Volunteering, Scrap Metal and the Oxford Club – Being a young person in the 1960s
20 Feb 2018
Relentless belief in people and their potential:
Every person has strengths and deserves to succeed.
For young people in 1964, as it is in 2018, being disconnected from community means isolation, vulnerability and limited opportunities to discover strengths that will ultimately encourage independence and prosperity into adulthood.
At age 21, Ron Langman joined SYC’s supporter base and volunteered his time every week to allow other young people to feel engaged and connected to their community.
He said the SYC Scrap Metal Project was one initiative that encouraged young people to develop confidence and find their strengths.
“The project worked with young people who likely experienced turbulent childhoods and disengaged from their community as teenagers.
“It involved a weekly activity collecting scrap metal from locations in and around Adelaide.
“Scrap metal was collected in a trailer attached to a beaten-up old Land Rover which was then cashed at a quarry at the end of Belair Road,” Ron said.
The activity became a fundraising initiative for the fledgling Adelaide not-for-profit organisation, but more importantly a therapeutic program that provided participants with social engagement, purpose and skill building.
Ron remembers SYC as a very lean operation and noted the strong sense of community amongst the young people involved.
As a volunteer for the organisation, Ron related to SYC’s vision to engage young people in activities that provided a sense of purpose, as for most young people involved, they did not get this from other sources in their lives.
This is how the Oxford Club was created. The Oxford Club, under-written by SYC, was open to any young person, operating form the Goodwood Institute and Caledonian Club in suburbs of Adelaide. Venues specifically for older teenagers and those in their early twenties, is how young people in Adelaide socialised in the 1960s.
Other clubs of this era where exclusive and shut-out many young people. The Oxford Club, showcased live music by emerging local bands like the Twilights, who went on to find national popularity, whilst being inclusive of young people of any background. It also provided SYC with revenue to run other programs and activities, which is typical of SYC’s approach, to have multi-purpose outcomes and greater impact on the wider community.
The Oxford Club existed because of volunteers like Ron, young people supporting other young people.
It was through activities lead by Ron, like the Scrap Metal Project and his organisational involvement in the Oxford Club that allowed him to build skills himself through his four years volunteering with SYC. An experience that supported his own growth and helped in his career.
SYC has a strong history of positively engaging volunteers in working with its client base, and in doing so, has allowed young people in need to see that others value them and their ability to have a solid social connection and opportunity to be prosperous and independent.