Camp Devens - A YMCA Hut - WW1 Cantonment 1918
The greatest non-military organization which has ever become attached to the army is the Y. M. C. A. To the soldier, the Y. M. C. A. Hut is a fraternity, a church, a theatre, a common meeting-place, possessing none of the ordinary disadvantages of some of those institutions.
As soon as the workers learned that an encampment was to be built at Devens, they made plans to organize. Fourteen buildings were constructed in the various sections of the camp. There is one main administrative building near the field artillery quarters, an auditorium to accommodate 3000 men, and nine huts similar to that in the picture.
At one end of the building there is a stage where the entertainments and performances are produced. The main part of the room is filled with benches on which there is an ample supply of writing paper, pens and ink.
Movies are shown frequently ; often the local talent of nearby units entertain their companies, and there are frequent boxing and wrestling matches, and similar forms of exercise and amusement. The walls are lined with bookcases which contain every type of book which a "live" man might care to read. In a box near the center of the room are piled the current magazines and newspapers.
On Sunday, the Association holds three services, which are the only religious activities on the weekly calendar. The rest of the week, the Y men seek to entertain, amuse and gain the confidence of their portages, and thereby exert a beneficial influence over them.
The success of this organization is undoubted ; men who have never been in a church or a Y. M. C. A. building before naturally flock to the army huts. Ask the soldier what he thinks of the Y. M. C. A., and his enthusiastic answer will surprise you.
The men realize that these huts are for them, and that every one of the fifty workers in Camp Devens is their friend, and is doing his best to make them comfortable and happy.
Kenneth Robbie, the General Camp Secretary, assisted by an administrative staff of seven, has charge of the Camp Devens Association.