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books and efforts were made to visit each group once a week. In this way

thousands of distributed.

books

were

exchanged

weekly

and

masses

of

magazines

MOBILE CINEMAS.

Two mobile cinemas were in operation from Cardiff and Rhyl. The work was carried out in conjunction with the Army Educational Corps. The YMCA supplied the transport and machinery and the Army Educational Corps provided the personnel to operate the films. The films were of the documentary type and the scheme was carried out for cultural purposes. Only the best films and music were used.

GENERAL PROGRAMME.

Social, cultural and religious activities. Despite the difficulties involved in travelling to isolated districts, where no buses operated, hundreds of lectures were delivered by lecturers who made special journeys to YMCA centres in camps. Classes, Brains Trusts, and Discussion Groups were frequently held, and in most camp centres, a YMCA Sunday Night Service.

Most buildings had a "quiet" room and many men and women in the Services found a quiet chair, the warmth of a good fire and a magazine, something to be appreciated in the isolated centres. Libraries were set up in every centre, and thousands of books were circulating between YMCA libraries. Large quantities of "Penguin" publications were sold, in addition to a considerable volume of pamphlets of a religious and educational character.

STAFF

The importance of continuing youth work made it possible only for two full time Secretaries of local YMCAs to be seconded for military activities. It was, therefore, necessary to recruit a full-time staff which at one time numbered over 300 in Wales. With few exceptions, the staff were generally over 40 years of age. These restrictions, together with the limitation of labour, made staffing problems a nightmare, but it was a matter of considerable pride that throughout the whole war period, no YMCA Service centre had to close any single day for want of staff or supplies. So far as is known, only in one centre did activities cease for a few days, and this was due to a "time bomb" which was embedded near the Cardiff Station Hut.

Reference has already been made to Mrs. J. Elliot Seager, MBE., J .P., who organised in almost every YMCA throughout Wales, local groups of ladies who, both night and day, in the canteens, rendered invaluable voluntary service. Approximately 12,000 voluntary workers were enrolled in the Women's Service. During the war, the Countess of Plymouth and the Hon. Mrs.

  • J.

    H. Bruce continued as President and Chairman, respectively, of the Welsh

  • N.

    W.A.

The contribution of these ladies transformed YMCA canteen service into something more than a place where men found warmth, food and shelter. It became a place of friendship, where lonely men and women met somebody who could pass on a few cheerful words. Many mothers, sisters and sweethearts, rendered this service, remembering that their own men and boys were in some

other part

of

the

country or

the world,

seeking the

same

kind of

fellowship.

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