In Valparaiso City Hall hangs a picture of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp where K-Mart now stands on Calumet Avenue. There are few survivors of this unique solution to youth unemployment during the Great Depression.
While I was a youth employee of the YMCA in Pocatello, Idaho, I met many CCC workers who came to Idaho from New York City by train. They built roads, trails, camp sites, etc., still in use today. They wore khaki uniforms left over from World War I, were paid $1 a day, received board and room in outdoor camps and came to the only swimming pool in town, at the Y, once a week.
The innovative programs of the New Deal built the high school football stadium I played in, parks on the Portneuf River banks, and many outdoor recreational areas. In Porter County, they worked on the Lake Michigan shoreline and parks we now use.
Perhaps it is not too late for government to innovate in partnership with private business for the next generation.
- John Wolf, Valparaiso