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The Boy And The Sunday School by Alexander of Cappadocia

XIII THE OLDER BOYS' CONFERENCE OR CONGRESS

This is one of the best forms of Inter-Sunday school work for boys. If it is rightly handled, it will add much to the Christian enthusiasm of the older boys of the Sunday schools.

It is to be noticed, however, that it is an Older Boys' Conference. This means that the ages are to be confined to the stretch between fifteen and twenty years. Do not spoil your effort by |running in| boys under fifteen. Of course the younger boy is important, but the type of work accomplished in these conferences is beyond him and his presence will nearly neutralize your effort.

The aim of the conference should be, not merely to put new Christian enthusiasm into the older fellow, but to get him to talk over the problems of the Sunday school from his own point of view. Hundreds of these conferences have been held throughout the Continent, and scores of boys have been led into Christian service thereby. The discussion at these conferences is also most intelligent, being often above the grade of adult groups. The boy gets to know the Sunday school by talking about it, sees its problems, his own needs and the way to meet them. He likewise gets a new idea of his obligations.

It is to be noticed again that it is an Older Boys' Conference. This means that the boys themselves should direct the work of the Conference as much as possible, and that the Conference should be officered by boys. I have no sympathy with the men who cannot trust boys to do this work. It is largely due to a fear that the boy will grow conceited because of his new-found opportunity. It is due more, however, to the fear that the boy will act unwisely from an adult viewpoint. Both of these fears come from adult conceit and the inability to trust the boy. Such men should leave boys and boys' work severely alone.

It is to be noticed for the third time that it is an Older Boys' Conference. This means that the large part of the program and all the discussion should be by the boys themselves. No man should take part in the discussion save the man who leads it, and the future may also provide a boy for the leadership of the discussion. The writer in over a hundred conferences would allow no man to take part, as the aim of the conference was to make it a boys' conference. If men may dominate and intimidate the boy, better settle the matter in an adult group.

The officers of the Older Boys' Conference should be President, Vice-President (who in most cases should be Toast-Master at the Conference Banquet) and Secretary. There should also be a committee of three boys appointed by the President (who may be helped to this end) to report at the banquet session on the papers and discussions. In this way the summary of the conference is as the boy sees it. This is the aim of the conference.

Two ways are open for the election of the officers: by a Nominating Committee and in open conference from the floor. If a Nominating Committee is the method, no man should be present to suggest or dictate. The committee should, however, have the right to consult whomever they please, in order to get the information they may wish. The writer prefers the Open Conference Nominations from the floor. In over two hundred conferences he has never yet been disappointed in the choice of the boys.

The program should be distinctly a Sunday school one. The conference is in the interests of the Sunday school. Keep it to the purpose intended. Hundreds of good causes might be discussed, but the objective of the conference would be missed. Below are three different length programs used at different places. They may prove suggestive to those intending to conduct such meetings.

A. Afternoon and Evening Conference (One Day).

PROGRAM

TORONTO

BOYS' WORK CONFERENCE

=December= 31, 1912

Conference Theme: -- Training and Service

=St. James' Square Presbyterian Church=, Gerrard St., between Yonge and Church Sts.

2:00 P.M. Registration of Delegates.
2:30 Music, in charge of Mr. W.R. Young,
Choirmaster of St. John's Presbyterian
Church.
Devotional -- Rev. E.W. Halpenny,
B.D., General Secretary, Ontario
Sunday School Association.
3:00 The Message of the Galt Conference,
N.W. Henderson, Robert Walker,
Gordon Galloway.
3:20 Address -- |Organized Sunday School
Work,| by John L. Alexander, Chicago,
Ill., Superintendent Secondary
Division, International Sunday School
Association.
4:15 Group Conferences, led by Taylor Statten, Preston G. Orwig and A.W.
Forgie.

5:45 Recreation, Seymour Collings, Physical
Director, Toronto Central Young
Men's Christian Association.
7:00 Banquet to Delegates, on floor of Association Hall, Central Young Men's
Christian Association Building, corner
Yonge and McGill Streets.
Chairman -- John Gilchrist, President
Toronto Sunday School Association.
(a) Music.
(b) Toasts -- The King, -- The Chairman
|Our Country.|
(c) Address -- |The Crusade| -- John
L. Alexander.

=St. James' Square Presbyterian Church=

9:00 Devotional -- Rev. E.W. Halpenny.
9:15 Group Conferences.
10:00 Address, |In Training,| John L.
Alexander, Chicago, Ill.
10:45 Report of Group Conference Committees.
11:15 Address, |The Challenge of the New
Year,| Charles W. Bishop, Canadian
National Secretary, Young Men's
Christian Association.
12:15 Adjournment.

