The C.L.B. (Church Lads' Brigade) in Newfoundland and Labrador
The Church Lads’ Brigade (C.L.B.) was founded in 1891 in London, England. Through the efforts of a young Newfoundlander, Harold Blackler, a C.L.B. Company was started in St. John’s in 1892 – the first C.L.B. overseas unit. Today, the C.L.B. in NL has 14 Companies, 1 Army Cadet Corps, and 1 Navy League Corps spread across the Avalon Peninsula, from St. John’s to New Harbour, and one Company on the Bonavista Peninsula in Trinity East/Port Rexton; in total over 500 members strong!
Through educational, recreational and social activities, the Brigade aims to help youth develop the necessary skills to become future leaders.
Who Can Join?
Membership in the CLB is open to all youth, male and female. The CLB is divided into five age groups:
- Little Training Corps (LTC) – grades K and 1
- Young Training Corps (YTC) – grades 2 – 4
- Junior Training Corps (JTC) – grades 5 – 7
- Senior Corps (SC) – grades 8 – 12
- Officers – ages 19+
What does the C.L.B. do?
The CLB offers a variety of programs to participants.
C.L.B. Badge Work
The CLB offers more than 500 courses in its badge work program. Courses are geared to the age group and interests of the youth and the award of a badge or certificate recognizes each. Topics include:
- First aid
- Drum and Bugle Band
- Glockenspiel Band
- Hobbies and Crafts
- Fire Fighting
- Map and Compass
As youth members advance into their teen years, they are encouraged to take on additional responsibilities and participate in program delivery to the younger members. Experienced training officers coach the youth in the skills to become future leaders. There are many people in this province who have achieved success in their own trade or profession who will credit the CLB with introducing them to responsibility and leadership skills. Activities include:
- Teaching basic drill movements
- Supervising sports programs
- Instructional techniques
- Public Speaking
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
This international program, which operates in more than 45 countries, has recently been added to the CLB program. It is designed to stimulate the energies of young people from ages 14 to 25. The aim of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program are:
- Self-reliance and self-discipline
- Perseverance and determination
- Initiative and creativity
- Community involvement and social development
- Value orientation and value-oriented decision making
- The spirit of adventure
- Fitness of body and mind
- Vocational, cultural and family life skills
- International understanding and awareness
All sports activities emphasize participation. Each Battalion has inter-company tournaments officiated by the junior leaders and supervised by officers. Each year, the Colonels Award is presented to one individual in each unit to recognize good sportsmanship. Sport activities include:
- Floor hockey
- Track & field
- Indoor soccer
- LTC fun days
The CLB holds summer camps each year. It has been shown that members who go to camps stay on longer in the Brigade and advance through the ranks. Activities at camps are geared to the age of the participants and include:
- Target shooting with air rifles
- Orienteering & Wilderness Survival
``Put the Child First`` Program
The CLB is extremely proud of its involvement in piloting this abuse awareness program. Developed with the assistance of the former Chief of Police Joe Brown and the St. John Ambulance Association, the CLB continues to aggressively follow this program. The program has separate training for youth members and adult leaders and includes:
- Recognition of inappropriate behaviour
- Abuse avoidance
- Action to be taken when abuse is suspected
- Bullying intervention
The CLB also offers a variety of activities including:
- Survival training
- Drill • Archery
- Scavenger hunts
- Weekend outings
- Physical training
- Pyramids & vaulting
The C.L.B. Regimental Band
The CLB Regimental Band has a long history in Newfoundland. Started as a tin whistle band, the Regimental Band as evolved to become the flagship of the CLB. The band has served the province and established a record of achievements that is the envy of people everywhere. The CLB Regimental Band’s members have served a combined 800 years! The longest serving member is William Tilley, who retired after serving 63 years as Drum Major. Mr. Tilley has been a member of the CLB for 90 years and continues as Brigade Archivist. Considering the high costs of uniforms and band instruments, financing the Regimental Band is a daunting task. The Band performs at the Royal St. John’s Regatta, the Janeway Children’s Hospital Christmas Party, the Armistice Day Parade to the War Memorial, the Lieutenant Governor’s Garden Party at the Government House Grounds and numerous other civic events in the Province.
You can visit the C.L.B. Regimental Band’s website here.
The C.L.B. Armoury
Located on Harvey Road in St. John’s, the CLB Armoury is the headquarters of the Brigade in Newfoundland. All CLB Companies use the Armoury for sports tournaments, parades and training programs. The Quartermaster’s Store is located in the Armoury. The Stores stocks uniforms, award badges and training materials for all CLB companies. The William G. Tilley Museum and Archives is also located in the Armoury and includes a collection of photos, newspaper articles, uniforms, medals, manuals and letters that document the history of the CLB since its beginning in 1892. The CLB-sponsored Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps and Navy League Cadet Corps as well as the CLB Regimental Band and St. Michael’s Company, carry on their regular training in the Armoury. The original CLB Armoury was designed by a former member of the Brigade and was built in 1910. On December 21, 1992, the Harvey Road Fire destroyed the Armoury and all its contents, as well as surrounding buildings on Harvey Road. The next morning, only the cement archway remained standing. The Marching Home campaign was quickly launched and over the next two years, enough money was raised to build a new CLB Armoury on the same site.
The Brigade Council is the board of directors and oversees the administration and policies of the Brigade in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Council is responsible for Brigade finances, the CLB Armoury and the Quartermaster’s Stores. The chairman is the Governor and Commandant and is the most senior officer in the Brigade. A Regimental Staff oversees the operations side of the Brigade, which includes programs, camps, W&NCO’s and Officer training as well as other activities. There are two Battalions: Avalon and Trinity Conception. Each Battalion has its own staff and a commanding officer. The Battalions are directly responsible for the Companies and their programs. They are responsible for the Battalion sports program and seeing that each company carries out the required activities. There are 16 companies within the Battalions and they each have a staff of officers, W&NCO’s and a commanding officer. Within the company there are four sections, including Little Training Corps, Young Training Corps, Junior Training Corps and Senior Corps. At the age of 19, members are given the opportunity to become officers. Most of the Brigade’s officers have come through the ranks. Within all units, a chaplain is assigned a senior position.