29 August 2011

The YMCA conferences in Toronto and Cleveland

The next two letters, which were addressed to Noel in Toronto and Cleveland, finally move on to the business of the YMCA conferences to which Noel was traveling.

Newspaper clippings from
the Melbourne Herald (20 June 1931),
The Melbourne Age (22 June 1931).
and the Melbourne Herald (abt. 16 July 1931).
(click to enlarge or view on Flickr)
"Now, I hope you will enter into the Conference with the desire to get out of it the absolute limit in the way of help and inspiration," George wrote in the Toronto letter. "It will be a wonderful chance to meet many of the great leaders of our Movement from practically all countries of the World. You will be glad to make these contacts as they may mean a great deal to you in the future and I would suggest that you cultivate every opportunity in that direction."

I haven't found much about the conferences in my quick online search, but I did find an article from TIME Magazine titled Religion: Y.M.C.A. at Cleveland dated 17 Aug 1931.

The Toronto conference was a warm up for the Cleveland conference. They were the Twentieth World's Conference of the YMCA, which was a big international affair, and the 43rd International Convention of North American YMCAs.

"The great Conference at Cleveland should set new standards in the work of the Association," was George's prediction in his letter to Cleveland.

According to the TIME article, topics discussed were very timely for the 1930s, including:
  • resolutions calling for revision of the Versailles Treaty and abolition of national armaments
  • the German delegation proposing absolving Germany of sole guilt in World War I
  • social problems related to unemployment
  • urging huge governmental public works programs
  • extending membership to women
  • and offering sex education to boys and their parents.
That last bullet point, about sex education, I found really interesting, in that it seems counter to what a religious-affiliated organization might suggest today. "Professor Clyde A. Miller, Chairman of a subcommittee, addressed the conference on sex education, suggested that 'parents should give children sex education early in life. In view of the incapability of many parents . . . Y. M. C. A. directors and secretaries should pass on sex education to boys and their parents.'"

See related posts: No. 6 -- 23 June 1931  and No. 7 -- 24 June 1931