Saturday, July 01, 2006

Concordia's "Treasure Cove"

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... Christian and Lutheran Life...

I've been helping with Vacation Bible School (VBS) music every afternoon this week. I didn't do much. A CD came with the VBS materials for the kids to sing along with, so it was very easy. (I didn't have to learn the songs on the piano! Yay!)

The VBS materials had an extensive and well-developed treasure hunt theme. In the church where we had openings and closings, it was decorated as "Treasure Cove." Chester, a talking treasure chest, appeared in short videos that we watched during the openings and closings.

Each day the kids collected clues to help Chester find his missing jewels. Each day, one jewel was discovered and returned. The jewel of each day was used as a symbol that related to the Bible lesson, and at the end of the week, all of the jewels fit into a cross that had been used as a prop throughout the week.

The music was upbeat and fun. The kids were trying to sing the theme song without their song sheets within a couple of days. One of this week's songs was set to the melody of "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and another was set to the melody of Harry Belafonte's Banana Boat song ("Day-O"). (Music samples here.)

Each of the lessons was centered around the idea of treasure, too. The overall theme was "Riches in Christ", and the first four lessons were about events in the life of Jesus:

"Discovering Treasure!" (Jesus feeds 5000.)
"Showing Treasure!" (Jesus walks on water.)
"Knowing Treasure!" (Jesus washes feet.)
"Trusting Treasure!" (The risen Jesus at the beach.)

The fifth lesson was:
"Sharing Treasure!" (Apostle Paul in a shipwreck)

Over the years, I've been involved with many Vacation Bible Schools and I've seen a lot of Vacation Bible School packages. Perhaps I should explain that in this day and age, churches usually purchase a VBS package rather than trying to invent their own materials from scratch.

My congratulations to Concordia Publishing House for a job well done. I'm really impressed with the creativity and appeal of the materials in the "Treasure Cove" package.

Much is said about modern children being interested only in entertainment -- game systems, computers, videos, television, etc. This VBS package proved that their attention and interest can still be brought to focus on the Gospel.

This evening after VBS was over, we had a simple picnic with hot dogs, pork & beans, macaroni & cheese, and finger foods. The kids played frisbee and hide-and-seek and the adults sat around and chatted. It was a nice finale to a pleasant week.

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Wrkinprogress said...

I have many fond memories of VBS, both as a kid and as a teacher. Way back in the olden days (when I was a kid), there were no videos or electronic assistance materials for us, but we still had a fabulous time. No one can beat the fun of making those VBS crafts, and having homemade ice cream on the last day!

Genevieve said...

VBS crafts! Oh, yes, I remember them back in the day. We often painted a plaster-of-paris plaque. I remember my mother making them with little red rubber molds. I also remember doing some paint-by-numbers when I was older. The teachers probably liked them a lot. It took all week for us to do a pint-by-number!

Micah Nordtvedt said...

I've got to hand it to Concordia that they did a good job of making Jesus the focus of this VBS material. There are way to many VBS packages out there that function to socialize the children to conform to "Christian Behavior" From what I heard of the music it is pretty decent. But the DVD video is absolutely horrid. The "Blues Clues"-ish video may be appropriate for preschool, but come on. It's like basing a VBS on teletubbies. There's absolutely no plot (for there to be a plot, there must be a bad guy to create tension).
Also, the whole find the clues was difficult and most of the clues were filler words that were totally unnecessary to finding the treasure. Surely there's a better way to give clues than have a clue be the word "in".
I scrapped the whole Chester thing and made up a pirate identity with a bit of a story line, though I wish I would have had the time to write a skit (with a plot) and actors to play the parts.
So I have mixed feelings about his material and it makes me wonder how these companies can churn out junk like this (there is so much stuff in it that is so totally unnecessary). It makes me think that I should write a VBS curriculum that is devoid of all the unnecessary stuff that clutters and just have quality material (skits, stories, themes, music, and crafts).

Genevieve said...

I don't know the ages or attitudes of the kids you were working with, but even the big kids (through 5th grade) at our VBS seemed to find Chester amusing and the little kids liked him a lot. Really, those Chester segments on the DVD were brief enough that I didn't think anyone had time to get very bored with them.

I'm sorry you didn't like the materials, but I thought they were Gospel-centered, fun, and well organized around the theme.

There is always a need for good quality, Christ-centered, VBS programs, and I'm sure you'll be able to get such a program published if you have the gift for writing those kinds of materials.

I also hope you have expressed your thoughts about the Treasure Cove VBS materials to Concordia, as well as here on my quiet, peaceful, little blog. They would surely like to know why you didn't like the package.

Genevieve said...

A surprising number of people come to this page looking for information about the Treasure Cove VBS materials, so I think I should add that some information about Micah Nordtvedt's background is available on the internet and it makes his comments more understandable. Apparently, he has a great interest in drama, is active in drama groups, has worked in drama at his church, and has written some Christian drama.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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