During the 1930s, a depression slowly strangled the nation. By 1933, nearly 13 million people suffered unemployment. In March, newly elected president Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with a bill creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. Its purpose - to provide work for needy young men while promoting conservation of America's resources. Within a few months, over 250,000 men enrolled.
Recruiting CCC enrollees became the responsibility of the Department of Labor. Between 1933 and termination of the program in 1942, over 3 million young men served in the CCC.
The promise of earning 30 dollars a month enticed many to join Roosevelt's peace-time army. The boys were required to spend 25 dollars home - so the CCC provided jobs for the young men as well as financial help for their families. The C's also offered a wide range of job skills including truck driving, construction, and forest management. Many men look back on their time in the C's as a turning point in their lives.
Young men meeting the requirements for selection spent their first 2 to 3 weeks as enrollees in special conditioning and training camps run by the Army. At these basic training camps, boys underwent physical exams and conditioning, received necessary clothing and equipment, trained in conservation and forestry practices, and enjoyed three square meals a day.