The CCC in Wyoming

Area 9: The U.S. During the Great Depression (1920s-1930s)
Question: What lessons can be learned from the effects of the Great Depression?

Lesson Plan Developed By

Grade Level

Content Area(s)
Social Studies

Learning Objective(s)
1. Students learn about the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps
2. Students learn about CCC camps in Wyoming
3. Students analyze and interpret a CCC recruitment poster and a photo of a CCC crew at work

Click here to see a spreadsheet aligning Wyoming State Social Studies and Common Core Standards for this and other digital toolkits of Wyoming History.

We will update the standards spreadsheet as more lesson plans are developed.

One 45-Minute class period

Materials Required
Resource 1: Summary

Resource 2: Article
“Hard Times and Conservation: the CCC in Wyoming”

Resource 3: Visual image analysis tool
National Archives photo analysis page

Resource 4: Poster and photograph

Lesson Plan

The exercise asks students, after reading the summary and the longer article, to analyze and interpret a CCC recruitment poster and a photo of a CCC crew at work.

Fill out a photo analysis page for the CCC recruitment poster, and another for the photo of the CCC work crew building a road in Utah. (Note: the recruitment poster image will automatically zoom in if you mouse over it, and zoom back out to full view if you move the mouse off the image.) Write a short essay of 250-300 words, answering the following questions: What do you think the designers of the recruitment poster wanted to convey to the viewer about the CCC? What does the photo tell you about the sort of work CCC crews performed? Do you think the recruitment poster accurately conveys the types of jobs CCC members had to do? Would you have enrolled in the CCC based on the information on the poster?

Study and discussion questions:

Given that the pay was so low, and most of it paid to the family of the enrollee, was the CCC a good opportunity for unemployed men and women? Take into account the educational opportunities that were part of serving in the CCC, and the fact that very few other jobs were available at the time.

Should the CCC have been continued, as Roosevelt wished it to be? Did the nation need the labor and energy of those young people for more important things? Why did Congress allocate $8 million to liquidate the program?


Resource 1: Topic Summary
On March 30, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Emergency Conservation Work Project, soon known as the Civilian Conservation Corps. With the nation’s economy staggering under the weight of the Great Depression, Roosevelt aimed to put as many unemployed young people to work as possible.

According to the law, enrollees had to be between 18 and 25, unmarried, unemployed and with a family on relief. They would earn $1 per day, or about $30 per month, $25 of which the government sent to their families. CCC workers could keep the remaining $5 for personal expenses; their housing and food were free.

Wyoming had at least 24 CCC camps in which more than 1,000 young men served from 1934-1938. CCC members built roads, sewer and water systems, boat docks and phone lines. Projects in Wyoming’s national forests included thinning trees, transplanting beavers to better habitats, taking wildlife censuses and performing other wildlife-related studies.

In three of the biggest projects, CCC work crews fought coal-mine fires in Campbell County, cleared out 8,000 acres of dead trees around Jackson Lake and, in Guernsey State Park, built picnic shelters, a stone drinking fountain and a Rustic-style museum—all still in use.

Wyoming CCC camp administrators offered enrollees a wide variety of educational opportunities, including vocational courses such as blacksmithing and carpentry, and academic courses such as English composition and trigonometry. Correspondence courses through the University of Wyoming were also available.

Towns in Wyoming welcomed the presence of nearby camps because often, skilled workers such as carpenters were hired to help with various CCC projects. CCC workers also spent money in these towns on their time off.

Roosevelt wanted to make the CCC permanent, but Congress disagreed, on July 1, 1942, approving $8 million to liquidate it.

Resource 2: Article
The article, “Hard Times and Conservation: the CCC in Wyoming,” offers substantial background on the topic for teachers and for students 8th grade and up. The article may be demanding for 6th and 7th graders.

Resource 3: Visual image analysis tool
National Archives photo analysis page

Resource 4: Poster image and photo
A Young Man’s Opportunity,” a CCC recruitment poster for Illinois

Photo of a CCC work crew in Utah: