United Thank Offering

‘Waves of Gratitude’: A Gratitude-Based Vacation Bible Camp Curriculum Now Available

May 3, 2023
United Thank Offering

By Heather Melton, Staff Officer

Waves of Gratitude logo

Years ago, I started writing and trying out materials to create a gratitude-based Vacation Bible School curriculum. This project sat untouched during the pandemic, and thanks to the encouragement of the Board and support of several volunteers, I am proud to say that “Waves of Gratitude” is finally available for congregational use. You can find the full curriculum here.

Waves of Gratitude is based off the idea that gratitude should be as ubiquitous as water. For Christians, water is an important symbol; it connects us to God and one another through our baptism—and as human beings, we need fresh water to live. At UTO, we believe that practicing gratitude is just as important. It connects us to the people and the world around us, reminds us that we need one another, and helps us find a way to connect even with people who seem very different then ourselves. 

These are all really big ideas, but we know that kids understand how important connecting is, and they certainly get how fun and amazing water is, so it felt like the right elements to bring together for a week of camp. 

What’s included?

We tried to include everything we could think of to make this week of camp a success. There is a complete booklet for leading the camp, information for camp directors, marketing materials, a passport for participants, extra activities, and even sample forms. Each day has an overview page that can be sent home to help parents connect with the events of the day. We’ve also included a sample follow-up letter to invite families back to another event at your church, and there’s the option to have a party at the end of camp for families.

What are the events of the day?

Each day begins with a big group gathering to discuss a story from Scripture, sing songs, and get oriented. Participants are broken up into “Schools of Fish,” where they will engage with a group of their peers, create a fun water- or ocean-inspired snack, hear and talk about a story, and visit stations. 

Each day, participants will visit the following stations: STEAM, crafts, movement, and gratitude. Each day also has a water activity and a closing big group gathering to reflect on the day with gratitude and let participants share what they enjoyed most, before ending with a dance party.

Can we customize it?

Most definitely! Pick different songs, storybooks, use names of local fish for your “Schools of Fish,” go on a field trip, or add or delete any activity you want to accommodate the length of your camp. 

Ultimately, it is our hope that this Vacation Bible School/Camp will be fun, easy for volunteers to engage with, and bring joy and gratitude to your community. If you decide to use it, please let us know how it goes! Since this is a resource that can be used at any time, we would love to add activities you added or changed to help others utilize the program to its fullest.

The Rev. Cn.
Heather Melton

Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

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