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Day 1


BRC Junior High 1 (23 of 54)We are finally here, the first Barefoot Camp of 2016! The Barefoot staff has been praying over this summer all year long; and we are thrilled to be able to share this first week with these kids. This morning, the staff could hardly sit still with anticipation of their arrival. After registration, the campers unpacked and got to know their republic group for the week. The republics came to the first camp meeting with copious amounts of energy, new chants, and friendships. Some of the republic names included “Chef Curry,” “Bananas for Jesus,” and “Flamethrowers for Jesus”. They performed impressive chants with their new community; a few sang, some rapped, and one even added some floor pounding. After a lot of dancing, Zack and Candace announced the rules and other important information. Then, the campers went to preview their two speciality classes for the week. Through BRC Junior High 1 (96 of 84)the specialities, these campers hope to gain new skills, build on old ones, or just have loads of fun. After a highly anticipated dinner, we met for worship with our speaker for the week, Roz Welch. Roz, a native Guyanese, is a bright, energetic, and funny teacher full of the Spirit. She introduced the theme for the week, “Inside Out,” with a story about her transition from middle school to high school alongside the passage 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The heart of her message was to ask the campers if they knew God loved them and if so, how do they know. She followed up her message with an original song about how God has worked in her life. The students ended worship by writing what they wanted to surrender to God on paper lanterns. We lit the lanterns and watched them float off into the sky as a symbol of surrender to our Mighty God. I pray for the transformation of these kids throughout this week and that they would experience God in new ways. We ended the night with a thrilling and disgusting relay of messy games. After the kids were covered with water, flour, and other miscellanious foods from around camp, they ran off to their cabins. Hopefully, they took a shower before crawling in the bed.

 

Until tomorrow,
Mary Kate

 

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Day 2


BRC Junior High 1 (49 of 31)This morning, we woke up with smiles on our face because we are at camp! We stayed up late last night getting messy, but that didn’t stop us from cleaning our cabins and eating breakfast early this morning. Thomas Rose, our worship leader this week, led us in worship and, of course, Gorilla, Man, Gun to prepare us for the exciting day ahead. After family devotional and morning specialties, we held some team building activities. Four of the republics participated in nature drop, while the other three went to low ropes. Nature drop, a new addition to Barefoot, consisted of teams building protective shields for 3 eggs made only from items in nature and masking tape. All of the republic leaders went to the top of the blob tower and dropped the eggs in hopes their republic would come out victorious. Republic Beast Mode was the only team to ensure the survival of all 3 of their eggs. BRC Junior High 1 (86 of 43)By the time free time rolled around, rain clouds had also rolled in. We cut lake time short and crowded in the U.N. for an thrilling game of dodge ball for our group competition. We started off with a good old game of staff verses campers. While the staff was very intimidated to be playing against 100 or so campers, we ended in triumph over the junior high students. The highlight of the evening was when Chloe single-handedly brought her team to victory, striking her opponents, one girl at a time. At evening program, Roz shared from John 3:16-17 and Romans 5:8. She told the kids that they are loved by God and chosen by God, not because of their actions but because of their hearts. This message was a refreshing reminder of our purpose and worth. She ended the message with a music video for “We will not be shaken” by Bethel. This year, our republic leaders are using a method called storying to tell accounts in the bible to the campers. This method allows the campers to experience the bible in a new way that brings the text alive. Tonight, the counselors told the account of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter. Watching this experience has been a blessing to me. We have been able to see God speaking to all of us through their observations, questions, and thoughts during these times of study. Finally, we ended the night with snow cones and the block party. We danced our hearts out until they made us go back to our cabins. And with that, the first full day of camp is finished; and it is already going by too fast.

 

In Christ,

Mary Kate

 

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Camper + Staff Interviews

BRC Junior High 1 (75 of 3)Terry | Allen County, KY | Age 13 | Second-year camper

Why did you come back to Barefoot this year?
“Because it was fun and lit.”

What is your favorite thing to do at camp?
“Basketball”

What do you think about the people in your cabin?
“They are fun and lit. I love my counselors.”

