by Lisa Tome
Charlestown's volcano erupted recently. But the smoke bomb and cellophane wasn't cause for evacuation.
Instead, people rushed to see the phenomenon.
"I started building it last Saturday," said Charles Semken, who constructed the volcano with help from Calvin Karschner and other members of the Charlestown Missionary Baptist Church.
The 12-feet tall, 11 foot in diameter volcano was a prop, geared to attracting attention to the annual Vacation Bible School hosted at the church.
"The kids love it. It gives them something to look at," said Semken, who built the volcano at home and then trucked it to the church. "When we moved it, that got a lot of looks," said Semken, who works as a contractor. "People stop and see the volcano. It brings kids in."
There were no actual plans for the volcano. Semken said he created it in his head and then brought the plan to fruition with about $75 in new materials and items he had around home. It was built with 2 by 4s, screws, cloth, cellophane (for lava), Halloween lights, Christmas decorations, artificial plants, a box fan, and a red spotlight. It also included a smoke machine and smoke bombs.
Once the volcano got the children to the site, VBS was held. Charlestown Missionary Baptist Church hosted more than 100 children each night for VBS. They provided transportation in church vans from Elkton, Rising Sun, and the Charlestown area.
Mary Cadle was teaching middle school age children during VBS. She explained that the church purchased a prepackaged Bible school program entitled "Arrow Island". Rooms at the church and the sanctuary were decorated in keeping with the theme.
"It's (VBS) a long standing tradition here. We target it for the first week after school lets out," said Cadle. She said the attendees include both members of the church and visitors from the community. The goal for the church is to help build up Sunday school enrollment through VBS.
Nightly activities included an opening and singing, a skit, offering collection for a church mission, Bible lessons, craft, and games. The VBS also featured a nightly snack of freeze pops, cookies, and punch.
Ella Harman, 8, was attending classes with fellow first and second graders. "I like to hear good stories," said Harman.