Canadian Junior Red Cross Pins

Date / Period
1950
Place
Ottawa
Object Type
Badges, Pins, Medals and Stamps
Credit
Canadian Red Cross
Topics
Youth
From 1919 until the 1980s, millions of Canadian children were exposed to the work and ideals of the Red Cross through the school-based Junior Red Cross. Junior members received a pin for each year they were enrolled: the five different-coloured pins included with this child’s membership card therefore indicate five years of membership. The program revolved around three central principles: good health, service to others, and good citizenship.

Children and youth participated in Canadian Red Cross work as early as the Boer War (1899-1902), but the Junior Red Cross as an organized program emerged after the First World War (1914-18) showed the potential of children’s energy and enthusiasm. The Canadian Red Cross was one of the pioneering national societies when it came to the Junior Red Cross, but the idea spread around the world in the 1920s, making Canadian Juniors part of an international youth movement.

Teachers who chose to adopt the Junior Red Cross program usually devoted one or more Friday afternoon classes per month to its activities. Students elected officers and followed parliamentary procedure, directing their own work with light guidance from their teacher. A national Junior Red Cross magazine and health-related resources for teachers supported the program.

Junior Red Cross members pledged to follow the 10 (later 12) rules of “The Health Game,” undertook local community service and school beautification projects, and corresponded with Juniors in other countries. Until the 1960s, the money Juniors raised usually went into their provincial “Crippled Children’s Fund,” paying for medical and surgical treatment for Canadian children with orthopaedic or other physical disabilities.

Membership in the Junior Red Cross grew steadily after 1919, reaching its all-time peak in the late 1950s/early 1960s when much of the Baby Boom generation was of school-attending age. Already In census year 1951, one year after the membership card shown here was issued, 961,540 Canadian children sported Junior Red Cross membership pins like these, in 33,367 classroom branches. This was a little over one-quarter of all Canadians aged 5-19 years old.

Canadian Junior Red Cross Pins

Canadian Red Cross Junior Pin
Canadian Red Cross Junior Pin
Junior Red Cross
Red Cross Junior Pins
Red Cross Junior Pins
The Red Cross Junior Magazine
The Red Cross Junior Magazine