APRIL 30, 1940
WASHINGTON, Monday —I had a very full day yesterday. We left the hotel in Charlotte, N. C., a little after nine o'clock and visited two centers within a five mile area outside the city. The first one, a boys' resident center, was giving the boys training in construction work. They were building a number of buildings and putting their own camp in good working order. The allied training in arithmetic, reading blue prints, English and all matters pertaining to the jobs they are doing, seemed very excellent.
During the day we travelled across the state toward Raleigh. The girls' centers are stressing home-making, but at the same time they are trying to branch out and give them more than sewing and the strictly home-making courses. They teach upholstering, first aid which may be used in home nursing and a certain amount of clerical work. The original thing about their program for girls is the fact that to meet the needs in their own state, they are combining training. For instance, a girl can learn clerical work and salesmanship, and serve either as a salesgirl or in the office, if she is not busy behind the counter. In small towns this is very necessary and will mean increased employability for the girls. They have worked out other combinations which I think will be very valuable.
We also saw one of the best agricultural projects I have seen. The boys are building their own cabins of the type used on farms in that vicinity. They cut down the trees and strip the bark. On one of the projects they make the shingles used on the roof. They do all the cement work, wiring and plumbing. They work in the fields and do some really valuable farming, because it will prepare them for some of the changes which must be made if the agricultural life of the state is to be improved. They are also learning a good deal about forestry, cleaning up underbrush, preventing forest fires and allowing the trees to come to maturity for harvesting, and reforesting.
One of the most valuable things done in all these resident projects is education in a democratic way of life. They have established self-government. The boys and girls take responsibility and function as they should in their own communities. I think this is going to be a tremendous help in making them conscious of their future responsibilities as citizens.
We ended the day by arriving in Raleigh about 7:30, and the entire staff entertained the Governor and Mrs. Hoey, Miss Thompson and me at dinner. It was a distinctly profitable and encouraging day for me. I felt the young people were happy and hopeful, that Mr. John Lang was a successful NYA State Administrator and his staff—all of them young—had the qualities to continue to develop this program profitably.