I am standing in a line with college freshman girls in front of the white double doors of a beautiful three story white and brick house listening to chanting women inside. I am nervous and excited and do not know anyone else in my group. This is the 3rd house on our stop of 6 houses. I did not have that real sense of ‘home’ in either of the other houses so far, but I am hoping this one is going to be different.
If you have not guessed it yet, I am talking about sorority recruitment.
The whistle blows and the chanting halts to a stop. The double doors open and two women walk out of the house, introduce themselves, then open up the double doors all the way. Inside the doorway the rest of the sorority women are in rows and start to sing:
“Gamma Phi Beta welcomes you here!
Come in and join our fun and our cheer
We’re on the MSU campus, sorority row
A Gamma Phi shouts a welcome! Hello!
Oh would you like to be another gamma phi?
And wear the crescent and pearls oh my
So come along and we’ll show you why
All over the land number one is Gamma Phi!”
As the song ends, our line begins to move as we walk into the entryway. Each girl is introduced to a woman who is already a member of the sorority. We are then taken on a tour of the house and chit chat about the qualities of the sorority, the things the girls do for fun, the community service aspect, etc. During my time in the house I talk to 3 or 4 members. It seems like a small interview process.
Walking through the house I know that these are my people. It feels as if I am talking to girls I have known for a long time. Over the next three days I come back to this house and eventually I am offered a bid to join the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority.
I have many memories of my three years at Missouri State University as a Gamma Phi. While those memories are not all great, the vast majority of those three years are memories I love and miss. My sorority helped shape me into the person and leader I am today.
Now, I know what you are thinking, Emily what does this have to do with Vacation Bible School?
I am so glad you asked!
Not only did I go through sorority recruitment, but I was eventually part of the other side of recruitment. I was the one singing in the door, chanting my lungs out, and getting to know the potential new members.
Likewise, I have also been in charge of organizing Vacation Bible School for the last two years, and let me tell you, VBS and sorority recruitment have many things in common.
The first thing they have in common is energy. There is an indescribable excitement that floods the whole house during recruitment. Do not get me wrong, recruitment is LONG days, a lot of standing on your feet for hours, and hangry moments when you don’t get to eat between parties. That being said, it was one of my favorite times of year because recruitment is the process of helping women find a spot that they feel at home in. I probably would have transferred back home if it were not for the friends I had in Gamma Phi.
VBS is the same way. The amount of people working together to make everything flow seamlessly during this week is incredible. Everyone is so happy to be together sharing their love for Christ with the children in the community. It’s impossible not to feel joyful. There is a lot of stress that goes into planning Vacation Bible School. When everything starts on the first day you can see that the kids are having a great time, singing about Jesus, and building relationships with other kids, it makes all the stressful times worth every second.
The second thing they have in common are the songs that get stuck in your head FOREVER. Literally. I can still sing every song we sang during recruitment. Some days I still wake up singing them. Vacation Bible School has catchy songs too. Weeks after VBS has ended you can be sure all of us in the office will randomly start singing these songs, because we cannot get them out of our heads. Not that this is a bad thing, I mean we are singing about Jesus!
The third commonality are the relationships that are being built. During recruitment we only had a few minutes each day with the potential new members, but when you click with someone it forms a bond. You hoped to continue building that bond as the days of recruitment went on. During your time in recruitment you get to tell all these women why you love your sorority so much. Passion and love light up members faces as they recall all the reasons they wanted to be in their sorority.
At VBS we have much more time with the kids, but it is still a short amount of time to be truthfully honest with you. By the end of the week the adult crew leaders have formed little families with their groups and you never know how that relationship might stick with someone. I still remember some of my own VBS leaders who really took the time to get to know me when I was that age. While recruitment is awesome in so many ways, Vacation Bible School is a time where we are getting to spread the good news about the most important thing to each of us; Jesus! It does not get much better than this.
One of my goals for Vacation Bible School is to show these kids that they are an important part of God’s family in heaven and here on Earth. I want those kids to have that ‘home’ feeling I remember having walking through the doors of my sorority house and at my church. Everyone should have a place where they feel welcomed and know they belong.
So thanks to my time in a sorority for helping me learn leadership skills to use in the real world. For helping me to come out of my box. To be free to open up and be silly with others, and for preparing me to have fun with my job!
This VBS has gotten off to another energetic start and I have no doubts it will continue that way. Until next time my friends. Peace and love.