Why is diversity a cool thing?
“Because it doesn’t matter about what color you are, it just matters about your heart and personality.”

 

 

 

BRC Junior High 1 (76 of 3)Jasmine | Brentwood, TN | Age 12 | First-year camper

Why did you come to Barefoot?
“Because I want to further my relationship with God.”

How did you heat about Barefoot?
“My sister. She works here and loves it.”

What are you looking forward to at camp?
“Iron Man and all the games.”

How do you want to further your relationship with God at camp?
“I want to read my bible more often and spend more time with Him.”

Why is diversity important at camp?

“Because everybody is different but we still love God in the same way. We still have growth with good and be friends no matter what.”

 

BRC Junior High 1 (77 of 3)Manny | Cleveland, Ohio | C.I.T. | First year

What were your thoughts when the first campers arrived yesterday?
“My girlfriend and I were talking about how we need a safe place where we can really reconnect with God. We felt that He had called us to a purpose. One day, I was going to get her and I passed a sign about Barefoot. I walked passed it but the further away I got, the more I was drawn to talk to the people there. I was;t supposed to be here, I has an internship with NASA; but, something told me I really needed to be here.”

What has your experience so far?
“For me, my realization of what God can do for me was two nights ago during worship at the amphitheater. My whole life I have been carrying the weight of the things I didn’t have, things I didn’t do, or things I missed out on. I realized I had so much to be thankful for. My current situation is, I have nothing to complain about even if I wanted to. And that’s nothing to do with me, thats all God right there.”

What are you most looking forward to at camp?
“Just to be in an environment where there is no judgement. I can come to terms with God on my own time. I’m really excited because the longer I am here, the closer I get to Him. I’m also really excited to see how these kids change from the first day they were here. They didn’t care what I had to say. It’s only been a day and its already ‘no sir,’ ‘yea sir’.”

Why is diversity important at camp?
“Because these kids are the next generation. We need to get in their mind that no race is better than the other and no one race is worse than the other. That’s when we can see some true change. I am in a relationship with someone who is completely different than I am. It lets me see a different side of every story. If I was with a person of the same race, we would just be talking about the same things. The way you connect with someone who is different with you is really deep.”

 

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Day 3


 

Each morning after praise and worship, the campers take ten minutes in silence to spend with God. They spread out all over camp, spending this time in multiple ways such as reading their bible, journaling, and praying. This time has quickly become my favorite part of the day. Quiet time amidst a summer camp can be challenging, but Barefoot has created this time intentionally for our campers. It has been beneficial to my spiritual life and I know it has been beneficial to these campers. As the day went on, the campers BRC Junior High 1 Day 3 (53 of 93)participated in specialities, low ropes, and nature drop. I have the privilege of watching the specialities from behind my camera lens; and I have seen some very talented campers performing. Attendants of our youth program on Sunday are in for an impressive performance. After our eventful day, weather intruded on our free time but we did not let it rain on our parade. We piled in the U.N. for a timeless round of Simon Says and other entertaining games to pass the time. After a delicious dinner of baked chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes prepared by our Head Chef Rhonda, we ran to the U.N. for evening worship, in hopes that we could stay as dry as possible. Roz brought a convicting message to the stage tonight. She asked if there was anything we were holding back from God. Then, she challenged us by asking, “What if God held back from us?” I wish I could have captured the response after the message tonight. As the worship band was closing, students, one by one, knelt down at the bottom of the stage. Campers prayed and laid hands on each other. Eventually, I laid down my camera so I could fully experience the Lord’s presence in the U.N. tonight. We witnessed a few of the invocations that have been prayed over Barefoot. These students were BRC Junior High 1 Day 3 (25 of 25)
experiencing God deeply together, regardless of differences. Caroline (the birthday girl!) accepted Jesus as her savior tonight. In Barefoot fashion, one of our counselors created a chant for this momentous occasion. I ask that you continue to pray for the transformation God is performing in these campers lives. We are only halfway through camp, but have already seen our Savior work in powerful ways. I am positive the campers would also like you to pray for a cease in rain so they can fully experience all of the fun activities Barefoot has to offer. Finally, I ask you to keep Thomas Rose, our worship leader this week, in your prayers. He was involved in a car wreck today and had to get stitches. Thomas is a vital part of Barefoot, who has been with us for 12 years and we are extremely thankful for God’s protection over him. I pray for his full recovery and thank God for the impact he has had on campers over the years.

