As part of the Homecoming 2011 celebration, Belmont alumnus Tommy Rhodes (’95) spoke on campus Wednesday about “Building God’s Community” and the purpose of his camp, Barefoot Republic.
Upon completing his undergraduate degrees at Belmont in biology and chemistry, Rhodes was accepted to Vanderbilt University’s Ph.D. program in biomedical science and was on the path to a successful career in research. However, during his third year of the program, he shared with his wife, Lane, that God had revealed that now was the time to pursue his real passion, creating a summer camp ministry.
“There are three things that I look back on that God does in all of our lives,” Rhodes explained. “He finds people, frees people and focuses people.”
This certainly proved a time for focus. Rhodes left his Ph.D. program and sold his baseball card collection for $18,000 to secure a downpayment on a 70-acre farm outside Scottsville, Ky., the current home for his Barefoot Republic Camp. The camp’s mission is to facilitate the development of Christ-centered relationships between individuals who represent diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, through an equally diverse platform of artistic, athletic and team building programs.
“I have learned so much more about who God is by reaching across racial, cultural and economic lines. That’s what Barefoot is about.”
Individuals interested in summer internships, volunteer opportunities or investing in the camp, can visit the Web site or call the Barefoot Republic office at 615-599-9683.