The Recreation and Youth Services Planning Council records consist of correspondence, memorandums, meeting minutes, and reports
created and compiled by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Recreation and Youth Services Council from its formation in the late
1940s through the early 1970s (the organization's name was changed to the Recreation and Youth Services Planning Council in
1964). The records document the founding of this organization as a result of the "Recreation for Everybody" report; the condition
of the region's parks, playgrounds and beaches at the end of World War II; and the efforts of Council members to gather expert
advice and set priorities. The records also document the various activities undertaken by the Council, primarily through published
reports. Topics include studies of facility expansions for branches of the Los Angeles YMCA and a Jewish Community Center
in the San Fernando Valley; the role of leisure services and public recreation in the area of mental health rehabilitation;
the behavior of youth in recreational settings and in schools; and recreational needs and services for youth.
The impetus for the organization of the Metropolitan Recreation and Youth Services Council, like that for innovative programs
such as the Los Angeles Youth Project and Special Services for Groups, came from the notorious "Zoot Suit" disturbances of
May 1943, when minority youth gangs fought back against attacks made against them by servicemen stationed in the area. While
Angelenos were alarmed by the violence, and disturbed by national media attention paid to it as evidence of racial tension,
the Los Angeles Welfare Federation and its Council of Social Agencies acknowledged that social services for youth in the most
disadvantaged and congested areas of the city had been seriously neglected. Preoccupied with war production, and plans for
post-war industrial "reconversion", Los Angeles had allowed many of its public recreation facilities to deteriorate beyond
repair. A first step for the Metropolitan Recreation and Youth Services Council was to commission--with difficulty, given
the lack of qualified civilian manpower during the war--the detailed city-wide survey of its surviving recreational assets.
In the post war years, while city and county government engaged in capital projects including freeway and airport construction,
the Metropolitan Recreation and Youth Services Council worked with private and public agencies, including the Los Angeles
City Board of Education and the City Recreation and Parks Commission, to meet the recommendations of its Sorenson Survey Report,
both volumes of which can be found in the collection.
The use of archival materials for on-site research does not constitute permission from the California Social Welfare Archives
to publish them. Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives, and the researcher is instructed
to obtain permission from the copyright holder to quote from or publish manuscripts in the CSWA's collections.