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Emma Pearson

Senior Service Learning Project Reflection

As one who enjoys learning through interactions with others, the annual Vacation

Bible School (VBS) at my church continues to draw me in. VBS at St. Norbert, where I

have been a parishioner for 13 years, has allowed me to serve my church community both

in the week that the camp takes place and in the months of administrative preparation

beforehand. VBS has provided me the opportunity to spend a week teaching the children

in my church community about our faith through fun activities and songs. The creativity

involved and sense of community attract me to VBS, and the skills I have developed and

strengthened through it continue to benefit me today. Being a volunteer has allowed me

to be a leader in my community, to strengthen my interpersonal skills, and has taught me

to be patient, responsible, and calm when dealing with last minute changes.

I continue to be drawn to VBS because I enjoy working with the community I

love towards a common goal, the creativity of the volunteers, and how I am able to grow

in my faith through teaching others. Through the camp, our church encounters about 500

campers and volunteers of all ages. This exposure to Catholics of all ages allows all

participants to learn from both the curriculum and from one another.

To be a successful and helpful volunteer, a certain level of leadership and

initiative is required. From a young age, being of service to my community has been a

goal of mine. Through the activity of guiding these children, I have had to quickly

determine the individual needs of my campers so that I can cater to each of their personal

needs and strengths while simultaneously taking care of the needs of the group. This skill

has benefitted me as a servant leader in my other communities, encouraging me to look


out for others and feel empathy for them. Camp leaders also guide the students through

their five classes throughout the day while at the same time, ensuring that they enjoy their

summer camp. Multitasking and flexibility are skills I have strengthened through this part

of the camp.

In addition to serving as a camp leader, I have had the privilege to be involved in

the administrative tasks of the camp. As an administrative volunteer, I help in placing the

student volunteers in their job assignments, planning informational meetings, creating

nametags, and maintaining accurate rosters. As a result of this exposure to the

administrative work behind the scenes, I have come to know each of the 200 volunteers

by name. Furthermore, I have been able to practice my organizational skills while

drawing on the strengths and supporting the weaknesses of each volunteer. Through this

position, I have assisted the head of Student Volunteers in leading meetings and creating a

curriculum that successfully utilizes the given time to pass on information to the

volunteers in a new way each year.

Apart from the skills I have gained from being a student leader, I am thankful for

the opportunity to learn from the children attending the camp. Through the different

children I have encountered each year, I have learned to appreciate each camper for their

individuality. By volunteering at VBS, I have learned that working with children is my

passion and I would ultimately love to pursue a career that deals with early childhood

development.

Leadership remains a constant theme and aspiration in my activities in my

everyday life. The need for cooperation I have learned through being a member of a large

family aids me as I volunteer at Vacation Bible School and has shaped me into a more
understanding and flexible ASB President and leader in my community. My experiences

have contributed to my appreciation of diverse needs and knowledge that being a leader

is as much about appreciating the needs of others, as achieving the goals of the

organization or group. I have learned that dedication, passion, and work ethic are all

critical components of leadership and success. I have also come to realize that for me to

feel truly successful, I need to have served those I led.