B. Saturday and Sunday Conferences (One and a Half Days).

PROGRAM

WICHITA OLDER BOYS' CONFERENCE

MEN AND RELIGION FORWARD MOVEMENT

=Saturday, February= 10

9:30 A.M. Song Service.
9:35 A.M. Election of Officers.
10:00 A.M. Address, |Second Brand Cartridges,|
by Dr. David Russell, of South Africa.
10:30 A.M. Papers, read by boys, followed by
discussion, led by John L. Alexander.
|How Can We Help Increase the Number
of Boys Attending Sunday
School?|
|Why Don't the Older Boys Attend
Church Services? Should They Be
There?|
|Should an Older Boy Teach a Younger
Boys' Sunday School Class?|
11:45 A.M. Address, |Motive,| Dr. C. Barbour,
Rochester, N.Y.
1:30 P.M. Recreation.
6:30 P.M. Address -- Chairman Committee of 100.
Address -- Local Chairman Boys' Work
Committee.
Report of Committees on Conference
Papers.

6:30 P.M. Address, |The Set of a Life,| William
A. Brown, of Chicago.
Address, |Go to It,| John L. Alexander,
Chicago, Ill.

=Sunday=

3:00 P.M. Mass Meeting for Older Boys, Addressed
by John L. Alexander, Chicago,
Ill.

C. Three Day (Part) Conference.

PROGRAM

Conference Theme, |Training and Service.|

=Friday, December 13=

Beginning at 8:30 A.M. Addresses in seven High
Schools, by John L. Alexander.
6:15 P.M. Supper for Delegates.
7:00 P.M. Address by Hans Feldmann, Chairman
of Conference.
Address by Rev. R.S. Donaldson.
Remarks by Rev. F.H. Brigham and
John L. Alexander.
Close at 8:30 P.M.

=Saturday=

9:00 A.M. Songs and Devotional, led by W.H.
Wones.
9:30 A.M. Organization, to be led by John L.
Alexander.
9:45 A.M. Papers by Delegates. Discussion led by
John L. Alexander.
11:30 A.M. Address by Rev. F.H. Brigham.
12:00 to 2:00 P.M. Delegates home to lunch.
2:00 P.M. Concert by the Y.M.C.A. Boys' Glee
Club.
2:15 P.M. Discussion by subjects in groups, led
by John L. Alexander, F.H. Brigham,
W.H. Wones, and F.C. Coggeshall.
4:00 P.M. Recreation period in Y.M.C.A. Building.
6:15 P.M. Banquet for delegates and men leaders
at boys' invitation.
Music by the Boys' Busy Life Club
Boys' Orchestra.
Toasts by three delegates.
Report of the Committee on Inter-Church
Program.
Addresses by John L. Alexander and
F.H. Brigham.

=Sunday=

3:00 P.M. Gospel Meeting for Older Boys, at
Grand Avenue M.E. Church. Speaker,
John L. Alexander.

The following announcements were on the backs of these programs:

#ANNOUNCEMENTS#

CONFERENCE HEADQUARTERS -- The Session of St. James' Square Presbyterian Church has kindly granted the Conference the use of the church and school rooms. With the exception of the Banquet and Addresses which follow, all sessions of the Main and Group Conferences will be held in this Church.

REGISTRATION -- Admission to the sessions of the Conference will be granted only to those wearing the Souvenir Conference Badge, which will be given to each delegate presenting a credential signed by the Conference Secretary at the Conference Office, in St. James' Square Church, any time after 1:30 P.M., Tuesday, December 31.

DISCUSSION -- Come prepared to take part in the discussion, and to ask questions regarding the particular needs of your school. An opportunity will be afforded in the Group Conferences for this phase of the work.

NOTES -- Take careful notes. They will help you make a good report to your Sunday school after the Conference.

REMEMBER -- You are responsible to those you represent for getting the most out of every session. Be on hand promptly at the hour mentioned; it will help.

BOOK EXHIBIT -- Copies of all the latest books on Sunday school and Boys' Work will be on exhibit in one of the Conference rooms. Teachers and leaders should not miss this opportunity to look over some of the splendid literature that has come recently from the press.

NOTE -- Boys under 15 years of age will not be admitted.

=Basis Of Representation=

The delegates are to be boys between the ages of 15 and 20 years, appointed by the officials of their Sunday school, on the basis of two delegates for each boys' class (of the teen ages) and each boys' club, and, additional to these, two delegates at large from each church. Men leaders of clubs will also be registered as delegates.

=Registration Fee=

The Registration Fee is to be 50 cents, including the cost of the banquet Saturday evening.

=Preliminary Arrangements For Older Boys' Conference=

I. Conference Committee:

1. Committee supervises, plans and is responsible for the conference.

2. Committee should consist of at least five adult members, and profitably more, selected from the various Sunday schools.

