Barefoot Republic Celebrates 10,000 Camper and Named a Hero

When Tommy Rhodes was a PhD student at Vanderbilt he had a vision to start a camp that brought together kids from all socioeconomic levels, races and backgrounds. Not long after he had that vision, Rhodes and his wife sold all of their possessions and began Barefoot Republic. Seventeen years later they welcomed their 10,000th camper and now have camps in three states.

In honor of Tommy’s vision for and of leadership of Barefoot Republic he was recently named a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.

“I remember God giving me a vision at 20 that every kid deserves to be in this type of environment and be in a place that they can be affirmed and loved on,” said Rhodes.
Barefoot Republic’s overnight campground is located in Kentucky and campers stay in “Swiss family Robinson meets MacGyver” style treehouses. They also offer day camps in the Nashville area and California.

“We’re grateful for Tommy’s vision and what Barefoot Republic means to all of the kids that go and are able to find a common bond,” said Darrell Waltrip.

In honor of Tommy’s hero award the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Group made a $500 donation to Barefoot Republic.

“The financial support is huge. We give away camp to about 65% of our students,” said Rhodes.

For more information about Barefoot Republic and their camps visit
Tommy Rhodes is the 80th Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero. For more information about Darrell Waltrip’s Hometown Heroes visit