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Day 1


IMG_1583What better day to start off camp than on National Barefoot Day? We as a staff are thrilled to have the Senior High students join us this week. We’ve gotten off to a great start with getting moved into our Republics and personalizing them. After a period of time dedicated to coming up with names (such as “Guac” and “The Hive”) and chants, each Republic presented their work to the camp as a whole. We then met up with our two specialty classes for the week and received introductions to them. This is where the campers join a class in whatever they’re passionate about and get to learn more about it and advance their skills. The campers then went down to the lake and began their swim test, just to ensure the staff that everyone is safe as can be in free time.
We headed down to dinner and dismissed to the evening program where we heard a message from this week’s speaker, Pastor Will. He shared the truth of Jesus and how badly He wants us, no matter our struggles. He even had some brave campers be vulnerable by standing up to admit that they were going through some tough stuff, and prayed over them. The environment became immensely spiritual, with Jesus’s presence undeniably there.IMG_1644
Eventually we transitioned into the first of many Republic vs. Republic competitions: Messy Games. Campers went from sticking their faces in pickled jello, to to drenching their Republic Leaders in shaving cream. No one walked away clean, which I admit is the best part of the whole challenge. If today is any indication of how great this week will be, then we are in for the time of our lives.
With love, Veronika

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Photo Album on Facebook


Day 2


With the majority of the campers having been to Barefoot several times before, this session feels veryIMG_1917 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 variatiIMG_1830ons 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!

Until tomorrow, Veronika
IMG_1784John | 16 | Franklin, Tennessee | 4th year camper
Why do you continue coming to Barefoot?
When I first came, I wasn’t a good kid. And after that week at Barefoot, my life changed, and I know that sounds cheesy. The brothers I made and the cabin I made were awesome. And it allowed me to understand friendships at a level I would’ve never understood had I not start coming. I really can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t return to Barefoot. Everything here is perfect.
What have you learned about God from your time here?
Well, I grew up in a Christian home, so I knew He was there, but I never really had the experience of His presence. Barefoot allowed me to open up that window to really see Him.
What does the word “diversity” mean to you?
It’s really special to see a place where kids from different socioeconomic backgrounds can all be accepted because at school, it seems bad. I think it’s really wonderful that Barefoot has culture. Just fantastic.
IMG_1785Nataly | 17 | Columbia | 4th year camper
What do you like the most about Barefoot? 
I like how diverse it is and how everyone gets along whether we’re doing chants, playing games, or getting together in the cabins like a big family.
What is diversity?
When different people come together with different cultures. I think it’s good because not everyone has the same story and we need different people to relate to.
What has God taught you here?
He is always willing. You can come to him at anytime and he will forgive you.
IMG_1164Jannai | 21 | Virginia Beach, Virginia | 1st year Counselor
What made you want to work at Barefoot?
I needed it for my internship and had a friend from school work here previously and love it, so I thought God was leading me here.
What has been your favorite part of being a counselor? 
Seeing my girls warm up to me and forming relationships with them, and seeing the change in them already.
What do you think of Barefoot’s stance on diversity?
I think it is so important to show the kids that different is good, no matter the race or background.

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Photo Album on Facebook

Day 1 Recap Video!


Day 3


IMG_0055Today was absolutely beautiful, for many reasons. Sure, the weather was flawless, but the Holy Spirit was so evident all day- and that is overwhelmingly priceless. We went through our regular specialty classes, and raced our boats we made in Regatta yesterday. What really stood out about this team building activity wasn’t the boats that swam or sunk, but when one Republic’s boat got ruined before we went out to the lake and competing Republics scurried to help them build a new one. The campers don’t seem to realize how noticed those actions are, but the staff was blown away at how God shined right through them at that time.
Later on, a Republic competition known as “Iron Man” occurred. Basically, this is a relay race all across our campus in which the campers go through a station to advance to the next obstacle. These events included eating a cup of disgusting, mixed up food, shooting basketballs, and shooting a paintball gun. The race ends with the entirety of a team forming a three-person-high pyramid for ten seconds and linking arms into the finish line. One by one, the Republics went through Iron Man and finished it with sweat dripping down their faces. The best part of the competition was toward the end, when one team was taking a little longer than expected. So, to encourage them, the rest of the Republics cheered loudly for them and followed them to the finish line. It was humbling to see what was originally a stiff competitive environment turn into a supporting and loving one. IMG_9873
I would have to say the most powerful aspect of today was during our evening program. One of our wonderful counselors, Maria, bravely and boldly shared her testimony with the group. She was vulnerable and honest, bringing several (including myself) to tears. Pastor Will dedicated the rest of His time to praying over students that could be struggling as well, and thanking God for opening our hearts to Him. Everyone joined hands and embraced each other in comfort. That is what Barefoot is really about: no matter the background, the story, or the sin, God loves us all so well, and we want to let everyone know that.
In Him, Veronika
Camper + Staff Interviews
IMG_9938Irvin | 15 | Nashville, Tennessee | 2nd Year Camper
What about Barefoot do you like?
It’s fun and a lot of people come together and work like a team.
What do you think about diversity?
I think it’s good, because people learn from different cultures come and unite together, and they get more knowledge.
What has God taught you here?
He is always here with us. He calls us for some specific reason, no matter what.
IMG_9940Anna | 17 | Germany | 1st Year Camper
What do you think about camp so far?
I love it! It’s super fun, and my cabin is just lovely.
What do you think God is doing with you here?
He has spoken to me so much in my time here, through other people. Like today, He revealed that I am to guard my heart and be patient for His plans.
Do you think diversity is a good thing?
Yes, we are all the same inside and loved by God. Racial problems shouldn’t exist.
IMG_0118Casey | 22 | 1st Year Support Staff | Lexington, Kentucky
Why did you want to come to Barefoot?
I felt that God called me into a season of rest, and He showed me Barefoot. So here I am!
Have you liked working here so far?
I’ve loved it. It’s like home, a little piece of heaven if you will.
What has God shown you here?
That He really does come through on His promises and always provides. I’ve heard some very dark stories from people here about their lives, and He’s taught me that His light shines through it all.

Day 4


IMG_0126An 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.

IMG_0240We 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!

 

 

Camper  Interviews

IMG_9941Dynasty | 15 | Bowling Green, Kentucky | 6th year camper

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.

IMG_0469Do you think Barefoot does a good job at incorporating diversity?

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.

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Photo Album on Facebook

Day 3 Recap Video!


Day 5


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.

Yours, Veronika

Friendship InterviewsIMG_0608

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.


Day 6


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”!