Historic Resource Study/Special History Study
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Recreation Recreation under the WCCA.

The Program — As the evacuees began arriving at Manzanar during the spring of 1942, the Final Report, Manzanar stated that the "desire and need for organized leisure-time activities" became "marked." The report described the lifestyle of the interned evacuees as of early April:

.... Even the few evacuees, employed by the administration, felt a strong need also for something to do in the evenings. The shock of sudden separation from the 'American way of life' to which they had become accustomed, whether 'loyal' or not, had made them restless and desperate for something to occupy their time. It may be hard for people who have always lived according to the American pattern to comprehend the full import of the term 'nothing to do,' but to 3,000 men, women, and children, confined within a quarter-square mile barbed-wire enclosure [by early April 1942 the 3,000 evacuees were confined to 12 blocks within a quarter-mile barbed-wire enclosure] it was only too real and full of meaning. ... No going anywhere to see or do anything! With the exception of the project canteen which 'specialized' in lukewarm pop, there were no stores and no attractions of any kind. True the high Sierras on the west and the Inyo range on the east beckoned, but they were out of reach for they were each eight miles away.

A typical day's program was made up of three meals in the block mess hall with the rest of the time given over to looking at family or neighbors, who, too often, lived in the one room. Yet it was not the dullness or the inconveniences that worried most of the evacuees. Rather it was the imposed idleness, the emptiness of the present and the hopelessness of the future which made them afraid. The evacuees were men and women who had led busy, industrious lives. What would this emptiness and idleness do to their hands and minds and those of their children?

Thus, the "introduction of a community recreation program found the evacuees receptive and ready to cooperate." Getting the evacuees to attend activities was never a problem, "for most of them were determined to use their time in as constructive and beneficial a manner as possible." The principal problem for the WCCA was to find leadership and facilities for the many who wished to participate in recreational program. On April 9, 1942, Aksel G. Nielsen entered on duty at Manzanar as Chief of the Recreation Section. Several evacuees who had prior experience in recreation supervision approached him, expressing a desire to be allowed to help set up a recreation organization.

Those interested in starting a recreational program inspected the availability of building facilities. Each block had 20 barracks, of which 14 were used as residences and one (Building 15 of each block) was designated as a recreation building. This building was left unpartitioned. No provisions as to material or labor were made for having it divided into small rooms. Thus, it quickly became apparent this building could not be reserved for exclusive recreational use by its block, such self-sufficiency resulting in "near chaos."

Inasmuch as the center did not provide school or other activities, the leaders of the fledgling recreation organization determined that it would be necessary to keep the recreation buildings open seven days a week from after breakfast to about nine or ten o'clock at night, thus necessitating several shifts of workers.

The recreation staff established an organization consisting of evacuee department directors and specialists — preschool activities, men's athletics, women's athletics, director of Boy Scouts, Music, Dramatics, Chief Librarian, handicrafts, director of gardening — who served in an advisory capacity and without actual authority over the workers in the block recreation halls. Authority was delegated to zone directors who supervised the workers within their zone which constituted four blocks. Three of the four buildings under the zone directors were staffed by a leader, two assistant leaders, and one attendant who was responsible for cleaning and keeping up the building. The fourth building, used as a branch library, had only one assistant leader instead of two.

The heads of two departments, music and gardening, had staffs directly under them.

Because of objections to the noise of musical instruments, the music program was concentrated in Building 15, Block 14. Thus, the whole staff could be supervised directly by the director of music who was present in the building for the entire day. The Japanese music program remained scattered throughout the center, since objections focused primarily on "occidental music." Gardening was also concentrated in one location and could be supervised directly by one person.

While Manzanar was fortunate in having several persons with some college training in recreational subjects, the center apparently was less fortunate than other centers in the number of college-trained people it received. In arts and crafts, however, trained leadership was more plentiful. Although these artists and craftsmen were proficient in their fields, their training and experience had not been provided from a recreational point of view. Rather, the emphasis of their experience had come through business, where they had made things for production rather than for teaching others how to enjoy the activities as an arts-and-crafts leisure-time activity.

