Since 1954, the Y has partnered with the beautiful lakeside Camp McCumber to provide two weeks of overnight camp each July to youth ages 13 - 17. Through this collaboration, thousands of youth have developed confidence, identity, skills, and relationships through their experiences at YMCA Camp McCumber in canoeing, fishing, archery, arts and crafts, hiking, campfires, and sports activities.
Many children today spend the majority of their time indoors. YMCA Camp McCumber provides valuable outdoor activities giving campers the opportunity to unplug and have a screen-free experience to learn and master new skills that build resilience and independence. Although the camp experience may only be one or two weeks of a camper’s year, many will tell you that one week at camp can be one of the most influential.
At YMCA Camp McCumber, traditions run deep through a variety of specially targeted programs. The Raggers program is one of the most longstanding. The YMCA’s Rags Program began in 1914 at a Y summer camp. Thomas Caldwell, Boys Secretary of the Oakland YMCA, was looking for a way to manage camp discipline problems using position reinforcement. Instead of implementing the traditional camp method that rewarded campers for athletic participation and prowess, Caldwell enjoyed the idea of awarding campers for inner strengths: moral character, good behavior, and positive attitude.
During an evening campfire ceremony, Caldwell presented several deserving campers with simple blue bandanas that he had purchased at a local hardware store. He called these awards “Rags” because, as pieces of worthless cloth, they had no value. Instead, the Rags gained their meaning from the person wearing them. They served as symbols of the positive qualities the campers had demonstrated - attributes such as healthy habits, promptness, cheerfulness, morals, dependability, and helpfulness. That summer, several outstanding campers also received Red Rags as advanced recognition. Thus, the tradition of the Rag began!
The Raggers program allows campers to set individual goals for themselves focused on developing stronger body, mind, and spirit. Rags exist as outward symbols of inward goals. Each Rag presents a different and unique challenge, but all Rags carry the same theme: to become closer to their God (whichever religion that might be, or if none exists, then to Nature), and to take on a personal challenge for growth and improvement. Each color Rag — Blue, Silver, Brown, Gold, and Red — asks the camper to focus on a specific challenge. All Raggers start with Blue and proceed through the colors from there. Campers who choose to participate in the program, select a mentor, such as a staff or Counselor-In-Training (CIT), to coach them throughout their week at camp and help them choose goals that correspond with the Rag they are aiming for. Their mentor must be of an equivalent or higher Rag.
We want every youth to have the opportunity to set goals and achieve them, thus, unique to the YMCA Camp McCumber is the availability of funding support so that no one is turned away due to an inability to pay. Through our scholarships and financial assistance program, we are able to provide camp for youth who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate.
If you would like to find out more about the Y's Send A Kid To Camp campaign, or ways to support our year-round day camps, contact Julie Schroeder, Director of Development & Donor Relations, at 530.246.9622 x126 or [email protected]