Civilian Conservation Corps and Modern Youth Corps Honored by Congressional Resolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Yesterday Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives honoring the popular Great Depression-era jobs initiative known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its alumni on the 80th anniversary of its creation. Representative Grijalva’s resolution also encourages Americans to recognize the contributions and history of the CCC and its participants and supports continuation of the legacy of the CCC and the ideals of national service and community improvement through Youth Corps. Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rick Nolan (D-MN), and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) are original cosponsors.

At the peak of the Great Depression, 25 percent of Americans were unemployed. From 1933-1942 over 3 million young men were enrolled in the CCC and received vital job experience and wages for themselves and their families. In addition to improving their own lives, the “CCC Boys” left an incredible legacy. Among their accomplishments they constructed and improved over 800 state and national parks, built nearly 47,000 bridges, and planted nearly 3 billion trees nationwide.

While the program ended soon after many CCC Boys members entered the Armed Forces to serve their country in World War II, a tradition started that is continued by today’s Youth Service and Conservation Corps. Today 127 Corps member organizations now constitute the national “Corps Network” and enroll 27,000 Corpsmembers nationwide, with Corps operating in every state and the District of Columbia.

“We owe a great debt to the Civilian Conservation Corps, and every American should remember how important it’s been to his or her community,” Representative Grijalva said. “The CCC built some of America’s greatest parks, helped clean up our environment, improved public access to the great outdoors on a monumental scale, and engaged millions of youth in conservation, education, and workforce training projects. Americans still benefit each year from the what the Corps did for this country, and today’s Corps Network continues that important legacy.”

Mary Ellen Ardouny, President and CEO of The Corps Network, the national association of Youth Service and Conservation Corps, remarked,“We applaud Representative Grijalva for his leadership in honoring the CCC and supporting the Corps of today by introducing this resolution and also by having introduced the Public Lands Service Corps Act earlier this year. Getting more youth outside and developing work skills that benefits them and their country is a win-win. Given our nation’s needs for  insfrastructure, workforce and leadership activities for youth, Corps provide a valuable resource. The CCC showed us this value by helping create the Greatest Generation and some of nation’s most valuable parks and outdoor resources.”

“Representative Grijalva has recognized the immense contributions made to the nation by our CCC Boys. It’s one of the truly great national stories that emphasizes what it means to be an American, overcome the odds,  and achieve success even when economic circumstances are not at their best,” said Joan Sharpe, President of CCC Legacy, the CCC alumni organization. This year to honor the 80th Anniversary, CCC Legacy will host its annual gathering and reunion in Tucson, Arizona in conjuction with Southwest Conservation Corps. Sharpe explains that it will be another excellent opportunity for some of the CCC Boys to connect with the current generation of Corpsmembers and pass along the wisdom and details of their experiences.

A 1936 poll indicated that the CCC was favored by 82 percent of Americans, making it one of the most popular “New Deal” programs created to help Americans during what was the nation’s worst economic downturn. Last year, a study commissioned by the The National Parks Conservation Association and National Park Hospitality Association found that 86 percent of American voters similarly support expanding the “use of citizen volunteerism and youth conservation corps in the parks.”

A new effort to establish a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps that reflects the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps has been a key element of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Eight federal agencies established a National Council to help guide the implementation of the program. A partnership of nonprofit partners and Corps programs has also been established to provide guidance on how to best coordinate and channel resources using currently established Corps as a “backbone” for reaching the goal of having 100,000 young people serving annually as part of the the initiative.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network is the voice of the nation’s 127 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in every state and the District of Columbia, Corps annually enroll more than 27,000 young men and women in service every year. Since its creation in 1985, The Corps Network has provided national leadership and promoted the growth and quality of its member Corps as they provide education, workforce development, and an ethic of stewardship to diverse youth who address important community and conservation needs. Each year Corps mobilize an additional 289,000 community volunteers who work alongside Corpsmembers to generate 638,684 additional hours of service every year, at an estimated value of $14,140,463. For more information, visit corpsnetwork.org or contact Levi Novey at lnovey@corpsnetwork.org or 202.737.6272.

About CCC Legacy

The Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy represents the alumni of America and strives to bring awareness to the heritage of the CCC, CCC alumni, their programs and accomplishments. For many years, alumni across America have elevated their heritage though consistently reminding citizens, historians, and natural resource agencies of its great impact on the American culture. Please join the effort to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Learn more at www.ccclegacy.org

Media Contact:

Levi Novey
The Corps Network
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Fax: 202.737.6277
Email: lnovey@corpsnetwork.org