Ways to Serve header.indd

Day 1

Elementary II Day 1_15It is great to be back at Barefoot. After the tragic events of the last week, it is refreshing to be in a place where a diverse group of people can gather to love each other and to love God. Barefoot is this little slice of heaven an hour outside of Nashville that truly reflects God’s Kingdom. I am thankful that I am surrounded by people from all different walks of life; and that your kids can experience this for a week. I am reminded that we are all God’s children regardless of how we look or where we come from. Although we live in a broken world, there is redemption and power through Jesus Christ. I find hope in God’s Love and Grace amidst a world full of sin.



I am ecstatic that your children get to experience our last week of overnight camp this summer. Our staff is determined to end this summer with a bang. After campers were settled into their cabins, they created a name and chant for their republic. They showed off all of their hard work at our all camp meeting. The republics came up with some very creative names such as “Crunchy Crackers,” “Deep Fried Peewee Hillbillies,” and “Flying Butterflies.” We heard all about the camp rules and previewed our specialties for the week.After our swim test, we gathered for dinner. But this isn’t just any camp dinner, it is our Head Cook Rhonda’s dinner! Out of all of the camps I have attended, Barefoot has the best food by far (She might be an even better cook than my dad…sorry Dad!). We then came together for evening worship. Our worship leader Dave lead us in a camp favorite “Oh, Happy Day!” Then, Elementary II Day 1_132Stephanie, a C.I.T., shared her testimony with the campers. She told about the loneliness she faced as a child. She struggled for many years to feel loved, until God found her. Our pastor for the week, Danny followed her testimony with an introduction into the theme this year, “Inside Out.” He focused on the word “Kingdom.” Kingdoms on Earth fight their battles on the outside; but God’s Kingdom fights from the inside. We ended our first night of evening worship with one of my favorite traditions: lanterns. The students wrote on theirlantern prayers that they would like to give to God. We lit the lanterns and watched them float off into the sky as a symbol of release. Then, we held messy games, the first competition of the week. Students threw Cheetos at their counselors face and reenacted a messy version of the banana chant. They rode the llama while being drenched in flour and water, scooped the avocado out of a bucket full of unknown food, and ate a banana with only their mouth. It was a great (last) first day of Barefoot!


Best Wishes,
Mary Kate



Photo Album on Facebook

Day 1 Recap Video!


Day 2


Elementary II Day 2_34Today was sweltering! We sweated our way through our first specialty into team building. Four of the republics carried each other through a giant “spider web,” led their partner through a “mine field,” and swung their team through the lava. The other four republics gathered for a new competition called Nature Drop. The campers gathered materials from nature to build a cage to protect their eggs from a deathly fall off of the blob tower. Some republics wrapped their eggs with hay and mud. Others created a barrier of sticks around their egg to carry the weight of the fall. Republic 5, God’s Loving Girls, saved all three eggs, leaving the other cabins in the dust. The points that Republic 5 earned goes towards another new addition to Barefoot this summer: Purple Cup. In previous years, a girl’s and a guy’s republic has been crowned champion of Purple Cup. But this summer, only one republic will win. And at the end of the summer, whichever gender wins the most weeks will be crowned Purple Cup Champion for the summer of 2016. Currently, guys and girls have each won 3 weeks. That means this week will be the tiebreaker! So far, the competition is strong. It will be a tight competition until the end. After second specialty and free time, we came together for our water games. Republics had to retrieve small frisbees from a kiddy pool by bear Elementary II Day 2_125crawling. On these frisbees, letters were written that spelt either “Ladies in the House” or “Fellas in the House.” Republic 9, Remo’s Boys, took home (or to the cabin) the gold. We worshipped in the amphitheater tonight. After the U.N. was built last year, campers repeatedly said that they missed worship in the amphitheater. We sang and praised the Lord. It is beautiful to watch these campers jump around and sing to the Lord. Danny, our camp pastor, wanted to do something different tonight. He said that all day these campers are being preached at so he encouraged them to practice all they have heard by praying. He asked all of the campers to close their eyes while he asked them questions. The students prayed in silence to God as the sounds of nature continued around them. They went back to their cabins to discuss what the Lord had spoken to them. We finished the night with a beloved tradition, the block party. We danced our hearts out with snow cones in hand.


In Christ,

Mary Kate Thomas



Photo Album on Facebook


Camper + Staff Interviews


Elementary II Day 2_52Clark | Nashville, TN | Age 8 | 1st year camper

Why did you decide to come to Barefoot?

“Because my friends were going. Their friend said they had a really good time. I’ve had a lot of fun so far.”

What’s been your favorite part so far?

“Probably the cabins because they’re really nice. They are nicer than the others I was in at this other camp.”

How do you like the people in your cabin?

“They’re all nice. I like my counselors.”

What have you learned about God so far?

“I learned that He will keep you safe and will always be by your side.”

What do you think about Purple Cup?

“I can’t wait. I’m a little nervous but I don’t care if my cabin wins, I just want the boys to win.”

What did you learn in your story this morning?

“I learned that God will accept you. God will accept you even when you run away.”



Elementary II Day 2_53Libby | China; Franklin, TN | Age 9 | 3rd year camper; 1st year at overnight

How do you like overnight camp so far?

“It’s awesome. I like playing games and having fun.”

How do you like your cabin?

“It’s cool. I like the bunk beds. The people in cabin are fun and funny. My counselors are nice and sometimes they get to play with us.”

What’re you most looking forward to this week?

“Who gets the purple cup. I think my cabins going to win.”

What did you do during team building today?

“Whale Watch. We tried to balance a platform with our whole team. We did a really good getting on even though we had a little bit of trouble getting off.”

What did you learn about your team?

“That we can work together. When you help your team it can help you move faster and that we have to communicate together.”


Elementary II Day 2_189Anna Lisa | Born in Ghana, lives in Macon, GA | Office Intern | 1st year

Why did you decide work at Barefoot?

“I really like the mission of Barefoot and what it represents.  I wanted to be included in something amazing. I wanted to be somewhere I can see the presence of the Lord, especially in such a diverse, separated world.”

How is it working behind the scenes?

“It is cool because you get to make camp happen for the kids. We make sure the campers have all the things they need. It is hard job but so rewarding.”

What is the most beautiful things about Barefoot?

The most beautiful thing about Barefoot is the love for the Lord. The staff is full of God, and they show it so well to the campers. You are able to feel God here. We are all so different, and its beautiful to see us all come together for one purpose.

What do you think about Purple Cup?

“I think competition is fun, but in my eyes we are all winners. It is fun to see the kids having fun. I think that no matter what happens, as long as we learn about God and teamwork – we are all winners.”

What have you learned about God this summer?

“I learned that God is all loving. He is a protector. No matter what He is going to always be there for us. He has great plans for everyone. He does so much for us and all He longs for is our praise.”