Members are at the heart of the Pontypridd YMCA community.
Members paid to take part in the YMCA activities. Membership information was recorded as far back 1905 and until 2015. There are detailed records of people using the gyms in more recent years. For the gym you could pay per class, monthly or even annually. Same for the nursery; some children paid weekly or monthly whereas certain children only came on the odd day here and there. E Magor wrote on her membership card in 1998 when she was 12 years old that her interests were: “Boys, computers, sports and music”.
In 1998 the price of a membership was £2 and it was either paid in full or paid over rates of 20 pence. All rates were marked and dated on the back of the membership card and when fully paid, marked paid up member. In the later years, people were less-so members of the YMCA, and more-so participants for single events or single sports. Certain things remained, such as the Craft Club that is still going strong. It had its first gathering in 1987 and celebrated its 30th birthday in 2017.
Before 1980, a membership with the YMCA was not just a place for extracurricular activities. Membership cards from the 1960s have notes of “home visits,” evidencing that those employed at the organisation were keen to make sure the children were fine at home to secure all round well being.
Membership cards had room for remarks and from 1962 these following things were noted: someone was “a pain in the neck” and “a menace” and another one says “talks too much.” The first ever recorded member to be suspended was noted in the minutes for the General Committee on 31st of March 1905, but we are not told as to why this member had to leave.
There were more members who got suspended for various reasons. Some cards only say “suspended” and do not tell us why. Another says “suspended for throwing chess pieces around lounge” and one person was suspended on more than one occasion and then reinstated, presumably for good behaviour! Someone was suspended for using “foul language” and more than one for “fighting in Taff Street.” A member who joined 1965 was suspended for “two months for pulling out telephone wires” and suspended for three months in 1964 for “letting off fireworks in building.” In 1963 two boys were caught stealing from Boots, which resulted in home visits. Not all members had a record of bad behaviour. Notes such as “good lad” are recorded and in 1963, a fourteen year old was described as a “good helper” on his membership card.
Employees and committees
Throughout the years, many employees have come and gone. The board has changed, the manager has changed, more employees were hired when the gym was put in and so on so forth. People from clubs and groups would continue their involvement with the organisation by joining the board. When the New Building was ready in July 1910, the house and finance committee discuss the appointment of staff. Committees were formed when the New Building opened in June 1910; House and Finance, Religious Work, Educational, Physical Work, Social Work, Boys Department, Buildings Portfolio and Lettings.