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A blog to stimulate thought

YMCA and Youth Clubs

by John Phillip for the Neath Ferret - 00:00 on 01 October 2017

A flash back to my younger days and how I remember the YMCA

I served my apprenticeship with The Steel Company of Wales in the 1950s and my hours of work was from 8:00am to 4:30pm.   It was a well organised set up that even included physical exercise at the gymnasium of the Port Talbot YMCA twice a week from 8am to 9am.

It was fun and included a game of netball, it helped to keep us lads fit.

In the third year of my five year apprenticeship I was sent on a Youth Leadship course at the YMCA college at Rhoose.  It was under the control of the principal- Mr Vincent Pate who lived on site with his family.

Apprentices from several companies were there, like the Metal Box and Coal Board, who sponsored the course.

The objective was make us all self reliant, even to the point of washing our dishes after a meal.    We were taught how to conduct meetings, taking it in turn to be chairman.

We all had our own rooms - just a bed, a chair and a bedside table.   The evenings of the week-long course were spent in the communal lounge.

The point I am coming to is that the YMCA was an ideal way of putting youngsters on the right track for life - and could do so today with the right people in charge.

In my opinion, it is important to have a role model and the YMCA can help in this direction.

There is more to life than the subjects taught in schools and colleges and it is essentilal that we realise this.

We sadly lack the Youth Clubs that were around in the 1950/60s, maybe television is to blame - or is it us older folk for not caring as they should?

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