 

Best Wishes,
Mary Kate

 

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Camper + Staff Interviews

IMG_8222Colton | Scottsville, KY | Age 12 | first-year camper

Why did you come to Barefoot this year?
“Because I thought it would be really fun; and it turned out that it really is.”

What is your favorite thing to do at camp?
“Paintball. We won all three rounds today.”

What impact do you think barefoot will have on you?
“I think it will help me be a better friend and brother.”

Why is diversity important at camp?
“It helps us get to know everybody and their different perspective so that we can look at things a different way.”

 

 

 

BRC Junior High 1 Day 3 (80 of 93)Yuridia | Cleveland, TN | Age 10 | Fourth-year camper

Why did you keep coming back to Barefoot?
“I just really like it here. You can have your own personality and be yourself.”

What is your favorite thing to do at camp?
“Free time because I get to go in the lake.”

What do you think about the people in your cabin?
“I really like them! They say positive and encouraging things. They always know that we can get through whatever we are doing together.”

Why is diversity important at camp?

“Because that is what makes this camp special. It doesn’t matter what background you have or what look you have, it just matters about your relationship with God.”

 


richarra headshot (1 of 1)Richarra | Chattanooga, TN | Republic Leader | Second year

Why did you come back to Barefoot?
“Last year was a turning point for me spiritually. Through Barefoot, I was able to learn a lot about myself like my walk with Christ. He began to reveal some things within me through my campers and the other staff. I want to continue to experience this change and allow Christ to use me as a vessel”

What is your favorite thing about Barefoot?
“It is a place where people with different cultures and different beliefs all come together and leave in a different way. They come in with a lot of things but when they leave they experience freedom. Their hearts are turned to Jesus and seeds are planted. I just love that African-American kids, Asian kids, and refugee kids can all hold hands and worship the same God.”

Last year you were at day camp. How has overnight camp been different so far?
“I really loved day camp but I was only with the students for a short period of time. You are not able to go as in depth in the bible studies like you are at overnight camp. Now, I wake up with the students, spend the whole day with them, and really build that family bond. I am able to spend longer in bible study and really build deep relationships with these girls.”

What are you hoping these girls will leave camp with?
“I want these girls to leave with freedom from oppression, depression, or whatever it may be. I want this week to be a turning point in their life like it was for me. Whatever baggage they came in with, whatever strongholds were attached with them, whatever doubts they had will all be exchanged for belief in the Lord. I hope that they can take the seeds that have been planted in their lives and then spread them to the people back home.”

 

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Day 4


Junior High 1 Day 4 (17 of 23)We were blessed with perfect weather today. I saw a few tan lines and maybe even some sunburns. After an eventful morning, we came together for a different kind of activity: Right Foot, Left Foot. Campers stand in a straight line and respond to questions by either moving to the left or the right. These questions ask about things such as privilege, race, gender, and background. The students step to the side until they are spread out across the field. They are told to look around at the people . This exercise is meant to show how the world divides us, but how God sees us all equally. We are able to come to a place where we can all worship the same God regardless of these differences. Each republic gathers together to discuss how they were affected by this experience. This vulnerability breaks down barriers between campers. Later today, we heldJunior HIgh 1 Day 4 (1 of 1) the annual Iron Man, a giant relay across camp full of things like basketball, gross food, paintball, and a human pyramid. The competition was fierce, but Republic Chef Curry came out on top barely beating Republic Fire of Our Righteousness. After a delicious quesadilla dinner, we attended evening program. During worship, campers have been wrapping their arms around each other shoulders. It has been a pleasure to watch these students unashamedly worship together. Roz shared her testimony; and students, again, knelt down at the bottom of the stage and prayed after her message. God’s movement has been especially noticeable as the week has progressed. Weended the night with skits from each of the republics. Each cabin showed tremendous creativity and hard work. I laughed throughout the entire show. I ask that you please continue to pray for these last two days at camp. We have loved getting to know these students; and we have loved watching God work through us this week.

