Your VBS has come to a conclusion. After all the “de-decorating” has occurred one may think all he or she is left with are some traces of hay or sand, that yellow tacky left behind on the walls from posters, snack crumbs under the chairs, and all that leftover craft supplies that seem to always accumulate in that same corner until around Christmas time. But is there more to the aftermath of VBS?
Listed below are some suggestions my church implements in preparing for next year’s VBS, as well as in cleaning up the details from this summer’s fun.
What should I do after VBS is over?
1. Evaluate: This is such a crucial aspect in making an event even better. About two weeks after our VBS is over, the children’s staff at my church find ourselves sitting around a conference table thinking about things that went off extraordinarily, as well as discussing things that might not have come off with such a sensation. This is also a time where we can discuss volunteer evaluation forms that we distributed the last night of our VBS and examine specific areas that our volunteers pointed out as strong or weak aspects of VBS. It is important that one take time to reflect on every aspect of the program and evaluate what could go better next year. Think about each element of the event and ask questions such as, “What could make registration go smoother when that bottle-neck occurred during the first 15 minutes of every night?” or, “Why were the snack volunteers always flustered—were the snacks too hard to put together?”, and “Did we do a good job in making sure our children were secure and parents were identified before picking them up?” As one ponders over the events of VBS, ideas can come to mind to make even the smallest details fly more smoothly for next year, or one can become aware of something that may just not be working well and need tweaking before VBS 2011.
2. Show Appreciation: During my week of VBS, I really strived in thanking volunteers each night as I saw them working hard and loving on the children. Even though I tried to intentionally show appreciation for their long hours and dedication, I know that I must have had a few slip by without receiving a “pat on the back” or have some walk away feeling that it was just expected that they serve every year at VBS. One thing that can be done to try and show just how much your volunteers mean to you is to write them a hand written thank you note after VBS. Try to make each note unique by thinking of specific things you saw that volunteer do to serve the Lord. Receiving a thank you note can go miles with your volunteers and make them aware of the fact that you saw them serving that week and didn’t take their time for granted.
3. Organize & Store: One thing that resulted from our evaluation last year was the need to organize and store the supplies we used for crafts and recreation from each year. By organizing even the smallest things like crayons, scissors, tape, and hoop-la-hoops, these things won’t have to be bought next year and can save money in the VBS budget. This year we are making a conscience effort to keep things organized and labeled so that next year things will be on hand and we won’t have to make that last minute trip to the store for 10 more bean bags…
4. Follow-Up: Probably the most important aspect of VBS aftermath is to follow-up with children who visited VBS. It is vital to make contact with these families and welcome them to the church for your worship service and events. VBS can serve as a way for you and your church to reach your local community in the coming months and even years. Through one event, you have a door to reach these children on a daily basis and share with them and their families the Good News of the Gospel.