JUNE 11, 1949
NEW YORK, Friday—In answering a question in my magazine feature, "If You Ask Me," I said I did not know of any organization of girls clubs that corresponded in the United States to the Boys Clubs of America. Since then I have had many excited communications because there is an organization called Girls Clubs of America. It is only four years old, but I should have known about it. In 1946 I was invited by the group to affiliate with them, and I answered that I could take on no new work.
It is only fair to them, of course, to say that they have national offices and that they are recognized by the Boys Clubs of America, by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and by the Campfire Girls. I am going to quote to you from the letter written me by the president, Mrs. J. Herbert Johnson, since I think it is important to the people of the country to know of an organization that is serving their girls.
"Studies we have made reveal that constructive programs for girls have lagged far behind those for boys in most sections of this country. People have been slow to realize that the home or neighborhood which fails the boy also fails the girl and that the welfare of girls is vital to their community and to the nation because, among other things, the girls of today will some day become the mothers of future American citizens. It is the conviction of the sponsors of Girls Clubs that whatever is done to help girls grow up to intelligent, responsible womanhood will pay big dividends in the years to come.
"The girls' clubs of this organization are filling a need not met by other organizations in several respects. The Girls Clubs, unlike most other girl agencies, is open every day for the benefit of the many girls who need a safe and wholesome place to go any day in out-of-school hours. The Girls Clubs stresses the importance of the younger girl under twelve when characters and attitudes are being formed. Dues at the Girls Clubs are lower than in most organizations—usually twenty-five or fifty cents a year—so that any girl can afford to belong. Finally, the Girls Clubs program is broader and more inclusive than those provided by most other girls' organizations."
No one will deny the importance of the girls of today to the future homes of America. You find that the Girls Clubs' programs stress home crafts, provide training for the home arts and even teach the care of babies. Also, they do not neglect recreation for the high-school age and they carry out programs to teach their members how to enjoy out-of-door life and how to keep in good health.
There are a number of Girls Clubs scattered throughout our nation but not as many as there should be, if we are really going to give the girls of our nation as much thought and opportunity as we have given the boys.
It is true that the girl is frequently less demanding and sometimes homes tend to think that the girl is safer in her home and has less need for the recreational features afforded by clubs. Both in big cities and in rural areas I think it is increasingly evident, however, that the girl needs as much attention as the boy and perhaps her influence in the future is even greater than that of her brother.