Lead a Community

Do I Have to Teach?

This is one of the most common questions we are asked, and the answer is No!  Barefoot University believes that parents are their children's teachers. There are no lesson plans.  Our leaders facilitate activities, encourage participation, and organize meetups.  

We aim to keep it simple and provide instructions and pointers for you and your community families so that you can enjoy the activities with your own child(ren), too!

You’ll never walk alone. Each community has a team of two leaders to support and hold each other accountable. We provide you with all the training, educational tools, special resources, and guidelines to plant and grow your community!  



You will provide yourself and others a community of like minded homeschool families learning and growing together.

By leading the group, you are in charge of your schedule!  You and your co-leader will decide your meeting day, time, and location, as well as any field trips and community service your community does.

Community Leaders also receive free BU merch, BU store discounts, anniversary gifts, and more! 

What if you could nurture a love of nature in your children, impact their mental health, and cultivate finding joy in serving others?  

Become a Leader

Step One: Register for an Interest Meeting

This is a mandatory meeting for anyone wanting to start a group. You and your co-leader must both attend.  Please fill out this form to be contacted about our meetings for the 2024-25 school year.  

Step Two: Apply to be a Community Leader

Application links are distributed during leader interest meetings.

Applications will only be held for 30 days. DO NOT APPLY unless you have a co-leader also completing the application. If your application is chosen to proceed, you and your co-leader will receive a follow-up email to schedule an interview.

Step Three: Leader Training

If you are selected as a BU leader, we require general and rhythm-specific training twice a year. In addition to this, there are ongoing training opportunities, meetings, and requirements. 


  • Be at least 16 years old (to serve as a Junior leader with an adult)

  • Have one child/grandchild eligible age for BU

  • Visit a current BU group if there is one within a 60-mile radius upon being accepted as a new leader

  • Pass a background check

  • Sign a BU volunteer agreement

  • Commit to serving for one school year

  • Be of good moral character and enthusiastic about nature and the great outdoors

  • Commit to serving for one school year

  • Agree to the BU volunteer code of conduct.

Leader FAQ

  • How much does it cost to start a group?

    It’s free! BU provides most of the activity supplies with the occasional requests for families to bring something from home that they likely already have. (ie: scissors, pencils, etc.)

  • Is BU a non-profit organization? Is BU insured?

    Yes, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit. All of our groups and volunteers are insured.

  • What do I do to start our group?

    Start by attending a leaders' interest meeting. After that, fill out an application and you will be contacted for an interview. If you are selected to become a leader, you will need to pass a background check ($6 costs). Once you and your co-leader have completed this step, you will receive an email to do new leader paperwork and visit a local group.

  • Can there be two groups in the same area?

    Yes. We try to spread communities out to reach other families. If you want a group in the same area as another, we will assess the current group enrollment, location, city, etc. to see if the area can support another group. Generally, we suggest parks be spread out by about 10 miles in urban areas and 30 mins in rural areas.

  • Can we have three co-leaders? or Can my husband lead with me?

    We only open a group with two leaders. Other families are encouraged to help out in your community each week. Leaders must reside in different households.

  • What if I can't find a co-leader?

    We recommend posting about BU in local mom or homeschooling groups and just asking if anyone wants to start a group with you. Several of our leaders started this way and it’s been a success.

  • How do we populate our group?

    Share our posts advertising enrollment, open house events, and yearly rhythms in local homeschool or co-op groups and on your personal page. Let people know about BU when families ask about nature, enrichment, science, or social groups. Leaders also have access to promotional graphics and marketing tips.

  • Where can we meet?

    Communities may meet at city, state, county, or other free-to-use parks, trailheads, beaches, green spaces, etc. All groups must obtain permission from the place you wish to meet. For liability reasons, Barefoot University groups can not meet on private property.

  • Is there a deadline?

    We do not open year-long groups for enrollment after May 1. That means that all application paperwork, interviews, and other document must be completed prior to that date. Deadlines will be given during the leader interest meeting. Applicants who apply late will be considered for mid-year groups. Mid-year groups participate in a condensed forest school program, not the current rhythm.

Join Us

Discover community, explore endless possibilities, and immerse your family in an adventurous and educational journey with Barefoot University!