Treasures, Trash, and Tradition

“What was your favorite part of VBS?” I asked.  “Crafts!” was the repeated reply from numerous kids at the end of the week of this year’s (and many other years’) bible school.

We know at some point we cannot keep them all.  At least the adults realize this.  The kids keep trying to stuff them in or pile them up. Some are complete fails that just flop (or burst) before they even make it home – we’ll get to that later.  I, for one, have a beautiful selection of crafts that I deem true treasures.  My daughter took her time and did a nice job and she continues to enjoy it.  Others I have sneakily removed and put them in the trash when she wasn’t looking.  To her the broken, half missing, flopping craft is still a fun-filled memory she holds dear to her heart of things she made with Miss Kim.

Kim Cruzan (green shirt) teaching crafts at VBS

Kim Cruzan is the self-proclaimed (not in a boastful way) craft lady.  She willingly takes on the challenge of finding economical projects that can be “easily” done for a bunch of kids with a wide variety of skills and ages all while trying to stick to a theme that corresponds with that year’s bible school.  This year wasn’t any different and her theme to go on was western.  Thankfully there were a lot of ideas to use (yeah Pinterest!), but still the balance of pricing out the options of kits (and trying not to over order) and fully DIY (Do It Yourself) options isn’t easy.  She also tries to take into account when choosing the craft list if it will be something fun, different, and truly a worth while keepsake. Not to mention once she gets her list made she does all of the rounding up of those odds and ends of wire, dowels, feathers, corks, rubber stoppers and what nots that take several trips and stores to find “just the right size”.  We also must stick with tradition: picture frames.  For at least 7 years, the kids have had their pictures taken and later in the week have assembled, painted, glued, and created some sort of picture frame for it to go in.  This year the preschoolers got to do a “Most Wanted” poster.  Each child took his or her photo and used markers and foam stickers to put on a disguise.  I saw kids with huge mustaches, “what big eyes you have” eyes, extra ponytails, bows, and hair pieces.  The idea was to be like the Wild West outlaws who would mark up the wanted posters so others wouldn’t be able to identify them as the bad guy.  Not to mention, the kids were allowed to make silly faces while getting their picture taken in the first place.

Thankfully none of the picture frames have been complete failures as other crafts have been.  One year the kids made glitter tubes with various items inside and it was sealed at both ends of clear tubing with rubber stoppers.  The kids loved them.  They got to choose the color of the water that went inside and the items to watch fall to the bottom as they flipped it over and over.  The craft book did not include the warning that CHILDREN will be playing with them.   CHILDREN love to swing things around.  CHILDREN will find a way to break things and make a mess – albeit accidentally most of the time.  If you haven’t guessed it, one beautiful sparkly water-filled, glitter-filled, food coloring-filled tube was swung around and hit against the newly painted church wall and burst forth its contents onto it and the also newly installed church carpet.  Most of it came out.

Whether the kids make a mess or not, doesn’t really matter.  They seem to have fun and have their crafts as a wonderful reminder of their time.  I still treasure some crafts I made as a child at camp and now am able to love the ones my children are making at Marlboro with Miss Kim.  Hopefully, they will last as long as some of mine have and not have to be thrown out.  I know Miss Kim isn’t ready for it, but I already am curious as to what new ideas and fun things the kids will do next year.

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