Youth In Action
First Workshop December 1971
Photographs (this page) by Dan Bowers
University Church of Christ
I hope my memory serves me well on these details after more than three decades. I welcome corrections and clarifications, which I'll gladly incorporate.
A crowd of some 150 teenagers mostly from around Alabama took three days after Christmas 1971 to attend an extended youth rally. Sponsored by Tuscaloosa's University Church of Christ (UCOC), Youth In Action (YIA) came mainly from UCOC's minister, Kenneth Reed, and two church elders who saw the value of thinking ahead of the curve. Many people worked hard to put it together (especially, I'm sure, church secretary Margo Seale).
Participants stayed at the nine-floor Ramada Inn near downtown Tuscaloosa. Many of us indulged in then-typical adolescent pranks (crank calls on the level of "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" or "Is your refrigerator running?" seemed like brilliantly sharp wit). Another source of great entertainment: riding the elevators. Whoohooo. Born to Be Wild.
From this workshop I came away with mailing addresses for three persons: Alan Gentry from Gadsden; Ron Duer from Opelika; and Freida Webb from Vernon. (Alan appears in the bottom picture, the black-haired guy third from the left.) I started corresponding with these three; they shared other addresses with me, and some of those shared more addresses. This exponentially increased my circle of letter-writing friends. I still have these three addresses memorized. I saw Ron occasionally while we both attended Harding and I haven't heard from him for some 20 years now. Freida and I corresponded only a few months; I have no idea what's happened with her. Over 30 years later, Alan and I still keep in touch. Some patches have had only an occasional call here and there every few months, but still we've helped see each other through more than I could have ever imagined. That friendship goes back to a decision to spend a few days of winter break in church.
Regarding the photos on this page: I don't even know for sure how I have them. I didn't shoot them. Almost certainly they come from the lab of UCOC member Dan Bowers, professional photographer, legendary coordinator of the Bankston Boys and the Pea Ridge Posse, and all-around certifiably good-natured guy.