FEBRUARY 8, 1940
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday morning and afternoon I presided at two closing sessions of the National Youth Administration conference. Some of the young NYA girls told their stories, typical of so many more. What has remained with me most vividly is the horrible feeling that such a vast army of young women are untouched by this program and that this is equally true for the young men.
Of course, the organized youth corps, who are in constant touch with these young people, feel their plight passionately. Many of the leaders of the youth corps are young people who could easily obtain jobs which would pay them far more than any youth organization could possibly pay them. Because of what they have seen, however, and because of the idealism of youth, which is always fired by an opportunity for service, they stick where they think they can help their own generation. The older people, sympathetic as they are, still do not feel the problem the way the young people do. I think they do not quite understand the intensity of feeling shown by the youth leaders and are rather frightened by it.
These young people, by their very passionate desire to stir people to action, show they are somewhat frightened by the fact that they cannot find answers to their problems and are in need of reassurance. I wonder if the older groups will be able to meet this challenge to their understanding and imagination.
A continuing committee is to be appointed to carry out the findings agreed upon during these two days of conference. I hope it will lead to work in many communities that has never been done before.
In the evening, I attended the National Democratic Forum on peace, unity and cooperation, conducted under the auspices of the Women's National Democratic Club and presided over by Mr. Denny of the New York City Forum of the Air. It seemed to me a very successful meeting and Senator Walsh, Mr. Ernest Lindley and I remained to be questioned, even though the Postmaster - General, Mr. Farley, had to leave after his speech. The Senator from Massachusetts gave the right note of importance and knowledge to the meeting. Mr. Lindley, in his capacity as columnist and writer, spoke on the subject from the point of view of the average citizen, and gave the note of humor which was needed to lighten the evening. I feel sure that everybody was grateful to him for a very delightful speech.
I left the club at about 10:30 and went down to the Navy Relief Ball, held in the sail-loft in the Navy Yard. Here they had transformed the entrance so that you seemed to be entering the old Charleston Navy Yard. The young men and girls were dressed in the costumes of the Sixties. The dancehall was decorated with flags and lights, so that you could hardly believe that it was ordinarily just a bare sail-loft. The Navy Relief Society is very proud of the fact that, through this organization, the families, widows and children of those in need who are in anyway connected with the Navy, have been kept off the public relief rolls.