AUGUST 18, 1937
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Yesterday afternoon we went to pay a farewell visit to Camp Jane Addams in Bear Mountain Park. It has finally been decided that the cost per girl does not justify its continuance and it will be closed the end of August.
The girls who were there looked happy and healthy and on their work project many of them have learned to sew which should be a help. Some of them have sewed for a living before in New York, and many who have never had a job may sew for a living in the future. It is a useful art though many of us seem to forget that these days!
On the side the girls have learned a number of skills which will provide them perhaps with entertainment for leisure time. I sat in and listened to an English class which seemed to me conducted in a very stimulating way. The teacher was reading some poetry and at the end of each poem, she would let the girls discuss their opinions or ask them for a comparison between the poems they had read. They would discuss the thoughts and philosophy involved as well, as they sat under the trees on the grass or on the rocks. I noticed one girl struggling with some knitting and longed to go over and offer my assistance, but discovered afterwards that it was really not needed!
I went all over the camp and whatever else these girls have learned, they have learned how to live out of doors. We went down to the dock and many of them told me how happy they were in their life there and how much it had meant to have the experience. One girl even told me that she thought camps were just as important as public schools and she thought they should be included in the public school system. I told her that at present the people of the State of New York had not agreed that they were a vital part of education and they were not included under the law! Perhaps it will be possible to find a way to run camps cheaply enough, however, so that the head of a family making a living wage may be able to give his children that experience during the summer, or a girl or boy at work making a living wage, may be able to save for that kind of a holiday.
One vivid and attractive face will stay with me for a long time. It shone with health and spirit, but the girl used crutches to get about. She had had infantile as a little child but proudly told me she was one of the best swimmers there. When I asked her how much she could do she said: "You'd be surprised, I can do almost everything."
Home at seven and a swim before dinner.
An old friend who went abroad with my mother-in-law and my son, John, but who has come home ahead of them, spent the night and gave me an amusing account of many of their experiences. He left me again this morning to go back to his work and Mrs. Scheider and I to doing as much work at our desks today as we can.