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This forum is collecting lesson ideas that seem more suited for VBS, or where multiple Bible stories are covered over several days or several weeks using a fun "theme-y" VBS-kind of approach.  If you have a specific Bible story in mind, look it up in our Bible Story Forums Questions should be posted in the Teachers Lounge.

 Camp Bible Wahoo!  

Camp Bible Wahoo! a "church camp themed" Sunday School program that can be used as a VBS, or summer program, or anytime you want to create a special set of classroom spaces. Similar to the Rotation Model, it was designed to use readily-available materials to create special indoor learning spaces for teaching Bible stories. You might change the "theme" depending on your chosen stories.

The camp theme can work for just about any Bible story.

Lake Bible Wahoo! had a real sand floor!
The inspiration came from an old "seaside with the Savior" curriculum.



See the more detailed post below about this concept and how a small church pulled it off.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

My Camp Bible Wahoo! Notesmoose

from Neil MacQueen, copied with permission

Camp Bible Wahoo! was a 9 Week "Church Camp" -themed Summer Sunday School at my church many years ago. It could be adapted in regular Sunday School or as a VBS.

Here are the three camp-themed learning spaces we rotated through:

  1. Gospel Grove campfire -where we started most weeks with music and storytelling.
  2. Lake Bible Wahoo Beach (where we had real sand, video, and game activities)
  3. Camping Tents (where we had computers)

The Camping theme stuff was easy to find, afford, and set up -- and was a huge hit. We did it indoors, and yes, we really did create a real sand beach in one of our classrooms.  Would have loved to have been able to go outside, but summers in Ohio can be unpredictable, plus, we wanted the congregation to see how we could transform classrooms into neat spaces.

camplake2

Lake Bible Wahoo had a mountain mural, fake pine (Xmas) trees, real sand on the tarp covered floor, and beach chairs and toys.
See more "how we made it" notes below.

Campsite

We put our computers in big tents with sleeping bags for comfort.
Kids thought it was a hoot. Nobody fell asleep.



We spent three weeks on each of these stories:

  1. June Rotation: Daniel and the Lion's Den........Being faithful isn't always easy!



  2. July Rotation: On the Road with Paul.....How to Spread the Word

  3. August Rotation: Good Sam the Samaritan........Do good unto others! (wwjd) 

     I'm no longer including our "lesson outlines" for these three stories. You can easily find lesson plans for ANY story you want to "camp" with at Rotation.org. 

Some weeks we started our single group at Gospel Grove and then traveled to the other sites for the lesson. Other weeks we stayed at Gospel Grove and added activities. Why? Simply because we were experimenting, and some lessons made sense to go straight to the site rather than start at Gospel Grove for songs. 

We only had one group rotating, but you could have three groups split among the three sites each week (or more groups if you wanted to add more sites).  You can also change the activities at each site like we did. It's up to you. The KEY for us was to explode the idea of "classroom" (which in that church at that time was a very dull learning space) --AND to capture the attention of our adults (who loved seeing the tents and campfire, and yes, even the real sandy beach!

We went from ZERO KIDS the year before we did this camp idea because the teachers didn't think families would come during the summer. Camp Bible Wahoo! averaged of 12 to 14 "campers" a week. In addition to the creative and highly visible campsites, we recruited families to teach each specific site's lesson together.  Camp Bible Wahoo! was so successful, the next year we launched a full-blown rotation model in that church, transforming the classrooms. (Wish we had kept the sandy beach!)

While some of the software suggestions may be defunct, the general concept is timeless and fun.

Our Camp Bible Wahoo! Summer Schedule

We had a luxurious 45 minutes of class time! ...which is why we were able to do the following schedule:

10:00 ...Worship in the Sanctuary (parents, teachers, kids)

10:20 ...All Kids Gathering at Gospel Grove Campsite (a song, prayer, and introduce the story)

10:35 ...Kids go to either Computer Camp-out or Bible Wahoo! Theater

*Some times we stayed at the campsite for other activities. Sometimes we did the song and storytelling starting at the tents or lake sites.



