Camp came to a close today with the specialty classes showing the rest of camp what they’d worked so hard on all week. Drama preformed a play that left us all laughing, vocal performance sang beautifully, animation showed their impressive comic book, dance preformed a very well-done routine, stomp got everyone hype, photography’s photos were projected, spoken word gave a powerful message, and ‘making the band’ played “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. The campers were so excited to have a finished product, and the instructors were immensely proud.
Colton | 13 | Scottsville, Kentucky | 2nd year
Malachi | 13 | Franklin, Tennessee | 2nd year
How did you become friends?
C: We met at Barefoot last year.
M: Yeah, we were playing basketball together.
What is your favorite thing to do together at Barefoot?
C: Paintball, or Gaga Ball.
M: And the blob.
What are the good things you see in each other?
M: Colton is a “go with the flow” kinda guy and is up for anything.
C: He’s pretty cool, and fun to be around. And his hair is awesome.
We were blessed to have felt the light of the sun that our God created all day today! We went to our daily specialties and activities, which were riveting as always. However, the real part of today that really hit home was Right Foot / Left Foot. This is an event where we have all the campers and counselors get in one single file line and listen as Candace read off a series of statements regarding social and racial issues. If she said something that applied to the person involved, they were asked to take a single step either to the left or to the right. The environment was very tense and upsetting to everyone involved- especially at the end, when everyone looked around and saw that no one was no longer in their same spot. Following this, the Republics split up and discussed what had just happened, and opened up intelligent and important conversations that deal with everyone’s story and how society had trashed the different cultures all around the world. It also showed that we as humans all have been through some hardship, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Later on in the day, the guys and girls split into two different buildings and had specific conversations about tough subjects, such as relationships. They had the opportunity to get some closure without being embarrassed, as they got to ask anonymous questions and get the closure they needed. After more specialties and free time, we had dinner and headed to the evening program. Kat talked once again and blew us all away with her kindness and wisdom. Afterwards, we enjoyed popcorn together and watched each others’ showcases. Every Republic had designed a skit to display our theme, Lean on We, and tie in a comedic feel into it. This is always a high point of camp, and we look forward to seeing the camper’s creativity displayed. With another day down and one more full day to go, we are trying not to think about having to say goodbye.
With love, Veronika
Camper + Staff Interviews
Ethan | 12 | Murfreesboro, Tennessee | 1st year camper
Why did you want to come to Barefoot?
“My sisters went here, and they told me it was cool and it would change my life.”
What has been your favorite activity we’ve done so far?
“Block party, because we had snow cones and our favorite songs played while we danced.”
What do you think is good about diversity?
“People might not like each other because they’re from different places, but Barefoot makes everyone feel at home.
Why do you continue to come back to Barefoot?
“It’s really fun and you make new friends, and all the activities we do.
Have you learned anything about God so far?
“Yeah, no matter what a person has done, God still loves you. And we have to confess our sins so he’ll forgive us. He’s merciful and gracious and forgave our sins before we even did them when he died on the cross.”
What do you have to say about diversity?
“Its good to know other peoples’ cultures to respect them, so like you can be accustomed to their traditions.”
Why did you want to come work here?
“Because of how the leaders poured into me when I was a camper here for five years, they made my confidence in myself and my relationship with God greater and I want to do that for these campers.”
What have you collected from your time at Barefoot?
“That God will give me all I need. I need to focus to Him so that I don’t seek approval from other people, because He loves me, and that’s all that matters.”
How does diversity tie into this camp?
“They bring people in from all over. I’ve met people from Germany, Honduras, and now Norway. We’re all here for one point, and that’s to get close to God and learn about him. I really appreciate that because in my neighborhood, all I see is African-Americans and all I hear is about drugs and violence. Going to a place where theres all types of races and cultures in a positive environment is really uplifting.”
Camp continued to be amazing today (no surprise there)! We headed to worship after breakfast and followed that up with 10 minutes of being present with the Lord once again. After another Family Devo, the first round of specialties began. Everyone’s projects are coming together nicely; drama has designed roles for their skit, vocal performance is rehearsing their song, animation has their storyline together, and the sports are improving more and more each day. The campers are all so passionate about what they’re doing, and we as a staff are so impressed with their dedication. We also did some more team building exercises, with the boys doing low ropes and the girls building their cardboard boats. These activities impose the campers to work together and trust one another, which is so needed in order to maintain heathy relationships throughout life. The day kept going with lunch, downtime, more specialties, and electives where they were free to play around the campus (including swimming and zip lining.)
For the big Republic comeption, the campers went through a camp-wide relay called the “Iron Man”. They had representatives preform at different stations in a timely manner, whether that was problem solving, eating gross mixtures, or kicking a soccer ball. In order to complete the race, each Republic had to form a three story pyramid for ten seconds and then link arms to cross the finish line. As more and more Republics finished, the tunnel they made to cheer on the remaining teams grew. This was a wonderful act of good sportsmanship, and was very encouraging to the Republics passing through. The day winded down after dinner and another message from this week’s speaker, Kat, in the amphitheater. This atmosphere includes so much of God’s creation that it’s hard to not get lost in worship and praise for Him. This week is flying right by, but it is thankfully not over just yet. We may be tired, but we are ready to bring on tomorrow!
In Christ, Veronika
Camper + Staff Interviews
Weston | 13 | Franklin, Tennessee | 2nd year camper
How has camp been so far?
