With the majority of the campers having been to Barefoot several times before, this session feels very familiar to even me- a first timer. The chants are yelled loudly and proudly. The friends are reunited and catching up. The dances are performed at full-force. Although this isn’t a lot of newness, everyone seems stoked to endure this week. The campers are advancing into their specialties and already coming along nicely, which will be so fun to see at the Youth Production on the last day of camp. Today also included the team-building activity of regatta, which is where each Republic is given some cardboard, duct tape, pool noodles and plastic bags and expected to make a boat that will carry a camper across our lake. We will see how well that turns out very soon when the campers race them! For the Republic Competition, we played Crazy Ball and Angle Ball. Both are variations of actual sports like soccer, but customized to this camp specifically. We ate dinner and enjoyed a game, worship, and message in our beautiful amphitheater. Pastor Will spoke on how we get caught up in today’s media and how we make that our God out of our dependence, which is very hard to realize until you no longer have access to the internet (like here at camp)! We dismissed from there to the UN where we had our annual Block Party, which is just a chance for everyone to let loose and dance to their favorite songs while enjoying snacks. We may be worn out now, but by tomorrow we’ll be (hopefully) well rested and eager to have another wonderful day here at Barefoot!
An array of activities occurred today, per usual. At the beginning of the day, the campers went to the morning worship followed by their 10 minutes of silence. This is where we ask everyone to sit by themselves and spend time with God, whether that is praying, reading, or simply thinking. We know that life becomes hectic, so this allows everyone to just stop and breathe so they don’t forget why they’re here. Later on, we all participated in something called “Left Foot / Right Foot”. This is where Candace has every camper and counselor get into one long, single file line and listen to a series of questions. Whenever she said something that was true of the camper, they were to take a step to either to the left or right. These weren’t just any questions, though. They all dealt with the truth of racial, cultural, and socioeconomical issues. At the end of the questionnaire, everyone looked around and realized that what was once a clean line was now a chaotic mess. Everyone was scattered across the field. It was a new perspective on what people deal with, and after a debrief, everyone came back and joined hands to signify a united nation.
We went on through the day in our specialties, and eventually ended up in our evening program. Pastor Will used the Republic Barn to visualize how we are all to depend on each other and on the Lord. He ended his thoughts in a prayer over the campers, who huddled together at the front of the stage. We transitioned from that into Showcase, our competition of the day. Every Republic put on a skit displaying our theme, whether that was in a serious or comical manner. The groups have been practicing for this, and their hard work really paid off tonight. We are so blessed to have these dedicated campers at Barefoot, and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
What is so special about Barefoot to you?
This is my home away from home. I can really be myself here.
What’s your favorite Republic competition?
Iron Man, because we all work together as a team.
What has stood out to you from Pastor Will’s messages?
That God doesn’t care where you come from. He reassured me that no matter where you’re at, it’s never too late to run back to God.
T.J | 14 | Old Hickory, TN | 2nd year camper
Why did you return to Barefoot this year?
I actually didn’t want to come back at first, but my mom wanted me to, so I decided I would. I’m glad I did because my relationship with God has continued to excel.
Yeah! I don’t know a lot of other camps that do that. Even our logo is about diversity, which is really cool.
What have you learned this week?
To not judge a book from its cover. Like during Left Foot / Right Foot, I was surprised to see how much people have gone through.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about Barefoot?
It’s awesome, and anyone who hasn’t been here should come. Even though I get nervous before coming, I never want to leave when it’s time to go home.
Agnes | Bardstown, Kentucky | Marketing Intern and CIT | 2nd year
How did you hear about Barefoot?
Through Conny Sanchez and Bobby Jenkins, who had already worked here
How has Barefoot impacted your life?
Barefoot has been teaching me what it looks like to show God’s grace, love, and light. This place has taught me how much patience I actually do have and how much more I need to work on gaining the fruit of the spirit. It’s shown me how God can bring people together to create an unexpected and unlikely community.
You led worship a few times this week. What was that like?
Humbling. In college at my student ministry, I’ve led worship but never like this. I would look down and kids would be looking at me in curiosity of how I worship the Lord. I just hope that I was the example they needed to see to feel comfortable praising the Lord.
What is something new you’ve learned this week?
I’ve been learning a lot on how to celebrate the diversity of how we each personally hear the Lord. I may hear him by sensing him or feeling him through others emotions but someone else might hear him through tangible words through Scripture. I’ve never thought about it in that way before.
Our last full day of camp was interesting to say the least! It unfortunately rained and was gloomy for a lot of the day. However, we didn’t mind at all. We are thankful for the rainfall and did the best with what we had! Some of the specialties got together and played CrazyBall in the rain, and had a blast doing it. After getting cleaned up, we went on through the day and eventually got dirty once more in BraveHeart. This was the last Republic competition of the week, where the boys and girls split up and tried to get the opposite gender as messy as possible. Food coloring in flour and slime were used as ammunition, and not one person walked away clean. The girls won, but in the Ultimate Purple Cup, our Republic Barn won! They rejoiced and jumped all over the DC, as expected. They worked hard and prospered, and we are so proud of them.
To wrap up the night, we heard our lats message from Pastor Will where he reminded us of God’s goodness. Our very own Abby Oaks went on to share a very personal story of a recent tragedy in her life as well, which blew all of us away. She really exemplifies the grace of God and living in His peace. Her words were the perfect transition to our annual lantern send off, where everyone is given the opportunity to write what they want to let go to God on a lantern and send it off into the sky. We ended the night at a bonfire, where more testimonies were shared. It truly is humbling to see how resting people can be in the Lord, because that is so rare in this society. Seeing everyone leave will be rough tomorrow, but all we can do right now is enjoy the now.
Tatum | 16 | Nashville, TN | 6th year camper
Katie |16 | Spring Hill, TN |3rd year camper
How did you two become friends?
K: Last year we took Visual Art together.
T: But this year we got closer because we were in the same Republic.
Why do you like being each other’s friend?
K: I just feel like I can tell her anything.
T: I felt God telling me to pray for her, and I did. We’ve become so close since then.
What do think about Barefoot?
K: It’s great. Everyone here is so encouraging and kind.
T: This is a place where you don’t have to be afraid of what people think. We are all vulnerable and like a family.
Seeing everyone leave is never easy, but knowing that they have changed for the better always helps. The campers walked away from Barefoot with more knowledge on God and how to receive help from Him. Some even walked away with a physical award, which the counselors all discussed and agreed on. Those campers exhibited His love in their daily actions and words, which did not go unnoticed. Along with the presentation of said awards, our Youth Production displayed the week’s work in specialties with performances from Making of the Band, Dance, Vocal Performance, Animation, Photography, Stomp, and Drama. Every camper worked so hard, and we are so proud. We pray that today wasn’t full of saying “goodbye”, but rather “see you later”!