While it was hoped that these department heads would be able to provide in-service training, most "proved too inexperienced or too immature for such an assignment." The need for in-service training of leaders became especially urgent as preschool centers were organized. Consequently, a WPA arts and crafts supervisor from the state office in Los Angeles was loaned to Manzanar for two weeks. The WPA supervisor showed preschool and arts-and-crafts leaders how to take advantage of scrap material "so plentiful on the Project." The in-service training, however, went beyond instruction in handicrafts alone. Techniques and methods were also discussed, with the result "that renewed hope and ambition were instilled in most of the people attending the training sessions."

Manzanar also received valuable help and in-service training from traveling instructors sent from Los Angeles by such commercial agencies as "Leisurecraft." Regular staff meetings with training and guidance as the keynote were held twice a week by the chief of the Recreation Section to discuss immediate as well as long-term plans.

To much of the staff, the objectives and ideals of recreation were new and needed clarification and emphasis.

It was also determined that a "satisfactory indoor program, to satisfy the varied interests of both sexes and all ages" should include "art, crafts, music, dancing, reading, and social activities at all levels from small children to grown adults." These demands made it apparent to the block managers that, much as they would like to have their blocks remain independent of one another, a plan should be agreed upon in which the use and purposes of all recreation buildings in the center would be centrally administered.

Each group of four blocks formed a natural unit or zone by virtue of its separation from others by firebreaks. Recognition of this grouping led to the decision to operate such four-block zones as independent units. The four recreation barracks in each zone were to be used as follows; one for arts and crafts; one for children's activities; one for adult activities; while the fourth was set aside as a branch library where reading and quiet table games could be enjoyed. Later it was found necessary to specialize further and to designate central buildings for music and an older girls' center, and under the WRA for the exclusive use of three church groups. When it was found that the ironing rooms were little used because evacuees preferred to do their ironing in their barracks, several of these rooms were devoted to recreational use.

Prior to the time when all 36 blocks were occupied as residences, it was possible to borrow an unused mess hall for a dance, party, show, or social activity. As the center became filled to capacity, however, all mess halls were needed for serving meals three times a day, thus curtailing this opportunity. Thereafter, block mess halls could be used for recreational purposes on special occasions only. In spite of his difficulty and the ever-present need for a large social hall, building space was fairly adequate during the summer of 1942. It was not until the autumn, when school opened and it became necessary to convert nearly half of the recreation barracks into schoolrooms that recreation "felt a real pinch."

Since the residents could not go outside the confines of the center "proper," the only outdoor areas available for sports activities were the firebreaks between the blocks. Two firebreaks ran north and south and three east and west. The firebreaks were 300 feet wide, with the exception of the central one, which was 600 feet wide. Camp management prevented the installation of permanent improvements in the central firebreak because of proposed plans for constructing two elementary school buildings and some business buildings. Except for a few spots, the soil in the firebreaks was loose sand, too poor to grow a surface covering of grass or alfalfa. Thus, athletic fields were laid out in the firebreaks which "became really and truly 'sand-lot' games."

Under the WCCA, no money was spent for recreational purposes except for evacuees' salaries and some equipment, such as manuals, rope, compasses, first-aid kits, pup tents, fire-making sets, bugles, pennants, a flag staff, flags, and wood-carving sets for the Boy Scouts. All other equipment and supplies, such as athletic equipment, games, toys, playground equipment, furniture, and pianos used during the early months of Manzanar's operation were secured through donations from private individuals, churches, and public and semi-public agencies in southern California or by personal purchase by instructors. A large proportion of these donations was hauled to Manzanar by two men, Rev. Fred Fertig and Rev. H. V. Nicholson.

The evacuees gathered scrap and waste materials and turned them to use. Scrap lumber from the barracks still under construction was collected by the truckload. Yet the number of articles that could be made from this salvaged material was limited since "2 x 4's over 3 feet long" were not allowed to be taken. Nails which had been dropped by the carpenters engaged in building construction were collected and filled several barrels.

