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Rosie’s Girls Summer Camp 2023 Recap

by Jillian Scannell

VWW staff member assists Rosie's Girls camper using a saw to cut a piece of wood.

By Marla Goldstein, Youth Programs Coordinator and Caelan Keenan, Youth Programs Manager

Wow, what a summer! Vermont Works for Women (VWW), in collaboration with partners, ran Rosie’s Girls* summer camp for free in seven communities across Vermont – Essex, Montpelier, Brattleboro, Rutland, Swanton, Lyndonville, and Alburgh.   

More than 120 campers got hands-on experience with welding, woodworking, and more. The program also includes a social-emotional learning component that allows girls to forge connections and learn “Power Skills” that help them navigate school and societal issues. In addition to classic Power Skills such as X-Ray Vision and We Stand Up, we also incorporated new skills such as The Fingerprint of Your Voice and Positive Self Talk, excellent activities from Girls Leadership, which helped campers better get to know themselves and strengthen their inner voices.  

Thanks to our partners – HatchSpace, The MINT, Umbrella NEK, Grand Isle Supervisory Union, and Swanton Elementary School – for helping us reach youth around the state. 

In addition to the five Rosie’s Girls Camps hosted by partners, VWW held two camps: Rosie’s Girls Build at the Center for Technology, Essex and Rosie’s Girls Weld at U-32 in Montpelier.  

 *Rosie’s Girls welcomes into our program anyone who identifies as a girl regardless of assignment at birth. Our programs also welcome youth who are non-binary or gender-expansive who are comfortable in a girl-centered space.    

Creativity Builds in Essex

At Rosie’s Girls Build in Essex, 14 campers learned carpentry basics by building a wooden picture frame. After learning how to safely use hand and power tools, campers had the ability to build projects of their own design including bookshelves, plant hangers, pet houses, decorative signs, birdhouses, and even a chair! At any given time, the shop was full of campers using saws, drills, hammers, and sanders.  

Rosie's Girls camper uses a sander on a piece of wood.

In addition to time in the shop, campers spent time playing games and doing Power Skill activities designed to help them develop social and emotional skills. 

Our VWW staff were joined at camp by two Counselors in Training (CITs) who were former Rosie’s Girls participants. These awesome CITs supported campers during project time, ran games, and even taught a Power Skill lesson on how our “inner voice” is like a unique fingerprint. We love when former campers grow with our programs and want to return to help empower future participants.  

A CIT helps a Rosie's Girls camper as she hammers a nail while building a bookshelf.

Sparks Fly in Montpelier

At Rosie’s Girls Weld in Montpelier, 11 campers learned how to work with metal and use welding equipment. 

Campers started out plasma cutting flower petals and welding them onto a steel stem. From there, campers gained the skills and technique to cut, weld, and shape steel and spent the rest of the week designing and creating their own projects. Campers made lamps/lanterns, art sculptures, name plates, insects, animals and more. They used vice grips to bend and shape their creations, and hammered the plasma cutting residue off on an anvil.

Rosie's Girls camper uses a plasma cutter to cut sheet metal and sparks fly.

Response from Campers
  • I learned about tools 
  • I learned I really like shop time 
  • I learned there’s not much of a limit to what you can build 
  • I learned how to use new power tools 
  • I learned that I could be independent and strong just by learning things 
  • I learned how to weld. About myself, I learned I can weld in the booth by myself 
  • I can do more stuff than I thought 
  • I learned welding, plasma cutting, and that I am strong and brave 
  • I learned I am strong, how to weld, plasma cut, make new friends and meet new people 
  • I am stronger than I thought. I gained confidence 
  • I learned how to plasma cut. I learned even if something is hard, I can follow through and do it 
  • I learned how to plasma cut. You don’t need to be pretty, you just need to know stuff and be strong 

Rosie's Girls campers play team building games on the grass.

Thank you to our instructors, partners, and supporters who made Rosie’s Girls camps this summer so impactful! 

Rosie’s Girls was offered at no cost to families in 2023 thanks to the Vermont Agency of Education’s Summer of STEM grant program. Additional generous supporters include the Central Vermont Women’s Giving Circle, Community National Bank, Concept 2, Langwater Foundation, Lucy Downing Nisbet Charitable Trust, Mascoma Bank, National Life Group Foundation, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, Northfield Savings Bank, Oakland Foundation, Rona Jaffe Foundation, Salmon Foundation, Town of Essex Human Services Fund, and the Windham Foundation.