The idea of work camps for unemployed teen-agers has always been attractive, it has somehow seemed “right.” So it recurs whenever, as now, the competitive labor market begins to fail these youth. The camps are first set up as a facility for delinquent youth—the first such camps in California antedated by a few years the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Depression, and in recent years in New York we have set up similar delinquent camps. Then camps are proposed for “pre-delinquent” youth; and then for all who are not easily employed though otherwise unproblematic. Various reasons are given. The camp situation is therapeutic for the emotionally disturbed; it gets them out of their (and our) environment. Work is therapeutic. Youth are taught work habits and even particular skills that serve them on their “return to the community.” And public projects like conservation are carried through. (Indeed, the actual productive work done proves—surprisin...
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