I've helped at VBS at a couple of different churches for almost 7 years, but this was my first year taking over as the director. It was fun, stressful, and a complete learning experience. There was positive feedback for the most part, but I already know some things I will do differently IF I'm the director again next year. As tired as I am right now though, that's a big IF.
1. If we do water games, the buckets of water will be dumped AS SOON AS THE GAMES ARE FINISHED! Otherwise, things get a little out of hand when a kid or teen suddenly decides it would be funny to drench me with water. Stopping to change clothes was not supposed to be part of my tight schedule.
2. If anything is done outside, the kids will be moved back inside BEFORE IT GETS DARK. By the time the water games were done, it was starting to get dark and was harder to see if a child wandered off or which child was which.
3. Consider having a 13-14 (or maybe even 15) year old group. We tried using this group as helpers to the adults and older teens, but they just weren't quite mature enough for that. I felt like I spent too much of my time telling the 13 and 14 year olds what they were supposed to be doing to help out. They had just as much fun with the games and stuff, so they may as well participate as a group.
4. Have a better dismissal/check-out procedure. Fortunately, we didn't have any new kids just dropped off by parents and left, so we knew who was suppose to go home with who. However, we did have one who's parent came an hour early one night, and the young man in charge of him just took him to the car without letting any of the adults in charge know the kid was leaving. If I hadn't personally seen the car come up at a distance, this could've proved to be quite a scare as we searched for the "lost" kid.
5. Have a WORKERS' MEETING before VBS. Job descriptions need to be addressed so each person knows exactly what they are supposed to do. I tried just telling them briefly once they arrived, but that wasn't enough time for them to fully grasp it. The workers also need to know what others' are doing so they know who to turn to with various questions or issues.
6. If anything is done outside, get a bull-horn. I just can't yell quite loud enough.
7. When beginning VBS preparations, form a committee. It was too stressful to try to do it all on my own, delegating things after I figured them out. I need help with the planning, not just the execution.
8. Set a time for the workers to eat. This will likely have to be done in shifts, but they're volunteering their time and shouldn't be neglected.
What we'll do again:
1. Postcards for advertising. It was something simple that church members could take with them to give to their neighbors, friends, etc. I created the image in Photoshop and used OvernightPrints.com to print them.
2. Serve dinner instead of snacks. If it starts at 6:30, it's hard for many parents to come home from work, feed their kids, and get them to VBS on time. Some kids did eat a little late - Friday in particular - but I'd rather have a late meal than give a bunch of sugary Debbie cakes or caffeinated sodas to them at night.