Scallywags surprise Mt. Olivet Vacation Bible School attendees

Published 8:49 am Sunday, July 30, 2023

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The kids attending Vacation Bible School at Mt. Olivet UMC were treated to quite a surprise: members of the Outer Banks Scallywags summer league baseball team helping teach, lead and guide.

Ten members of the team – Max Puckett, Ashe Ammerlaan, Alex Ulloa, James Duncan, Ryan Borberg, Jackson Thompson, Josh Foulks, Evan Panjwani, John Simmons and Jack Ryan – and two members of the staff – Audra Nelson and Avery Conder – spent part of their time away from the ballfield at the church, helping act in a skit, leading groups to their stations, assisting in crafts and recreation, as well as singing and dancing at the opening and closing assembly each day.

“When I first met with (team owner) Michael Dooley this past winter about ways our church could help the team, he mentioned the intent to have them involved in the community as much as possible,” said Rev. Marc O’Neal, the pastor at Mt. Olivet and the team chaplain for the Scallywags. “So as we got about a month or so away from VBS, I asked if the team would be willing to help. He immediately said, ‘Put us down!,’ and we were off. I can’t tell you how much the kids loved having them here. One mom on Facebook mentioned that her daughter ‘couldn’t stop talking about it.’”

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“Our players enjoyed their time volunteering at Mt. Olivet’s Vacation Bible School,” said Dooley.  “Community service is part of summer baseball, and our players have embraced our community and are enjoying helping out wherever they can. We are always excited to help, in our small way, the many great organizations here in the OBX.”

The players’ presence impacted not just the children, but the adult volunteers as well. “So many of our volunteers remarked about how kind and patient the guys were with our kids,” said O’Neal. “A few took the time to record a TikTok video with a handful of them after VBS was done for that day! One volunteer told me that she saw Jesus really shining through the players as they interacted with the kids.”

There was also, potentially, one other added benefit. O’Neal relayed this story: “On the first day of VBS, the guys acted in a skit where Jesus calls the first disciples. One of the players, Max Puckett, played the role of Jesus. Three days later, Max hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth to beat Tarboro! Did one have anything to do with the other? I’m not saying that. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?”

For more information about the Outer Banks Scallywags, go to