This blog was originally published on Southeast Green by Beth Bond, GIPL Board Member.
If Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs have one thing in common, it is to teach children the joy and love God has for each individual child. Years ago VBS included lots of homemade crafts and songs that every generation knew. Over the years VBS became more scripted, grander, shinier and convenient. Somewhere along the way these highly produced programs which meant well, lost their way. The programs started to feel like kids’ real creativity was being taken away as their crafts became snapped together plastic things. Plastic trinkets from China were given out to help children remember their Bible verses. Elaborate sets were made of throwaway Styrofoam and yards of plastic sheeting. Like everything else it was accepted as the new norm. They weren’t intentionally trying to be wasteful. It just happened.
Beth Bond was a set director for several VBS programs. However, she never bought into using the disposable Styrofoam because she was on a path of Creation Care. She had an epiphany about how out of control it had all become when she saw the closet at her church at the time, full of large garbage bags full of what she calls “CPJ” (cheap plastic junk) ready to be dispersed to over 200 children. All of it imported from China with no attention paid to the distance, materials used, or even who had made it all.
It was then that Beth approached her Mother to help create an eco-friendly VBS program. Beth’s mother, Rev. Dawn Bond, is a pastor in South Alabama with the United Methodist Church. Rev. Bond helped with lessons, daily bible verses and music selections. Beth focused on games, crafts, daily themes, and the educational background for why the eco-friendly program chose to do things the way they were presented. The program is called Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet.
Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet has several distinct differences from traditional VBS programs – creativity, reuse of materials, healthier snacks, and eliminating a lot of the purchased items. Sets include plants that can be planted after the week on church campuses. The program can be used for age groups from Pre-K to 6th Grade. There are many more options for daily programming. VBS Directors can plan according to their individual needs because of the diversity of options.
Since the program is received by the Director in a collection of PDFs and Excel spreadsheets, there are very little costs. Beth and Dawn wanted a program that really was accessible to all congregations big and small. The price is $5.00 per child. Half of the proceeds will be donated to One More Generation. An organization founded by two teens that work on environmental issues.
For more information about Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet, please visit this website.
Tags: crafts, eco-friendly, little blue planet, sustainable, vacation bible school, vbs