Like many of my kidmin friends, we are busy preparing for this year’s VBS, which is taking place mid-July. One of the key areas that we address is volunteer training.
Last night, we held our first of two trainings for our VBS volunteers. As Director, I lead our trainings, which are usually 90 minutes in length, by using the following outline:
Welcome: I introduce myself, welcome everyone and thank them for giving of their time and talent to help children learn more about the God who made and loves them. I open our time together with a word of prayer.
Brief curriculum overview: I give a general overview about the main Bible person we’ll talk about during the week and share what the children will experience through worship, crafts, drama, games, and snacks. This year, I showed the “Day at Wilderness Escape VBS” video to give them an even better idea of what the week would look like. I think that doing this fires up veteran volunteers as well as rookies, who have likely never seen a Holy Land VBS in action before.
Event details: I reiterate dates/information for:
- Week of VBS
- Times volunteers should arrive
- Set-up & take-down
- Celebration Service (our end-of-week family worship service – this year we’re moving it from Sunday to Friday night and following up with a picnic for volunteers, campers and their families to connect)
- T-shirt Sunday (the day that all VBS volunteers where their camp shirt and are prayed for at all morning services)
Safety Priorities: We cover 4 main areas for safety:
- Background checks (required for all volunteers ages 18 & older)
- Sexual abuse prevention (appropriate and inappropriate touch)
- Restroom policy
- Drop-off & pick-up procedures
We also cover other safety precautions (such as evacuating the building, first aid, etc) in the individual area breakout groups.
Dress Code: We give simple guidelines for teens & adults, as we want to make sure that ALL of our volunteers are appropriate covered.
Q & A: A time for volunteers to ask questions about anything they need clarity about.
Overview of ways to serve: Some of our volunteers do not indicate a preference on where they’d like to serve, so I give brief overviews of each area.
Wrap Up: I again thank everyone for coming and for signing up to serve with us. I encourage them in how their service will impact children and families as well as impact them personally. I close in prayer and then send everyone off to meet with their prospective groups (crafts, family leaders & assistants, games, preschool, etc.)
Setting the environment is also something we give some thought to in advance. We:
- Reserve rooms for the training
- Submit work orders for room set-up
- Email reminders to volunteers about the training dates, times and locations
- Purchase food & drinks
- Make necessary copies of manuals, volunteer spreadsheets, background check authorization forms, etc.
- Set out name tags, markers and pens
- Play camp music as volunteers arrive
- Create/select media elements we’ll use
- Do sound check for sound equipment
- Distribute t-shirts
Of course, I also touch bases with our leadership team (via email or text) with last-minute information ahead of time. I also send a ‘thank you’ text to the team after the training to thank everyone for all they did to make the event a success.
Before our last training, I get input from the team by asking them what areas we need to cover at the last training that might have gotten overlooked at the first one. Based on their responses (or my own thoughts), I tweak my talking points and make sure we’re all ready to go for Round 2!
How do you prepare for your VBS volunteer training? I’m always on the lookout for new, creative ideas, so share your ideas below!