Using these scrap materials, parents of preschool children made tables, benches, and chairs for the centers. Friends of the churches constructed benches and stools for the congregations. Goh and shogi players made benches for the halls where those games were played. Members of the music staff made stools from scrap lumber and music stands from sheets of plywood. When the music activities settled in Block 24, Building 15, the musicians built several small practice rooms with celotex purchased by the musicians and their friends.

Activities: Preschool Program — The first preschool centers to be opened at Manzanar in April 1942 were for children between the ages of three and six. Mothers were requested to bring their children to the centers for registration on April 11. Very young children were to be brought to the centers each morning and be picked up at lunch time. Two centers, each intended to serve a zone of four blocks, were organized in April. Each center had an average attendance of 50 children. As the camp rilled to capacity during 1942, the number of centers was gradually increased to eight. The preschool work was headed by an evacuee who received her training in kindergarten administration at the University of Hawaii. Assisting her was a young woman with an A.B. degree in kindergarten teaching. Difficulty was experienced in finding more trained leaders, but by May 9, fifteen evacuee teachers were working in the centers.

The success of the preschool program led to requests by evacuees that something similar be done for older children. Thus, during the afternoons and evenings the centers were opened to older children for free play. While a shortage of qualified leadership prevented establishment of an organized program, some zones did establish simple programs for children of elementary-school age.

Activities: Athletics — Of all the sports offered during the spring of 1942, softball proved to be the most popular. Starting with an exhibition game between two teams, made up of Nisei and Kibei, the softball program, although hampered by lack of equipment, expanded to include more than 100 teams by the end of the summer. The sport was popular not only with the players but also with the evacuee population in general, some contests attracting several thousand spectators on weekends to watch the better teams. The majority of the players were males, but by June 1 a girls' softball league that included 14 teams had been established.

Other sports included five boys' and five girls' volleyball teams. Five boys' teams held several track meets during late spring and the early part of the summer. Membership on these teams was determined by the evacuee's place of residence prior to coming to Manzanar, such as Bainbridge Island, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, and other localities. In the absence of a track, the running events were conducted around the blocks, while the field events took place in the firebreaks. Boxing was popular, with 75 men practicing this sport nightly in two of the recreation halls. Wrestling was carried on "intermittently on a 'catch as catch can' basis, and was participated in mostly by members of the police force."

Activities: Arts and Crafts — The first arts-and-crafts program enjoyed the benefit of assistance from several artists who were among the first evacuees to arrive at Manzanar. These evacuee painters began at once to give lessons in painting and sketching, the equipment and supplies for the classes being furnished by themselves. Soon the program was augmented by assistance from leaders of other activities. During 1942 several expert sewing teachers, who had operated a sewing school prior to evacuation, gave lessons to more than 1,100 individuals. Three recreation centers were devoted to sewing activities. Expert instructors in flower-making taught their popular art to hundreds of students. Because "real" flowers were absent from Manzanar, this activity was "the more appreciated." Expert performers set up classes in knitting and embroidery. A course was offered in puppetry to make puppets and to present entertaining puppet shows.

Several "Japanese-type" arts and crafts activities were also offered in 1942. An evacuee taught Japanese brush-lettering or artistic painting of Japanese letters and characters, while evacuee taught the "fine art of conducting a Japanese tea service in combination with flower arrangement."

Activities: Music — Manzanar's music department was first headed by an evacuee who entered Manzanar as a volunteer in March 1942. A graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, he and his staff experienced much difficulty in trying to establish a music program. Facilities were "extremely unfavorable," and "sympathy and understanding on the part of most of the residents" was "lacking." Forced to move from one barracks to another during the early months of Manzanar's operation and faced with the fact that none of the recreation barracks had partitions, the music department was "compelled to produce all types of instrumental music in one room 20 x 100 feet."

