Everyone Should Be In The Raggers Program

Everyone Should Be In The Raggers Program

Your rag only has the meaning YOU give it.
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For those of you that don't know, which is probably everyone reading this, the raggers program is a goal setting program that is around the world at different YMCA summer camps. It is God-centered but you don't have to believe in God to get a rag.

In 1914 there was a sports camp and at the end of the week the supervisor would give out trophies for each person for their best sports ability for example "the best three-pointer." When the supervisor was giving out awards he forgot to make one award for a boy that was in a wheelchair, and he's realizing this while the boy is coming up to him. This boy had the best sportsmanship that this supervisor had ever seen, he was always cheering people on and giving them positive feedback. So he pulls out a blue rag that was in his back pocket and he knots it around the boy's neck and tells this boy that this rag is not just a rag but a symbol for his great sportsmanship, and his personal growth throughout the week. This is how the raggers program started.

You're not allowed to get your first rag until you turn 12, but you don't have to get your first rag when you turn 12, you can get it at any age after 12. There are seven rags you are able to get and each rag has a different challenge for you to base your goal off of. You can get a new rag every year, with no cost, and you have to go in order of each rag, you can't skip any colors.

The colors of the rags and challenges are:

* Blue rag: A focus on God, country, and becoming one’s best self

* Silver rag: Acceptance and rededication to the Christian way of life or spiritual growth

* Brown rag: Accepting the challenge for Christian service

* Gold rag: Understanding and concern for others

* Red rag: Sacrificing of time, talent, and will

* Purple rag: Excellence and noble living in all Christian service opportunities

* White rag: Lifelong commitment to Christian service

On each rag is the same symbol of four shapes that each represent something different. The first shape is a circle that represents friendship which surrounds a square that represents spiritual, mental, physical, and social. The square surrounds a triangle that represents spirit, mind, and body. And finally, you have a cross that represents the center of our lives and hearts.

The process of getting the rag is finding a person with the rag you want or higher to counsel you. Each rag has a study guide that has at least three bible verses on it that you and your counselor go over. After you are counseled for your rag you have your raggers ceremony which is when you get your rag. There is no accepting and unaccepting to the raggers program, no one can keep you from getting a rag. Each rag is a symbol of your personal growth, spiritual growth, and the challenge you have accepted for yourself, the rag that you get has a meaning that YOU gave it.

I got my blue rag when I was 12 and I recently got my red rag this summer. I have seen huge growth in myself because of these rags. Each rag has helped me better myself personally and spiritually with the help of only one person of my choice.

I always feel like when people ask me if I have a goal I have to have a goal that pleases them and have to have it accomplished within a few days. But with rags, you have a person help you get your rag and helps you come up with a goal the best fits yourself. And if you complete that goal in a year, okay good get your next one, but if you don’t complete the goal then that's fine you can keep working on it with no pressure to accomplish it. Also, these rags are lifelong so even if you completed your rag in a year you can still make sure that you remember that goal and that you're still accomplishing that goal a year later.

I have many friends that are in the raggers program and I have even been given the opportunity to counsel people that have wanted to get rags and for each person, it gives them the perfect chance to change themselves for the better. If this raggers program was everywhere and not just at YMCA summer camps I think the world can change a lot. The raggers program gives you connections with people that you probably wouldn’t think you would connect with and it gives you the chance to change yourself and your community for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Santa Barbara Family YMCA

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Even If Christianity Isn't Real, I Did Not Waste My Life

"Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace within difficulties." -C.S Lewis

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If Christianity isn't real then I wasted my life.

Christians wasted their lives.

Wasted time on fellowship with other Christians who encouraged each other, prayed for each other and loved people.

Wasted time attending church services that convicted us and taught us more about Jesus, and topics that related to our lives.

And for what?

For a community of other people who shared in similar struggles.

Is Christianity just a phase people go through during a hard time, until they reach the end of it?

Is Christianity for weak people who need something to believe in?

Is the Bible a book written by random people who created stories, that happened to align with history, and co-inside with true historical characters?

Is it all just a religion like the rest of them? Someone to believe in, rules to follow, traditions to uphold.

See I don't think so.

I think if God isn't real, none of us have truly wasted our lives.

We lived selflessly, we lived to serve others, we tried our best to love our neighbors like ourselves.

The church has served with various organizations, and within communities to better society and help during times of crisis or natural disaster.

If Christianity is for the weak, then how is it that mothers who have lost children, people who have lost their homes, and disasters that have rattled our nation not managed to bring Christians down? Because of hope.

Because even in the toughest times, and heart-wrenching experiences, we found our hope in God.

And through Him, we have accomplished great things.

Christianity isn't a group of individuals who think they are perfect, or who seek perfection, but rather individuals who know they are far from imperfect. Who have humbled themselves enough to realize they don't have everything put together.

And if we're wrong, what do we really lose?

But if we're right, what happens to everyone else?

Christianity itself by no means is perfect.

But Jesus is.

Christianity has mocked the name of God through horrendous acts.

But we are not the example, Christians don't define who God is.

Christianity doesn't have to be real to you, as long as God is.

And if you ask any Christian, it isn't a life you'll regret.

Just like telling the truth isn't always easier but it provides honest friendships and creates trust.

It isn't a get rich quick solution, or help you with all your problems, and take away all inconveniences.

It won't make you perfect, or better than anyone else.

There is no formula or method, just faith.

It's not about religion or religious duties.

And if Christianity isn't real, then nothing. Then we believed a lie, and we either continue on living as some believe, live in an afterlife as others believe, or return as new creations. But nevertheless, there are no consequences.

But Christianity offers a gift, a gift of salvation, and a life without God is not a life worth living.

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