From March 27 to April 2 the nation’s capital was engulfed by spring weather and 7,000 people deeply concerned for the welfare of American youth. President Eisenhower, following a precedent set by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, had convened the sixth, “Golden Anniversary,” White House Conference on Children and Youth. In a welcoming address, the President said the conference aim was to prepare young people to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Participants in the White House conference included social workers, educators, physicians, religious leaders, members of labor unions, civic officials, as well as typical parents and teen-agers. They discussed a myriad of themes relevant to America’s youth problem.
Most conferees manifested a sincere desire to give U.S. youth better opportunities to realize their full potential for a creative life in freedom and dignity. Higher sensibilities of the citizenry were markedly demonstrated.
The 1960 conference’s focus on religion was in sharp contrast to the 1950 conclave. A decade ago many church representatives were so seriously concerned about the “lack of acceptance of God” that they actually dissociated themselves from the conference report. But this year about one-fourth of the discussions were related to religion. Seven of the ten speakers at the five opening theme sessions on Monday were religious leaders. Of 18 scheduled forums, one of the first to draw a capacity crowd featured a discussion on “religious, spiritual and secular beliefs and codes of conduct which affect the development of the young.” Religion and morality were themes injected in almost all discussions, usually by non-professionals cognizant of their basic relevance to the youth problem. Several state delegations indicated ...1
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