VWW brings Rosie’s Girls summer camp to six communities in 2021
By Caelan Keenan and Marla Goldstein, VWW’s Youth Team
And that’s a wrap! Our Rosie’s Girls summer camp, which could only be described as a traveling roadshow, finished up in Swanton on August 20th. With two packed cars and their iconic blue t-shirts, Caelan and Marla made their way around Vermont, rain or shine, fog or humidity.
The first stop for VWW’s Youth Team was at Center for Technology in Essex. Community partners hosted Rosie’s Girls in Barnet and Bellows Falls in the two weeks prior.
In Essex, twelve middle school campers spent the first half of the week building and decorating their birdhouses. Wood burners made an appearance this year, with many campers trying them out for their first time. By the middle of the week, the air in the shop space smelled like a lovely campfire. Careful assembly of their moon-shaped suncatchers took over the remainder of the week. Although campers all watched the same YouTube instructional video (a big thank you to Micah and Tiff of Margay & Binturong for the kits and the lessons personalized for Rosie’s Girls) to guide their project, everyone’s suncatchers came out unique and special. The week closed with a group discussion about campers’ love of pets, the exchange of phone numbers and email addresses, and talk of where campers will be hanging their creations at home.
Girls can do anything boys can.Alaina, Rosie’s Girls Camper
Our second week was spent at the Myers Memorial Pool in Winooski. In collaboration with Winooski Middle High School and the City of Winooski, campers spent the morning learning to swim and joined Rosie’s Girls in the afternoon. The energy in this group was fantastic, with experience levels ranging from having never used a hammer before to having built entire barns and sheds on family farms and properties. Plenty of green space allowed us to spread out, especially while designing and building metal wind chimes later in the week. Campers had a huge selection of metal gadgets and repurposed kitchen gear to make their outdoor décor and tons of creative agency for this project. They learned to bend metal and manipulate wire using special pliers and wire cutters. The week wrapped up with delicious vegan ice cream for all of the campers from Offbeat Creemee at the pool deck.
There’s really more than one way to do everything.Taylor, Rosie’s Girls Camper
We ventured out of Chittenden County for our third week of camp to enjoy foggy mornings in Barre. The town was so generous in lending us their picnic shelter space right behind Barre Town Middle and Elementary School and we spent all morning outside under the pavilion and the surrounding lawns. The campers breezed right through their birdhouse assembly, so we started wind chimes early and eventually introduced campers to a third project, constructing a UGears Mechanical Model of a 4-speed manual gear box. This week was particularly hot, so we brought a hose and sprinkler for the campers to run around in after projects and cleanup. The week closed with an epic water balloon fight and we said goodbye to central Vermont to head on up to Swanton for our final week of camp.
Nestled between a residential neighborhood and a limestone quarry, the Swanton Recreation Commission was a spacious and central location for campers of Franklin County to join us. Many of our campers had been at recreation camps at this location earlier in the summer, so the space was comfortable and familiar to them. This group also breezed through building their birdhouses, with time to paint and burn designs into the wood. Campers created unique wind chimes midweek. By Friday, tables of students began assembling their UGears, working together to both follow the detailed instructions and lock all of the small wooden pieces together in the correct order. The week finished with an impromptu kickball game on the field next to the shop space, where Marla was delegated to be the “all-star pitcher.”
In addition to projects, games, and new friendships, every day of Rosie’s Girls equipped campers with a new Power Skill. The Power Skill curriculum is what makes Rosie’s Girls camp particularly meaningful and impactful for campers – an opportunity to learn about and practice social-emotional tools that teach them about themselves, the society around them, and how to navigate middle school and beyond with confidence. Together, we created a Team Pact, discussed Challenge by Choice, utilized our Growth Mindsets, practiced X-Ray Vision, and talked through what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy. By the end of each week, campers had a firmer grasp of their own potential, how to detect (and break down) the stereotypes that surround them, and the satisfaction that comes from completing challenging projects and engaging in important conversations together.
Keep practicing X-ray Vision.Brooklyn, Rosie’s Girls Camper
Many thanks to the host sites, program partners, and families who made this summer such a smashing success!
Rosie’s Girls camp was free for all campers and partners thanks to a generous Summer Matters grant from Vermont Afterschool. Other supporters included Agnes Lindsay Trust, Community National Bank, Concept 2, Courtney & Victoria Buffum Family Foundation, Jane B Cook 1992 Charitable Trust, Langwater Foundation, Lucy Downing Nisbet Charitable Fund, Mergens Foundation, North Country Federal Credit Union, Northfield Savings Bank, Oakland Foundation, Robert Fleming and Jane Howe Patrick Foundation, Rona Jaffe Foundation, and Verizon.