Despite these difficulties, the music staff slowly acquired popularity. By the end of the summer several hundred interested students were attending lessons at the music hall. The students provided their own instruments or used whatever instruments the department was able to obtain.

Voice and glee clubs also proved to be popular. The Final Report, Manzanar stated: "Contrary to the general belief that oriental people are not psychologically suited to sing the occidental scale, Manzanar as a community produced an unusually large number of good singers."

Activities: Social Activities — Dances were held once or twice a week in the recreation halls, but sometimes as many as three dances were held on one Saturday night. As the center's population increased, public dances were generally held in the mess hall which were twice as wide as the recreation halls.

Classes in social dancing were offered to both men and women, the dancing being done to recorded music. Instruction was also offered by competent instructors in ballet, tap, and special dancing.

The Issei were little interested in ordinary American social activities, the majority "preferring to spend their time playing goh and shogi." These Japanese table games were somewhat similar to checkers and chess, respectively. Some Issei joined poetry clubs, where under the leadership of an experienced instructor, they learned "to express their thoughts in rhyme and blank verse."

Belonging to a club "soon became something of a fad" at Manzanar. Most clubs were social or athletic in nature, few being "mixed" or made up of members of both sexes. Some 40-50 such clubs were organized during the first few months of Manzanar's operation.

Activities: Gardening — The firebreak between Blocks 17 and 18 on the north and Blocks 11 and 12 on the south was one of the few to have "black soil suitable for gardening." The firebreak was subdivided into small plots varying in size from 10 feet x 50 feet to 30 feet x 50 feet, and each interested family was given a plot. A few larger tracts were set aside as community gardens for certain blocks. The work in the block gardens was done by volunteer labor recruited from the block residents.

Gardening was pursued by the Manzanar evacuees for various reasons. Some did it as a hobby, while others wanted fresh vegetables and flowers that they personally raised. Some wanted to experiment and perpetuate plants which they had brought with them to the center.

The firebreak chosen for the garden was covered at one end with thousands of wild rosebushes. During the summer, Kuichiro Nishi, an evacuee, volunteered to bud and cultivate the wild roses if the WRA would obtain some cultivated plants and buds. With the cooperation of the procurement office, four plants of 50 different varieties of roses were purchased. After receipt of these plants, Nishi budded approximately 15,000 wild shoots.

Activities: Libraries — Since no government funds were allotted to purchase books and magazines while Manzanar was administered by the WCCA, it was necessary for the evacuees to write to libraries and request surplus books for the center. The Manzanar library started in April 1942 with a gift of 17 books and 80 magazines made available in a part of one evacuee's living quarters. The first community library was opened on May 4 amid the Spartan conditions in Block 7, Building 15, when 1,000 discarded books were received from the Los Angeles Public Library. Several weeks later, an evacuee librarian who had studied library science at the University of California arrived to set the library in operation. Within two months, more than 15,000 volumes were received, most coming from libraries in Los Angeles City and County. Individual donors also provided books and magazines, although many of the latter were back copies which the evacuees had read prior to evacuation. Prospective donors were reminded that they could send subscriptions to current magazines, and many responded to this request.

Under the leadership of the evacuee librarian, the main camp library was later established in the recreation hall in Block 22 because of its central location in the camp. This building served as headquarters for the librarian and her assistant, and it was used as a training center for girls working in the branch libraries. All books were received, classified, and sorted in the main library, and selections were sent to the smaller branch libraries scattered throughout the center.

Activities: English Instruction — The adult English department, under the direction of Mrs. Elizabeth Nishikawa, was established on May 15 with a staff of five instructors teaching ten well-attended classes of Issei and Kibei men and women. Some of the classes were held regularly in the evening so that evacuees with daytime jobs could participate. Other classes met in the afternoon which was a more convenient time for men and women without regular jobs. By June 1, some six evacuee teachers were providing 18 classes in English instruction to approximately 300 Issei and Kibei men and women. Classes, which included an Americanization program, were held in mess halls between meal servings. There were no books or supplies except mimeographed material prepared by the evacuee teachers.

