and were very polite!” –Lizzi
  • “The best thing that happened at Intermountain happened on the first day of camp. After we had been to all the stations, all the kids came to me and asked, ‘Are you going to be here tomorrow?’ It made me happy to know the kids were eager to see us again.” –Molly

Every year between late July and the second week of August, we invite a guest group from one of our many ministry partners to come to campus and host our VBS Day Camp program. Perhaps your church or youth group would like to consider bringing the program in 2019? If so, it’s never too early to let me know!

Here are a few pictures from the week:


The group added prayers to the inside of the raised beds


Getting the Imagination Station set up!


setting up on Monday


writing prayers for the children and for Intermountain’s ministry


Group photo at the beginning of Day Camp


putting mulch down around the raspberries


A full team effort!