‘Maker Fun Factory’: Vacation Bible School teaches religious values through creative and fun-filled activities

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Selena Colston, 7, walks with Jasmine Owens (right) as the 11-year-old points out details of the decorated hallway at Argonne Hills Chapel Center during Vacation Bible School. About 140 children attended the five-day program that ended Friday. (Photos by Nate Pesce)

Through music, games, arts and crafts, and cinema, youngsters attending Vacation Bible School learned the word of God and how to practice the lessons learned in their daily life.

About 140 children participated in the annual five-day program at Argonne Hills Chapel Center that began Aug. 7 and ended Friday.

Youngsters explore the nature outside of Argonne Hills Chapel Center during one of the sessions. Bible points are reinforced daily through stories from Scripture, games, crafts, songs and videos.

Throughout the week, children were split into four groups, participating in such activities as coloring posters, singing along to gospel music videos, bowling and golfing in the game room, playing freeze tag, forming Play-Doh creations and building alters out of wooden blocks.

“I believe this program is very successful,” said Marcia Eastland, Protestant Religious Education coordinator at Argonne Hills who has directed Vacation Bible School for 14 years. “The children learn very valuable lessons and learn to help others.”

The theme of this year’s event was “Maker Fun Factory.”

Vacation Bible School is sponsored annually by the installation’s Religious Support Office and features Bible points that are reinforced daily through Bible stories, games, crafts, songs and videos. The program is targeted to children ages 4 through fifth grade and is led by about 90 volunteers.

“I get a lot of joy out of teaching children about God,” volunteer Diane Smith said. “We have a great set of people to work with that really helps get the job done.”

(Left to right:) Lara Jackson, 9; Ariana Dillard, 10; and Alayna Dillard, 7, clap and sing along to the music video played on large screen in the sanctuary at Argonne Hills Chapel Center. The music session caps off each day’s program.

Through creative activities offered daily from 9 a.m. to noon, youngsters learned that God is with them wherever they go. The chapel center was decorated with children’s painted handprints, colorful sequins and quotes from Scripture.

“We aim to create a fun, safe environment for the children,” said Sheila Stewart, director of Religious Education. “We try to teach them as much as we possibly can, and just hope it sticks.”

The youngsters were able to use their creative minds outside of school while participating in a robot-making contest. Each robot was placed inside the chapel for all to see. The winner of the competition received a prize.

“I’m definitely having a great time,” said 8-year-old Claire, who attends Benfield Elementary School in Severna Park. “My favorite activity was art.”

Toward the end of the week, children brought in canned goods to be donated to the Fort Meade USO Center food pantry on 6th Armored Cavalry Road.

“Throughout the week I learned that God will always be there for us no matter what happens,” said Celeste, 11, who is home-schooled. “If you’re sad, angry or lonely, God will help you through it.”

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