Helping Out
New Mexico
Photos & Postcards



Dad's Civilian Conservation Corps experience was probably not much different from that of the other 3 million men who participated in the program. Dad was only seventeen years old when he first entered the CCC and during the time when the country was in the midst of severe economic decline and the future for many young men seemed bleak. I believe the CCC experience was a turning point in my Dad's life. Dad saw the CCC as an opportunity - an opportunity to make it on his own while at the same time enjoying the chance for a new adventure or experience. I know he loved the thought of being independent but also understood and valued the friendships developed and the hard work to get things done while at camp.

I could not have summarized my thoughts about my Dad's time spent in the CCC Camp any better than Richard Melzer who, in his book Coming of Age in the Great Depression - The Civilian Conservation Corps Experience in New Mexico, 1933-1942, summarized the CCC experience with the following comments: every stage of a youth's experience in the CCC...most enrollees learned values, shouldered responsibilities, and acquired self-confidence essential for their transition to manhood. They had in short, experienced important rites of passage and come of age...

Melzer went on to say that:

...For most this transition to manhood that eluded them during the Great Depression came after their CCC experience and only after they left home, had learned a work ethic, had acquired more education and training, had gotten their first jobs and had contributed to a larger community in which they felt a valued part...

However, Dad's contribution and that of others meant much more. As Melzer said:

...As a bonus to the nation...the fine men shaped by the CCC were ready and able to serve as fine young soldiers, airmen, sailors, and defense workers when their country needed them most... [in World War II]...when the CCC slogan "We Can Take It" became "We Can Do It".

My Dad served his country in World War II by enlisting in the US Navy on June 29, 1942.

Recommended Reading

Coming of Age in the Great Depression
By Richard Melzer



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  1943 1944   THE CREW ABOUT THE
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