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Civilian Conservation Corps

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps across the nation provided employment and vocational training for thousands of young men from 1933 to 1943. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the establishment of such an organization just two days after his inauguration on March 4, 1933. Roosevelt hoped to put up to 500,000 unemployed young men to work in forests, parks, and range lands. The first enrollee entered the program on April 7. By the end of 1933 the CCC was well established with 275,000 men in camps across the United States and in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. government provided recreation, as well as food, clothing, and shelter for the enrollees in camps run by the War Department. Some CCC camps published newspapers for at least part of their existence. The Tecumseh Scout of August 4, 1936, put out by CCC Company 763, included reports of leisure activity at the Tecumseh, Nebraska, camp in the summer of 1936.

A horseshoe tournament was scheduled for the week of August 24, open to anyone in the camp. "The contest will be played on the courts located in back of the first platoon barracks. The canteen will award one carton of cigarettes to the winner of the singles and two cartons to the winners of the doubles." A volleyball court was being constructed and an organized intra-barracks tournament was planned. Bee keepers among the corps members were reported to have nine hives.

Astronomers within the Tecumseh group during the last weeks of July had been "watching the progress of Peltier's comet as it moved through the evening sky. With the astronomy class as a nucleus a group of enrollees located the comet in the eastern sky July 22nd and followed its path from evening to evening of the following week. The comet was the first one for the majority of the group and proved to be a rare spectacle in the heavens."

The column concluded with the news that the War Department would send a number of magazines to each camp for the coming year. Included were such diverse titles as Saturday Evening Post, Argosy, Cosmopolitan, Judge, Reader's Digest, True Detective Mystery, and Popular Mechanics. Elsewhere in the paper it was announced that the Scout would cease with the August 4 issue and that camp news would continue in the Tecumseh Chieftain.

(March 2000)


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