Day #1 of camp for the summer of 2012: DONE! Around 2 o’clock this afternoon, excited staff members greeted campers as they got off the bus and out of their cars. After registration, each republic met together in the cabins to decide on a name and chant that would represent their group. Next, each camper was able to preview the specialty classes that he/she had signed up for. Kids learned about the “making of the band,” horse back riding, basketball, visual arts, and many more awesome classes available at Barefoot.
After a western-themed meal prepared by our wonderful chef, campers headed down to the amphitheater for an all-camp meeting. Each republic proudly displayed their flag and performed their chant. We sang worship songs, played a messy game with whipped cream and cheese puffs, and listened to our camp pastor, Matthew Sullivan, give the message for the evening. Everyone then headed out to the soccer field for some messy games. Our time out on the field was cut short by the wind and rain, but have no fear! The fun continues tomorrow!
CHECK OUT THE CAMP VIDEO FOR DAY #1 HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsDGvwnDMd8&list=UUfSJdrsPBOqK-03uDaXiDug&index=1&feature=plcp
It’s been a long, fun day here at Barefoot Republic Camp. We started the day off right with eggs, sausage, and worship with Thomas Rose. The campers participated in “10 Minutes of Silence” to pray and reflect on the day ahead and then headed to family devotional time. Our specialty classes lasted the full hour and 45 mins today, allowing campers to fully enjoy their activities of choice. This afternoon, all 6 republics (including the “Lightning Black Mambas” and the “S.S. Butterflies”) headed down to our new-and-improved low ropes course to complete some fun team building exercises. Kids learned to trust each other, listen to the ideas of others, and lift up their friends with words of encouragement.
Free time was a blast, with activities including horse-back riding, paintball, volleyball, and basketball. After a chinese-themed dinner, campers participated in a fun stage competition, sang worship songs, and listened to the message given by our camp pastor. We ended the night on a high note with an awesome republic competition that included whipped cream-covered faces and wet clothes relays. It has been wonderful to see the campers open up, come out of their shells, and have a blast today!
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO FOR DAY #2 HERE!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33RLisEVL00&list=UUfSJdrsPBOqK-03uDaXiDug&index=1&feature=plcp
-Camper + Staff Interviews-
Scottesha | Age 14 | Nashville, TN
“Amazing- because of all the adventures”
What do you think about your republic and counselors so far?
“We get along well. New friends get along quick!”
“I’m excited about everything.”
Rahei | Age 14 | Baltimore, MD
“Teamwork. If you can work together as a team you can accomplish way more than if you were on your own. I tell my cabin brothers to do whatever they do for the man next to them.”
“Diversity means to have differences, whether it be in culture, race, or even languages spoken. Diversity is not a bad thing. There is no better example of diversity than Barefoot camp”
Angela | Age 14 | Nashville, TN
“F-U-N, fun. Because everything you do- there’s excitement, there’s people all around you, there’s all these games and activities, and you’re enjoying your time with friends- it’s a fun time.”
“I feel like I’ve been accepted at Barefoot- there’s all different people here and we all are joined together by Christ.”
“I like my republic; they’re all nice and friendly. I love my counselors; they’re really funny- they like to do all the activities we love. We’re like part of a family.”
Newton | Counselor | Nashville, TN
“I’m just here to encourage them, make sure they have a good time, and teach them. I don’t put expectations on fast turn-arounds, mostly I’m just hoping to plant seeds and let them see Jesus through me and let Him take it from there.”
“Barefoot’s way more fun (than other camps), there’s lots more going on, a much more diverse group of kids, and it’s a lot more organized.”
Jasmine | Support Staff | Charlotte, TN
Why do you come back to Barefoot year after year? (5th year at Barefoot)
“This feels like home to me. I love to serve. I love helping others. I love putting others before myself. Jesus just brings me back. The smiles, the things that the kids say, how they say they look up to me- it really touches me. That’s why I come back. In the next few days I’m excited to see how the kids change from being shy to being outgoing-really getting out of their shell and seeing how God is truly changing them.”
“God showed me that I don’t need to depend on anyone but Him. A lot of times I give up because I feel like I’m not needed or not worth everybody so I kind of quit on everything that I do. He showed me that quitting is not an option. He has me doing things for a reason and He’s using me to bless somebody else.”
We have just about reached the end of day three! Today the campers continued learning and experiencing new things in their specialty classes- It has been great to see how far they have come since day 1! Many of the specialty classes are preparing for performances/presentations for saturday’s showcase. We again visited the low ropes course today to conquer new team building activities, including the trust fall and the mohawk walk.
Each republic continued practicing for the republic showcase which will be held tomorrow; each group must come up with a skit or presentation that reflects the camp theme. We are all very excited to see what they dream up! After dinner, everyone went out to compete in games including monsoon volleyball and crabapple whiffle ball. Our camp speaker, Matthew Sullivan, gave a message on the prodigal son after a time of worship. At the moment, we are all gathered in the D.C. building to watch a movie and eat popcorn and sno-cones. It’s been an awesome day and we are excited to see what tomorrow will bring!
