Today is our very first day of camp! We are thrilled to have these elementary schoolers join us here at Barefoot for the next few days. They are a joy to work with, and so far its been a blast. When the campers arrived, they were taken to their cabins, which we refer to as “Republics”. Each Republic came up with their own names, chants, and flags to represent them throughout their time here. They preformed their chants, showed off their flags, and announced their names at an all-camp meeting later on. Some of their names included the “Boiz”, “The Black Diamonds”, and “The GummyBears”.
I for sure can say that these kids are so creative after hearing their chants and seeing their flag designs! They then went to their specialty class introductions, which is where they’ll spend a lot of time this week. Each camper goes to a morning specialty and an afternoon one, and they learn \ improve on a skill they are interested in all week. These specialties consist of sports such as football, and arts such as film, so there is a wide variety for campers, no matter their talent. They are already so excited to begin learning!
After taking a swim test to ensure the safety of the campers as they use the Rec Lake, we headed to the D.C for a dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and brownies (courtesy of our fantastic kitchen staff). That filled us up for the Evening Program, which is a space of worship and preaching. Ms. Kat, who is this week’s speaker, talked about how no matter people view us or how we view ourselves, God will always think we are good enough. That was a beautiful way to worship a little more and then go to our first Republic competition: Messy Games. I realize the name of this challenge seems self explanatory, but it consists of some crazy things! The campers seriously ate pickle juice jello, got milk and oats all over their face! They definitely had a fun, yet tiring first day, and went to bed after that. We are excited to see what our first full day will consist of, though!
The campers had a great first full day of camp! They are troopers, for sure. We had a camp-wide scavenger hunt before lunch, and boy was it hot outside! It was difficult, but every Republic pushed through and made it back to the U.N with time to spare before lunch. Today was also the first day of specialties getting started, so the real work was able to get put in. The campers were excited to begin, which was highly encouraging to we teachers! Free time rolled around everyone got a chance to have fun in whatever they signed up to do, or to just hang out and play around camp.
We had yet another Republic completion, which was Angle Ball and Crazy Ball. These two games involve a lot of ball throwing, kicking, and running with balls and trying to score goals. The campers worked together with their teams to win, and were good sports with their opponents. We were so impressed and excited for them!
We ended the night with more worship and another message from Ms. Kat, who used a nailed up cross to show the cost that Christ paid to save us from our sins. The campers asked a lot of great questions and were blown away by the visual example of what Jesus did for us. They were able to talk about it with their Republics, and then go to our block party! This is a space to just go crazy with dancing and eating snow cones. Campers always enjoy this part of camp, probably because there’s no competition; it’s just for fun! We are looking forward to resting up for tomorrow’s activity.
Why did you come back to camp this year?
Because camp was so fun last year!
What is the most fun thing to do at camp?
Paintball during free time.
What have you learned about God from Barefoot?
That He sent His son to die on the cross, and He loves us.
What were your favorite parts of camp?
Swimming and eating.
What is your favorite Republic competition?
Showcase because we get to show people how funny we are.
What have you learned about Jesus here?
He loves everyone, even bullies.
Every morning, the campers are asked to take ten minutes of silence to be with God. They sit alone and pray, think, or journal during this time. Because we get so busy with our lives and run around all day with our own activities and challenges, we don’t get a lot of chances to just be still and know that the Lord is here, and He is loving us with all of His greatness. This is a wonderful reminder to submit to Him and to spend time with Him daily.
For the Republic Competition, we did a camp favorite: Iron Man. This is a camp-wide relay in which all the Republics had to work together to finish. Campers were stationed at mind games, eating food, rock climbing, swimming, running, and so much more. They ended the game by forming a three-person-high pyramid and linking arms through the fish line. If they break the chain of linked arms, they have to go back across the soccer field to re-do their pyramid as well as re-link arms. That means that everyone has to go the same pace, so working together is essential for victory. In the end, Republic 6 won and each received a medal. Regardless of the winner, everyone finished and had a great time doing so.
Evening program consisted of another amazing worship session from Lipscomb University’s Dwell group. Then, Ms. Kat used yet another visual example using the counselors to show how the Lord frees us of our sins and literally breaks the chains off our wrists. Satan may try to trap us, but God will always come through.
Due to our elementary sessions being a day shorter than our others, we have less time to do all our Republic Competitions. So tonight, we had another! Our showcase is where every Republic comes up with a skit to preform incorporating the camp theme, Lean on We, and the camp verse, Ephesians 4:4-6. They were judged on their participation, creativity, and theme. They all worked so hard and we were so impressed! The campers never fail to amaze the staff.
Last full day of camp! This week as just flown by. It was hot, but it was wonderful. We wrapped up our specialties and feel ready for tomorrow’s youth production. We also took camp photos, and I photographed everyone’s headshot and cabin. The entirety of camp also got together for a picture, which was challenging, but we ended up getting it! We also had our very last Republic competition: Braveheart. This is a battle with the boys on one side and the girls on the other, and the Republics split up as well. The campers are asked to take colored flour, paint, and goo and throw them at the opposite gender and attempt to get other counselors as dirty as possible. So all the campers got messy protecting their leaders, and worked together to do so. In the end, Cabin 5 (L.O.G.) took home the Purple Cup, giving the girls a win for the summer! Everyone worked hard this week, regardless of a winner, so we as a staff are immensely proud of every single camper for their contribution in the Purple Cup.
Evening program took place in our gorgeous amphitheater. After Ms. Kat gave one more meaningful message, she allowed the campers willing to share a short testimony on how the Lord has worked on their hearts this week. This was so humbling and amazing to year from the elementary schoolers; I always forget how wise they are at their young age. They wrote what they want to give up to God on lanterns that we lit up into the night sky and watched float away. The night concluded with eating s’mores around a bonfire and wrapping up on our fun times this week. We headed off to bed and are awaiting our last day tomorrow.