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Love Escalon Returns - Summer 'Sonshine' Lights Up Local VBS
The weather cooperated and kids flocked to the combined Trinity and Escalon Covenant Church Vacation Bible School this past week, hosted by Trinity and offering a focus on sports in addition to the faith-based teachings.

The 'Go The Distance' sports camp featured baseball, soccer, basketball and cheer, and was offered every night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Starting with a time of worship and Bible study, the students attending then broke out into their sports camp sessions for learning and fun. That period was followed by a themed snack, then it was back to Trinity Church for a wrap up time of fellowship.

The baseball, soccer and basketball camps were given at nearby Dent Elementary, while the cheer group worked on their routines at the Trinity Church activity center. The week culminated with a program of songs and worship put on by the students for their parents and friends on Friday evening, June 10.

"I liked everything," said Noah Stime, who will enter sixth grade at El Portal next school year.

Stime and friends Nick Deweerd and Tyler Thompson took part in the baseball camp and were thoroughly enjoying the Friday night snack finale reminiscent of a ball - a scoop of ice cream - in a glove, an ice cream cone broken up to have a piece of it hold the 'ball' of ice cream.

"We've had an average of 60 kids," said snack coordinator Lori Ring. "We've done sports themes for the snacks, we've done a pom pom for cheer, which was a big marshmallow with pretzel sticks, dipped in chocolate with sprinkles."

Popcorn balls were used to simulate soccer balls for snack one evening, basketball was signified by a cupcake with orange frosting.

Several volunteer 'coaches' were on hand throughout the week to help the younger kids with the sports and in memorizing Bible verses, and Dana Corbin of Trinity Church served as the VBS coordinator.

Churches throughout the community typically get involved in hosting Vacation Bible School, with a variety of themes. Coming up next week is the joint VBS of Saron Lutheran, Escalon United Methodist and Escalon Presbyterian churches, SonSurf Beach Bash, which will meet at the Presbyterian Church on First Street from 8:45 a.m. to noon from Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24. Call 838-7695 for more information.

Meanwhile, Trinity Church will also serve as the host location for the next Love Escalon project day, coming up Saturday, June 25. The church will have its third Wednesday of the month community meal this evening at 6 p.m., open to all local residents, with a brief devotional following the meal at 1900 California.

The upcoming Love Escalon is a day of service, with multiple projects to be done throughout the community. You can join in the effort, volunteering your time to be on any one of the teams, by calling 838-3000 or by visiting the website, to sign up.

Projects slated for the June 25 work day are cleaning up the C.A.R.E. Center food cupboard, helping receive electronic waste at a site in town, visiting seniors at the Heritage House, work to organize shelves at the Escalon library, take part in a food drive to benefit C.A.R.E., write letters of hope to local service members, do park clean up, and participate in a bell-ringing 'Halfway to Christmas' donation effort for the Salvation Army at MarVal Main Street Market.

"I think people genuinely just want to help out in their community," said Trinity Church pastor Jim Davis. "There's good in everybody's heart, and this is a way to help out."

Other projects being done but offsite are a blood drive at a Delta Blood Bank site in Oakdale and recording video messages to send to servicemen and women around the world, being done at KAZV TV in Modesto.

Sign up to participate in Love Escalon by Monday, June 20. Those working the event should be at Trinity Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 for an orientation meeting before heading out for the day's projects.