Decor and Staffing Notes:

Gospel Grove:  Set up in corner of Fellowship Hall.  A large carpet of grass, wooden benches sitting on large logs, a 'fake' campfire, a couple of Xmas trees for effect.  'Smore snacks and bug juice. Why Fellowship Hall? So church members could see the kids loving it. Wish we could have gone outside, but the kids still loved it. Wanted to do an after-class hotplate to roast marshmallows, but was overruled by the powers.

Lake Bible Wahoo Theater:   12' x 12' x 8"  square wood frame on floor with canvas dropcloth covering it.  Bordered by wooden fencing sections to keep kids in. Flimsy wooden gate with broom to brush off any excess sand. 10 bags of clean play sand.  Beach chairs!  Sand buckets, plastic shells, fish, blow-up pool toys hung on fence and walls. Several fake Xmas trees in corners. Found a neat mountain wall mural. Had our LCD projector on a cart behind the fence to project the Bible video. Did some "beach themed" followup discussion activity.

Computer Camp-out:   Two large camping tents with sleeping bags inside them. Computers sitting on floor. Yes, the kids really like computing this way!  The cozy tent were a lot of fun.  We put ours in a corner of Fellowship Hall where they attracted a lot of attention from visitors and members. Teachers -and kids- should wear camping gear and clothes. 

A "God is Good" true story:

On Pentecost Sunday the church provided chocolate "birthday" cake after worship in fellowship hall. We were still inside our Computer Tents in fellowship hall when everybody started to file into the hall.

Not expecting us to be in there (we were very quiet focused on the software) the adults started coming to the tents and looking in through our mesh windows surprised to see our kids still in there working on the software (Daniel).

When a preschooler came to the tent door with a plate of chocolate birthday cake, we told him he couldn't come in with it (due to the potential mess). He promptly gave away his cake and crawled into the tent. BTW: Our kids didn't budge when they saw that cake was available.  They weren't done with the Daniel software yet!

When our lesson was over and the kids finally left to go get cake, one of the senior men of our congregation asked to see the software. Guided by one of our older kids, he gladly crawled in the tent to do so. This was back in the days before everybody had cellphones, otherwise I'd have his photo plastered all over my software website. It was a very cool moment.



The Camp Bible Wahoo! Theme Song

Here are the lyrics we wrote for the July and August Daniel and Paul Rotations to the tune of Pharoah, Pharoah (aka Louie Louie). The Pharaoh tune/chords are found in many Christian youth song books and online.  Song "motions" and dancing are a must and got a little crazy.

We sang our "theme song" every week in July and Augut to the point that by the end of the summer the kids were singing it out loud after class and in the hallways 9even a few parents were joining in on the chorus).  Sometimes we sang it in the Gospel Grove gathering. A few times when we started on the Beach we just sang it there to kick off the lesson. 

Chorus:
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo

Verse1:
Well I heard a little story just the other day
a king told his people that to him they must pray
but a guy name of Daniel said that God was his friend
so the king threw him in to the lion's den !

Chorus: 
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo

Verse 2
Well you may think the lions ripped him up to shreds
but the Lord closed their mouths -sent them all to bed
in the morning when the king found him safe and sound
he said "Daniel you can pray to anyone as long as I'm around."

Chorus:
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo

Verse 3:
Well I heard a little story about a guy named Paul
who travelled through the Empire sharing Good News with all
Not everybody liked him, not everybody cared
But he told of God's love as far as he dared

Chorus:
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo

Verse 4
Well you might have a friend, you might have a foe
but it doesn't really matter, about God they must know
How lovely are your toes and your hairy feet *
when you shuffle off to scary lands to the Gospel beat

Chorus:
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo
Camp Bible Wahoo oh baby summer Sunday school -uh! wahoo wahoo  

*Hairy feet? We also sang Our God Reigns during the Paul Rotation which has the line: How lovely are the feet of those who bring Good News. 

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