It’s here! Our third round of middle schoolers arrived today, and we could not be more excited. We have prayed for these kids time and time again to not only have a fun week, but to also experience the Lord in a new way- one that is enriching and personal. God is already at work here, and we pray that the campers will find joy and peace in Him.
We started out camp by getting to know everyone in our cabins, also known as our “Republics.” Each Republic came up with a team name, chant, and flag design to represent them throughout the week’s competitions. The names varied from “the Banana Bus” to “Savage Squad” to “the Hot Pockets”. After presenting our creativity to everyone, we went on to our specialty introductions. Specialties are classes in which spark the camper’s interests (such as basketball, music production, water sports, and cartooning). The campers each have two specialties a day to go to, and work on their skills. We will get to see what they’ve been up to on the last day’s Youth Production, so stay tuned!
After meeting up with our specialties, the campers took a swim test so that we can ensure their safety when they visit our Rec Lake during free time. I think it’s safe to say that this made the campers hungry, which was great because we had a wonderful chicken dinner prepared by our talented chef, Rhonda (of course, with the help of Arthur and the support staff)! We got to follow up with worship led by some of our counselors, and a message from this week’s speaker, Renee. She explained to us that it’s okay to be awkward, and not to be embarrassed to ask questions, because asking is what gets us closer to God. She wants us to know who Jesus is and the love He and God has for us.
The night ended with messy games, our first Republic completion this week. The campers ate Swedish Fish and Pickled Jello, stuck their faces in milk and oats, and spread shaving cream and dump water on their Republic leaders. They were excited to get gross, but maybe a little more excited to shower afterwards.
Every morning after breakfast, we ask the campers to take 10 minutes to sit and be with God. They are to sit by themselves and be quiet for that time, and do things like praying, journaling, and thinking. It’s truly humbling to see them get into the Word and just be still. I’m so proud of the camper’s respect and honesty in their personal time with the Lord.
For a team-building experience, the Republics began working on a boat to carry a camper across the lake in tomorrow. The trick is, the only supplies given are cardboard, duct tape, plastic and a box cutter (that only counselors can use)! This activity requires a lot of team work and dependency on one another, so the Republics did just that. They will put the boats on the water tomorrow, and we’ll see who is able to get across!
Our Republic competition today was the alternation of the sports Crazy Ball and Angle Ball. Crazy Ball is basically soccer but with a twist of occasionally being able to use your hands, whereas Angle Ball is a game with the goal of knocking a ball off a post. The campers work together to not only defeat their opponent, but to help each other succeed- which is what this is all about.
After an evening program at the amphitheater consisting of a powerful worship and a meaningful message from Renae, we ended the night at the Block Party. This is just a fun way to have fun at the end of the day and use up a bunch of energy before bedtime. Considering how hard those campers danced, I’d say they were tuckered out!
Camper + Staff Interviews
Michael | 11 | Franklin, Tennessee | 1st year camper
What have you enjoyed about camp so far?
The lake. I went on the slide and swam, and I’m gonna do the blob soon too.
What are you excited about for this week?
My specialty, Outdoor Adventure, is camping out tomorrow. I’m really excited for that.
What have you learned about God so far?
That He wants us to go on the right path, and He’s gonna guide is to it.
Benijah | 11 | Antioch, Tennessee | 1st year (overnight) camper
What did you expect camp to be like?
I thought I’d have to be around the same people all week, but I’ve actually gotten to know a lot of different people so far.
How is your cabin?
Our name is “Savage Squad” and everyone’s really friendly, so I’ve made a lot of friends in it.
Why is diversity a good thing?
Because we can all get to learn about each other and how we were made by Him.
What has God taught you here?
Everyone makes mistakes, but He’ll forgive you and give you more chances. And last night in the speaking, we learned about John the Baptist and the tax people.
What do you like about being on support staff?
That all the hard work is worth it.
Why did you return to Barefoot this year?
The people here and the energy surrounding the camp, it’s very positive. Everyone is so wise and will always lift you up no matter what.
What do you think about the diversity at Barefoot?
Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of different cultures. But coming here, everyone is included and I’ve learned to love people no matter what.
What have you learned in your time here?
I’ve had a realization that I need to focus on how God views me and not how the world does.
For the third day in a row, we were blessed with near perfect weather! We especially appreciated this in the boat races. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we set out the boats into the water with campers controlling them! While some boats sailed merrily on, others unfortunately didn’t go too far before filling up with water. The good news about this is that the campers were very positive about the experience and instead of using that experience to be angry with each other, they were positive and uplifting and cheered on the other Republics. It truly gave me hope for the upcoming generation and how they act with grace and the love of Christ.