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO FOR DAY #3 HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X9SF8wnCRI&list=UUfSJdrsPBOqK-03uDaXiDug&index=1&feature=plcp
-Camper + Staff Interviews-
Luke | Age 16 | Nashville, TN
“It’s a really fun Christian environment where you can be open with your campers, see teamwork, and use teamwork to see how God can affect you and other people around you- it’s a really great experience.”
Why is diversity important?
“Because you can see how not only people like me, but everyone out there–whether they be black, Hispanic, or raised in a completely different part of town- all have God in their lives and how Christianity is really spread through everyone.”
What are you most excited about?
“Playing paintball and meeting around in the classes like photography and music production- I think those are a lot of fun…a great way to spend your day. It’s a great place to be- I’m glad I was able to find this place”
Nesha | Age 14 | Greenville, MS
“I came back to Barefoot this year because I thought it was awesome and this was like my best camp out of all the camps I went to.”
What one word would you use to describe barefoot and why?
“Fantastic, it’s fun to be here. I’m ready for the Iron Man!”
Peter | Brushcreek, TN | Republic Leader
“ENERGY: people here are passionate. They really want for you not only to learn about Jesus and have fun but also make some great skills – do some arts and crafts to stay balanced. The whole atmosphere is just very energetic.”
“The mission of Barefoot is teaching kids, especially from diverse backgrounds, not only the differences between each other but learning to glorify God and praise and celebrate those differences through the different gifts that He’s given us. From athletes to artists- it’s really about what God’s called you to be and how to learn not only from those people, but how to bring out the best in those people and learn to build relationships with them.”
Marsena | Detroit, MI | Republic Leader & STOMP Instructor
“Because it helps rejuvenate my spirit… it helps me get centered… back to the reality that Jesus is #1 in my life and that I need to put Him first versus other worldly things.”
What is the most challenging part of being on staff?
“Dealing with different types of campers- not everybody is what you would call “normal.” I’ve been dealing with special needs kids, people who are allergic to certain things, kids that have come from different kinds of environments- just learning how to make sure that everybody understands that they’re all on the same level and that Jesus loves them all. It’s challenging, but it’s really rewarding in the end.”
“I’m excited to see the change in campers- how some who may have come from broken homes or dealt with a lot of different things back at home come here and they realize the love of God.”
This week is flying by so fast! I can’t believe day 4 is coming to a close. Right now we are witnessing this week’s highly anticipated republic showcase, where each group gets a chance to perform and represent the theme for the summer. Along with the specialties and awesome free time activities, campers and staff participated in the “right foot, left foot line.” This team building activity allowed campers and staff to learn more about each other and challenge their own assumptions about other people.
Next, each republic competed in our huge relay race, IRON MAN, this afternoon. Some of the legs of this relay included archery, rock climbing, running, and slip n’ sliding. At the end each republic was required to link arms and run across the soccer field to the finish banner. We finished the event off with a medal ceremony and the national anthem. It has been a long, eventful day and we can’t wait for all the awesomeness planned for tomorrow!
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO FOR DAY #4 HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBy85RTufos&list=UUfSJdrsPBOqK-03uDaXiDug&index=1&feature=plcp
-Camper + Staff Interviews-
Javaris | Age 16 | Michigan
Wren | Age 15 | Nashville, TN
Wren: “Javaris is pretty funny”
Javaris: “Everybody tells me that- I mean, I don’t try to be funny. I be dead serious and people just laugh.”
What do you have in common?
Javaris: “Basketball, football.”
Wren: “We both had the same specialty classes and we’re in the same cabin.”
Did you think that you wouldn’t have a lot in common at first?
Javaris: “Kinda, yeah, because like we don’t even know each other- but after the ice breaker on the first day we kinda got loose and it was easier to talk to each other.”
Why is diversity important?
Wren: “It’s the whole point of the camp; it’s to show us that everybody’s equal somewhere in God’s eyes.”
Nicolle | Age 14 | Nashville, TN
Melissa | Age 14 | Colombia
Maryssa | Age 14 | Columbia, TN
How did you three become friends?
Melissa: “We all met last year at camp.”
Nicole: “..And we just started talking this year and got close.”
What do you have in common?
Maryssa: We have some of the same likes. For free time we like to go down to art, we like to talk to each other and laugh and be funny.
What did you think about the right foot, left foot line exercise?
Melissa: “I thought it was cool that we got to see where other people were. Not everyone was in the same spot. Everyone’s different and they’ve gone through different things.”
Maryssa: “I thought some people had some rough times in their and some people didn’t have those problems- but they’ve all gone through things.”
What is your favorite thing about your friends?
Nicolle: “I’m not lonely- I have somebody to be with.”
Allan | Honduras, Central America | Counselor in Training & Drama Instructor
“My first two years as a camper made me change in the way I saw God… and if it changed me, I felt like I had to give back- to see kids change their lives through God… I had to come back for that.”
