VBS: The Delta Variant

August 28, 2021

Over the past 20 years of my tenure at church, our annual summer Vacation Bible School has been a constant, but with many variants. As with all kid-centric activities, flexibility has been the name of the game, and I always expect to face a few  unexpected developments. Memories…

There was the kid-who-shall-remain-nameless who felt sick mid-morning, then promptly GOT sick—on the sofa in the pastor’s office. The pastor was out of town, and we MAY have just cleaned up and never told him. Possibly. There was the sweet 10 year old who, it turns out, was highly allergic to just one of the 47+ varieties of Pop Tarts (we usually provide a fun junk food breakfast for our teen counselor helpers prior to opening, and of course had unwittingly served up POISON that morning). And who can forget the jolly piggyback rides the counselors used to give their young charges throughout the sessions? Not I, not after one jolly rider pitched over the head of her counselor, and ended up looking like she’d been in a car accident. Luckily, she had incredibly cool and understanding parents, but it certainly could have gone the other way.

But, even if I had the flexibility of a top yoga teacher, I wouldn’t have been prepared for Delta. This experience has been akin to crawling ashore after a shipwreck, only to be hit by a dune buggy. You think you’ve made it home safe, then, whammo. But after cancelling 2020’s festivities, we really wanted to try and find a way to make VBS happen this summer. The result is a very scaled-down version of things. 

Tuesday was our kickoff. The day dawned sunny (yay!) and also blisteringly hot and humid (not-so-yay). At 10 AM our little friends arrived, sunscreened and masked up and ready for fun. 

On the plus side: the decision to limit the time to two hours (10-noon) was a wise one.

On the minus side: the way the temp rose, maybe those two hours should have been 4-6 AM (hey, I was awake!)

Plus: holding this in late August, we caught some families who’ve never been able to attend in late June due to vacation schedules.

Minus: we lost a number of families for whom June was the only workable time.

Plus: we gave everyone a personalized, filled water bottle to tote and hydrate through the morning.

Minus: we sent the bottles home to be refilled and returned tomorrow. Maybe we should have kept them at church?

Plus: We had the cutest puppet yet for gathering time (Sparky the Dragon)

Minus: We were short staffed, so I ended up being both puppeteer and puppet. Shari Lewis must be spinning in her grave.

To sum up: it went well, all things considered. And every morning, as I arrive at church at Delta Dawn (couldn’t resist) for another sanitized and cautious get-together, I said a prayer that this surge too, shall pass, and our sweet kiddos make it safely to Vaccination Day.



    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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