Varied leisure activities

As early as the 1800s, manufacturing companies organised various leisure activities for their employees and supported their own hobby circles. Preference was given to activities developing the community and supporting the operation of the factory, such as reading workshops and volunteer fire services. To counter monotonous factory work, sporting activities were also supported from the turn of the century. The aim was a contented and reliable staff, whose leisure time activities were not in conflict with the aims of the company. Organising and subsidising leisure activities was a part of the comprehensive social function of companies.

The choir established by the works engineer A. J. Brax in 1905. Brax on far right.At Jämsänkoski, leisure activities has been mainly organised under the leadership of company clerical workers. At the turn of the century, at least a reading workshop and library initiated by engineer Enqvist and an amateur theatre at the assembly hall were operating. Soon came also A. J. Brax's choir and engineer Ström’s Esperanto club.

To begin with, United Paper Mills focused on organising hobbies with direct material benefits. Jämsänkoski had gardening instructors appointed by the company from the 1920s. They provided guidance in caring for both employees' own vegetable plots and those rented from the company. The required seeds, seedlings and fertilisers could be purchased from company farms. Gardening instruction was intended to benefit the whole of the worker's family, but it was targeted at housewives and children, so that they could contribute to the common good while the father of the family contributed his labour at the mill. After the war, company-subsidised leisure activities were extended to cover almost all types of hobbies.

Children's clubs

During the First World War, Ab Jämsänkoski had maintained a kindergarten for factory workers' children. Children's club activities began in the United towns and villages at the end of the 1920s. The activity began as clubs for young children, extended to cover clubs for girls and boys, and plant and gardening clubs that became important during the slump at the turn of the 1930s. The aim of the activity was to direct children to educational hobbies. At the same time, products of handicraft and gardening clubs brought some small economic benefits. The activity was funded by the company and executed by workers of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.

Day club for young children in 1947.A supervised children's playground was set up at Jämsänkoski at the end of the 1920s. The first play supervisor was Kerttu Pantzar. The children were aged 4 - 16. For older children, there were separate groups for girls and boys. The activities were mainly outdoor games, sport and especially swimming. Companies made a large contribution in teaching the children of their factory villages to swim. The highlight of the summer season was the visit of Anni Walden, the General's wife, at the playground. Supporting operation of the playground had a special significance for the company, as United Paper Mills did not organise children's daycare. According to company ideology, mother's place was at home.

Kaipola set up its own clubs in the 1950s. The company provided premises and materials for the model aeroplane club intended for children and young people. The club continued for around twenty years. The Kaipola model aeroplane club was also successful at Finnish Championships contests. The golden era of courses for children and young people continued up to the 1960s. In the following decade, leisure activities were increasingly organised by various clubs and societies.

Women's clubs

Women's sewing courses began during the slump in the 1930s. The Martha Organisation set up home economics educational work in various mill villages. The Jämsänkoski Martha Organisation was established in 1936. Home economics instruction and courses started at Ilveslinna in 1946. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s their meeting place was at Rinnemaja. The long-time leader of the Jämsänkoski advisory station was domestic science technician Aira Vanko.

Women’s straw craft course at Rinnemaja in Jämsänkoski. Leader Aira Vanko fourth from left.Women's leisure activities organised by the company livened up in the 1950s. The activities were developed by Tellervo Walden, wife of the Honorary Mining Counsellor, and they were carried out in practice by the company's female social officials. The aim was to spread knowledge among both working women and housewives. The instruction included healthy cooking and particularly use of vegetables, gardening and homecraft. Weaving and sewing circles provided instruction in home textile making. In the summer, the emphasis was on allotment vegetable growing, courses were organised in autumn and winter.

Kaipola women's club

A separate women's club started up at Kaipola in 1957. The club gave an opportunity for recreation and meeting other women in their own village. The club also did social work by making and repairing clothing for children of the club's adopted 'god-families'. The club programmes included cookery, various voluntary working bees and travel. The club obtained its own meeting place, Pohjanpirtti, in the basement of a company apartment block, Roukko IV. In 1966 the club moved into former shop premises on the ground floor of Roukko II. This Kulmapirtti also boasted a training kitchen. Instruction of Olkkola sawmill women's club members in weaving was also one of the tasks of the Kaipola home economics advisor.