3. Committee may appoint special sub-committees to take care of details and close supervision.

II. Sub-Committees:

1. Publicity, Delegate and Registration.

2. Meeting Place and Decoration.

3. Program and Badge.

4. Entertainment and Recreation.

5. Banquet.

6. Sunday Meeting (if held).

III. Sub-Committee Duties:

1. Publicity Committee: This committee is responsible for press, pulpit and Sunday school notices. It also has the duty of discovering the leader of each Sunday school and of getting the delegates pledged and registered. For this purpose three letters at least should be sent out (see IV). A Registration Card also should be filled out by each delegate and signed by Secretary of Publicity Committee before the conference.

[Illustration]

TORONTO
BOYS' WORK CONFERENCE

=December 31st, 1912=

This certifies that ____________________________________

Address ________________________________________________

has been accepted as a Delegate to the above Conference, having made application and paid the Registration
Fee in due time. Upon presentation of this card
at the Conference Office, St. James' Square Presbyterian Church, he is entitled to the Souvenir Conference
Badge, Program, and Banquet Ticket.

______________________________________________
Registration Secretary.

The limit of accommodation for the main banquet on the floor of Association Hall will be 600. Extra provision will be made elsewhere for the balance if registration exceeds that number.

Provision has been made for { Main Banquet }
you at the {Auxiliary Supper}

This committee is also responsible for the Registration Table during the conference.

2. Meeting Place and Decoration Committee: The duties of this committee are obvious. Among them, however, are the following: Five chairs and two small tables should be on the platform, and a blackboard with eraser and abundant supply of chalk in each meeting room.

3. Program and Badge Committee: This committee should be responsible for the preparation, printing and distribution of programs. An ample supply should be on hand during the conference sessions. A badge (delegate's) is a good thing for the conference spirit.

4. Entertainment and Recreation Committee: Where delegates attend from out-of-town, this committee arranges for their entertainment at the homes of friends. At a local conference this committee is steadily on the lookout for the purpose of making the conference and delegates comfortable. Fresh air, telephone service, messages, etc., all of these are highly important. This committee also should be responsible for adequate plans for the conference recreation.

5. Banquet Committee: The details for the conference banquet, the seating of the delegates and the serving of the food, all come under this committee. If a special banquet menu and program are used, this also is the duty of the committee. An orchestra to play through the eating period is a splendid feature.

6. Sunday Meeting Committee: This committee should give careful attention to the following details:

(a) That any boy over fifteen years and under twenty-one years be admitted to the meeting. One leader to each group of boys may attend, but these must sit by themselves in the rear of the room.

To secure these arrangements it will be necessary to put a force of determined adult watchers at every door.

(b) Be sure to have a live organist, pianist or orchestra to lead the music. A director to lead the singing, with ginger, will help.

(c) Have four ushers to each double or central aisle, and have two to each single or side aisle.

(d) Everyone present at the meeting should have a song book or sheet.

(e) Be sure to have a plain white card, 3x5, and a small sharpened pencil for each one present. This is absolutely necessary for the Forward Step part of the meeting.

IV. Letters to be sent out (Publicity Committee):

1. To Pastor, Superintendent or Teacher:

(a) Announcing the conference, its nature, purpose, etc.

(b) That it is confined to older boys -- 15 to 20 years -- and one adult leader from each school.

(c) From three to five delegates (Christian boys).

(d) Ask for name of adult leader.

(e) Enclose Postal Card.

2. To Sunday School Adult Leader:

(a) Send plan of conference and details.

(b) Enclose Tentative Program.

(c) Ask for names of boy (Christian) delegates, setting time limit and enclosing credentials.

(d) Suggest that leader have a meeting of the delegates before the conference to consider what the conference may mean to their own local Sunday school.

3. To Each Delegate:

(a) Send a brief letter with program.

(b) Emphasize the Christian nature of the conference; that it is for training and leadership, and that he has been chosen from his school for this purpose.

(c) Suggest daily prayer as preparation.

V. Leaders' Meeting:

If possible, arrange for a luncheon or dinner conference for the Sunday school adult leaders who are at the conference. Talk over the plans, programs and hopes of the conference.

VI. Follow-Up After Conference:

1. A Second Leaders' Meeting. (Details at Conference)

2. Local Delegates' Meeting. (Details at Conference)

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON OLDER BOYS' CONFERENCE

Dunn. -- What the State Boys' Conference Means to the Churches (American Youth, April, 1911) (.20).

Hinckley. -- The Unique Value of Conferences of Older Boys (American Youth, April, 1912) (.20).

Scott. -- Boys' Conference in Community and County (American Youth, April, 1911) (.20).

Smith. -- The Maine Boys' Conference (American Youth, April, 1911) (.20).

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