Wabana Boys' & Girls' Club
The formation of the Wabana Boys' Club was spear-headed by Herbert P. Dickey, Resident Manager of Dominion Wabana Ore Limited on Bell Island. The first meeting to discuss the proposed Club took place in the mining company's Main Office on Saturday afternoon, November 20, 1954. The summary below of that meeting was published on page 8 of the December 1954 issue of the Company's magazine, the Submarine Miner:
Below is page 6 of the July 1955 issue of the Submarine Miner. Almost the entire page is devoted to Boys' Club news. Ernest Cotton had been hired as Director of the Club and gives his first report of Club activities here. From the Report of Activities on the right, it seems that the Club opened its doors on June 27, 1955, shortly after schools closed for the summer break. From this point on, every issue of the Submarine Miner featured photos and stories of activities at the Club, so much so that, when the magazine was in its final months of publication in 1959, quite a lot of its content concerned club activities. You can read what was in the Submarine Miner by clicking on "Publications" in the top menu above. Click on "Submarine Miner" in the drop-down menu to choose issues.
Earnest A. Cotton was born in Nipper's Harbour, NL, in 1916, to Georgina and Frank D. Cotton (c.1885-1969), a Methodist minister. He lived in half a dozen Newfoundland communities before moving to St. John's in 1937 to attend Prince of Wales College and Memorial College. In 1939, he moved to New Brunswick to attend Mount Allison University to study for the United Church Ministry. He met his future wife, Helen Aiton, there. On graduating from university, he became a war services supervisor with the YMCA, working in Halifax, St. John, NB, and St. John's, NL. At the end of the war, he became Director of St. Andrews Youth Centre in Montreal. From there, he became the Executive Director of the Wabana Boys' Club at its inception in June 1955. He remained in this position until 1962, at which time he became Director of the Moncton, NB, Boys' Club. He became the Atlantic Regional Director of Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Canada in 1966, with 8 clubs in that region. (To reflect the growing number of girls participating in Club programs, the name was officially changed to include girls in 1974.) When he retired in 1981, there were 28 clubs. In retirement, he volunteered his time to visit the sick in Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital, counseled youth at the York Detention Centre, worked with first-year medical students at the University of Toronto, volunteered with Travelers Aid, and worked with the executive of the Association for Jewish Seniors. He died in Toronto on June 29, 2004.
Below is the Year-End Review of the first year of Boys' Club activities on Bell Island (from the December 1955 issue of the Submarine Miner, page 6). It fills in information about where activities took place during this first year when the Boys' Club building, the former DOSCO Electric Shop, was being renovated to accommodate the Club. Several schools, the CLB Armoury and the Canadian Legion Bowling Alleys were opened up for the boys during this time. The Boys' Club was officially approved for membership in the National Organization of Boys' Clubs of Canada in October 1955.
The photo below is from the October 1955 issue of the Submarine Miner.
Below is the report of the First Annual Meeting of the Wabana Boys' Club from the February 1956 issue of the Submarine Miner, pages 4-5.
The next 2 images are of the Programme for the official opening of the Wabana Boys' Club, November 17th 1956. Photos are courtesy of Bernie Johnson.
Below is the report of the official opening of the Wabana Boys' Club from the December 1956 issue of the Submarine Miner, page 5.
This page below from the February 1959 issue of the Submarine Miner, page 6, shows some of the activities and events of the Boys' Club. The announcement was also made of the appointment of Jim Hearn as Assistant to the Director, E.A. Cotton. Jim would go on to become a long-running Director of the Club.
The Wabana Boys' Club report below, from the April 1959 issue of the Submarine Miner, page 6, describes a typical day of activities at the Club and praises the contributions of the Club's volunteers.