young miners revelled in these conditions and in due course, wielded a sturdy influence on the mass of the membership. They trained systematically to emerge as efficient leaders in various club activities and eventually became prominent in representative competitions.
It has been computed that approximately sixty percent of the Welsh representatives in YMCA competitions and games, and successful entrants in Leadership Training examinations came from the industrial valleys of South Wales. The young miner exhibited a pride in his membership of the YMCA, and the Association was equally proud of him.
Officials of the Steel and Coal industries also interested themselves in Youth Clubs, especially where their boy workers had taken up membership. Frequently membership of an Association became evident to others by a
change of character, youngsters.
and workmanship of the enthusiastic
It was a feature of relationships between workmen and officials that a company representative would be invited to perform the formalities of
presiding they were
at club concerts or to open a sports competition. In frequently requested to join the Local Association's
Committee, and in this way invaluable service was Associations benefited by receiving free electricity, fields, and financial support for various activities.
rendered; some land for playing Several officials
local industry represented their Associations on the Welsh and its sub-committees. While serving on these committees, departmental heads of the Regional Coal Board.
National Council some became
In the year 1944, a South Wales Advisory Committee was constituted to promote and supervise good relationships with the Youth Club Associations, much to the advantage of these Associations.
The personnel of this committee was generally younger than the earlier body
of laymen and in some ways they were a new type of layman and lay leadership. They displayed an interest in and gave guidance to younger
members of vigour and many forms
As experienced laymen they matched the
enthusiasm of young workmen who represented of Inter-Association competitions.
It would not be difficult to quote the names of a dozen of these laymen but they will be remembered without prompting. Many of them now hold the highest offices in the Welsh YMCA administration and in the realm of industry. The YMCA in Wales is proud of them.
Prior to the extension of the Boys' Associations in the industrial valleys, the Women's Auxiliary Movement existed only in the larger Associations of Swansea, Newport, Neath and Pontypridd. The youth club Secretaries saw a greater need for the "Mother's Help" among YMCA boy members than had been the case for the more sophisticated situation of the bustling community of a large Association. Auxiliary members, interested in social service for growing boys and, more recently, girls as well, realised the many avenues of service open to them. They responded eagerly and with enthusiasm and in due course every Boys' Club had its local Auxiliary.
The Auxiliary controlled the buffet, prepared the refreshments on social occasions - the meals were of the "bumper" kind for members of visiting teams from other YMCAs. They raised money and advised on the decorative requirements of accommodation.