For many of the young men who enrolled in the CCC, this was their first time away from home and family.
They came willingly from the eroded farmlands of the Dust Bowl, and from small towns and crowded cities struggling because of the Depression.
These young men sought work and wages.
Once in the CCC camps, enrollees entered a military-like environment laid out by the War Department.
The men slept in barracks, ate in mess halls, and wore uniforms left over from World War I.
They stood in formation three times a day and had routine inspections.
Two hundred men made up a unit or company.
They lived in camps located either within the park grounds or just outside of the park.
Enrollees could sign up for two years of total service--in renewable six-month periods.
In the planning for the CCC, for various reasons, they settled on a number of 300,000.
They settled on the ages of 18-24 initially. Later on that was dropped back to 17 and pushed up to 28.
Very soon, the CCC opened its membership to unemployed military veterans of any age.
Anglo, African American, and Mexican-American men joined the ranks of the CCC in relatively large numbers. At first, African Americans served in "mixed-race" companies in Texas.
But in 1935, a national policy segregated these companies into so-called "White" or "Colored" work camps.
No such distinction existed between other groups.
All enrollees worked for 8 hours a day on park projects, laboring outdoors or in workshops.
They chopped wood, dug trenches, built wooden fences and stone walls, and constructed park buildings.
While physically challenging, hard work was not unfamiliar to many enrollees.
To be honest with you, a lot of them said, especially if they were coming from a farm, they said the CCC life was easier.
Because on the farm, they were up before daylight and worked in the fields until after dark.
Beyond their work hours, CCC enrollees received a range of vocational training, including electrical repair and auto mechanics.
Many camps also offered school classes for enrollees, most of whom had little or no formal education.
Camp leaders, unemployed local teachers, and educated enrollees taught the courses.
After work and classes, the CCC enrollees had several options for leisure activities, enjoying games or simply relaxing at the recreation hall.
Organized sports such as baseball, basketball, and boxing flourished in the camps.
CCC teams even played in regional competitions between camps.
Some enrollees spent free time in camp libraries reading books, magazines, and newspapers.
Individual camps also produced their own camp newspapers like The Pine Bur from Bastrop State Park.
CCC enrollees earned $30 per month, but the government typically sent $25 directly home to their families.
With food, clothing, and shelter provided, the remaining $5 was theirs to keep.
Five dollars a month was a lot of money in the 1930s. The army would provide its trucks for the trip into town on Saturday night.
And these guys were able to go to the movies themselves and to escort someone to the movies themselves if they met someone. They could eat well.
Some of them saved their money and maybe bought a cheap automobile and kept it hidden somewhere since they weren't supposed to have an automobile in their camp.
On weekends, enrollees sometimes ventured into neighboring towns to spend some of their wages.
Some men met their future wives while visiting towns located near the state park projects.
As many of the oral histories recall, camp life was a positive experience for the enrollees filled with hard work, educational opportunities, and leisure activities.
A sense of shared purpose and genuine camaraderie helped to make camp life in the CCC a life-long memory for the men who served in Texas state parks.