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Our mission at Barefoot Republic is to facilitate Christ-centered relationships between individuals from diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds through an equally diverse platform of artistic, athletic and team-building programs.

We strive to reflect God’s pursuit of His children through interests, passions, interpersonal relationships, and equipping students with tools for exploring and discovering God’s presence in their lives.



We are Kingdom-minded servants resembling the spirit of Jesus Christ in our thoughts, words, and actions.


We create environments to be a kid and experience joy in everything we do.


We are intentional in responding to Jesus' prayer that we may be one body of believers.


We pursue uncommon fellowship because our differences make us better.


We consider what others may be going through and love them unconditionally


We trust the seeds of the Gospel planted can change our communities and ultimately the world


We are welcoming to all guests, presenting warmth and generosity toward everyone we serve.


Barefoot Republic Camp and Retreat Center seeks to honor God and share the good news of Christ’s reconciling love with the world. We are 'inter-denominational,' looking to the Bible as our source for teaching, and addressing the basics of the Christian faith that will positively impact students from all backgrounds.


Barefoot Republic Camp Logo

Being barefoot is a sign of our
humanity, vulnerability, and 
brokenness. It is only when we 
admit that we are 
barefoot, that
we are able to 
our need and to receive 

God’s provision.

We consider our 
cabin groups 'republics' –
communities comprised of campers from all nations who come together as a united family. During each session, each republic decides on its own name, working together to find common ground and quickly forging a new, common identity.

Barefoot Republic Camp is a vehicle of hope. We want to offer a glimpse of Heaven to a population of kids in need of the ability to dream... to dream of what God can do with their lives by uniting them with their parents, community and the church. And, to help define His eternal purpose for each one of them.


Barefoot Republic Camp and Retreat Center began as a vision in 1991. During that summer, Tommy Rhodes, the founder of Barefoot Republic, served as a 19-year-old camp counselor at Camp Mac outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Over the three months of camp, Tommy witnessed for the first time how God could use his life to impact the lives of others. This powerful redemption led to a restoration of hope within a young man scarred by a life filled with bad choices. Tommy left that summer with a God-sized dream and burden on his heart to provide similar opportunities to youth like himself who could not afford such experiences.
Overnight Camp in Kentucky
Overnight Camp in Kentucky

Upon completing his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Belmont University, Tommy was accepted to Vanderbilt University’s Ph.D. program in Biomedical Science. Although Tommy had never forgotten his calling to camp ministry, he felt that he would first have to attain significant status and wealth in order to launch the vision. However, during his third year of the program, Tommy shared with his wife, Lane, that God had revealed it was time to pursue his dream. After much prayer and due diligence, they discovered a stunning 70-acre farm (aerial image below) on a 20,000-acre lake outside Scottsville, Kentucky. Tommy felt led to leave his Ph.D. program and sell his baseball card collection in order to secure the land and start Barefoot Republic Camp and Retreat Center.

Our History

To date, Barefoot Republic has been able to provide over 20 summers of camp programming. However, initially, due to the nature of the mission and the lack of start-up capital, the Board of Directors
felt it crucial to demonstrate the ministry’s impact through hosting camp at local retreat centers and universities.

Since our formation in 1999, we have witnessed God’s continued affirmation of our vision. 20,000 campers, 2,500 volunteers and a dramatic increase in financial support led to our first permanent camp in 2009. We praise God for this pivotal step, which provided tremendous encouragement and ensured a bright future for Barefoot Republic Camp and Retreat Center for years to come.
In June 2021, we opened Turner Lodge - another reminder of God's faithfulness. Turner Lodge allows us to expand the number of campers and retreat guests we can accommodate.


Why do we offer scholarships? 

At Barefoot, we believe that every child deserves to have a life changing experience at camp. We believe that a child should not miss out on summer camp just because their family can't afford to pay. We scholarship 50% of our campers because we believe it is the right thing to do. We believe camp is THAT IMPORTANT. We believe Barefoot is important! 
If you ever went to summer camp as a kid, think back to those memories. Think back to how fondly you remember your camp experience. Shouldn't every child have that opportunity? 
Our staff thinks so too. As a staff, we intentionally seek out campers from multiple socio-economic levels & races so we can offer camp to ALL kids. 
Barefoot believes that socio-economic diversity is just as important as racial diversity. We value all of our campers & we believe it is important for kids that come from affluent backgrounds & children from low to moderate levels to have the opportunity to meet kids from different economic classes. 
Many camps from around the country save one week of their summer camp to serve low income kids & segregate them from the full paying campers. We feel that it is important for all campers to be together. Instead of doing a special week for low income levels, we intentionally recruit 50% full paying campers & 50% finical aid. We feel this is one way that we can start. 




“There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:28
Everything we do at Barefoot is to point our campers & our staff to Jesus & his love for each of us. All of our activities go deeper & push our campers to think & see things differently. We want them to build relationships with each other & to understand how much the Lord wants a relationship with them!  

The world is constantly pushing messages of how different we are from one another, and at Barefoot we want campers to understand that although we are uniquely made with differences, in Christ we are one. We can live together in unity, reconciled to each other and to God.
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