When life is unfair, scary, changing, sad and good, we must remember God is good and His love is enough. This was the message given to the 77 children, 40 teenagers, 20 young adults and over 10 adults who participated at St Francis of Assisi’s, Sangre Grande Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School (VBS) camp July 8–12.
This year’s camp themed ROAR! An African Safari Adventure served as a powerful experience of bringing the whole parish community together in a fun faith-filled environment.
The camp was introduced to the parish two years ago by its parish priest and Spiritual Adviser, Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC), Fr Matthew Ragbir who has previously directed a VBS camp with the Living Water Community in St Lucia.
ROAR 2019 explored God’s goodness and celebrated faith through music, dance, Bible adventures, imagination crafts, sports, videos, acting, food crafts, praying, environmental projects and more.
The team of young adults who worked with Fr Ragbir began planning about four months prior and hosted a number of training sessions for the team, including a special youth version of the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children Programme, and fundraisers to offset camp costs and make it affordable as possible.
The day began 7 a.m. for the teenagers, young adults and adults with morning prayer and reflection. A briefing of the day’s proceedings followed with a sumptuous breakfast prepared by a team of women from the parish.
ROAR 2019 officially kicked off 9 a.m. with Sing and Play in the ‘Safari Savannah’ where everyone gathered for an hour-long celebration of faith. The children then headed off to four different stations—Bible Discovery, Stampede Sports, KidVid, Imagination— which was rotated throughout the day.
Children were divided into crews of 6–8 children with two crew leaders per crew. Each child in the crew was given a daily responsibility. Lunch was provided by families in the parish for the entire camp.
VBS always includes a day of reflection on the Paschal mystery on the Thursday. This encouraged participants to encounter Jesus in prayer. On Friday afternoon, the final camp day, the parish invited the parents to experience the Safari Celebration where the children sang, danced and shared their experiences and learnings from the week.
All in all, Fr Ragbir said that all the camp planning and energy was definitely worth it. “All for the glory of God!” he said. He hopes that many parishes would be inspired by their own testimony and give the Totally Catholic VBS a try.