Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Purple Rag

For Raggers 18 years and older, acceptance of the Purple Rag is an acceptance of dedication toward high and noble living in whatever Christian service opportunities that come your way. And yet again, we take a step towards higher living, putting all those Rag goals into play as you work to become a stronger, more noble person. Right now, there are two Purple Raggers active in YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow summer camp. It is something we do not take lightly, now is an easy challenge to accept.

The following is an expert from the conclusion of the Purple Rag Ceremony:

Your fellow Raggers attest to your purity, truthfulness, courage, and resolve, and deem you worthy. Prove by your acts at all times that their trust is rightfully offered. I, as your friend, challenge you to be truly noble. True nobility does not regard the wearing of the Purple as merely an honor, but as an obligation to those who are weaker in respect and need help. May you be noble and may God be with you in your quest.

Wow- a true calling to be a more Noble, more trustworthy person. To be able to live each day in this way would make you darn near perfect. But come on, we all know we are not perfect and most of us are not even close. This is why the Rag program is so helpful in challenging each one of us to be more, to work towards a noble and up standing life style. I know for me, the Purple Rag has been a big step. Finding time to reach out and help others is often just one more thing to do in my already busy lifestyle. However, as a Ragger, I have the knowledge to push myself to dig deeper in order to accomplish this. Several ways I do this is by serving on the local School Board and through my membership in a local women's service organization in which we serve 25 hours each year in service to others.

Now, about that living noble part. First, this does not mean noble as in "Your Royal Highness" or coming from a higher standing. This means: Noble ('bəl) Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor: a noble spirit. Sound familiar to any Y Camp you have attended? Those core values really come into play here - caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith. Being an upstanding person, one who is trustworthy, giving, loving in spirit (I.L.L.), pure. Someone we can all count on at all times, not just when trouble calls or something great happens.

  • So, how do you define noble?
  • How will you step up to the plate and be worthy of the Purple Rag?
  • What will you stand for in all times?
Start thinking about ways to prove your fellow Raggers can "attest to your purity, truthfulness, courage, and resolve, and deem you worthy." Before you know it, the Purple Rag will call your name, you will stand proud before your fellow Raggers and God and attest to your readiness to wear this Rag as your live a True and Noble life. Good luck and stay focused.

In the Spirit of Camp,

Y 182?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Ode to the New Year By Polly Pierce

Come the end of December and beginning days of January, and you will find people racking their brains to set a New Year’s Resolution.  Typically, and the most common resolutions are in the realm health – either losing weight or trying to fit into that outfit from five years ago, while still looking good in the outfit. While this action or otherwise thought of setting a resolution is a step in the right direction, most people don’t carry out their thoughts and plans.  I want to offer a couple ways to stay on track with your already created resolution or re-evaluate your resolution for a more successful experience.

The mission statement of the YMCA is this: to provide Judeo – Christian principles into practice through programs that enrich a healthy spirit, mind, and body.  As a POW WOW coordinator, I strive to challenge each child in these areas on their own accord.  But we aren’t in summer camp, so you might be asking yourself, “Where is she going with this?”  And I say this, “Lets create our own resolution circled around the idea of building a health spirit, mind, and body.”

First, lets tackle what it means when I say “healthy spirit, mind and body.” This is who you are! It is what you are made up of.  It is what holds you together.  The great thing about figuring out what this phrase means to you is that it is what you want it to be.  You set the rules. Only you can answer for yourself.

Next, let’s answer a list of questions to point you in a direction of setting appropriate goals for yourself.
-What areas of my life am I happy with?  Unhappy with?
-What do I wish I could do? Or do better?
-Do I have a gift I could share that would benefit others in my life?
-Do I have free time? If so, what do I with my free time? If not, what could be done to have a few minutes for myself?
-What makes me happy?
-What do I like to learn about? How do I learn best?
-What am I struggling with?   Is there anyone I could ask for help?
-Is there anything in my past that is holding me back from being who I want to be? Is there anything I can do about this issue in my past?
-Is there anyone dependent on me?  If so, how do I affect them now?  How are these changes going to affect them?