“The most exciting part is kids coming together. The first day is just ‘I don’t know you, I don’t want to talk to you,’ but the second day you see this change- they’re working together, loving each other, and by the end of the week they’re all best friends. That’s the most exciting part for me. Coming here and being so social, forgetting where you come from and what’s out there, and just making friends- just having the best time of your life.”
Elena | Birmingham, AL | Support Staff
“I got here the second day, so I kinda came in and was pushed into the swing of things. When I got to camp everybody was screaming and jumping- basically my first impression was just the crazy energy of the place.”
What do you feel God is teaching you by serving at Barefoot?
“Definitely flexibility. We kind of go with the flow here; the schedule changes all the time- so I’m kind of learning to just go with things. Another thing that I’ve learned with all the campers is that the love they have for each other really transcends to the counselors as well. I thought that it would depend on the counselors but it’s really the campers who have kind of defined everything. It’s been cool to answer all of their questions- I don’t know all the answers but somehow God will be able to speak through me and give me some words- he helps me to be a leader.”
“The diversity is my favorite thing. I mean, I have girls that are in Outdoor Adventure with me from the Congo and Tanzania who had their first s’mores- it was the coolest thing. They got to sleep in a tent for the first time. Everybody is just so accepting and loving.”
Our last full day of camp has been crazy fun! At the moment we are having an awesome dance party in the D.C. to celebrate the week and all that God has done in these past 5 days. Today all the campers got to put on their 2012 camp t-shirts and get pictures taken in their republic groups. All the specialty classes wrapped up today and the performance classes put finishing touches on their acts for tomorrow’s parent showcase. Our epic food fight, Braveheart, was held this afternoon. Buckets of tomato sauce, oatmeal water, flour, and other nasty leftovers were used as ammunition by the republics in an attempt to get the counselors of the other republics dirty. After thoroughly hosing down and showering, campers were treated to an Italian themed dinner.
Evening program was a call to come and accept the invitation to the “banquet” of Christ’s love and forgiveness. Each camper wrote something he wanted to surrender or seek healing for on a big paper lantern along with the rest of his republic. We all gathered in the field and watched as over 18 lanterns floated towards heaven with our letters to God illuminated on each side. Next was an opportunity for kids to give a testimony of what God had done in their lives during this week of camp. Several campers got up to share; it was truly moving testament to the power of God. S’mores were then enjoyed beside a big bonfire before we came inside to rock out during our dance party. Tomorrow, awards will be given out, specialties will perform, and memories will have been made. God is good.
-Camper + Staff Interviews-
Gavy | Age 18 | California
Sherrell | Age 17 | Nashville, TN
Gavy: “In the beginning, everyone introduced themselves…”
Sherrell: “I can’t say we have anything in common, but she is a sweetheart- her humor is really what made me want to start talking to her. What really messed me up was when we were out there hitting the apples down at the baseball field and she tried to act like she was better than me!”
Gavy: (laughing) “I’m not good”
Sherrell: “No you did good, you did good! She really puts a little joy in my heart anytime I’m around her.”
Gavy: “Same thing- she’s awesome. She’s funny.”
Anderson | Age 18 | Franklin, TN
Moose | Age 16 | Powder Springs, GA
Moose: “In the cabin, just joking around.”
Anderson: “Yeah just talking, I was like ‘hey, you’re pretty cool, we should hang out sometime.’”
What do you have in common?
Moose: “We like dubstep! We’re very funny.”
Anderson: “You got that one right. We like Adele.”
Did you think you would have anything in common when you got in your republic?
Moose: “Honestly, no.”
Anderson: “Probably not.”
What did you think of the right foot, left foot line exercise?
Anderson: “It was fantastic.”
Moose: “We got to know each other a little bit more.”
Anderson: “…background- like what happened in our lives.”
Will you stay friends?
Anderson: “Totes. If the Lord wills it.”
Moose: “Possibly, yeah. If we can connect paths again.”
Charles | Atlanta, GA | Support Staff
What makes you most excited about camp?
“Seeing the campers go from Monday all the way to Saturday is like night and day. You see kids that are in their cliques and they finally start to branch out about midweek. Usually the kids that are hanging out with each other on Monday are usually not the same people that they’re hanging out with on Friday and Saturday- which is, I think, amazing.”
Advice for future staff:
“The best advice that I can give is be open minded. You have to be ready for just about anything and there are going to be some things that are asked of you that pull you out of your comfort zone…so just know that everything that you’re doing here is to glorify God and expand His kingdom.”
Susanna | Birmingham, AL | Counselor in Training
“The people. I stay in touch every month with some of the staff of Barefoot through the programming committee and it’s neat to have 12 months pass, come back to camp, see a camper from the summer before, have a conversation, and start off like you never left off. That’s what’s really neat, when you have your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th summers and you can ask follow up questions and it’s great to hear the kids stories about how God has worked in their lives in the past year.”
What makes you most excited?
“Just to see God growing the camp each year… to see the new facilities every single year… to see more staff and more kids.”