** World War II -- America youth group organizations

American Youth Groups during World War II: Existing Organizations

Figure 1.--Even though the world was at war, Pearl Harbor came as a real shock to Ameriva. Even though two oceans protected the country, there was a great fear that German or American bombers. would soon be bombing American cities. Here Bot Scouts it Lititz, Pennsylvania shorly after the Pear Larbor attack are listening to alecture on German bombing, orobably bout the Blitz. The boys had volunteered to serve as messengers. Photographer: Collins Marjory.

Virtually all American youth groups developed special programs to assist in the War effort. The most importnt of course was the Boy Scouts. America unlike much of Europe has one single Scout Association. nd junlike the Hitler Youth was both a voluntafy and a family-based program. The Girl Scojuts were lo sctive, but a snaller group. American youth groups unlike most other Scouts was not in a war zone, but the still made important contributions to the war effort. at the time free youth groups around the world like the Couts had been closed down. Mayor belligerants liuke the Sovirts and Fascists banned voluntary groups and created mabdatotu groups thy controlled. In other countries the Communists nd Fascists banned free groups. The American Scouting movement was the largest free group in the world.

Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts were very active during the War. Scouts begin campaign selling Defense Bonds and Stamps in 1941. They sponsored a variety of scrap drives beginning in 1942. The most important were for newspapers, scrap metal including tin cams, and old tires. There were also cooking fat collections that I believe the Scouts were involved in. Scouts also distributed posters and war information, and participated in various Civilian Defense programs. They also collected books, musical instruments, and razors to send to the the troops overseas. Scouts also collected clothing for Europeans once countries were liberated. Many civilians were destitute because of the exploitive German occupation polocies and the damage resulting from the Allied bombing and fighting once landings took plave in Italy and France. The Boy Scouts promoted merit badges and acrivities that seemedcto have greater applicability to the war effort, like First Aid. One popular activity was to build model airplanes for aircraft recognition. These early model airplane kits were made from balsa wood. It was several years after the War ended before the first model airplane kits were available. After the War the SDcouts organized drived to help Scouts in the occupied countries reestablish their programs.

Boys' Clubs

The Boys Clubs was one of the organiazations that participated in the Army's The U.S. Army develooped a Junioir Commando program that was adopted by some youth groups. The activities included phyical training and war games, sometimes with helmets and wooden rifles. Other activities included paper and scrap metal drrives.

Girl Scouts

The Girl Scouts was and continues to be a separate organization from the Boy Scouts in America. Girl Scouts collected silk stockings. Silk was needed for parachuttes and before the War, Japan had been a major supplier of silk to America. They also cut America off from Chinese production. Girl Scouts also sewed & knitted sweaters, socks and blankets, made scrapbooks of magazine stories for soldiers, and babysat so women could work in war industries. The mobilization of women workers for war industries was a major factor in the American production miracle. Older girl Scouts helped in hospitals as candy stripers.

Camp Fire Girls

Camp Fire in the 1940s was exclusively for girls and known as the Camp Fire Girls. They sponsored programs in flag etiquette, first aid, and nutrition. After the War, the Camp Fire Girls becme Camp Fire, but at the time og the War, the members were all girls.

Junior Red Cross

Junior Red Cross membership grew, morevthan doubling to almost 20 million during World War II, reaching 20 million in 1945. This was quite a remarkable figure -- some 75 percent of the total school population. This was done as it was promoted ar the schools. Activities included producing comfort items and clothing for the servicemen, preparing gift boxes for children overseas, assisting with regular chapter activities, and becoming active in war-related programs, such as Victory Book collections and the operation of Victory Gardens. JRC members also made contributions to the National Children's Fund that had been established after World War I to meet the emergency needs of children in America and overseas. They did important work in provided desperately needed relief aid to children overseas in the aftermath of World War II--the deadliest war in history. Unbekownst to Americans, even adults, was that a major German war goal was to actually murder children.

Minute Maids

I don't know much about the Minute Maids. Presumably the name was based on the Revolutionary War Minute Men. I note that they were active on college campuses during the War. They sold war stamps and bonds among other activities.


Other Groups

Other volunteer associations involved with War-time activities for children and youths may have included: the Junior Red Cross, working at the canteens, and making model planes which could be used to train aircraft "spotters" along the coast recognize different aircraft types.


Navigate the CIH World War II Section:
[Return to Main American World War II children;s page]
[Return to Main American 1940s page]
[Activities] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Debate] [Economics] [Garment] [Gender] [Hair] [History] [Home trends] [Literary characters]
[School types] [Significance] [Transport and travel [Uniform regulations] [Year level] [Other topics]
[Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to the Historic Boys' School Home]

Created: 6:38 AM 12/14/2014
Last updated: 4:19 PM 5/6/2021