Vacation Bible School: Spiritual Summer Enrichment

shutterstock_59277883Many adults have fond memories of Vacation Bible School. The setting was different from a Sunday school setting: the crafts and other sessions, like music, were each done in different classrooms. The projects were fun to make and often quite complicated. The crafts, music and lessons all carried the theme of the Vacation Bible School, and often the rooms were completely decorated in the times of the lesson as well. There were even outside activities that related to the theme, or if the weather was wet, a room was cleared for gym-like activities. Sharing the experience with children can be enjoyable regardless of one’s age or experience. Teenagers can enjoy sharing their gifts and talents with the younger children, as can older congregants.


Historical origins

In 1894, Mrs. D. T. Miles, a Sunday school teacher, began a summer four-week Bible school. She enrolled forty students in the school. This humble origin for Vacation Bible School soon inspired Eliza Hawes, the children’s department director at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City. She rented a saloon (the only place available) to run a Bible School six weeks during the summer of 1898. She included memory verses, music, Bible Stories, games, crafts, drawing, cooking and other projects. In the seven years she ran the Vacation Bible School, she expanded it to include seven separate schools.

Dr. Robert Boville carried the programs even further. Having become aware of the Hawes’ schools, he started five different schools run by students at Union Theological Seminary. One thousand students enrolled during one summer in those five schools. He also founded the World Association of Vacation Bible Schools in 1923, as VBS spread to other countries. Standard Publishing was the first to create a full VBS program in 1923. Classes were divided by grade level in 1948, and a single themed curriculum was designed in 1952. Standard publishing reported in 1998 that over 5 million children attend a Vacation Bible School each year. The Standard Publishing Company still publishes VBS Curriculum, under a new name, Christian Standard Media.


Current trends

Christian Standard Media is the forerunner of a variety of Vacation Bible School curriculum. A variety of programs are available for Vacation Bible School, some associated with a denomination, others with non-denominational focus. Some programs focus on a theme, like heroes in the Bible, others focus on a principle, such as application of Biblical truth. The variety of curriculum available speaks to the differing interests and focus of the various congregations in our country. Many VBS programs include both activities to encourage the personal spiritual growth of the participants and activities to embolden children to share their faith in service of other people in the community.


Broward VBS Offerings by Date

Grace Baptist Church

501 NE 48th St

Pompano Beach, FL 33064

June 12-16, 6:30-9 p.m.




First Baptist Fort Lauderdale

301 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

June 12-16, 6:30-8 p.m.




Plantation Baptist Church

11700 NW 28th Ct

Plantation, FL 33323


June 13-16, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Ages 4- 5th grade, Free.


St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

1750 E. Oakland Park Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334

June 13-16, 8:30-11:30 am



[email protected]


First Baptist Pompano

138 NE 1st St

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Cave Quest

June 13-17, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

3 years old-entering 8th grade, Free


Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

5555 N Federal Highway

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


June 13-17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Kindergarten-5th grade, $30



Sheridan Hills Baptist Church

3751 Sheridan St

Hollywood, FL 33021

Family Camp

June 13-17, 6-8 p.m.

12 and under: $20, 13 and up: $25, family 5+: $99


First Church of the Nazarene

916 NE 4th Street

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

June 13–17, 6:30–9 p.m.


Ages 3-12 yrs old



Cross Community Church

841 SE 2nd Court

Deerfield Beach 33441

Cave Quest

June 14, 15 & 16

6:15-8:00 pm

Kindergarten- 5th, Free

Email [email protected] or call 561-252-3570


Gracepoint Church

5590 N. E. 6th Ave.

Ft. Lauderdale FL 33334

Space Camp

June 20-24th, 6-8:30 p.m.

5 years old- 5th grade, free

Visit or call 954-491-1283.


Plantation Community Church

6501 W Broward Blvd

Plantation, FL 33317


June 20-25, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

$35 for the first child and $30 for each additional child


Community Christian Church

10001 W Commerical Blvd.

Tamarac, FL 33351

Cave Quest-Kidz Camp

June 20-24 & June 27-July 1, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

3 years old- 5th grade, $10 before May 22, $20 after

Email [email protected] or visit


Bethel Worship Center

6060 Kimberly Blvd,

North Lauderdale, FL 33068

June 20-24, 6 -9 p.m.





Harbour Church

217 NE 3rd St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Camp Eleven: Under the Big Top

June 27-July 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

1st-5th grade, $65

Visit or email [email protected]


New Presbyterian Church

512 NE 26th Street

Wilton Manors, FL 33305

June 27–July1, 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Cave Quest



New Life Fellowship Center

8720 NW 44th St

Sunrise, FL 33351

June 27-July1, 6-9 p.m.

Submerged VBS 2016



Davie United Methodist Church

6500 SW 47th Street

Davie, FL 33314

June 27–July 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m.


Lighthouse Bible Church

4213 N Federal Highway

Pompano Beach, FL  33064

Star Force – The Real Saga, The True Force

July 11-15, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.


Visit or contact [email protected]


Temple Aron HaKodesh

4751 NW 24th Court

Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33313

July 18-22, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Deep Sea Discovery



First Presbyterian Church of Ft Lauderdale

401 SE 15th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

August 1-5, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

$45 – $55


Palm Beach VBS Offerings by Date

Grace Community Church

600 W Camino Real

Boca Raton, FL 33486

VBS – Cave Quest!

June 6–10, 9 a.m.-12 pm


[email protected]


Victory Church

3499 NW Boca Raton Blvd.

Boca Raton, FL 33433

Cave Quest

June 13-June 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Ages 5-11, $40

Contact [email protected] or visit


Son Life Lutheran Church

9301 Jog Rd

Boynton Beach, FL 33437

Barnyard Roundup

June 13-17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

children ages 3 to 10


Grace Emmanuel Bible Church

17475 Jonathan Dr,

Jupiter, FL 33477

Pilgrim’s Progress

June 27-July 1, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

$10 per child or $ 30 per family


Reveal Fellowship

8431 Lake Worth Rd

Lake Worth, FL 33467

June 27–July 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Music Summer Camp



Christ Community Church

1000 Wellington Trace,

Wellington, FL 33414

July 13-15, 6-8:15 p.m., July 16, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Cave Quest


New Beginnings Community Church

Crystal Lakes Elementary School, 6050 Gateway Blvd

Boynton Beach, FL 33436

July 17-21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.




New Life Alliance Church

1815 Forest Hill Blvd.

West Palm Beach, FL 33406

July 18–22, 6–8:30 p.m.

Cave Quest


Share this article