Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Experience Being Offered at Parker Dam

PENFIELD – Parker Dam State Park is now accepting registrations for its first CCC Encampment program scheduled for Sept. 18-19.

The park is partnering with the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Quartermaster Unit, the Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region and local merchants to provide participants this free, 24-hour, modern-day experience modeled after the original Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s and early 1940’s.

The program begins Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. and ends Sept. 19 at 6 p.m.  During the 24 hours, participants can spend a “day-in-the-life” of the original CCC enrollees, experiencing some of the same aspects of camp life.

The CCC Encampment is open to anyone who has an interest in local or CCC history, those who want to lend a hand in beautifying the park or families looking for a unique outdoor experience.

Aside from experiencing camp life and learning more about the CCC and their legacy through educational presentations, participants will also be volunteering to work on park trails, similar to the conservation work completed by the CCC enrollees during the Depression-era work program more than 80 years ago.

Friday evening (Sept. 18), participants will have the opportunity to experience roll call, recite the CCC Oath, attend educational programs and participate in some of the same free time and recreational pursuits of the original camps.

The Saturday (Sept. 19) schedule will be similar to that of the earlier CCC camps in that participants will rise early to experience reveille, mess call, and inspection before heading out to work on the trails.  They’ll return in the afternoon to experience retreat and announcements, flag lowering, dinner, and then dismissal, when participants will receive their discharge papers and “pay.”

The U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Quartermaster Unit will provide barracks tents and cots, a mobile kitchen, a mess tent, and showers, all to be assembled in the location of original CCC Camp S-73 (now the park’s Organized Group Tenting Area).

All three meals will be provided Saturday, courtesy of the local merchants who are partnering with the park.  Participants will need to bring appropriate clothing and footwear, sleeping gear, toiletries, and any personal items they may need.  The program may not be appropriate for very small children (under 6 years).

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created in 1933 by President Franklin Roosevelt during the heart of the Great Depression.

During its nine-year run, 194,000 men between the ages of 17-25 served in the CCC in Pennsylvania.  The enrollees were paid $1 a day, with $25 sent home to their families each month.  The money often put food on the table for the families.

The CCC boys went into nearby towns on the weekends and the money that they spent also helped keep local merchants in business.  The CCC enrollees planted millions of trees, constructed thousands of miles of roads, built hundreds of bridges and dams, fought forest fires, and built many of Pennsylvania’s state parks.

The CCC boys built Parker Dam State Park using local stone and wood harvested from nearby land.  The camps not only revitalized the state’s natural resources but also turned the enrollees into men by teaching them discipline and work skills.

Participants in this free CCC Encampment program must pre-register and the number of participants is limited.  To register, please call the Park Office at 814-765-0630, or e-mail parkerdamsp@pa.gov.

You will be forwarded some additional information and registration materials that will need to be completed and returned to the park prior to the program.  If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact the park at the phone number or email address above.

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