 

Always,

Mary Kate

 

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Camper + Staff InterviewsVictoria | Franklin, TN | Age 11 | fourth-year camper

Headshots day 4 (3 of 3)How has camp been so far?
“These past three days have been so fun because I feel like I have known the people in my cabin for years. We have just connected so much and have so much energy.”

What is your favorite thing about camp?
“The chants. They are really good to get out your energy. Also, the dancing. I really like the dancing.”

Have you grown in your relationship with God since being here?
“I have felt like I have grown a lot. Just being in this beautiful nature and having 10 minutes of silence with God every day has been very impacting.”

What did you think about Right Foot, Left Foot today?
“I had a lot of mixed emotions. I never knew that so many people had gone through some really hard stuff. I have a really good life, and I am really grateful.

 

Headshots day 4 (1 of 3)Dsanto | Wisconsin | Age 11 | Fifth-year camper

How has camp been so far?
“It’s been a lot of fun, I have been meeting new people.”

What is your favorite thing about camp?
“Getting to worship God at evening devotion.”

How have you seen God through this experience?
“He has really been using me to help people. During evening devotion, when people cry, I go up to them, and talk to them, and pray with them.”

What did you think about Right Foot, Left Foot?

“I was actually really surprised. People who I thought had it all were actually farther to the left than me. But that doesn’t matter because we are all the same in God’s eyes”

 

 

Headshots day 4 (1 of 1)Bennett | Owensboro, KY | Counselor | First year

How did you hear about Barefoot?
“I heard about it from my friends Bobby and Leanne. God made some moves; and I am here for a purpose. My freshman summer I had a desire to work at a camp but I felt like I wasn’t ready. At the end of the summer, I believed that God could use me at camp to serve others.”

How have you seen God work through your experience so far?
“One thing I have learned so far is the importance of spiritual rest. I have being getting into a rhythm of having spiritual rest over physical rest. I am trusting that God will sustain me. I want to carry this on for the rest of my life. This time in my life is a good time to build this habit.”

How has your cabin been?
“They are great kids. I get a lot of help from Gavin and Jordan. It’s hard for me to tell you what I bring. Gavin tells me I am wise, but I think he is just being nice. ”

What did you think about Right Foot, Left Foot?
“I am always a little bit angry with how the world tries to divide us. Sometimes I feel like it is unfair that I have gotten some of the things I have gotten and then seeing these kids who don’t deserve to have these difficult situations. But it has given me comfort to know that God doesn’t really care where people are. We are all equal. He can take you from any situation and make you His.”

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Day 5


IMG_0303 copyToday was so refreshing; the atmosphere at Barefoot Republic Camp is one of the most special and unique things I have ever experienced. Instead of bringing the mood of the day down, the rain and drizzle reflected the new things God is causing to grow in the hearts of the campers here this week. This year, we decided to do our traditional competition of BRAVEHEART a little differently. Instead of using the week’s food leftovers, we assigned each republic a colored powder to use as ammunition. Each camper did their best to protect their two counselors against the onslaught of paint, powder, and flour. A GIRLS republic ended up winning the most points for the week—they were very, very proud. Evening program was really special tonight; Our IMG_0890 copybeautiful speaker showed a clip of an interview with Passion of the Christ actor Jim Caviezel, who spoke about his transformative experience filming the crucifixion scene in the movie. The students (and staff) were challenged to not be “fence riders,” but rather to realize that God has already chosen us and He invites us to accept Him into our hearts and let Him carry our burdens. The “extravagant” love of God was then demonstrated by the counselors, who washed the feet of every member of their republic and then prayed over them in the amphitheater. What a beautiful picture of God’s character and sacrificial love! Before our end-of-week bonfire, campers had an opportunity to share what they saw God do in their lives this week. It is amazing to me that even junior high students can know the simple truth of the Gospel, because God pursues the hearts of the young as well as the old. On the ride home tomorrow, we pray that these kids remember the transformative power of God and continue to seek them as they return to “real life”—God does not only live at Barefoot Republic Camp—He lives in our hearts.

