Depression days are distant. Sometimes it’s challenging to imagine what life was like on a day-to-day basis, what it meant to join the CCCs, and what kind of adjustments were required when you found yourself in a camp with 150 or 200 other men.

When the men came to camp they were all practically strangers to each other and to the country, and were not at all sure that they would care for either the work nor the army discipline; in fact, as one of the boys stated, he would not like the proposition even if it was good; he was simply driven to come to camp as he had no place to go, and had to eat. Some of the men were very homesick, and others had ideas which were not conducive to their welfare nor to the welfare of the camp. They were suspicious of the army officers and of the foremen; the regularity of the work, meals, etc., was rather monotonous at first, and take it all in all, for the first month nobody liked either the camp life nor the work.

“But a change was bound to come, for these men were good men, and gradually found out just what it was all about, and the morale began to raise, and it was not long until practically all the men began to take an interest in the work, began to find out that the army officers and the superintendent and foremen were not so bad, and that no one was going to put “anything over” on them, and that everyone was just trying to do his job the best he could.
—from South Dakota District History


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