Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Toni Jane Pallatto - St. Theresa School (Little Flower)
CORAL GABLES | At Vacation Bible Camp, sessions boast colorful names like Imagination Station, Game Makers, Bible Discovery and KidVid Cinema.
But underneath the fun and games at St. Theresa School, the 130 campers are taught age-old themes: God made you, God is for you, God is always with you, God will always love you, God made you for a reason.
“They are actively engaged in a different Bible point each day, with scripture supporting it,” said Jorge Santibaņez, director of the camp and of religious education and youth ministry at Little Flower. “And every other day, we focus on the life of a saint.”
During the camp, now in its seventh year, campers start arriving at St. Theresa School at 7:30 a.m. At 9 a.m. they hear a recap of the Bible themes, with “buddies” who represent the themes, songs and videos to which campers sing and dance, or the life of a saint.
In Bible Discovery sessions, camp leaders act out different parts of the Bible. It keeps them sharpening their own learning skills, Sebastian Ordoņez says.
“Today, I'm King David,” said Ordoņez, who has been attending Vacation Bible Camp since 2010, first as a camper and now as a volunteer. “It makes you want to attend every day, and really understand the Bible.”
Videos, too, focus on camp themes, said Isabella Piņera, volunteer in KidVid. One recent video showed Matthew, a child who loved science, “explaining how he wants to use this passion to help others,” she said.
Bottom line of the videos: “The campers have a unique identity as a loved son or daughter of the Father,” said Andrew Farinato, adult leader of KidVid Cinema and a seminarian on assignment at Little Flower. “I want them to understand God has a plan for them.”
Imagination Station includes science experiments, allowing campers to create objects and take them home. “It serves as a reminder for the campers as to the Bible verse of the day,” said Diana Vega, adult leader in VBS for six years. Her own daughter, Sofia, 11, has been here for all of the years.
“It is a gift from God to be able to do this,” Vega added.
Antonio Fernandez, parent of 8-year-old Anthony, praises the Bible camp for blending engaging activities and worthwhile lessons.
“The staff does a wonderful job of showing that following God is fun, too,” Fernandez said. “They see that God really has a reason for each and every life while they have a good time with their peers and volunteers alike. It is a wonderful two weeks that flies by.”
St. Theresa is the parish school of Church of the Little Flower, with more than 900 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Founded in 1925, it has been run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles since 1991.