The Boys Of The C.C.C.
Presented by Tom Callinan, the son of one of those boys
Do you remember, or have you heard of The Great Depression of the 1930s?
Thousands of young men were without work; many were without adequate food or hope for the future. In March of 1933, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated President of the United States, a quarter of our citizens were down and out.
Roosevelt 's New Deal Programs instituted bold changes in the federal government that energized the economy and attempted to create a path to productive citizenship. One of the mechanisms for raising the hopes of the destitute young men of our nation was the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.), a government sponsored environmental program that ran from 1933 to 1942. It had two goals: providing employment to young men in an era when jobs were scarce, keeping them off the streets and out of trouble; and remedying the severe soil-erosion and deforestation that had left the nation's landscape ravaged.
These men faced harsh conditions, and hacked their camps out of the wilderness. They planted forests, fought fires, built roads, bridges and dams, built national and state parks, as well as fire-towers, and assisted in disasters such as the flood of 1936 and the hurricane of 1938. Connecticut alone employed over 30,000 men ages 17-28, who worked 40 hours a week in 22 camps. They earned $30 a month, $25 of which was sent home to their families. The boys of the C.C.C. were part of a vital turning point in our nation's history; and today we still enjoy a legacy of natural resource treasures that dot the American landscape.
Tom's father, Joe Callinan, was one of those poor kids, whose life was turned-around by the C.C.C. in 1935, and the experience he gained on a dam-building project in Claremont, New Hampshire helped him when World War II broke out; and post-war, when he attended night-school to earn his high school diploma, serving as a model of productive citizenship for his children.
Some of the songs included in Tom's program were the actual songs collected from camps in different parts of the United States; others deal with appreciation of the natural world; the power of working cooperatively on projects larger than ourselves; and the title song, "The Boys Of The C.C.C.", which provides a rollicking overview of this significant chapter in American history