Two weeks every summer

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

Abstract

Ten years ago, when I was working in the record room of Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM), an agency supported primarily by Lancaster Mennonite Conference congregations in Pennsylvania, I encountered a photo that grabbed my attention (see figure 1). It was most likely taken by volunteer host Anna Denlinger to help promote the Children's Visitation Program, an initiative begun on October 11, 1949, to bring-in the now dated and problematic language of the day-"colored children of our city missions" into church member homes.1 The program copied the much older and larger initiative known as the Herald Tribune Fresh Air Fund or the Friendly Town Program. The Fresh Air Fund had since 1877 brought children from New York City to the country and suburbs for one- to two-week summer vacations at little or no cost to the children or their parents. Dozens of cities along the Eastern Seaboard, the Midwest, and some portions of the West Coast had replicated the model, and by 1962 well over a million children had participated. Urban congregations, social service agencies, settlement houses, and other nonprofit organizations vetted the children while rural churches, civic organizations, and women's groups organized the home stays and camp visits. Although originally designed to restore malnourished white ethnic children to health, by the early 1970s white hosts and African American and Latino guests dominated the program. The Lancaster-based initiative had focused on African American and Latino children from its inception.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherCornell University Press
Number of pages248
ISBN (Electronic)9781501708466
ISBN (Print)9781501707452
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

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