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CCC Dollar A Day Boys
July 16, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Upper Peninsula based singer/storyteller Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Boulder Junction Community Center on Tuesday, July 16 at 7 pm. The program is sponsored by the Boulder Junction Public Library and the Boulder Junction Area Historical Society. Admission is free and open to the public. It will be held outside under the Lions Club Pavilion but, in the event of rain, will be moved inside to the Community Center.
Jamerson will share stories about the CCC, read excerpts from his novel, and sing original songs with his guitar. He has performed at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of CCC built national and state parks. His presentation is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It’s about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm. Jamerson received the “CCC Educator of the Year Award” in 2017 from CCC Legacy based in Edinburg, VA.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine-year run beginning in 1933, 92,000 young men worked in Wisconsin camps. There was an average of 46 camps in operation for each year. The enrollees were paid $1 a day with $25 sent home to their families each month. The money was a lifesaver for many families who were destitute.
In Wisconsin, the CCC planted 265 million trees, built 483 bridges, erected over 4,000 miles of telephone wire, constructed 4,300 miles of truck trails, stocked half a billion fish, fought forest fires, and built several state parks including Rib Mountain, Interstate, Devil’s Lake, Pattison, Peninsula Park, Copper Falls and Wyalusing.
The CCC reforested the Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forests and worked with hundreds of farmers, terracing hills, putting up fencing, repairing gullies and putting down fertilizer. The camps not only revitalized Wisconsin’s natural resources, but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline and teaching them work skills. There is a CCC Museum at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander and at Historic Galloway House and Village in Fond Du Lac.
Jamerson’s book, BIG SHOULDERS, is a historical novel that follows a year in the life of a seventeen-year-old youth from Detroit who enlisted in the CCC in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at Camp Raco, a work camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula run by reserve army officers. It is a coming-of-age story of an angry teenager who faces the rigors of hard work, learning to cope with a difficult sergeant and fending off a bully.
Some of the songs Jamerson performs with his guitar include Franklin D., written by an appreciative CCC Boy; Chowtime, a fun look at the camp food; City Slicker, which tells of the mischief the boys find in the woods; and Tree Plantin’, Fire Fightin’ Blues that tells of the hardships of work out in the woods. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs.
For more information, please contact Boulder Junction Public Library at 715-385-2050 or visit Jamerson’s website at: www.billjamerson.com.