Joining the Civilian Conservation Corps

Among President Franklin Roosevelt's many "Alphabet Soup" New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was perhaps the most successful in reducing unemployment among America's youth. The highly regimented program brought benefit not only to young men seeking a steady, albeit meager, income in return for their labor, but also to the many areas to which the CCC enlistees were dispatched.

Many communities in Arizona gained new infrastructure and other improvements at the hands of CCC workers, including Phoenix's own Papago Park. Imagine for a moment an out-of-state recruit's likely reaction to the park's striking rock formations and prickly indigenous flora. What must have been running through the mind of a young program participant who, until being shipped out with his CCC company, had likely never traveled far beyond his hometown? How might a CCC enrollee react to the quasi-military structure of the organization and the reality of being assigned physically arduous tasks to be carried out alongside a group of complete strangers in a seemingly inhospitable land?

Images

Audio

A Worker's Story
"A CCC Worker's Story" is a fictional account of oneindividual's decision to enlist in the program. It was written using a compilation of numerous CCC veteran accounts of their experiences as its basis. Written by John Larsen...
View File Record

Map