The Welfare Board of each county chose young men the CCC program. This means that the young men had to be members of families receiving some form of relief. The selection process was complicated. Two, two-page forms had to be completed by the applicant, and there was a quota for each county. Though participation was voluntary and an enrollee could ask for a discharge at any time, leaders were concerned about desertion and young men who were just looking for a handout. The following excerpt illustrates what the county welfare agents expected of CCC men in 1938:
The local selecting agents should know that the CCC is not a reform school, an educational institution, a church, a military institution, a relief organization, a hospital, an athletic club or a vocational training camp, although it may perform some of the functions of all of those organizations. It is not a place for lazy, worthless boys, pool hall loafers, women chasers, booze hounds or problem cases, neither is it a place for smart alecs or wise guys. It is a place where boys of good moral character who are willing to work and who are able to “take it on the chin” can be made into better citizens, taught habits of cleanliness, taught how to live together and to give and take, learn how to do a good day’s work, improve themselves physically and to do really hard work; improve themselves mentally by good reading and some sort of systematic study. In other words, the CCC is a place where highly employable, but inexperienced boys can improve themselves so that when they are discharged, they will be better equipped physically and mentally to go out into the world and earn an honest living. Their camp experience should teach them to respect the rights of others and to know what their own rights are.
Source: Manual of Procedure for the selection of Youths for the Civilian Conservation Corps by the Executive Secretaries and county Welfare Boards of North Dakota Acting As Local Selecting Agencies . . . . Bismarck, ND: Public Welfare Board of North Dakota, October 1938, page 2. SHSND 353.092 P960.
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