20th Century, Boys, Girls, History, Immigration, Intercession, Israel, Jews, Minnesota

Neighborhood House: Camp for Immigrant Children

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1919
Neighborhood House on St. Paul’s West Side expands its sports and recreation program. Camp Owendingo on Carver Lake in Woodbury provides wholesome outdoor activities for the children of recent immigrants.*

“Led by Sophie Wirth, the classes grew into an industrial school. Girls and boys learned home and industrial arts. They took English language and American citizenship classes. In 1897 the industrial school grew into Neighborhood House, a full-service settlement house located at 153 Robertson Street. Still led by Wirth, and supervised by Mount Zion’s rabbis, Neighborhood House added recreational activities, dental and baby clinics, and programs for adults.

People of all religions and ethnic groups flocked to Neighborhood House. In 1903 it reorganized, evolving from a purely Jewish social effort into a non-sectarian one. In 1921 the population of the Flats was two and a half times greater than it had been in 1915. This led to crowding and housing shortages.

Under Constance Currie, who became head resident in 1918, Neighborhood House added playgrounds and camping activities. Most notable was the Sophie Wirth Day Camp in White Bear Lake. The Northern Pacific Railway provided free transportation to the camp for five years after its founding in 1919. The service gave hundreds of mothers and children a rare day of leisure.”**

“We praise Thee, O G-d, and thank Thee for all the blessings of the week that is gone; for life, health, and strength; for home love and friendship; for the disciplines of our trials and temptations; for the happiness of our success and prosperity. Thou hast commanded us: Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy G-d. Thou hast ennobled us, O G-d, by the blessings of work, and in love and grace sanctified us by the blessings of rest.” Union Prayer Book II, (New York, NY: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1973) p.36

Jesus, I praise You for the work of Sophie Wirth, and all who contributed to the Neighborhood House! Thank You for the inspiration and practical training this community center provided to West Saint Paul. Thank You for making a place for Russian Jewry, and that their place of Shabbat spilled over so much and blessed their neighbors!

How good and pleasant it is when brothers, and sisters, live together in unity. Thank you for the Sabbath of this day camp! Thank You that charity begets charity, and that the Northern Pacific Railway joined in to provide free rides.

I can’t imagine the reasons of judgments of Russian Jews, but by faith I acknowledge to You that we as human often fail each other in this way. Will You forgive any transference and judgments from Minnesotans’ towards this group of immigrants? Will You take any bitterness up, out, and onto the Cross?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgments that the Neighborhood House may have held towards its neighbors? Will You forgive any judgments towards Saint Paul, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitter roots against the predominant Catholic faith?

We ask that You bless the heritage of Sophie Wirth in the community, her family, and her spiritual ancestry. May You continue to provide our State with those who have a heart for others! May You forever bless Minnesota through Your people Israel, specifically all Jews from Russia, and may they forever be welcomed here and endowed with Your Divine favor and protection. Amen!

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.mnopedia.org/group/jewish-roots-neighborhood-house-st-paul

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20th Century, Agriculture, Boys, farming, Girls, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Minnesota 4-H Forms

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1914
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Minnesota have a new name: 4-H. Under the leadership of T.A. “Dad” Erickson, 4-H is dedicated to making rural life fun for young people while teaching them skills to be good farmers, homemakers, and citizens.*

It’s amazing how kids will follow someone with a good plan, or even a simple plan of an adult with a good heart.
Dad Erickson was such a visionary. As a Swedish immigrant, he had to work hard to help his family, and missed out on educational opportunities. He was embarrassed of his accent. But he had a vision where kids like him would learn by doing. He had an idea for a “corn club” where boys would learn and study this staple crop so important to Minnesota’s future. They had to tow the line, assist in studies all day, and would even camp out in the cornfields.**

These “corn clubs” birthed a youth movement. Now approximately 103 years old, the 4H clubs boast 6.5 million members aged 5 to 21 in about 90,000 clubs nationwide. They attract boys and girls, urban and rural, who commit their “head, heart, hands, and health” to the betterment of others.***

So, Good Father, we commend the leadership of T.A. Erickson, and all who have followed in his footsteps to You. Thank You for many styles of learning, and that this man helped provide a club for those who like to “learn by doing”. Will You continue to bless the activities of the 4H Club forever?

We thank You for the kids of 4H! We are grateful for their contribution to the refinement and growth of agriculture in this state, as well as their vision to tackle urban problems. Will You bless their “heads, hearts, hands, and health”?

May we reflect on these words for today, and with your help, put them into action for future generations of Minnesotans. “How can a youth afford to lose his opportunities? Let us all grasp our many golden opportunities and use our talent, that we may not at the closing moment of our life look back with regret, but that we may enter an eternity having employed our life to the best of our ability and receive the greeting, ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ T. A. Erickson’s speech at his high school commencement**

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.srperspective.com/2013/07/dad-of-minnesota-4-h/
***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-H

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20th Century, Boys, Catholic, Christian, Civics, Culture, Environment, Exploration, Faith, Gender, Girls, History, Intercession, Jesus, Jews, Men, Minnesota

Minnesota Boy Scouts Organization Forms

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1910
A growing fear of “boys in trouble” leads to the founding of Minnesota’s first Boy Scout troop, only eight months after the organization arrives in the United States from England.*

What can I say about the Scouts? For openers, thanks that its’ founders sought a way to connect boys with each other. Each Scout is an important part of his troop. For many, this is a first affirmation of their maleness. He learns that he can do his part and become worthy of trust.

Even in failure, like forgetting key food items for a camping trip, the troop may rib him, but ultimately close ranks and support him. That Scout learns, “ I can make do if I’m in need, and overcome temporary discomfort.” What an important lifelong lesson!

Next, the Boy Scouts will get a child or teen out of his home environment. A city kid will see places that are truly wild and untamed. He will get to know nature, and learn a proper respect for living things. He may explore the deserts, make camp in the snow, or learn wilderness survival. The Scouts exist to both invite and instill a sense of adventure in young men.

Finally, a Scout becomes aware that he can learn expertise. A simple item, like a rope, becomes the means to teach him knots and lashings, but also symbolically recognizes his work by earning a merit badge. Why do the Scouts collect merit badges? Maybe, because its a symbol of honor given by significant males, and told “Well done!”

Lord, thanks for this important event in 1910. Thanks for, thereby, giving thousands of boys a place to belong, share adventures, learn life skills, and to receive honor. Will You help them thrive in helping Minnesota boys become men?

Further, will You forgive us our failures and rejections of of our youth? We simply fail to relate. We simply fail to intersect, spend time, and show interest in their dreams. We stumble because we do not know how a simple kind word, demonstration, or listening can pivot a kid’s life path.

For example, when I was a boy, my dad was very handy and could build just about anything. He wanted me to watch him work, but he never let hold the tools. It was a perfect day for this 9 year old Cub Scout when the leader gave me a box of nails, a wood block, and a hammer. He just let us pound a design of our choice into the block, and give the results to our mothers. I’m sure it wasn’t a perfect flour de lis, but it was a symbol of the day adults trusted me with real tools.

Will You give us inspiration as a society to create more pathways, like the Scouts, that call our boys and girls out of complacency and into a life of purpose, expertise, relationship, and adventure? Will You help us get out of the way and not rescue them right away? Will You help us put tools in their hands and let them try? May they “Be prepared” for life!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**More on the character traits taught by the Scouts. http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/content/scout_law-1760.asp

 

 

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