For the daily Republic competition, we did a camper favorite: Iron Man. This is a relay that spreads across all of campus, and every Republic has campers at a station like climbing, swimming, and volleyball. After the camper does their requirement, they run to pass the flag on to the next station. The end of Iron Man is completed by withstanding a three-person-high pyramid for ten seconds and linking arms into the finish line. The teamwork needed for this challenge is outstanding, but the campers gave their all and they all succeeded! We were so proud of them, and they were so proud of themselves.
We had another worship and message in the amphitheater tonight. Bobby, Nate, Morgan and Tyler sang praise and played their instruments with a passion fueled by Christ, and Renae spoke on the love of God despite worldly things. We ate some watermelon and headed on to practice for showcase, and called it a night. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Camp is full of lots of silly moments, but today we shifted to a more serious side of things. We did an activity called “Left Foot / Right Foot” which is done on the soccer field, starting out with one singular line of all the campers and counselors. Candace reads off a list of statements that pertain to socioeconomic backgrounds, racial situations, privileges, disadvantages, and other things that can be hard to talk about. If a statement was true for the person in question, they were to step to their left or to their right, resulting in the one singular lone becoming a chaotic arrangement on the soccer field. Candace explained that God sees us in the one singer line because we are His children that He loves, and the mess we ended up with is how society has made it seem like our differences are a bad thing. We ended this activity circled up and holing hands and praying on a good note.
The Republic competition tonight was the showcase, where each Republic got to preform the skit they’ve been working on all week. As a judge, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the creativity of the campers and how they incorporated the camp theme, Lean On We, in their work. It was clear that every Republic worked together to put on a show for the rest of camp, and we couldn’t be any prouder.
The specialty classes wrapped up today. The last soccer and football scrimmages were played. Vocal Performance and Dance finished their sets. Photography and Cartooning put together their display for tomorrow’s Youth Production. We are sad to end these classes, but excited for the families to see what their students have worked on all week!
The last Republic competition was Braveheart. This is where each Republic splits up on their respective side (boys vs. girls) and used paint and flour as ammunition to get their opponents filthy. The goal of the game is to keep the Republic leaders and counselors as clean as possible, which means the campers become colorfully messy in the process. The kids enjoy protecting their leaders and sacrifice their cleanliness to do so, which is noble of them. We just make sure they shower before we head to dinner.
The winners of the Purple Cup were announced, and Republic 9 took it home, resulting in the summer long competition between boys and girls to go in the favor of the boys! They were rewarded with an ice cream party, complete with the toppings of their choice. After that, we ventured down to the hillside to have our last worship session. Renae spoke one final time, and then allowed the campers to write things they were giving up to God on lanterns that we sent up into the night sky. This is aways a beautiful way to end the week, as God makes His love known abundant in this time.
This has been an incredible week, and seeing it end is hard. However, camp isn’t over yet, so we will cherish tomorrow and pray for what it’ll bring.
Ty’rek | 12 | Nashville, Tennessee | First year camper
How did you guys become friends?
C: We met playing GaGa ball on the first day.
T: Yeah, and we became friends during that.
Why do you like being each other’s friend?
T: He’s funny, cool, and nice.
C: I like Ty’rek because he’s a cool guy to hang out with.
What do you two like to do together?
C: Play GaGa ball.
T: And go to the Rec Lake and swim together. That’s about it.
BG | 10 | Antioch, Tennessee | 1st year camper
How did you meet?
D: I heard him laughing one day.
BG: *laughs* he thinks my laugh is pretty-
D: SO funny. *laughs*
BG: I think your brother said something funny, and that made me laugh.
D: Yeah! He was laughing, so I was laughing, and that’s how we became friends.
Why do you enjoy being friends?
BG: It’s so fun hanging out with him.
D: He’s so small and funny, I love it.
What do y’all do when you hang out?
D: Go to the Rec lake.
BG: Yeah, we’re buddies down there.
Would you want to continue being friends after camp?
Dustin and BG in unison: YES!
We are so thankful to have had these talented campers with us this week! They displayed what they’ve been working on all week to the entirety of camp, including the families that were able to join us. Stomp, dance, vocal performance, making of the band and drama preformed their routines beautifully. Music production played a track they created, photography showed their work via slideshow, and cartooning set up their comic book for everyone to see. Between acts, we gave out awards to campers that were outstanding in their actions and words throughout their time here. These awards are prestigious and we feel that the campers deserved to be recognized. We pray that we will see these campers at future Barefoot retreats and camps, and we will see you all later!