This sun-scorched day was one for the books! Campers arrived to our meeting point at Long Beach Christian Fellowship Church only to be greeted by cheers and shouts from our exuberant staff, and some to sweet reunions with friends made at camp last year. Soon, we were off on our way up to Ojai Valley. The bus ride was spent in ice breakers getting to know the other campers in our Republics. Once everyone settled into their cabins, campers gathered to work on a chant and a name to represent their Republic. Group names such as G.O.M. (God Over Money) Unit, Brotherhood Creed, and Bright Transformers Crew emerged, spotlighting camper creativity. After dinner, the campers had their first taste of the week’s specialties, activities such as soccer, volleyball, STOMP, The Making of the Band, and visual arts. A highlight of each day is the nightly Republic Competitions. Tonight’s was “Messy Games!” Campers stuck their faces in flour to find bubble gum. They raced down the field to have the components of lemon juice, sugar and water squirted into their mouths, and sprinted back, mouths full, to see which team could fill a cup with the most lemonade in 5 minutes. Outside-In, the oldest guys group, pulled out the win here. The culmination of the day was our evening program with powerful and authentic worship and a catalytic message from guest speaker, Liana Sims, Youth Pastor at Central Bible Church. Liana spoke on our theme verse this week, Romans 12:1-2, and the transformative power of the gospel. She encouraged us to look at transformation as a journey with God, daily walking with God through the struggles that we face. Liana explained that God can change the way we think about ourselves and our circumstances in order to transform who we are. We prayed together and spent time in responsive worship, allowing God’s love to touch our thoughts and hearts. Then we were off to bed, bodies tired, but hearts full and expectant for the week ahead.
More to come tonight!
Barefoot Republic California Team
Another epic day at Barefoot Republic California! Today consisted of worship and teaching, fun group activities including a massive game of dodgeball, and working on our skills with our specialty groups. After breakfast, we all gathered for a time of worship in the outdoor amphitheater and learned our chant for the week’s theme: Inside-inside-inside-out. Inside-inside-inside-out. TRANSFORM!… from the inside out. We then split into Republic groups for Bible study time, walking through Jesus’ parable of the wise man who built his house on a rock versus the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The campers had so much insight into this passage and the truth of not only listening to God’s word but applying it to our lives in order have a strong foundation in Him. The rest of the morning was spent pouring heart and soul into AM specialties and practicing showcases, a theatrical performance or skit that each republic is responsible for coming up with. The showcases will all be presented on Thursday night and can gain teams points in the ongoing Republic competition.
After lunch Republics got a chance to grow closer in team building activities- varying from crossing a gridded “minefield” by guessing and memorizing the pattern to dropping an egg from upwards of 15 feet without breaking using only natural resources found nearby. The “helium stick,” is a simple broomstick, yet every camper in the republic must assist in holding it up with one finger (without letting go!) while achieving the goal of lowering it to the ground. It is surprisingly difficult – you might have to try it to see why! Next was PM specialty groups, with campers enjoying their new endeavor or honing in on their skill. The STOMP specialty’s drumming could be heard across the camp and the outdoor adventure specialty took a hike up in the hills, while learning to recognize various plants and trees. Specialties led right into free time, involving swimming in th
e pool, zip lining and rock wall climbing, to name a few.
DODGEBALL! After dinner we had an epic game of dodgeball with all sorts of rounds and variations. It culminated with a round of campers vs counselors. Much to our chagrin, the campers were victorious this year! Pictures and video to come. Lastly, our evening program was incredible! Worship was super powerful, with so many students engaging. Our guest speaker, Emmanuel Tarsus, is a christian rapper who shared his story of being radically saved by the love of Jesus. He taught about finding our purpose in life by spending time with the very one who created us. When we get to know the Lord, he reveals to us more of who we are and what we were created for. Emmanuel shared his experience with applying the Bible to his life practically and then seeing God transform him and his life from the inside out. The campers had some time to reflect and respond to the questions, taking it a step deeper. It was an incredible day here at Barefoot and we are looking forward to the rest of the week!
Barefoot Republic Camp California Team
What do you think about Barefoot so far?
“It’s been pretty great. I was not really expecting much, but when I came I was like ‘oh, they have photography and all this cool stuff.’”
What is it like living with your cabin mates?
“I’ll be honest, some of them are a little annoying…but other than that, they’re pretty chill.”
What did you learn from team building today?
“Be calm, work together as a team, take your time, and be patient.”
What makes Barefoot different from other places?
“The food—it’s amazing. People here show you a lot of love and attention. It looks more mother nature-like over here.”
What did last night’s evening program mean for you personally?
“Pastor Canales is a good preacher. The story stuck out to me from yesterday, about the dad and the son (The Prodigal Son).”
Why do you think diversity is so important to have at Barefoot?
“That’s actually very good—very important—because some people care about the colors, like back in the day. It doesn’t matter; we’re all the same from the inside. So, just be you.”
How was your first day at Barefoot?
“Everything was fun; I liked the ending when we played the messy games. I enjoyed being with everyone from my cabin and being with everyone in general. I enjoy volleyball and visual arts. I enjoy all the counselors here.”
What is it like to be in a republic?
“I feel close to them—closer than ever. At first I was just kind of shy, but once I got to know everybody I was calm around everybody and I feel like we’re all sisters.”
What do you think about the diversity at Barefoot?
“I do experience it a lot in my school; it’s all different races. I feel comfortable around everybody. Everybody is equal. Everybody was easy to get along with. I made ten more friends. It’s very cool…and it’s only the second day.”