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Holloman Children Learning to Spelunk

Joseph, a volunteer at the base chapel’s vacation bible school, gives Lorelai, a child attending the VBS program, a piggyback ride to her next activity station at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Many of Holloman Chapel’s VBS volunteers regularly attend the chapel’s religious services. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Joseph, a volunteer at the base chapel’s vacation bible school, gives Lorelai, a child attending the VBS program, a piggyback ride to her next activity station at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Many of Holloman Chapel’s VBS volunteers regularly attend the chapel’s religious services. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school play with colorful bouquets as part of a volunteer-led discussion at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. This year’s VBS program aims to teach children about God’s love through hands-on activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn. Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school play with colorful bouquets as part of a volunteer-led discussion at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. This year’s VBS program aims to teach children about God’s love through hands-on activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn. Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Addalyn, Hailey and Isobel, three children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, play together during an outdoor activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Children are grouped by age and participate in activities specifically geared towards their age group. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Addalyn, Hailey and Isobel, three children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, play together during an outdoor activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Children are grouped by age and participate in activities specifically geared towards their age group. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school sit and listen as a VBS volunteer discusses a bible story at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Group discussions aim to explain and relate biblical text to real-life situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school sit and listen as a VBS volunteer discusses a bible story at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Group discussions aim to explain and relate biblical text to real-life situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school assemble in the base middle school’s cafeteria as part of a worship ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. The children sing and dance along to motivational music videos during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school assemble in the base middle school’s cafeteria as part of a worship ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. The children sing and dance along to motivational music videos during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Kendall and Ava, two children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, race to their next station after participating in an outdoor activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Stations are set up in various rooms of the base middle school and each station hosts a different activity. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Kendall and Ava, two children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, race to their next station after participating in an outdoor activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Stations are set up in various rooms of the base middle school and each station hosts a different activity. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school toss a ball over their heads in an effort to keep it from hitting the ground as part of a game at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 19. Children attending the VBS program participate in a variety of activities, ranging from science experiments to arts and crafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

A group of children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school toss a ball over their heads in an effort to keep it from hitting the ground as part of a game at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 19. Children attending the VBS program participate in a variety of activities, ranging from science experiments to arts and crafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Will, a volunteer at the base chapel’s vacation bible school, helps Myla, a child attending the VBS program, during an art and crafts activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Holloman Chapel’s vacation bible school utilized the aid of 64 volunteers this year and served over 100 children. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Will, a volunteer at the base chapel’s vacation bible school, helps Myla, a child attending the VBS program, during an art and crafts activity at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Holloman Chapel’s vacation bible school utilized the aid of 64 volunteers this year and served over 100 children. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Sienna and Annalyse, two children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, talk to one another during a volunteer-led discussion at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Holloman Chapel’s vacation bible school is a five-day program, offered to elementary aged children. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

Sienna and Annalyse, two children attending the base chapel’s vacation bible school, talk to one another during a volunteer-led discussion at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on July 20. Holloman Chapel’s vacation bible school is a five-day program, offered to elementary aged children. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Amn Alexis P. Docherty/released)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Editor’s note: Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements.

Children sit crisscrossed upon linoleum flooring, beneath the fluorescent lighting of Holloman Middle School’s cafeteria. They sit in nervous anticipation, with white tube socks pulled high, just at or below their knees.

With a mic in hand, a volunteer wearing a neon t-shirt stands before the intermingled crowd of children and volunteers.

At the sound of the command “Go!” the anxious group morphs into a frenzy of sock-hungry thieves.

Cotton flies, and laughter fills the cafeteria, as children and volunteers lunge across the floor, with arms stretched wide, and try to grasp the sock of the victim nearest to them.

This game is just one of the many fun and innovative activities offered to children at Holloman Chapel’s vacation bible school.
VBS is an annually held, week-long children’s program. It is one of the many religious services provided by the base chapel to accommodate people of all faiths.

“The program has been running for years,” said Leslie, the Protestant Religious Education Director at the base chapel. “This is my second year. Last year I was a volunteer, and this year I’m the Protestant Education Director. The main goal of the program is to bring these children to Christ, to have them learn about Jesus in a safe and fun environment, and to hopefully foster new disciples.” 

The program’s success relies upon volunteer aid and the support of the base community. This year VBS employed the help of over 60 Airmen and community members, many of whom regularly attend the base chapel.

“I have a three-year old daughter and she is not yet old enough to be in the VBS program,” said Meka, a VBS volunteer who helped to prepare and serve the children their morning snacks. “But, I like the social environment, and most importantly, getting to learn about Jesus. I think it’s a good learning experience for them; to learn about God’s love with other children.”

The theme for this year’s program is Cave Quest, which aims to teach children the importance of building a “rock-solid” relationship with God. Each day, children rotate through various activity stations where they are able to perform hands-on activities.

“Each day is different, we go to the same stations everyday but we’re not doing the same thing from day-to-day,” said Teresa, the Catholic Religious Education Coordinator at the base chapel. “Bible adventures is where they get the bible story aspect of [things], and I think that they look forward to that. Like today we walked on water. They’re going to remember that interaction: riding in the boat, walking on the water.”

All in all, VBS is an interactive program that provides religious education to young children in a fun and safe manner.

“My favorite part is seeing their faces when we have a really cool activity, or there’s a science experiment, or even a game,” said Sanchez. “Just their laughter. Knowing that everything that is good is coming from Christ and that the lessons are coming full circle. They’re learning a lesson, and they’re doing an activity that correlates, and it really drives the point home.”