VBS volunteers share stories, experiences
By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & saber /
“I love seeing the kids light up and get excited about the Bible learning,” said Sarah Beaman, the co-director of Fort Benning’s Vacation Bible School, about her time with VBS.
Beaman has been volunteering with VBS for six years, and she began co-directing the program five years ago.
Before coming to Fort Benning, Beaman volunteered six years with her church’s VBS in Trumansburg, New York. As co-director, Beaman helps plan the VBS, recruits volunteers and manages advertising.
Beaman said as a child she was an active participant in vacation bible school. Once she became too old to participate, her love of the ministry drove her to begin volunteering.
According to Beaman, Fort Benning’s VBS has approximately 280 kids each summer.
“Reaching these kids with the gospel and sharing Jesus with them is very important to me,” she said.
Having the opportunity to share with them that there is hope and that Christ is constant despite what’s going on in their lives, with moving and having moms and dads who are often gone, means a lot, she added.
In addition to her co-director duties, Beaman heads the drama portion of VBS each summer. During the drama segment of VBS, Beaman helps the children take a Bible story and bring it to life.
“It gives them a chance to step back in time and experience a Bible story. One year we did Jonah and the whale and we built a whale inside the classroom. And the kids would walk in and sit inside the whale while I played the part of Jonah,” Beaman said.
“The kids absolutely love it,” she added.
Beaman hopes the children will take what they learn during VBS and use it to shine a light on others around them.
Commie Thornton, another VBS volunteer, also hopes the children will take the lessons they learn in VBS and apply them to their everyday lives.
“I’ve seen kids come to VBS with low esteem and what they learn here turns that around. They leave with more love for themselves. They’re more motivated and enthusiastic. It does my heart good to see that,” Thornton said.
Thornton has been volunteering with VBS since 1984. She usually teaches a class during the weeklong school.
“I normally show the kids a video and once that’s over we discuss it. I also teach them a different Bible verse each day. It’s important to me to make a difference in their lives,” she said.
Thornton said that this year she will serve as a greeter, and she encourages parents to get their kids enrolled in VBS.
“Their children will have an opportunity to learn more about Christ while getting to know others,” she said.