JULY 3, 1941
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—There is an interesting book which the American Youth Commission has just published called: "Time On Their Hands," which is a report on "leisure, recreation and young people." This book brings out the fact that with all the increase in commercialized entertainment that has come about in the last few years, our young people really have less opportunity for fun than they used to have.
Radios and movie programs are as available to rural youth as they are to urban youth, but somehow much of the joy of life that used to be created by simple human contacts and working together for fun or for educational and civic purposes, seems to have disappeared out of modern life. Our particularly under privileged youngsters are those who come from the lowest income group, or who live in rural areas and, above all, our young Negro people. We need better planning and trained leadership.
The National Recreation Association has made a study of the amount of money which communities should devote to recreation per capita. They place it at $3.00, but in 1937 that standard was reached by only two of the 94 cities of 100,000 or more population. The average per capita expenditure for this whole group of cities was $1.54.
We are doubly conscious at the moment of the need of recreation, because we have found it so vital in and around our army camps. One idea which I have just heard about and which is being tried out in a number of communities around the camps is well worth considering. They have set up community cookie jars for the boys. Village and farm wives are sending in packages to the recreation center to keep these cookie jars full. I am told that they are one of the most popular things that have been tried.
I wonder if every home community is getting together to look after their boys wherever they go. Sending them packages of small luxuries, and even of necessities, is important. We have places where some of our Regular Army men are stationed today where a little thought on the part of their home communities would mean a great deal. This is even more true for the draftees who, in an hour, change from civil to military life.
The heat continues with very little break, but I find that as long as I sleep on my porch at night, it does not bother me a great deal during the daytime. Miss Jacqueline Cochran is lunching with us today and I am most anxious to hear the report of her trip, which I shall tell you more about in a future column.