Vacation Bible School season under way

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Churches throughout the region are hosting Vacation Bible Schools this summer.

"It's just one way we can reach out to kids," said Patricia Jones, executive director of Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley.

Love INC is a charitable organization owned by some churches in the region.

One of the first Bible schools of the summer is at Calvary Bap-tist Church on Yampa Ave-nue. Calvary VBS started Monday and ends Friday.

Calvary Pastor Rod Compton said VBS is a good opportunity for students to learn about God, but also an opportunity for them to have some fun.

"I would like to do this all year-round," Compton said Thursday. "The kids are so ready to listen and have people care about them."

About 150 children from preschool through sixth grade attend the free VBS each day.

Compton said there is a misconception that churches just want people's money. Running the free VBS -- which is open to everyone, not just church members -- is a way for the church to dispel that misconception, he said.

"We just want to tell you that God loves you," Compton said.

Compton said he had a great time attending Bible school as a child in Texas.

"You learn a lot more in one week than you do by going to Sunday school for the whole year," he said. "I'll never forget it."

The Calvary VBS includes a penny drive to raise money for the Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center and Love In The Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley.

The penny drive is a competition between the boys and girls at the camp to see who can bring in the most coins. As of Thursday, the girls were ahead by about 10 pounds.

Last year, the children raised almost $900.

Compton is challenging the children to fill a pail with more pennies than he can lift.

The pail weighed more than 450 pounds last year, and Compton lifted it.

"I was hurting for the next two days," Compton said.

Tiffany Wille, 11, who is attending her first VBS this week at Calvary Baptist, said Compton won't be able to lift the pail when the children fill it.

Ashley Ellis, one of the volunteers at Calvary VBS said she wouldn't be shocked if Compton managed to lift the pail, regardless of how heavy it is.

"He always surprises us, it's insane," she said.

Ellis has been volunteering at Calvary and sending her children there for three years. She likes the way the church focuses on what the children want during VBS.

"They go out of their way," she said. "It's all about the kids all week."

Amanda Love is sending her two children to VBS at Calvary for the first time.

"I just like the idea of the kids having some good, wholesome fun," she said.

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