Great job! You have now answered the questions and our brain should be shooting off fireworks of different ideas.  You should be proud of yourself for knowing these things and being honest with yourself. We must now make a decision on what you would like to focus on.  

If you are like me, I had no idea how I was going to keep my resolution.  Solution:  I have decided to make monthly resolutions.   This is a great solution as you can focus on various aspects of your life without being overwhelmed in trying to become a new person overnight (Let’s be honest, we have all thought about this at one point or another.)  A shortly time frame is also easier to commit to - 30 days verses 365 days, you do the math!  At the end of the month, you will evaluate your goal, and decide on what to do next.

Lastly, a couple tips for you to ponder. Remember, this is about you and what is going to work for you – don’t let the goals of other cloud your judgment and goal setting.

1.    It is important to know where we have been.  It is important to have our eyes set on a goal. It is all about the process. What would you learn if you just woke up one morning able to play the guitar?

2.    Use people around you.  They are there for a reason.

3.    Use a journal.  Some people reflect better in writing (that’s me!)

4.    Find a friend to call and talk to.

5.    Set a goal and create a reward.

6.    Clearly define how you are going to reach your goal.

7.    Is your goal a time sensitive goal?  Set milestones.

8.    Do you need affirmation?  If so, what works best for you?

9.    Be honest, how are you going complete your goal?

10. Don’t be ashamed or disappointed when you run off track or you don’t reach your goal.  Re-examine.  Was there something that happened that didn’t allow you to finish? Was there anything outside of your control that happened to affect the outcome?

Get excited! You are preparing to embark on a grand journey that is going to change your life and possibly the people you encounter on a daily basis.  Know that you are worth it!  Know that you have been given a desire, a dream!  It is your choice with what you do with it! 

Polly Pierce

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cross-blog posting

Fantastic post from the blog of South Mountain YMCA Camps— one of their Irish counselors wrote an essay entitled "A Day in the Life of a Camp Counselor."


(PS; South Mountain Y.. Keep blogging! We love your stuff.)

A Day in the life of a camper.. Through the eyes of a camp counselor.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What moves you?

There's a lot to be excited about this spring at CFA. With Camp Ruff'n It looking to bring a whole herd more dogs to camp, a never-before-seen trail run 5K to test Texas runners on our gorgeous rocky terrain, and dozens of groups who are coming to camp for the first, second, third, or maybe even tenth time. Sharing camp with people is what jazzes us up and drives us to keep working sometimes ridiculous hours.

When the Youth Empowerment Retreat group was here, we talked a lot about identifying your personal passion— the force that makes you want to work on something all night, not because it's overdue, but because it gets you excited. For some people, it was working with animals. For other people, it was sports or music. There was at least a third of the room, though, who really couldn't tell what their passion was.. at least, they knew what they enjoyed, but they couldn't imagine it consuming their life.

Terri Guillemets said, "Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night." Sounds like some super famous author or philosopher, right? Wrong. Terri is a seemingly quite average human being who has a deep love of famous and insightful quotations and the written word. Pretty much on her own, she has built and maintained, one of the most-frequented websites on the net, though not because of its flashiness (in fact, the site is pretty early-2000s outdated) or extreme content. (Most of the "contributors" of the quotations are dead; they're historical figures or famous people from years gone by.) She didn't build the site to pocket money; she built it because she loved the subject enough to share it with people. That's passion.

I hope next time you're at camp, you get a chance to act on something that really drives you. It might be a sport or activity (hey, you guys all know how much I dig horseback riding— I've made that hobby into a career!) or it could be a service project or some kind of leadership you show at camp. (What about being a Raggers counselor?) What about that thing lights you up inside? Can you take that from an interest to a passion— can you do something with it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Counselor Interview: Curt

It is time for another Counselor Interview. This time it is Curt. He is coming back for his second summer out at CFA and he is still going to be a high facilitator and will hopefully be a lifeguard. Check out his answers and catch up with what is going on in his life.

What is your favorite memory about camp last summer?
My favorite memory about camp last summer was probably when we played the pirate themed game where we had to find the gold, as a team, that was hidden around camp!

