by Lisa Tome
A little Orioles Magic came north last week.
All those Orioles logo shirts should have been a giveaway - something was definitely brewing at the Janes United Methodist Vacation Bible School.
Within minutes, the Oriole Bird mascot came through the doors of the church sanctuary making its signature whistling sound and high-fiving groups of surprised, excited children and parents.
The bird was on hand during the fourth night of the annual VBS, and was keeping with this year's theme, Weird Animals. The mascot, alongside church member Sean Hurm, performed magic tricks and made a less than perfect balloon animal before the bird left the building.
Dolores Bearry has served as VBS director at Janes UMC for about 15 years. She said hosting the mascot was just part of the excitement this year. Other special weird animal visitors for 2014 included a turkey vulture, Maryland terrapin turtle, Madagascar cockroaches, and church pastor Rev. Drew Christian dressed as the Rising Sun Tiger. More than 200 children registered for Janes VBS this year. They came from as far away as Darlington and various locations in Pennsylvania. Over 50 volunteers helped lead the Bible stories, crafts, music, games, skits, snack, and more.
"Our first goal is to get them (children) to know who Jesus is. And then we invite them to come back. A lot do come back," said Bearry.
This year children from age four through high school attended VBS. There was also an adult class with 13 members.
The work for the VBS begins at least seven months before the annual program is held. Bearry starts planning in January. In April through July she makes sure she has plenty of volunteers. She also asks the church congregation to help. Those who don't attend VBS pitch in by making homemade items for the nightly VBS snack.
"Kids are crying when it's time to leave. Their parents come and they show them what they've been doing," said Bearry.