Shelby Crossings hosts ‘Paint the World’

Asia was the continent on July 14 and campers drew henna-like designs on elephants for the day’s craft. (Reporter Photo / Jessa Pease)

Asia was the continent on July 14 and campers drew henna-like designs on elephants for the day’s craft. (Reporter Photo / Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

CALERA— Campers crawled through the esophagus of a whale on July 14 as part of Shelby Crossings’ “Paint the World” vacation Bible school. The sound of bubbles and grumbling mixed with the smell of tuna cans and sardines transformed the church’s gymnasium into the perfect atmosphere for campers to learn the story of Jonah.

This lesson was part of the Bible rotation for the kindergarten to fifth grade students. Each day, the groups of students rotate through four sessions: Craft, recreation, Bible and missions, and each day has a different theme created by volunteers at Shelby Crossings.

“We do things intentionally differently here,” said Pastor Ken Letson. “It’s very creative but we try to connect with the kids. The message doesn’t change from the ‘50s to now or 100 years from now.”

Whereas some churches purchase sets of vacation Bible school curriculums, Shelby Crossings chooses a theme and incorporates it into each of its four categories. The focus for the week is “Painting the World with God’s Love,” as children will learn the scriptures and focus on a different continent each day.

Asia was the continent on July 14 as campers drew henna-like designs on elephants for the day’s crafts and played badminton during the camp’s recreation time.

“It doesn’t matter to us if they are just neighborhood kids or if they go to our church, we love the Bible school,” said Shellyn Poole the children’s and preschool minister. “I think if we were doing something they had been to before it might get old hat, but because ours is so different it’s always a lot of fun.”

About 90 volunteers plan, create and run the Bible school and make it possible. One thing Poole said she feels is special about Shelby Crossings’ vacation Bible school is the number of youth volunteers they have. She said when the children in the bible schools become youth they want to continue to participate in it.

“I think that says a lot whenever children, as they grow, want to come back and be a part of something,” Poole said.

Letson said the camp is important to him because it is an opportunity to open a door and reach out to the community. In addition to bringing the community together, it brings the entire Shelby Crossings congregation together.

“It’s a week of fun, of Bible learning of games and of building community,” Leston said. “It really builds the community here. It is an encouraging time.”

“Paint the World” is a weeklong camp on July 13-17 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. For more information about Shelby Crossings, visit Shelbycrossings.com or call 690-8260.