United States Boy Scout Activities: World War II--Farm Labor

Woldd War II Boy Scout farm labor
Figure 1.--Here San Francisco Boy Scouts are being bussed out to farms in the Napa Valley to hrlp pick fruit during August 1943.

A major problem which developed in America after Pearl Harbor was a labor shortage. This was in sharp contrast to the Depression era unemployment program. Drafting large number of young men combined with increasing industrial production all combined to very quickly create a labor shortage. The problem was especially scute in rural areas beczuse the expanding industrial activity offered well paying jobs. The problem was especially severe at the critical harvest times. This both schools and youth organizations were mobikized to help with the harvests. There were various programs developed to recruit farm labor. Many provided longer term commitments. The Boy Scouts were often, like school children, used for shorter periods, especially harvest time. This involved both Scouts living in small towns as well as city boys. This often involved bussing Scouts from the cities into the countryside to help with harvests. This was especially important for fruit and vegetable crops which required manual labor. We are not sure if abyone has ever quantified the farm labor effort by the Scouts, but it was important.


Tucker, Barbara M. "Agricultural workers in World War II: The reserve army of children, black Americans, and Jamaicans," Agricultural History Vol. 68, No. 1 (Winter, 1994), pp. 54-73.


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Created: 2:34 AM 4/18/2011
Last updated: 2:34 AM 4/18/2011