A truly GOOD VOYAGE: VBS Alternative!

Summer is here! For folks involved in children’s ministry, that means Vacation Bible School! Churches of all sizes and denominations are gearing up for this high-energy, action-packed outreach, where many kids will hear the gospel for the very first time.

For some families, though, a full week of loud music, silly skits and high-energy games is just too much. Kids with disabilities of any kind can find this exhausting and overwhelming. Even churches well-versed in inclusion strategies know that VBS is sometimes not a good fit for certain kids.

Still, most churches want every child to be able to participate in this special summer fun. Amanda Mooney, the Director of Parish School of Religion at St. Gabriel’s in Concorde, OH has launched a unique program to meet the needs of these children. Dubbed the “One Day Voyage,” this VBS program offers the same songs and crafts enjoyed during VBS week. Participating children enjoy attention from a trained buddy as they hear Bible stories, work on craft projects and play games. The building is much quieter during the One Day Voyage, allowing students who are sensitive to loud noises and crowds to learn and play in a calmer environment.

Below is an excerpt from the One-Day Voyage publicity flyer:


 We are currently registering children for our Second Annual “One Day Voyage” Vacation Bible School.  This event is for children with any type of special needs, who for various reasons,  may find it difficult to participate in the full week of VBS. 

 Our event this year will be on Wednesday, June 22nd from 2:00-4:30 PM.

 Each child will be paired with an individual teen buddy and will get to participate in as many or as few of the VBS stations as they choose.  A sensory room and quiet area will also be added to accommodate those that may need it.  Please consider joining us for this fun afternoon!   Spread the word to any friends or neighbors that may be interested-you do not have to be a parishioner of St. Gabriel Parish or even Catholic.  All those who love Jesus and having fun are welcome!!!

Amanda emphasizes that the One Day Voyage is simply an additional option for families who are interested in Vacation Bible School. Students with special needs can attend both the week-long VBS and the One-Day Voyage, if they’d like. Students with special needs who attend the week-long VBS will be given the support and accommodations they need to experience success and learn more about Jesus. The One-Day Voyage simply adds an additional choice for families as they plan for their kids. Further, the One-Day Voyage will also provide a bit of respite for parents, especially those who have been busy volunteering for Vacation Bible School during the week!

If you, or someone you know, lives near St. Gabe’s, please be sure to contact Amanda for more information…and spread the word! This event is open to anyone who might like to attend! For more information, you can contact  Amanda Mooney at amooney@st-gabriel.org or 440-354-7551.

Bon Voyage!






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2 Comments on “A truly GOOD VOYAGE: VBS Alternative!”

  1. Jeff Says:

    I love this idea. We have a very small church. We don’t have enough people to pull off a week-long VBS, but we could do this. I know my son would benefit from it, but how do you get the word out to the community about something like this?


    • katiewetherbee Says:

      So glad this idea might work for you! Here are a few ways to publicize:
      -Write a press release for your local paper. Better yet, call the editor and see if the paper might be interested in writing a feature!
      -Contact parent support groups in the area, such as the autism society or the Down Syndrome Association or the the local chapter of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders)
      -Make brochures or flyers and ask pediatricians, psychologists and therapists in the area to put them in waiting rooms or offer them to patients/clients
      -Contact other churches to let them know.
      -Let the local school systems know. While the separation of church and state exists, many teachers are also involved in churches and could spread the word (and potentially offer to volunteer for you!)
      Please let us know if we can be of help as you proceed!


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