Special Events and Programs: Flag Pole Dedication — A flag pole was installed in front of the Administration Building located in Block I, Building 8, on April 17. Boy Scouts supplied a color guard, a color bearer, and four buglers. The dedication speech was given by the Assistant Project Director. After the flag-raising ceremony, the camp manager christened two burros as camp mascots.

Special Events and Programs: "I Am An American" Program — The "I Am An American" program was held on May 17 in the firebreak between Blocks 2 and 3. After several musical numbers were presented, speeches were given by the departing WCCA camp manager and by the new WRA project director, the latter being introduced to the evacuees for the first time.

Special Events and Programs: Memorial Day Service — Attended by several hundred people, the Memorial Day program on May 30 began with a parade, led by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, both of which had members among the evacuee population in camp. These groups were followed by the Manzanar police, firemen, and finally by more than 100 Boy Scouts. The ceremonies were held in front of the Administration Building with two trucks serving as a stage.

Special Events and Programs: Arts and Crafts Exhibits — Two exhibits of art and handicrafts prepared by evacuees in the camp were held at Manzanar during its first two months of operation. The first exhibit, held on May 3, was visited by 1,216 people, while a two-day exhibit in early June drew approximately 5,000 people.

Special Events and Programs: Variety Talent Shows — A variety talent show, using both Nisei and Issei talent, was held outdoors on May 10, for which a temporary wooden stage was constructed adjoining Block 8, Building 15. The show was attended by several hundred spectators.

Recreation under the WRA. The change in administration of Manzanar from the WCCA to the WRA on June 1 had considerable impact on recreational programs at the camp. Organizationally, the name of the Recreation Section was changed to Community Activities and the title of its appointed head was changed from Chief of the Recreation Section to Supervisor of Community Activities.

The WRA found that the original plan of having two specialists serve as recreational advisers, with actual supervision and authority resting in zone directors, was impractical. Thus, the recreation program was reorganized to reflect the evacuees' wishes. Under the new organization, the heads of departments were given direct authority over the people they hired to work with them and over whom they had jurisdiction. Ten departments — hobby garden, music, arts and crafts, amateur profession, librarian, children's activities, men's and boy's athletics, women's athletics, adult social activities, scout activities (four Boy Scout troops were organized) — were established, each with its own head. Activities were organized so that all employees, no matter where their barracks, came under the one department head. In some instances, it was necessary to have more than one activity in a recreation building. Generally, three different types of arts and handicrafts — painting, woodwork, or other crafts, and needlework or sewing — were offered in one recreation hall.

The WRA continued most of the existing WCCA recreational programs and expanded many of them. The WRA hired additional evacuee personnel to operate the program. As of September 15, 1942, 151 evacuees were employed to administer recreation in the center. The largest categories of recreation workers were adult activities — 46; children's activities — 19; gardening and landscaping — 15; music — 14; men's and boy's athletics — 13; entertainment — 12; and sewing and needlework — 11.

During the months of July to September 1942, participation in the various recreational activities at the center remained high. The number attending sewing and needlework classes was more than 1,100. Some 1,600 men and boys were involved in 12 softball leagues, while three track teams involved 90 individuals. Three boys' hardball teams were formed, but the lack of proper equipment and facilities hindered development of that sport. Girl's and women's softball involved 250 individuals on 19 teams in three leagues. Weekend softball contests sometimes attracted 3,000 to 4,000 spectators. Some 180 girls and women were involved in 14 volleyball teams in two leagues, and 100 participated on seven basketball teams. An estimated 7,000 children attended children's activities, including eight preschool centers. Sunday evening recorded concerts (American music) attracted 700 to 2,000 persons, while approximately 3,000 persons attended Wednesday evening recorded concerts (Japanese music). These music programs, known as "Symphony Under the Stars," were made possible by the use of a public address system owned and operated by three of the evacuees at the center. Approximately 100 couples attended weekly dances, 8,000-9,000 people attended motion pictures (two showings), and 5,000 attended periodic variety shows.