“Well, last year was so spiritual for me, I was kinda scared that this year would be weird. But I talked to Ms. Kat and she helped me realize that even though there’s ups and downs, God is still there for me no matter what.”
What does it mean to you to be diverse?
“It means being different and unique, and what makes you who you are. I think it’s good because if we aren’t diverse, we won’t have the common identity of being different, which leaves us with no identity at all.”
Can you describe Barefoot in one word?
“That’s really hard to condense…all-encompassing. That’s a hyphen.”
Molly | 11 | Thompson Station, Tennessee | 2nd year camper
What have you learned about Jesus at Barefoot this year?
“Kat talked about how we have to clean our insides before our outsides. So we can all look great, but really not be okay.”
Do you think diversity is a good thing?
“Yes. Just based on where you’re from and what you look like, shouldn’t mean you should be judged. And, Jesus believes we’re all equal.”
Why do you love Barefoot?
“The people here, and all the fun activities we do. Even though the schedule is packed, we still have free time, and it’s really fun.”
Why did you want to come work for Barefoot for another summer?
“This is a really free place to be, it’s a good place to come and spend time with God.”
What’s so special about Barefoot?
“People come here to be unified, and be in God with each other.”
What do you think about diversity?
“It’s important to know that no matter what someone looks like, we’re all created by God and we should see each other the way He sees us.”
What do you hope God will teach you this summer?
To fully rely and trust in Him, and know that he is in control.”
To start off our first full day of camp, we enjoyed a plentiful breakfast of waffles, bacon, cereal, and scrambled eggs (courtesy of our wonderful head chef, Rhonda). We then went on to a short devo and spent 10 minutes in silence with the Lord. I think that’s something we forget to do so often- just be still and know. It’s refreshing to see the campers so invested in the word during this time, and take a moment to become more aware of His presence. Following that, the republics split up into family devos, where they learned stories of the bible. From there, we went into our first specialties of the day, and continued into some team building exercises. While the girls went into the woods to work on several obstacles to bring them closer, the guys stayed in the UN to build cardboard boats and race them in the lake- with a camper paddling it! Some boats may not have made it as far as others, but everyone worked hard on their project, and more importantly, they worked together.
After lunch, a period of rest, and a second set of specialties, we went into our free time and electives. Unfortunately, our outdoor activity plans got altered by the weather. Fortunately, we moved indoors to play dodgeball because we don’t let the rain ruin our fun! We then ate dinner and went on to the evening program, where Kat once again spoke some very real truth into us. She used the verses Romans 5:8 and 1John 1:9 to show how God’s love for us is abundant, and it’s up to us to ask for forgiveness in our sins. She encouraged us to submit to the Lord and then presented a powerful moment in which we verbally confessed that we believed that God sent His son to save us from our own sins, and to invite Him to live in our hearts forever. We ended our busy day with a block party, complete with snow cones of all sorts of flavors. The week sure is off to a fantastic start, if I do say so myself!
Until next time, Veronika
Camper + Staff Interviews
What has been the best part about this week?
“When we put shaving cream in our counselors’ faces last night!”
Why is diversity important?
“Because everyone is individual and special in their own way.”
What did you learn from the speaker’s message last night?
“I learned that no matter how much you sin, God will always try and capture your heart.”
Why did you want to come back to Barefoot this year?
“Normally, I get bullied a lot, but this place is very inviting. The counselors aren’t just doing their job, they’re also very personal.”
Why is diversity important?
“There’s been a lot of racism in the world; I just saw a study where they put a white girl, a white boy, a black girl, and a black boy in a classroom and asked some teachers to go guess which of them had been doing something wrong, and 50% of them guessed it was the black kids. Here at Barefoot, everyone is just equal.”
Have you learned anything about God so far this week?
“When God came to Jesus in the form of a dove. I think that’s outstanding to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.”
How did you hear about Barefoot?
“I was involved in a program that was doing some service projects, and we came to Barefoot to help rebuild the paintball fort. I found out they were hiring, so I decided to come and work for the summer.”
How do you hope God will affect you personally while you’re here?
“He’s definitely going to test my patience, and how committed I actually am. I think most out anything, though, is He’s going to work on my humility. I need to think of not only my feelings, but the campers’.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say about your experience as a counselor?
“The staff here is so great. I’ve really enjoyed the friendships I’ve made here, and getting to hear everyone’s stories as well as sharing my own. It really is amazing.”
It’s that time of year again! Barefoot Republic overnight camp is officially back in action, and we are SO excited to have such great campers here. We started out the day with getting everyone moved into their Republics. Every Republic came up with a name (i.e. The Chainbreakers, The Yee-Yee-Boys), a chant and a flag to represent them throughout the week. Then, the campers were introduced to their specialties and got an overview of what their classes will consist of this week. Everyone was so excited to get started and participate in what they love to do, such as water sports, vocal performance, graffiti, and soccer.
After dinner, we worshipped the Lord and got the privilege of hearing from Kat, tonight’s speaker. Kat talked about how much God loves each and every one of us, no matter how many mistakes we make. She explained that in order to learn how to exert love for each other and ourselves, we need to fully trust and believe how deeply the Lord loves us.
To end the night, we played some of the messiest games I’ve ever witnessed in my life. The Republics competed against each other in races to fish through pickle jello, get cereal to stick to their faces, and to “cream” their Republic leaders. All in all, the first day of camp was a success. I think I can speak for everyone in that we can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for the remainder of camp!
With love, Veronika