Meet Emily and Jeff!


Hi! I'm Emily Whitaker, and am delighted to be serving as interim director of 1st Explorers this year! I'm from Kings Mountain, NC, and I graduated from Western Carolina with a Bachelors degree in Commercial and Electronic Music. I aspire to attend graduate school in the fall of 2020 at Appalachian State University to acquire a Master's degree in Music Therapy. I am also a director of the WCU United Sound chapter which allows college students with special needs to learn how to play instruments and perform music. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, relaxing, playing music, and spending time with family and friends.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at FBC Sylva and being a part of 1st Explorers. The kids are phenomenal, and I love interacting with them, teaching them, and watching them grow into amazing human beings. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing organization and to be a part of you and your children's lives. I look forward to an amazing year with you all!


Hi! I’m Jeff Logan. I grew up in Stone Mountain Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University. My previous working life was with large corporations such as 3M, Bristol Myers and Dupont. I also spent many years in Rabun County rehabbing homes and driving a school bus. Sylva has been my home for 2 years where I work for Jackson County School Systems and Western Carolina University in Student Transportation.

I have three children all in their twenties. Megan and Ben graduated from the University of Georgia and Haley from Georgia Tech. All three have wonderful careers in Atlanta. I am a dedicated Dad that participated in a variety of sports coaching assignments and required that all my children have an excellent foundation in church, education and music. I am equally interested and delighted to help all children enjoy and enrich their lives through learning experiences. So, I am very excited to assist First Baptist provide their superb Explorer programs for the children of Jackson County and assist the church with other duties.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Our Vacation Bible School

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10.) The First Baptist Church of Sylva hasn’t hosted its own Vacation Bible School in over a decade. 

9.) For the last ten years, our church has partnered with other churches from downtown Sylva to provide a Vacation Bible School experience to the community at Bridge Park. 

 8.) Representatives of each participating church gather months in advance to begin their planning. This year, our first meeting was in February. 

7.) A curriculum is selected that unites our churches in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to children and youth. We strive to find lesson plans that are rooted in strong Bible stories with a clear message of God’s love and mercy in Jesus. 

6.) For the first time, our 1st Explorers Ministry’s Summer Explorers Camp includes the week of Vacation Bible School in its summer lineup. 

5.) Several ministers from local churches participate in Vacation Bible School each day. For many years running, Blake Daniel—the pastor at First Presbyterian—and I have led the opening and closing sessions together. Kelly Brown is the longtime coordinator of our community VBS, and our church’s staff members have always been leaders with the children. This year, and including our Summer Explorers Staff, our church has 17 staff members actively involved in the leadership of VBS.  

 4.) Volunteers from our church have cheerfully and faithfully taken the lead each year in setting up the tents, chairs, tables, and projector screens each morning of VBS in the park. They are finished before many of us have had our first cup of coffee. Additionally, volunteers from our church make sure children are checked in and registered. At the conclusion of camp each day, this same crew returns to pack everything up and stores the supplies at their own homes.  

3.) Typically, 55-70 children are present for VBS on the first day of camp. By the week’s end, that number typically grows to 75-100. This year, we had 160 children and youth present on the first day of camp. 

2.) For most of its tenure, our church has hosted the closing ceremony and lunch in our Mission and Fellowship Center. Volunteers from our church have helped to provide the meal and to provide hospitality. We typically are able to pay for the meal expense through an offering that we take up after our final program. All VBS expenses are shared by the partnering churches. This year’s closing ceremony will be at the Methodist Church at noon on Friday, June 15.  

1.) The Vacation Bible School our community hosts together is one of the best things we do each year.  

Vacation Bible School 2019


Bridge Park in Sylva
June 10 - 14 from 9 AM - 12 PM

Join First Methodist, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, St. John's Episcopal and The Summit for our annual community vacation bible school! Serving Pre-K through 5th grade with missions focused programming for our youth 6th grade+.

Please visit our VBS website for participant and volunteer registration:


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On Wednesday May 1, the youth and children who are attending Passport will be serving supper.  All proceeds from this evening will go toward helping defray the cost of these groups attending Passport this summer. 

The children will be attending Passport kids in Montreat, NC from June 30 - July 3.  The youth will be attending Passport Missions in Averett, VA from June 23 - 28. Passport is a way for our youth and children to grow in their faith.  The children’s program includes activities, Bible study and worship designed specifically for children to build their faith and strengthen their walk with Christ. Passport Missions, for youth, takes them a step beyond into a week of service through mission projects planned and supervised by the Passport staff. In addition to their own times of Bible study and worship, they will be serving in the community through leading children’s activities and day camps, cleaning the yards of the elderly, doing painting and light construction, working in food banks and shelters and many other hands on ministry projects. 

Please come to dinner on Wednesday night, May 1, as we focus on After School and the ministry we are engaged in here at home and plan to join us in time for supper as well, and contribute to the spiritual growth of our youth and children by donating to the Passport fund.

PASSPORTkids! Camp 2019

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This summer children and youth will be able to attend an overnight Christian camp experience called PASSPORTkids! in Montreat, NC, June 30 – July 3, 2019.
PASSPORTkids! is for campers going into the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades at the start of school in August. While at PASSPORTkids! Camp, campers will participate in Bible study, worship, missions, and many other fun activities with campers from all over the Southeast!
This year's theme is "Fearless" based on 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14.

For more information about Passport Camp click here:

A deposit of $50 per camper is due as soon as possible as spaces are limited.
Total cost per camper is $300.

See Kelly Brown, 1st Explorers Ministry Director for more details


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WMU invites all children in grades 1-6 to participate in this special day aimed at getting kids excited about missions as they engage in a hands-on activity to serve in our community.

Here's the plan -- Meet at church at church at 9:30 a.m. We'll have doughnuts and milk and then pack goody bags* for our shut-ins.
Next we'll load up in vans and visit our church's shut-ins and deliver the goody bags.
Finally, we'll come back to church and enjoy some pizza!
Please register to participate by calling the Church Office at 586-2095 by March 21st. Parents and other adults are invited to attend also. Mission Friends are invited to join us, but they must be accompanied by a parent or other adult.

*Bring some items for the goody bags. Some ideas are snack crackers, mints, hand sanitizers, chapstick, etc. Bring several of each item.