Summer is quickly approaching and that means one thing, VBS! As the VBS organizer, it is up to you to select the curriculum, organize the event and your volunteers. Let us face it, without volunteers, VBS would not be possible. These tips and ideas will help you gather volunteers and keep your helpers happy. Keeping your program simple will go along way in having a good time.
Children often relate to bigger kids before they relate to adults. Fill your volunteer rosters with teen helpers. Teens are perfect for leading games, activities and crafts. Spread teens out amongst your congregation during worship and encourage them to worship as examples to kids. Kids follow teens.
2. Poll the Volunteers
Meet with your volunteer team before setting a date for the VBS. While there is no way to please everyone, you can poll your volunteers to pick a date and time when most will be in town and not working. Do not be opposed to changing previous formats in order to accommodate your helpers.
Involve parents in the prep work. Invite parents to participate in making goodie bags, setting up classrooms and decorations. Provide each parent with a supply list of items needed. Parents might want to provide something on the list or talk to people who would.
Create a website or blog to stay connected with volunteers. The blog should offer a way for volunteers to stay connected with you. Post new developments and workdays on your website. Choose a free website from sites like Wix.com or WordPress.com.
5. Kick Off Event
Hold an official kick off event for all volunteers. Keep it simple like having a brunch or a coffee and dessert bar. Hand out welcome packages and lanyards with badges. Give your volunteer commemorative t-shirts or some small trinket of thanks. Provide some type of orientation to volunteers who are not familiar with your church.
6. Volunteer Stations
Appoint volunteers to certain stations. You will need people working at different areas like the registration table, snack bar and prize tables. Change it up daily to allow volunteers a chance to work in different areas. Assign stations numbers or quirky names that go with your theme. For instance, a Beach VBS theme could have stations like the Beach Shack, the Surfboard Shop or the Big Palm Tree.
7. Recognize Volunteers Daily
Have a shout out to volunteers at the beginning and ending of each VBS day. Volunteers should stand, wave and receive applause from the children they served.
8. Snap Photos
The number one regret of most leaders is they did not take enough photographs. Snap plenty of pictures of volunteers interacting with kids and one another. At the end of the event, burn copies of the pictures to put on disc for volunteers. They will treasure this one memento forever.
9. Post VBS Recognition
At the end of the event, provide your volunteers with lots of recognition. There is nothing ignoble about receiving thanks for hard work. Print something in the church bulletin and send a personal thank you note to your volunteers, preferably one that is handwritten.
Most leaders know this but it bears repeating. Never lead from an ivory tower. To be a leader who keeps volunteers faithfully, you need to interact with them during your service together. This might be offering a hand, giving a hug or a word of encouragement or at the very least saying “Thank you!”