Sunday, November 25, 2007

It Wasn't Always About Work In the CCC

How much free time do you have each week? What do you do with your free time?
Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees generally worked on field projects Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day, and half a day in camp on Saturdays. Evenings and part of the weekend were reserved for leisure time and usually enrollees were allowed to spend their free time any way they saw fit. Most camps offered classes after the evening meal and there was almost always a recreation hall in the camp where enrollees could play games like billiards, ping pong or cards. A camp library was usually stocked with magazines and books and this was usually a quiet place where enrollees could study or write letters home. At least one camp library even had a sign that read, "Have you written home this week?"

Camp Library, Riley Creek Wisconsin. The sign reads: "Do It Now."

Camps that were located close to towns and cities generally had fewer morale problems than camps that were located far from population centers. When a camp was located close to a town or city, the camp commander usually authorized the use of a vehicle to carry enrollees into town on the weekend so they could see a movie or attend a dance. At least one camp commander obtained movie tickets from a local theatre owner and offered them as a reward to the enrollees in his camp.

Most camps also had a camp "canteen" that sold small items like candy bars, gum, tobacco and simple luxury items. The funds raised in the canteen were often used to buy sports equipment for the company or to fund other company activities.

The camp recreation hall and canteen for Company 847, Grand Canyon.

One of the most remote camps was located at the bottom of Grand Canyon, near Phantom Ranch. (This was one of about six CCC camps at Grand Canyon National Park.) Enrollees assigned to the Phantom Ranch camp carried a pool table from the south rim to their camp in order to have some new entertainment in their recreation hall!

Enrollees from Company 818 play croquet at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

What would you be willing to do in order to have something to do in your spare time?