This summer’s VBS experiences are loosely based on Peter H. Reynolds’ book “Ish,” in which a young boy learns that thinking “ish-ly” is far more wonderful than “getting it right.”
The first night of VBS was June 28 with the theme “Playful-ish.” Carol Hubbard and Rick Fontana opened their Cape Elizabeth home to an enthusiastic gathering from the church and their neighborhood for an evening of creative thinking — and sharing it with others.
The concept of thinking “ishly” may have seemed a little daunting on the first night of VBS, but once the activities began, the creative energies spread quickly.
Carol began the evening by reading some inspirational poetry by Madeleine L’Engle and Mary Oliver, primarily to get people thinking and feeling inspired. Rev. Ruth Morrison then added a reading of one of her favorite poems before Mark Braun put the “out-of-the-box” thinking into full motion with a poem of his own titled, “Plop Blah.” Thinking “ish-ly” wasn’t too difficult after that.
After listening to poetry and reflecting on someone else’s creativity, the second activity of the evening was “Doodle-ish.” With everyone sitting in a circle, each person was given a marking pen and a piece of paper with a shape drawn on it — some were circles, some were squares, some were the walls of a church, the body of an insect, or the outline of a candle.
The doodle-ish energies began when everyone was instructed to add their own doodle to the original shape. After 30 seconds, everyone passed their doodles to the right and another perspective was added. This continued until the original doodles had traveled around the full circle, transforming from a basic shape into unique pieces of collaborative art.
The final activity of the evening, carrying the true meaning of “Playful-ish” was going outside and participating in a series of games that put an emphasis on teamwork. One such game, called Knots, had everyone holding hands in a circle and then spinning over and under each other’s arms to create a series of human knots. The challenge was to figure out how to undo the knots without letting go of your partner’s hands.
Another game also began with a circle with one person standing in the center. While the person in the center covered his or her eyes, the group passed a small stone around the circle. When the passing ended, the person in the center was challenged to guess in whose hand the rock had ended up, primarily by looking at each person’s expression or how tightly they closed their fists.
Thank you to Carol and Rick for a spirited night of playful-ish activities that challenged our minds, raised our spirits, and unleashed some unexpected moments of creativity.
Click here for more images of the first night of VBS: