9 Tips for Planning a Safe VBS

How to prepare for this significant summer event.

Is your church ready for Vacation Bible School? Has your children’s ministry team started preparing? If you haven’t thought about it yet this year, consider this your warning: it’s time to start planning.

Here are a few things to consider throughout this month:

  1. Set a date. If you don’t have Vacation Bible School on your church calendar yet, it’s absolutely key that you put it on there now.
  2. Develop a plan for screening volunteers. Children’s safety is the most important factor when it comes to VBS. In order to make sure the children attending it are safe, you need to be certain the adults working with them can be trusted in their roles.
  3. Start gathering volunteers. While it may be too early to meet with everyone you hope will help with VBS, it is important that you get a small team of lead volunteers together who can help you plan and make this year’s VBS a success.
  4. Decide on a theme and order a curriculum. Curriculum is pivotal when it comes to how successful your event will be. Be sure to order a curriculum that fits with your church’s setting and the age groups you’re trying to reach. Also, when deciding a theme, consider your volunteers and the space you have available.
  5. Distribute information. Once you’ve decided on a date and theme, it’s time to get the word out. Start by putting information in your church bulletin, on the church website, and on any other calendars around the church building. After your church community is aware of the event, brainstorm some ways to let the wider community know: putting flyers up at a local coffee shop, sending invitations to friends, or even something creative and artistic, like chalk signs on sidewalks.
  6. Create a VBS calendar. Create a calendar for the week of VBS. As you plan what will happen each day, create to-do lists and ask the rest of your volunteers to help based on your needs.
  7. Review waivers and release forms. Your church likely uses waivers or release forms for VBS participants. Make certain you understand these documents. They can be helpful, but there are legal limitations. Perhaps most importantly, leaders shouldn’t develop a false sense of security about the needs for good supervision, good decisions about the safety of activities, and good precautions to take to help ensure the well-being of participants.
  8. Ensure you have a medical emergency plan. To be prepared for a medical emergency, you’ll need to have a basic First Aid kit at the VBS location; you’ll also need an emergency contact form for each child in case of a serious emergency.
  9. Plan for the possibility of overflow. Hopefully, you’ll have the problem of having too many people at your church for VBS. If that’s the case, you’ll want to consider issues like the best use of the parking lot and how to direct drop-off and pick-up traffic.

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