Life in the alternative service work camps was difficult at times, but, as one CO said, “Camp life was what you made of it. It could be drudgery and weariness, or it could be exciting.”
The living conditions varied from camp to camp. There was no telling whether the camp cook would be good or bad, whether the cabins would be warm or drafty, or whether the barber would only give you half a haircut if you didn't have enough money.
The men at camp had one thing in common: they were all opposed to the war. Other than that, they came from all sorts of different backgrounds. Nevertheless, many made life-long friends.
Out in the wilderness, the COs had to make music the best they could. Occasionally they had a guitar, a violin, or an accordion, but at other times they sang without any accompaniment except the birds.
The COs' opposition to war was based on religious faith. Many outsiders mocked them for this faith, but the COs held regular worship services to remain spiritually strong. Ministers visited the camps to lead the men in these services.
The Beacon was the main way for COs to stay in touch. This inter-camp newsletter had stories and news from all the various camps. It encouraged the men to know that there were other men at other camps that were experiencing the same things they were.