 

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Friendship Interviews

 

IMG_9094Fabean | Age 13 | Puerto Rico| 1st year
T.J. | Age 13 | Nashville, TN | 1st year

How did you become friends?
F: “Well I was, like always, just chit chatting to myself. Then, he answered my question. Then, we started talking. Then, we became buds, then super buds, then best friends, then super super best friends, and then brothers.’
T: “I saw him across the room sitting by myself. I thought to myself, ‘Is he lonely?’ So I walked over and we started talking.”

F: “Yeah, I was lonely”

T: “I thought maybe people wouldn’t be your friend, so I was like bro come here.”

What do you have in common?
T: “We both like origami. That’s probably one of the main things.”

F: “We both like drawing.”

What do you appreciate about each other?
F: “Well, he is the best bud I have ever had in my life”
T: “His sense of humor; and he is my best bud.”

What have you learned about God this week?
F: “I’ve learned to ask God for help.
T: “At worship, we all go pray. Most of our cabin will go up to people and start praying. I’ve really just learned to pray together.”

Why is diversity important?

T: “You have different things about you. You have different interests. He has a different background. And that’s cool because I get to learn from him. He can teach me some stuff, and I can teach him some stuff.”

F: “If we learn more, we can become more intelligent. When you learn about someone, you can use that knowledge to talk to other people like them.”

 


IMG_9064Aniyah | Age 11 | Franklin, TN | 1st year
Veronica | Age 11 | Franklin., TN | 3rd year

 

How did you become friends?
A: “We met on the bus, but officially it was in the cabin.”
V: “We mostly met in the cabin, but we rode on the same bus.”

What is one of your favorite memories from the week?

V: “Swimming together.”
A: “Yeah, when she left me in the lake and I was looking for her underwater.”

What do you have in common?
V: “Our bunk beds are close together.”
A: “We are both girls. We are both 11. We both live in Franklin.”

V: “We both like hairbuns.”

A: “We both like green, like the green lake.”

What do you like or appreciate about each other?
V: “She is very sweet and nice.”
A: “Her name starts with a V like victorious. She is hilarious ”

V: “Oh, She has a really good impersonation of Theo. She is very funny”

What have you learned about God this week?

A: “That God created you exactly how he wanted you to be.”
V: “Yeah, same as her.”

 


IMG_9072
Jaydn| Scottsville, KY | Age 10 | 3rd
 year

Zechariah | Nashville, TN | Age 11 | 1st year

 

How did you become friends?
J: “We were both the first in the cabin so we just started talking.”

What do you have in common?
Z: “Art skills”
J: “Yeah, we do.”

What have you learned about God so far this week?
Z: “I learned that God is a strong leader in my life.”
J: “That He likes you from the inside, not the out. Humans like the outside, but He pays attention to the inside.”

What do you appreciate about each other?

Z: “I appreciate that he will give me my space.”

J: “I appreciate that we can laugh together and have fun together.”

 

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Day 6


IMG_1330 copyWe are so blessed by the parents and families that are able to make it out to camp for our end-of-week Youth Productions; the campers worked so hard in their specialty classes this week and were proud to be able to show what they learned and accomplished in their classes. The diverse range of artistic classes that were represented included dance, drama, spoken word (new this year), stomp, music production, making of the band, vocal performance, and visual arts. Engineering was also new this year; students worked on building small structures like popsicle stick bridges. Weekly awards were given to campers who exemplified a variety of different Christ-like traits and personality strengths this week – what an encouragement to those campers to keep walking in Christ and trying to be more like him every day! Seeing the transformation this week in so may kids was a huge encouragement. It’s always sad to say goodbye, but we are looking forward to seeing many of those familiar faces next year!

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