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Cook, Alice Hanson / Bavarian trade union youth

Purpose of organization,   pp. 8-9 PDF (944.3 KB)

Page 8

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The union's interest in youth work runs along several lines
which need to be seen separately in order to sort out some of the
problems and achievements.
Young workers, including apprentices are members of
the unions exactly like any other worker - they pay a
percentage of their wages as union dues and are entitled
to the same kind of services on grievances, meetings,
educational and cultural opportunities, legislation,
representation in public bodies and the like.
The unions are concerned about finding and training
future functionaries. They seek through the youth groups
to interest young people in the unions and to train them
for future activity.
Trade union youth groups offer working youth an
opportunity to organize and develop educational and
recreational programs.
On the whole, it is probably safe to say that union youth leaders
themselves see their program more and more in terms of education and
recreation services with other objectives being secondary. Their
own oft-reiterated statements of aims and purposes sound very much
like those of the group of agencies which, in America, are called
character-building youth agencies - youth organizations set up to
serve and educate individuals through group experience and activity.
Union leaders, on the other hand, would probably state the purposes
primarily in terms of recruiting potential union members and training
potential union leaders. These purposes are far from contradictory
or mutually exclusive, but they do result in different emphases and
methods which certainly cannot be reconciled until they are recognized
and understood.
Essentially this difference of opinion concerns methods of group
work. In the matter of program, for instance, one school of thought
believes that it is a group leader's function to work out an interesting
and attractive program for a group (this may even be the point of view
of a national youth department). The result can be a well-balanced
offering of sports, music, handicrafts, camping, lectures, and trips.

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