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CHAPTER XII.

MINING YOUTH BECOME YMCA MINDED.

Nine Boys YMCAs functioned in the Powell Duffryn area at the end of 1939, seven of which possessed purpose planned structures. Wartime restrictions impeded further building operations until 1945 when licences for four new buildings became available, three of which were allocated to the Powell Duffryn districts. These three additional YMCA buildings completed the undertaking with Mr. Hann in 1937 to make provision for twelve YMCAs for boys in areas in South Wales where the Company operated.

1. Membership:

Aberaman

216

Abertridwr

235

Abercregan

62

Bargoed

166

Duffryn Rhondda

68

Caerphilly

127

Mountain Ash

93

Hirwaun

250

New Tredegar

48

Onllwyn

90

Pontypridd

448

Pontycymmer

76

Porth

326

Resolven

80

Llangeinor

65

Following the formal opening and dedication of these centres and the clarification of the history, purpose and organisation of the Young Men's Christian Association, a rapid growth of membership was recorded. Evidence abounded that the sturdy mining youth of the South Wales Valleys were taking pride in their Association membership. The following statistics of membership for the new Associations in 1945 are of much interest.

These Associations, therefore, added a total of 2,350 members to the membership of the Welsh National YMCA.

In addition, new YMCAs opened during this same period at Carmarthen, Cwmavon, in the South, Rhayader in Mid and Trawsfynydd and Llansannan in the North of the Principality which further 1ncreased the above mentioned membership by an estimated additional 500 members.

2. Leadership Training: "There will be universal agreement that leadership is the key to successful promotion of the whole Association enterprise". With this sentence, the YMCA British National Conference of 1936 opened its session on the question of leadership.

The large membership of the new Associations in the mining valleys presented a unique opportunity for the provision of leadership training groups for the young members whose numbers and potential required priority consideration for such training. Moreover the primary responsibility of the Association is to prepare its members for leadership in the YMI1CA and other spheres of community life.

For the purpose of membership training, a scheme was inaugurated by the National Council of England, Ireland and Wales, in 1927. At first, it was confined to Physical Education. Seven years later, the Council incorporated training for wider purposes and responsibilities.

It became obligatory for entrants to attend lectures and practice sessions and to accept duties as voluntary leaders, one night a week, in a YMCA or other organisation. Suitable literature was prescribed for general reading.

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