The Regional Review

Volume V - Nos. 4 & 5

October-November, 1940

Mighty Assets of Youth


When President Roosevelt issued his call for major national defense preparation, the CCC was ready. It was ready because it had been engaged for seven and a half years on work and training projects designed to toughen the nation's moral and physical fiber and to put its house in order so far as the conservation of natural resources was concerned. In the years after the war, America became soft. The Corps for years has been actively at work through physical training, through careful medical attention and through hard work, bringing physical hardihood to a sizable portion of the young men who registered in the recent national draft. The CCC also has been training men as truck drivers, as mechanics, as road builders, as telephone linemen, as radio operators. Over the years it has built up a huge backlog of men trained in the very skills needed in the advancement of industrial defense and in the organization and strengthening of the military forces. About 80 per cent of the types of work which the CCC does trains men for national defense as well as for peacetime jobs.

When the President announced that the CCC would aid in the national defense program, there was but one thing to be done. This was to intensify those phases of our regular program which would contribute the most to national defense. This we have done to the limit of our appropriations. We are giving precedence to the teaching of such things as truck driving, the care and maintenance of automotive equipment, telephone line and road construction, and other kinds of work similar to that done by regular engineering or pioneer troops. We have intensified our physical training and development program.

Two and a half million boys have come into and been graduated from our CCC. No man will ever know the exact extent of the psychological improvement life in the Corps has brought about within those boys. But we can tell pretty clearly without calling in any high-sounding specialists. The boys who have come out of the CCC stand up straighter, they are sturdier, they speak up without hesitation, they know how to do a surprising number of things. They know how to do many of them exceedingly well. But, above all, they are more confident, for they are stronger, physically and spiritually. They are better equipped for democracy. They can better make decisions, for they are not afraid of the future. This nation has seen the creation of a mighty asset in natural resources through the labors of the CCC. But probably more important has been its creation of a mighty asset of trained, disciplined youth upon which the nation must ultimately stand or fall. I do not doubt the ability of young America to carry on in defending its country against any aggression, be it drought, flood or foreign armies. From an address of James J. McIntee, Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002