Some 120 families worked plots in the "Victory" garden, and six larger tracts were worked on a community basis. Approximately 1,000 persons attended weekly music classes, including piano (300), saxophone and clarinet (200), voice (100), mandolin and guitar (200), trumpet (40), violin (60), and viola, cello, tuba, trombone, and oboe (100).

Upon taking administrative control of the camp on June 1, the WRA immediately purchased equipment and supplies, particularly for arts and crafts and athletics, to facilitate and expand the recreation programs at Manzanar. The purchased items included tempera paints and brushes, baseballs, bats, volleyballs, basketballs, footballs, tennis nets, and basketball hoops.

According to the Final Report, Manzanar, as the evacuees began to understand that the center would operate for the duration of the war, they began to show increasing interest in developing a sense of permanence in regard to their home. This interest included a growing desire to obtain as many recreational facilities as conditions would permit. Many residents gave their time and sometimes their money to develop facilities. Within several months, Manzanar "had practically all the recreational facilities which could be found in any other American city of 10,000 persons."

Recreational Facilities — During the early summer of 1942, the sentry line was moved back about 100 yards behind the last line of barracks to the south of the camp residential area, thus placing Bairs Creek within the center. After the WRA assured the evacuees that the creek could be used as a picnic spot both day and evening, evacuee volunteers started landscaping the area and constructing walks, bridges, and open-air fireplaces. The area became so popular as a picnic area that it became necessary to issue permits so that picnic parties would be assured an opportunity to use a fireplace.

Several evacuees who had brought their golf clubs to Manzanar formed a golf club which pledged its members to help construct a course. A 100-yard-wide area southwest of the center was selected as the site for the course. Sage brush and other growth were removed, and a 9-hole course was laid out. Because the course could not be watered, the greens "were of necessity made of sand."

Each block had a space within its borders east of the men's showers that was left vacant. These spaces were quickly converted into recreational areas for the block residents. Most blocks put up volleyball posts, and the majority of them constructed basketball courts with backboards, hoops, and other features. Playground equipment, including swings, teeter-totters, and slides, were installed. These facilities were constructed by volunteer labor from within the blocks and entirely at a block's own expense.

Tennis courts were laid out using clay soil located by the Owens River approximately four miles east of the center. More than 150 truckloads of claylike dirt were hauled to the center to construct four tennis courts in the eastern part of the firebreak between Blocks 8 and 14. Salt was mixed with the clay to improve its texture, but the soil proved unsatisfactory. Hence another 50 loads of clay, this time a reddish composition, was hauled to the center and resurfacing was continued. The wire around the courts, nets, and posts were purchased with WRA funds.

Judo contests could not operate in the low-ceilinged barracks. With WRA approval, judo enthusiasts determined to take up a collection and from the funds pay for construction of a floor. The floor was covered with sawdust, and canvas was stretched over the sawdust to keep it in place. During the autumn, voluntary subscriptions were taken to defray costs for the construction of a 40-foot x 60-foot building with additional shower-room space.

The firebreak between Blocks 8 and 14, where the tennis courts had been constructed, was designated as a sports field complex by the WRA. Several basketball and volleyball courts were built adjacent to the tennis courts. The volleyball courts consisted of little more than posts for the nets, with a ridge stretched on the ground to indicate boundary lines. The basketball courts were surfaced with the reddish claylike soil used to resurface the tennis courts.

Two football fields with goal posts were laid out, and nearly all the firebreaks were used as softball diamonds. Material for backstops was scarce, but some old wiring was found in the farm area and put to use for this purpose.

Landscaping and Parks — During the fall of 1942, the wild roses that Nishi budded were dug up and transferred to the firebreak between Blocks 23 and 33. About 100 different species of flowers were seeded and planted in this new garden area in addition to the roses. A Japanese tea house was constructed, and the beginnings of Rose Park were laid out.

