Program at GooseberryMichigan based author Bill Jamerson will present a 90-minute music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Gooseberry Falls State Park on Fathers Day, Sunday, June 21 at 4 p.m.
Michigan based author Bill Jamerson will present a 90-minute music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Gooseberry Falls State Park on Fathers Day, Sunday, June 21 at 4 p.m. The program includes discussing CCC projects in Minnesota and across the Midwest, reading excerpts from his novel and performing original songs with his guitar. Bill has presented his program at numerous CCC reunions around the country including three national reunions.
The CCC was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its 10 year run from 1933 to 1942, 84,000 young men between the ages of 17 and 25 years enlisted from Minnesota and lived in camps that held 200 men.
The enrollees planted over 150 million trees, fought forest fires, planted millions of fingerlings, built dams and bridges and constructed hundreds of miles of county roads. They built Gooseberry Falls State Park which includes many original structures. The camps not only revitalized Minnesota’s natural resources but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline and teaching them work skills.
Jamerson’s book, “Big Shoulders,” is a historical novel that follows a year in the life of a 17-year-old youth from Detroit who enlisted in the CCC in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at Camp Raco, a CCC 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.
In his program Jamerson will perform songs from his CD, including “Chowtime,” a fun look at the camp food, “City Slicker,” which tells of the mischief the boys find in the woods, “Borrowed Mom,” the story of an orphan who
found a mother in camp, and “Tree Plantin, Fire Fightin Blues” a story of the hardships of work out in the woods. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs.
Jamerson produced 11 PBS films including one on the CCC, called “Camp Forgotten.” He wrote and produced a CD of original songs and has authored several articles on the corps. In his talk, he will discuss his research methods, some of the interesting enrollees he met over the years and CCC projects he has visited. A question and answer period and book signing will follow his presentation. Former CCC’ers and their families are encouraged to attend. The program is free to the public. A Minnesota State Park vehicle pass is required, which may be purchased the day of the event for $5. For more information please call the park at (218) 834 3855 Ext. 227 or visit Jamerson’s website at: www.billjamerson.com.