YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow

YMCA Ragger Program

  Ragger’s Creed

I would be true for there are those who trust me
I would be pure for there are those who care
I would be strong for there is much to suffer
I would be brave for there is much to dare

I would be friend to all the foe - the friendless
I would be giving and forget the gift
I would be humble for I know my weakness
I would look up - and laugh - and love - and lift.




What is the YMCA Ragger Program?

The YMCA Rag/Leather Program is a daily tool that campers, young people, lay people and YMCA leaders can use to grow in personal strength and in their relationship with God. At YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow, we follow the YMCA Ragger program designed for campers and staff 12 years or older.

YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow utilizes the revised Leather/Ragger program. This was adopted so that all campers and staff had opportunities to accept challenges for spiritual and personal growth. In 2005, the Hinton's restarted the Ragger movement at CFA. While many of the staff and campers at that time had not heard of the program, there is historical evidence that it once was a thriving program. The program continues to thrive and help shape countless lives.

The Foundation

In 1914, 38 year old Thomas Caldwell, boys' secretary of the Oakland, California YMCA was searching for a method to deal with certain discipline problems at camp in a positive, rather than negative, way. At the time, the method used by many YMCA camps was to present awards for participation in athletics and other activities. Caldwell considered this, but discarded the idea because a handicapped boy, Charles Von Konnigsburg, would be unable to win such an award, and was expected to attend camp. Caldwell's aspiration evolved into the idea of rewarding positive character traits, such as good heath habits, promptness, cheerfulness, morals, trust and helpfulness. To symbolize these positive qualities, Caldwell bought some very simple blue kerchiefs which he called “Rags ” for 10 cents each from the Williamson's County Store in Pescadero. Their simplicity signified that, in and of themselves, the rags had no value-rather, they were just a symbol of positive qualities the person had demonstrated. During an evening campfire program, Caldwell called several of the boys forward. As he tied the Rag around each boy’s neck, he explained to him, and the camp, the reason for receiving it. Thus a tradition was started.

Click Here to read more about Ragger history and information.

The Rag is...

  • A symbol
  • A challenge for growth
  • A responsibility
  • A "push" forward
  • Measuring myself by God
  • "I AM THIRD"
  • God-centered
  • I want to be better
  • Knowing God, talking to God
  • Vision (seeing things as they ought
    to be)
  • A personal calling to humility

The Rag is NOT...

  • A decoration
  • An award for achievement
  • A reward
  • A "pat " on the back
  • Measuring myself by others
  • "I AM FIRST"
  • Self-centered
  • I am good, or being good
  • Knowing about God, talking about God
  • Sight (seeing things as they are)
  • A status symbol

This is what changed my life, gave me a foundation to work from and set me on a career and life path.  I feel I would not be the person I am today without the experience of the YMCA Ragger Program.  Allison Hinton


YMCA Mission

To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs
that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

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