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Summer Bible camps in the South Sound

Local churches offer weeklong camps for kids

Preschoolers at Our Savior Lutheran Church’s VBS hear Bible stories that are tailored for their age. Photo credit: Our Savior Lutheran Church

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Vacation Bible School, aka VBS, isn't what it used to be. It's better!  In fact, the summertime day camp where children learn about and experience the Christian faith has a new name at some churches.

"We refer to our week as Vacation Bible CAMP; it's way too much fun to be called ‘school!'" wrote the Rev. Carolyn Peterson, discipleship pastor at First United Methodist Church in Olympia.

And Olympia's Westwood Baptist Church calls its VBS - Summer Hummer.

"Summer Hummer is a place for a child to learn the meaning of life while having the time of their life," said Bruce Fuller, pastor of children's ministries.

No matter what they call it, local churches are packing these weeklong camps full of crafts, games, hands-on activities, music, service projects, and more.

"Parents will be amazed by what their child learns about the Gospel and the excitement they bring home each day," Fuller said.

Whether your children go every year or have never been, below are some VBS offerings worth checking out!

Bethany Baptist Church

Object lessons focusing on nature will teach children ages 4 through 6th grade to trust in Jesus during Bethany Baptist's "Sonrise National Park VBS" July 14-18 from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost is $18 per child or $45 for three or more children in the same family, and includes a bag, T-shirt, daily snack, and take-home crafts.

Bethany Baptist Church, 713 S. Hill Park Dr., Puyallup, 253.848.3556

First United Methodist Church

FUMC Olympia welcomes children entering kindergarten through 6th grade to its "WOW! Workshop of Wonders" Aug. 4-8 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Family Fun BBQ Friday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. Activities include stories and Bible lessons, games, crafts, snacks, music, service projects for older grades, and science fun all focusing on how the ordinary becomes extraordinary with God.

Attendance is free, but limited to the first 100 children. Parents may register their children online at or by calling 360.943.2661.

"We encourage families to come into the church after they have registered to pick up their free CD with songs and games so they are energized and ready for the week," Peterson wrote.

First United Methodist Church, 1224 Legion Way S.E., Olympia, 360.943.2661,

Lewis Main Chapel

Children ages 4 to 12 who have access to Joint Base Lewis-McChord are invited to attend "Wildness Escape" July 14-18 from 8 a.m. to noon. They will learn to depend on God to guide and provide just as Moses and the Israelites did. Object lessons, games and snacks will be enjoyed in an outdoor tent city - weather permitting. There also will be a petting zoo.

Eligible individuals over 12 years old who would like to participate are welcome to volunteer; a background check is required for volunteers 18 and older and must be completed by the end of June. Registration is possible at all of the chapel facilities on base or by calling 253.967.4681.

Lewis Main Chapel, South Liggett and 9th Division Dr., Building 2001, 253.967.4681

Our Savior Lutheran Church

"There is no cost. Just fun!" said Peggy Pielak, director of children's ministries, about Our Savior Lutheran Church's VBS. During "Kingdom of the Son," July 14-18, from 8:55 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., children age 3 through 6th grade will learn to talk to God as they explore the Lord's prayer. This safari themed day camp features Bible stories in drama form, Bible application, music, snacks, crafts, games for the elementary ages, and playtime in a Discovery Zone for preschoolers.  Each day starts and ends with music in a large assembly. There also will be a mission project and family night.

Registration forms are available in the church office and online at

Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4519 112th St. E., Tacoma, 253.531.2112

Westwood Baptist Church

Westwood's Summer Hummer invites children to discover the treasure of God's love with the tropical themed "SonTreasure Island" July 7 to 11. A half-day camp is available for 4-year-olds and completed kindergartners from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for $60. Completed 1st-graders through 6th-graders are eligible for the full-day camp from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; cost is $95 for the week. The registration fee includes a T-shirt, daily snacks and an invaluable amount of fun and learning. Register online at

The week culminates Friday, July 11, at 4:30 p.m. with Summer Hummer Family Fun Night featuring a rock wall, go carts, zip line, food, and campers' performance.

"It fills up very fast, and is already over half full," said Fuller. So register your kids for Summer Hummer fun now!

Westwood Baptist Church, 333 Kaiser Rd. N.W., Olympia, 360.866.6888

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