I was a Labourers Youth Centre member......an A.J.Cer.

I have this book and on page 54, there is a photo and I would like to think that I’m in it. That I’m the third boy, from the left, in the back row.

The photo was taken in 1952, at the site, in the Netherlands which was mecca for the children of ‘workers’ (i.e., socialists). It was called De Paasheuvel.

The scouts call these kind of gatherings: Jamboorees, a few days sleeping in tents and going for walks, during the days; playing games; participating in folkdancing; watching sketches/skits being being staged. (This was the first time I saw the song: “There’s a hole in the bucket”, performed (in Dutch of course).
And sitting around the campfire, at night.
Nothing is ever black and white but society in Holland (The Netherlands), was very much divided into a large number of overlapping ‘groups’. This was known as pillarization.
So if your parents were conservative, you were more likely to join the scouts. If your parents were on the left-side of politics, you might join the A.J.C..
At two consecutive meetings, in March, 1918, representatives of a far-left political party and a more moderate one, set up this youth movement. They hoped to develop young proletariats, through book clubs, sewing circles, soccer teams, drama clubs, chess clubs, basketball clubs and handcraft clubs.
However, within the next few years, non-sexism, abstinence, vegetarianism, non-smoking, propagation of Esperanto, as an international language and appreciation of nature became the norm and a “Paasheuvel culture” developed.

My parents joined when they were about 13 (1930). I joined in 1952.
It helped shape our attitudes to life. Networking, just a little bit, with people who helped each other.
I get the impression that the majority now look back on it as far too idealistic. Perhaps typical of an organisation, initially, I believe, set up by teachers.

For years when I was a young teenager, my father could always find me, in a crowd, particularly, here in Sydney. He just whistled the tune of the Internationale The lyrics were: Look around and you’ll see an AJCer!

For both my parents, joining that organisation in the 30s was much more ‘daring’ than it was for me 20+ years later.
My father’s father ran a pub (café) and therefore was a business man and my mother’s father was a lock and bridge keeper, a public servant, in the service of her majesty, the queen and her country.
For me it was just good fun, mixing with other boys and girls (unlike the scouts, upstairs. No girls!); folk dancing; putting on skits; singing songs, sitting in circles; wearing a blue shirt and a yellow scarf; once or twice going with the group to stay over-night, in hay lofts (Not that I liked that very much. The smell made me nauseous. But our leaders, in their late teens, seemed to enjoy sleeping in the hay.

My parents, sitting beside each other, (mother far-left, father beside her) had been members for a while when their group visited this beach. They would have, very likely ridden their bikes, from Gouda, to the sea.

(Perhaps I should refer to it / translate it as: Workers Youth Centre =A.J.C.= Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale)

(Transferred from my Ozcloggie bubble)


Footnote 3 – Socialist Youth

The AJC – Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale or Young Workers Organisation – was a part of the Socialist Party. They wore dark blue shirts and a red scarf.

Whilst Scouting, Guiding and the NJS drew their members mainly from the so-called Middle Classes with some from the Upper Classes, the AJC was a Working Class organisation. Though it copied a lot from Scouting and Guiding, it was not in favour of either of the movements. This changed during the German occupation when AJC members met Scouts and Guides in the Resistance and a good understanding came to being. Long before the Nazis banned the Scout and Guide Movements, the AJC was disbanded. A majority of its members continued illegally and after the liberation, the AJC came back into the open. In the sixties it ceased to exist and a lot of its members joined the Scout or Guide Movements as leaders – and very good ones they were too.

from Johnny Walker’ Scouting Milestones

I was a Labourers Youth Centre member......an A.J.Cer.


Ramsgate, Australia

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My mother, and father, and Mr Berretty, my primary school teacher shaped the road I took, even on the other side of the world. The _Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale – A.J.C., had a lot to do with it too.

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