Friday, 3 June 2016

Youth Work in Jersey - 1949

From the 1949 “Pilot”, the Island Magazine for all Anglican Churches in Jersey comes this little snapshot into the past. Some of it seems familiar, the Scouts and St John’s Ambulance are still around, but what, I wonder, happened to the “Royal Empire Society Companions”? Indeed, what was the organisation, of which I can find no trace.

On camping at Red Houses, mentioned below, the Jersey Archive has this to say about the setting:

“Jean Huelin’s house and farm once stood on the site where Mark’s and Spencer and the Co-op stand today. In 1864 the property was sold to Jean de Gruchy, farmer, who owned it for nearly 20 years. It is believed that the name Red Houses/Rouge Maisons arose from the red tiles on the stables at Oakleigh, which were situated on the opposite side of the road, where the public car park is now. By the 1891 census the property is inhabited by the Leatt family who kept the house and land in the family for a number of generations. Thomas James Leatt sold the property and land in 1963 to Queenleigh & McCormick Ltd, who demolished the house and built shops for lease to retailers.”

So in 1949, Red Houses was very likely not built up, largely farmland, and probably had fields around the area ideal for camping. If anyone remembers it, I'd love to hear from you.


Youth Movement Organizers.

The Jersey Youth Movement is gradually increasing its activities and widening its scope, and we hope eventually there will be some form of organisation to suit everyone between the ages of 13 and 25.

A great deal of valuable work has been done by the Churches and the old established organisations, such as the Boys' Brigade, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Girls' Life Brigade, Royal Empire Society Companions, Salvation Army Torchbearers, St. John Ambulance Boy Cadets and Nursing Cadets, Young Farmers' Clubs and a variety of open Youth Clubs.

Our desire is to be of service to the existing organisations and to provide new facilities where necessary. To this end we have arranged residential 'Training Courses for Leaders and Senior Members of Youth Organisations, in Method, Management, Committee work, and Aims and Purposes, and we intend to run further Training Courses in specialised activities, e.g., on the 26/27th February we are taking Dramatic Art as a theme, to which we intend to devote the whole weekend; at the same time giving incidental training in the art of living together.

We have also gone ahead with the opening of new clubs, and six have been formed in various parts of the island during the year 1945. In all eases the work is being done by voluntary effort, and it is gratifying to find so many people willing to give up their valuable time to the Service of Youth.

As we see it, the purpose of a Youth Movement is to bring together Leaders and Members of every type of Youth Organisation, to co-ordinate their activities and to teach them that each has something to contribute to the other and to the community, and that these qualities are essentially spiritual.

One of the best ways of accomplishing this teaching is through the medium of camping, where, in the sharing of common tasks and of doing things together, a very real sense of community is developed.

We feel that the youth of the island should have the opportunity of camping and camp training throughout the summer months, either for week-ends, weeks, or even nights, and we are endeavouring to make this possible in a semi-permanent camp at Red Houses, St. Brelade's, this summer, when there may also be the chance of meeting Campers from the mainland.

In addition to this the value of travel is not to be discounted, and it is felt that parties from Youth Organisations should be encouraged to visit other countries. This is already- being done by most of the voluntary- organisations, of course, and is a very important part of youth work in every sphere.

A Club Programme is not of necessity something which is bound to happen within the four walls of a building, and we believe that it is our function to encourage out-of-door activities, and to make the fullest use of the opportunities for an adventurous outdoor life.

As the youngster grows older the need to try many things and to experiment in a variety of activities becomes more urgent. The Youth Movement provides the opportunity for this need to be satisfied so that they are a little better equipped than most, a little more purposeful than most, a little more humble too than most, to go out to serve their fellows.


James said...

As far as I can see the Royal Empire Society became the Royal Commonwealth Society. The RCS history webpage notes that in 1910 Council sanctioned the idea of forming local centres or branches in the large cities of the UK, the West Indies, Ceylon and India. Could this be what we are looking at?

James said...

And we have a little more. The Jersey Archive holds the minute books of the local branch of the Royal Empire Society, and also correspondence relating to a number of dinners (but those are later). Catalogue reference L/D/23/A/3 will find the minute book covering the period from 1946 to 1952.