One of the Manzanar evacuees was a former nursery owner and producer of Japanese cherry trees. He offered to donate several thousand trees to Manzanar, provided that all the trees would be planted in one location and that this location would be set aside as a Japanese Cherry Park. The WRA accepted his proposal, and the cherry trees, together with hundreds of Wisteria trees, were hauled to Manzanar and planted in the firebreak in front of the Children's Village. Volunteers dug wide shallow holes for pools, but as water was still at a premium in Manzanar, these pools would eventually be seeded with grass.

Outdoor Theater — Evacuees at Manzanar voiced the need for an outdoor amphitheater to accommodate various recreational programs during the early months of Manzanar's operation. Under the WRA, "a spot just outside the center beyond the southeast corner of the camp" was selected for an outdoor theater, because it had a natural slope required for such a facility. With the aid of a power blade, the natural slope was improved so that from 3,000 to 5,000 persons could witness performances. A concrete stage, 40 feet x 60 feet, was constructed using voluntary evacuee labor. Sand and gravel were secured from nearby Bair's Creek. Benches, with seating space for 2,000 persons, were constructed. The expense for most of the work and lumber was defrayed from profits derived by the early canteen/general store before its operations were taken over by Manzanar Cooperative Enterprises.

This theater was used for only two occasions during the fall of 1942. These events included an address by Dillon S. Myer, director of the WRA, to the opening high school assembly and a dedication ceremony for the theater about a week later. Because of the outdoor theater's distance from the camp's residential area, it was decided to hold outdoor shows on a temporary stage in the camp. Later a new permanent 20-foot x 30-foot stage would be built against the wall of the recreation hall in Block 16.

Relationship with Schools — When the schools opened in fall 1942, adjustments became necessary between the education and recreation programs. The Community Activities Section had been chief promoter of all activities for which there was a need. To fulfill its obligations, the section had taken over operation of all recreation halls (Building 15 in each block).

Some of these buildings, although designated as recreation buildings, were converted for use as schoolrooms during the later summer of 1942, because no school buildings had been constructed. Consequently, one-half of the Number 15 buildings were taken over by the Education Section for schoolrooms and education offices.

The Education Section budget allowed appointed personnel to administer and supervise some of the activities which had been conducted by the Community Activities Section. Thus, some activities were transferred to the Education Section in July. The activities that were transferred included adult English classes, the preschool program, and the camp library. It was also agreed that the adult education department would promote all adult English classes, as well as all commercial, vocational training, and other classes that were primarily educational. The Community Activities Section, on the other hand, would promote all programs that were primarily recreational, including sports, arts, crafts, music, dramatics, gardening, social activities, and special events.

During the fall of 1942, 18 units of nursery school and seven kindergartens were organized. Of the nursery school units, six were afternoon sleep sessions. All preschool units were housed in regular elementary school buildings scattered throughout the community. Almost 1,000 children between the ages of three and six had an opportunity to share experiences in an environment that emphasized health, safety, social and emotional adjustment, and mental development through selected play materials. This was accomplished by trained leadership, parent education, use of English in speech, and teaching socialization skills.

The parents of all children enrolled in the preschool automatically became members of a specific parent club that functioned in connection with a specific nursery or kindergarten unit. A central board, made up of the chairmen of the individual units, the preschool parent-coordinator, the preschool supervisor, and the president of the board selected at large, coordinated all phases of the preschool parent activities. All parents held membership in the national Parent Teachers Association. Parents shared in financing the preschool program, paying a monthly fee of ten cents per parent and holding fund raisers for specific projects. They also contributed many hours of service in maintaining playground equipment and beautifying the play environment.

In September 1942 the adult education department was transferred from the Education Section to the Community Services Division, with an office established in Block 35, Building 15. Charles K. Ferguson, an appointed WRA employee, became its first director.

The first general registration for the entire program of adult education courses was held on September 7, Class offerings included carpentry, English, and tailoring. Week by week new classes were added to the list. Approximately 3,000 students showed interest in attending classes in English, commerce, history, science, and sewing during the remainder of 1942. [91]

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Last Updated: 01-Jan-2002