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Jul 09, 2015 | Kimberly Sutton

St. James, Conroe to Host VBS Art Camp

Interactive, creative, unique and original describes the Art Camp Vacation Bible School set for July 13-17 at St. James the Apostle Episcopal Church in Conroe.  

Upwards of 150 campers or more are expected to converge on the St. James campus for the one-of-a-kind VBS, which offers a balance of visual and performing arts and crafts, all firmly based on scripture related to creation, transformation, and anything else to do with using and cultivating God-given gifts and talents. This year, 89.3 FM KSBJ will be broadcasting live from the first day of Art Camp to help kick off the week.



“All adds up to a VBS unlike any other in the community, a big plus for parents, as well as participants,” said parishioner Colleen Hyche, who founded Art Camp VBS and currently works to implement the program in churches throughout the diocese and across the country.


Campers experience the arts by painting, drawing, clay, cooking, drama, puppets, music and movements, and all are updated and refreshed with the help of a three-year rotation of themes: God, Our Great Creator; The Light of Christ Colors Our World; and We Are the Body of Christ.


This summer’s Art Camp VBS, the fourth for St. James, will re-visit God, Our Great Creator, but this time with a focus on water. Not only will campers learn about water’s central role as a symbol of God’s love in stories throughout the Bible, but they also will consider how essential water is to the ongoing process of creation today.


As well, campers will consider the needs of others in the community and around the world.


“Every year, we have what we call a community goal and a world goal,” Hyche said. “This allows even these little children an opportunity to see that they can have a great impact on those less fortunate than themselves.


“This year, the children are collecting children’s toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo for the local shelters. Our world goal is to collect money to purchase water filters through the Water for Africa program so people will have clean drinking water.”


St. James’ first Art Camp VBS in 2012 hosted 44 campers, and the program has almost doubled in size each year, drawing more than more than 150 kids last year. Hyche said children – and also their parents – say they like the way Art Camp VBS provides a healthy, wholesome venue for “artistic play” often not included with typical “out-of-the-box” VBS programs.


“Creativity is a gift from God,” Hyche said. “It feeds the soul and it definitely feeds mine. It is really an amazing thing to see how something I created can take root and, by the grace of God, flourish and grow beyond anything I could have ever imagined.


“It’s a powerful experience seeing churches come alive with color and creativity, seeing the lasting bonds and memories created by the parishioners who volunteer and seeing these same volunteers grow spiritually because they are a part of sharing creativity with campers and themselves.


“Of course, probably the greatest reward for me is seeing the joy on the faces of the campers each day when they see the connection of their own creativity to their Creator.”