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American Day, Decoration Day and Fourth of July were celebrated with games and athletics and a Community Christmas tree seventy-four feet high was secured by the Commission, decorated with a thousand colored lights and placed in the city hall esplanade. Other activities included recreation for nurses and the transportation of children in motor trucks to enjoy the facilities for bathing in the Passaic River.
The recreation supervisor holds also the position of supervisor of school hygiene under the Board of Education. This makes it possible for these two departments to cooperate closely.
Many plans are on foot for the year 1921 for which an appropriation of $25,527 has been requested.
A Year's Work in West Chester, Pennsylvania
The report of Miss Florence Hilton, supervisor of recreation of the Recreation Department of West Chester, Pennsylvania, with its statement of work conducted since the organization of the department and the inauguration of year-round work in June, 1919, tells a story of definite accomplishment of which West Chester may well be proud.
The playgrounds established were open evenings as well as during the day time. Hikes, nature study classes, storytelling, and dramatic activities were all included in the program. Through the courtesy of the Y. M. C. A. arrangements were made for the use of its swimming pool once each week.
A number of special occasions were arranged such as picnics, camp suppers, club day. Twilight baseball games were played between the men in the various industrial and mercantile houses. There were games for adults as well as for children. Community sings were carried on by volunteer leaders. The Westchester band volunteered its assistance and played each Monday night. From 2000 to 3000 people were present at each sing. A dance club was organized. There was a special celebration of Columbus Day and of Hallowe'en.
On November third the evening centers were opened. Various forms of recreation and physical education were carried on as well as special classes in cooking, sewing, English and other subjects. There were also musicals, lectures, sings, basketball games.
Organizations such as the Boy Scouts, American Legion, Home and School League held their meetings at the community center during the winter. Not only were there basketball games by boys and girls from the schools but also games by industrial teams from various factories.
Volunteers as well as paid workers served upon the faculty. One special evening arranged was a thrift night. Motorists were invited to a conference where the State Registrar of motor vehicles interpreted the technicalities of the new Pennsylvania motor vehicle law. On Washington's Birthday certificates were presented to relatives of those boys who had lost their lives Over There.
There was a visit from Cho Cho, the health clown. There were also several evenings given to an open forum of public questions. During the Christmas holdiays carols were sung in three theatres and sections of the borough were visited by carol singers from the various churches, followed by a Christmas pageant around a lighted Christmas tree.
It is estimated by the supervisor that the cost per person for the playground activities for the season was $.095; for social center activities the average cost per person was $.042.
Community Service in Connersville, Indiana
The history of the development of Community Service in Connersville, Indiana, a community of ten thousand people, offers a practical demonstration of the progress which can be made when a community is thoroughly aroused to its leisure time needs.
The beginning of intensive organization work Initial Steps
in Connersville dates from August 21st, 1920.
After securing a sympathetic and interested nucleus as a preliminary organization around which to build a permanent Community Service council, an invitation was sent national Headquarters. During the first three weeks conferences were held with citizens and organizations and the group behind the work was materially increased. At the end of this period, a formal meeting was held, officers elected and the following standing committees appointed; committee on general activities; publicity; girls' activities; finance. Temporary committees on constitution and membership were created.
These committees immediately became active and six weeks after the community organizer had started work, the Community Service council had been increased to fifty members, the constitution had been adopted and a program of activities for men and women was under way.
By September 4th a vacant corner lot, 78 ft. x Development of
145 ft. situated in the heart of the city, had the Program
been transformed into a Community Service recreation center providing space for a playground, baseball diamond, volley ball and a horseshoe pitching court. The civic department of the Chamber of Commerce financed the work necessary in clearing the lot which had long been an eyesore, covered as it was with remnants of old basements, cisterns and wells, and with a heavy growth of weeds.
Two baseball leagues of seven teams each were organized, one a factory division, the other' a downtown business men's division. The afternoons were reserved for younger boys and the evenings for adults. As the recreation center was lighted, it was suitable for evening activities which consisted of volley ball and playground baseball from six to nine, and open activities from nine to nine-forty-five for those not of any organized team. The average evening attendance was apprpoximately four hundred.
The program for the opening night of the recreation center was as follows:
1. Music by band
ing the work and aim of Community Service and
formally presenting the center to the community
vs. downtown business men (none under thirty-five
ity Service vs. an old time player
Long before the summer activities were over, Preparation for the community was beginning to think of acWinter Activities
tivities for the winter months. So confident were the citizens that a place would be forthcoming for winter activities that constitutions and by-laws for a permanent indoor association and basket ball association among the factory and business men, were approved and adopted.
As a result of the activities of Community Industrial
Service, recreational activities for men were Recreation
introduced into factories, the factories building volley ball courts and providing equipment.
A play festival in which the school children of A Play Festival the grades participated was held the last week
of September, the superintendent of schools declaring a quarter holiday for the occasion. Two thousand children took part in the program which occupied only an hour. This was the first affair of its kind ever given by the school children.
Institutes of eight sessions for the training of Institutes
game and song leaders were held. Seventy
five people representing churches, industries, schools and other agencies were enrolled. The graduates of the course have rendered valuable service in conducting activities in their own organizations and in assisting with programs on public occasions.
A special class in song leading was conducted for the teachers of the schools, the superintendent of schools taking an active interest and becoming a member of the class.
Community singing in connection with several Other Activities industrial meetings and public celebrations
has done much to develop community spirit. A Community Hallowe'en celebration in which several hundred participated and furnished amusement for several hundred more proved a great success. The program consisted of progressive activities held at five centers, the evening's fun ending with an immense community bonfire and sing.
By November 21st, a program of activities for The Budget a year and a budget of $12,491.21 had been
planned and approved, $7000 had been pledged, thus assuring the continuation of the work. On November 29th, a general meeting was held and the balance of the budget raised. Meanwhile, an organizer and an assistant had been employed to take charge of the work for the coming year.
The faith of the citizens and the community The Present
that a place would be forthcoming for winter Program
activities was justified when an old skating rink was secured and put into condition for use as a center. This was opened in November. Physical recreation activities in the schools, the organization of Girl Scouts, the development of a social recreation program and of a program of indoor baseball and basket ball, activities at a girls' center, community singing and other forms of music, a story hour and winter sports, are making it possible for the citizens of Connersville to enjoy with their neighbors good times of all kinds.
The Socialization of Rural Communities
The Third Annual Conference of the American Country Life Association held at Springfield, Massachusetts, October 16th-19th, 1920, was notable for the scientific spirit with which the students of rural life, including college professors and practical workers in the field, in government departments and private groups, attacked the many-sided problems which were presented. Subjects ranging from good roads to rural psychology were discussed, but throughout the conference the emphasis was always on the human values involved, the socialization of the people living in rural districts and a more effective functioning for a richer life, of the physical and spiritual phases of living
A few of the many significant things expressed at the conference have a special bearing on Community Service.
A contribution of special interest to CommunMusic in
ity Service workers was made in the discussion Town Planning
of town planning, in the statement that in planning the Mormon farm villages Brigham Young stressed the opportunity for music in every village as strongly as he did agriculture. Music helped to revolutionize rural Denmark. Can it not, the question was asked, be made a more important feature of American country life?