AUGUST 11, 1947
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N. B., Sunday—We keep on hearing about juvenile delinquency, and parents and educators and juvenile courts keep on worrying about it. But we do not often see the constructive suggestions which can and should be made. My attention has just been called to an article which appeared in one of the metropolitan magazines not long ago, showing in pictures and telling the story of an experiment which has been carried out successfully in Rochester, N.Y.
The usual cry of teenagers is that they have nothing to do and nowhere to go. That is no longer so in the city of Rochester. A teen-age center, called "The Barn," was established there, and on a Saturday night the floor is covered with dancers. No stags are allowed and cutting in is against the rules. Adults are not admitted either, so that the center belongs entirely to the young people, who make the rules.
This particular project came about through a letter written to the head of a newspaper chain by a brother and sister. A survey was made among a great many youngsters and it was found they wanted a combination night club-country club atmosphere. They did not want it in the city, and they wanted good dance music and good entertainment.
Even in rural communities I have come up against the same complaint of nowhere to go and nothing to do. Some youngsters in our neighborhood at Hyde Park have told me that hanging around the drug store is the only thing open to them. If we believe in the old adage about Satan and idleness, the thing to do is to get busy and find activities for the young people.
Another suggestion that deals with young people has come to me all the way from the state of California. There a young man named Robert W. Hanna, who graduated from Antioch College, wants to start a youth village. With so many displaced children throughout the world in need of homes, he feels that an activity of this kind, in beautiful surroundings and in the famous California climate, would be a contribution to helping us toward the salvation of many lost children. He is an enthusiastic young man who has long been interested in the good neighbor idea and in education, and the combination may lead him to real success.
In any case, our own children here need attention these days, and, having had four youngsters for a week in my care, I am very glad their father is about to return. Grandmothers are really not quite active enough to provide entertainment, and it certainly was a wise provision of nature which gave the care of young children as a rule to young parents.
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 11, 1947
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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