VBS teaches military children religious resilience

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nick Daniello
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The usually quiet halls of the chapel were transformed this past week, June 25-29, with the rustle, bustle and laughs of dozens of children and volunteers enjoying their time at the Shipwrecked themed, Vacation Bible School.

With focus on Christian-based beliefs, children spend this five-day youth program in various stations learning different lessons that fit snuggly into the overarching message of “Rescued by Jesus,” ultimately building resiliency through religion.

“Some of the kids that come in here have never even walked into the church,” said Kortne Wagaman, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Catholic religious education director. “This is about getting children out of their normal routine and to not only visit with their friends, but to also learn about Jesus.”

These lessons are not limited to teaching Bible verses and songs, they give military children important tools to build their spiritual resilience in the face of the numerous challenges and stressors they encounter on an almost daily basis.

“A lot of people don’t realize that kids do have a lot of stress within their own lives,” she said. “The biggest thing within the military community is the struggle that kids face with their parents always leaving on deployments, and a lot of these Bible verses are teaching them that God gives us hope, God gives us strength, and they grow and learn that they have strength in their friends and in God.”

All of the activities that the kids participated in each day immersed them in faith development and in religious support of the military community.

“In the Christian context, ‘Jesus Rescues,’” said Maj. Shawn Bishop, 92nd ARW wing chaplain. “As humans we need divine support, and God provides that for us to thrive. Human character, resilience and identity is formed early in us as children to the extent that we can influence healthy character development, strong resiliency and meaningful identity in kids early on. This can result in growth throughout their years and when it’s built upon, the results are resilient adults that understand who they are and will have a solid character to contribute to society.”

For more information on the various religious support services that the Chaplain Corps provides, contact the base Chapel at (509) 247-2264.