Anything new or big going on in your life?
The biggest and most exciting thing going on in my life is over Christmas break I got to see a Cincinnati Bengals game in the snow! It was 28 degrees! A bit chilly!

What was your favorite activity to teach and why?
My favorite activity to teach is high ropes. You really get to see what qualities kids have and you get to see many of them overcome their fears.

What are you looking forward to the most this upcoming summer?
I am looking forward to seeing all the familiar and new faces next summer! I am excited to renew and grow the relationships I made last summer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Red Rag

The Red Rag is for campers/staff 16 years of age and over who are accepting the challenge toward sacrifice of time, talent, and personal will. Wow-this one is really stepping things up a notch. It is asking you to sacrifice things you love and possibly things you are really good at in light of the good of others.

In the ceremony, there is this story of Albert Schweitzer:

His talent for music could have given him fame as the greatest authority on the music of Bach, and as a great organist. But he sacrificed this talent to use another more needed to God, and prepared himself to become a doctor, founding a hospital in the heart of Africa, and serving the sick of the land.

Wow-to sacrificae his great love of music and purpose himself to become a doctor in Africa is great. How can you do this? Maybe not on such a grand scale, but what can you do TODAY to sacrifice for others?

Before, you have geared yourself to personal goal setting, concern for others and a Christian way of life. Now the Rag is asking you to take time out of your everyday life and give to others. There are so many ways to do this. By mentoring, serving at church, volunteering in your school, community or local YMCA. The Red Rag is focusing you on discovering and utilizing your talents in each day, but also putting aside one great talent to pursue another for the good of others .

  • So I ask, what are your talents?
  • Are you a musician, an athlete, a chef?
  • What are you good at that you can put to task for others?
  • Is there something you are really good out but is just self serving and not serving to others? If so, how will you put this aside?

Many of you know I have really discovered my ability to prepare food. While I was good at being a camp program director, I really felt there was something else I could be doing to better serve others. n taking over food service at camp, not only have I found that I love doing it, but I am good at it. For me, cooking is not work, it is joy. So really look and explore yourself and give of time and talent to others.

Find your talent, find an area to focus your talent and serve others. Remember, others before self. Good luck and stay focused.

In the Spirit of Camp,

Y 182?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Counselor Interview: Sheeba

It is time for another Counselor Interview. This time it is Sheeba. She is coming back for her third summer out at CFA and she will be helping out in the store. Check out her answer and catch up with what is going on in her life.


What is your favorite memory about camp last summer?
Last summer was made up of many great memories, but one that I think has been the most memorable was first week my coco, Sarah and I had an Absolutely AMAZING embers. We all told stories about ourselves and "the person we are." The girls really bonded the first night, opening up about their feelings and the things they dealt with everyday. They really got to see life from each others perspectives and I think that was what made them closer. There was no judgments, no arguments, no prejudices. It made the week awesome and I think more of a memorable week for the girls.

Anything new or big going on in your life?
Everyday is a new learning experience, but I'm in my senior year of college and taking the time to enjoy it. Soon I'll have to get a grown-up job and pay REAL bills. So, I'm trying to enjoy it while it's here. I have great roommates who inspire me and encourage me. I'm so blessed.

What does summer camp mean to you?
Camp has always been a place that allowed me to be the rawest version of me. At camp I learned just as much as the kids did. I grew, I challenged myself and faced my fears. I never thought it would change my life the way it did. Summer Camp to me means freedom to be whoever you are, and the means to getting to know who that person is.

What was your favorite activity to teach and why?
I LOVED being the crafts coordinator last summer. As a fashion major, making art has always been a passion of mine since childhood. The idea of making something out of nothing is just so exciting. I enjoyed sharing my passion for creation with the kids.

What are you looking forward to the most this upcoming summer?
I am so excited to work in the camp store for my internship for my fashion merchandising major. I'm excited to learn more about manufacturing, owning a store, merchandising and store layouts. I'm also excited to go to camp fires sing songs and make memories both the campers and I will never forget.