Relation With Boys' Clubs
SIR.—Your correspondent, Mr. John McCoy, thinks the Y.C.W. have their eyes so fixed on their ideals that they are apt to disregard realities,
His argument runs roughly as follows:
The Y.C.W. have discovered in a recent enquiry that organised physical recreation is absolutely necessary for boys.
" There have been Y.C.W. sections broken up because of their inability to run a football team successfully."
Running of boys' clubs, football, boxing, etc., is a specialised job for which the Y.C.W. gives no training. Boys' clubs, on the other hand, " have proved that they can attain their objectives of producing a team spirit and developing leaders."
So far, logical, but the same letter contains this sentence: " Again, I have yet to see the boys who can run football, etc., as it shoisid be run in a boys' club—as a means of character training."
So the occasional failure of some Y.C.W. sections, who turned their hand unsuccessfully to footbalt, is not after all so much against them, seeing that the proven merits of the boys' clubs have not saved their Members from invariable failure in this difficult matter. Your correspondent has introduced the relation of boys' clubs to the Y.C.W. at a very opportune moment, for there may be some risk that in adopting the technique of
non Cardijn, we may omit to make full use of the foundations laid by St. John Bosco.
Al the same time, the boys' clubs of today suffer all too frequently from defedts that formed no part of St. John Bosco's design. The Saint trained the whole boy in spirit, trade and leisure: modern Catholic clubs usually train for leisure only, and they follow the lead of our national boys' clubs in attending too closely to football, etc. The Saint was a highly skilled technician in a variety of trades and crafts; the wardens of modern clubs are good administrators, but as a rule they are technically barren and incapable of coping effectively with any trade except football, etc. The result on the boys is a dual standard: one for the club and one for the outside. Few boys will ever learn in the club milieu how to become Christian leaders in the envimnment of then home and work ; that is unless our club methods change.
To one who has for some time been associated with clubs and Y.C.W., it seems rather that the clubs expect a nebulous idealism to be born out of football, etc., whereas the Y.C.W. are getting once again at the whole boy, and at the same time are finding football, etc.. a useful adjunct as in the days of that tough all-rounder, St. John Bosco.
As the boys' clubs organisation receives a mould more suited to the realities of a working boy's life through the renovating technique of Y.C.W., we may expect a real interdependence to grow up between the two• where clubs already exist they will mostly need some degree of transformation ; when they do not exist, but are needed, there seems every reason why the Y.C.W. should be encouraged to take a prominent part in their management in spite of past failures in connection with football, etc. The training of boy leaders is a very difficult matter. but if the face of our troubled earth is to be renewed the instrument of renewal will be young; and the method of renewal will be " total," thus satisfying the spiritual demands of Fr. Bruno James, the economic aims of Mr. Robbins, and the football aims of MT. McCoy.