From the rolling hills in Kentucky to the beautiful tunes of Amy Grant Farm, Barefoot Republic's main goal in every retreat and camp is unity. Romans 15:6 states “that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“We are one,” a phrase used frequently in camp, exemplifies the practice of unity and strengthens the bonds each camper creates while in camp.
This week, we had the pleasure to welcome the first Senior High group of the summer at Overnight Camp. Starting at 2 p.m. counselors and Republic Leaders cheered on and encouraged campers as they stepped off the bus and walked into their spiritual oasis. As the campers lined up for registration, behind the scenes many staff members were ensuring that each cabin and activity was set-up and ready for campers to enjoy.
Following all the cheering, dancing, and swim testing, campers had their first meal together as a family. Sitting at long tables, passing around food prepared by Barefoot’s support staff, community was achieved with each, “Can you pass the french fries?”
With full bellies and lightened hearts, the campers united in the gym for PM worship with a special guest, Pastor Joey Maldonado, followed by playing board games in their cabins as rain poured down.
Tuesday morning felt a little dreary, but when met with pancakes for breakfast, campers' tiredness was quickly replaced with smiles. After breakfast, campers headed off to AM worship where God continued to wake them up.
Once worship was over, girls and boys were split up and each group participated in a team bonding activity. Girls participated in an activity that used bricks to build up walls and tear them down to discuss diversity and barriers. The moral of the activity focused on how-to build a bridge to unify groups. As for the boys, they headed to the woods and team-built through working together to get through obstacle courses.
God has given us each gifts and talents and, through our specialty activities after Family Devo, each camper got to show their gifts. From rock climbing to horse back riding, each camper got to choose a specialty activity for both the morning and afternoon.
In fact, one of our very own counselors faced their fears and rode a horse for the first time during free time between specialities. Campers also participated in water sport activities, some getting launched off the infamous blob into the rec lake. After all of these events, campers were surely hungry and needed a bit of time to sit and take a load off of their feet. What else would you have for dinner in Kentucky other than Kentucky fried chicken? After that finger lickin’ good meal, campers had a block party with games, dancing, popcorn, and, the most populated area, the cotton candy machine.
Today, our strengths and teamwork were put to the test as campers participated in Iron Man. Each republic competed against each other to finish a task and cross the finish line as a team, with every member linking arms. Some tasks included swimming across the rec lake, disc golf, wiffle ball, and even drinking pickle juice. With each task campers were given, they completed it with grace and perseverance. Iron Man is just one of competitions campers compete in during the week, and definitely one of the cleaner ones.
The sun has finally made its debut! After a tiresome day yesterday, campers woke up renewed this morning and ready to take on the day. Remember how yesterday campers played a less messy game of Iron Man? Well let the messiness commence today - or maybe let the cleanliness! After breakfast, campers rounded up and played the legendary Messy Games. These games include lots of water, soap, and an inflatable, of course. Although the name may seem deceiving, there was no deception when it came to fun.
Campers continued to use their gifts and talents at speciality activities and at night, the joy of dance was highlighted for everyone. Each Republic received a song that they had to choreograph and lip sync to. The songs varied from 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton to Funkytown by Lipps Inc. With the judges’ deliberation and many high scores, the winner for the girls was Republic 4 and the guys had a first-ever tie for first, with Republics 5 and 8.
Wooo, I am worn out even typing this. It’s the last full day of camp! Today campers went to their specialty activities for the last time. For some specialities, campers were wrapping up the final touches for youth production on Saturday. After specialities, campers participated in the most colorful activity in Barefoot: Braveheart. Campers met at the paintball field in unusual attire: Shower cap, white shirt, old shorts, and bare feet. Campers from every cabin joined in one large circle to defend their cabin leaders from the cross fire of flour, food coloring, and dye squirt bottles.
With the amount of flour thrown that could support a bakery for a whole year, campers returned to their cabins to clean up before dinner and prepare for their final night worshiping at camp, this time ending with s’mores. Just like the marshmallows got all warm and gooey, campers' hearts experienced the same thing when sharing their testimonies from this week at the Amphitheater.
Saturday: It was so special to see so many parents and families join us for Senior High 1 Youth Production! We celebrated every specialty class, gave out camper awards, and sang a few more songs with the incredible Steven Peters, reminding us that “there ain’t no party like a Holy Ghost party cause a Holy Ghost party don’t - stop.” It was streamed on YouTube in case you missed out on the fun!
Watching campers’ lives transform this week, friendships rekindle, and memories be made was a true joy. We cannot wait to see our high schoolers again next year, and hear about all that God does in the meantime!