CMTC camp was the hot thing to do in Summer 1929
“Let’s go rough it a little, what do you think?”
It’s 1929 and the country is at the cusp of social crisis. Change has happened too quickly, driven by surfeit. A surfeit of things, a surfeit of opportunity, a surfeit of people, a surfeit of money.
The Great War is a distant memory. The moral nature of the country is a national topic. Carefree youth have perverted the platform of the country’s core belief of equality and freedom to justify their irresponsible and immoral pursuits.
At least, that’s what sensible people thought. And people who didn’t do much thinking could just feel that something was wrong.
In this unsettled climate, the Citizen’s Military Training Camps caught fire. In the summers of 1928 and 1929, more than 40,000 young men tromped off to places like Plattsburgh, on the shores of Lake Champlain, to take in a month of military training.
It was a lark, a grown-up summer camp for free, where you got to wrestle and hike and shoot guns, get generally ready for a military initiative, pal around with a bunch of good fellows and take in the mountain air.
Sure there was a patriotic angle. It subverted your immorality. But there was no big war around the corner, and in the 15 years or so that the camps flourished, only about 5000 of the 400,000 men completed the four successive summer programs needed to qualify for a military commission.