Rosie’s Girls at TSS

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Thank you to everyone who made our second Rosie’s Girls summer phenomenal!

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19598951_1393076057424746_1038687251866738508_nRosie’s Girls was created by Vermont Works for Women in Winooski, VT.  This unique two-week summer program offers experiences in trades, STEM, and leadership for girls entering grades six through eight.

Named after the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, the camp is structured to provide young girls with experience and work that encourages them to envision and pursue futures in which they are competent, confident, contributing members of their communities.

The camp builds strong, confident girls through exploration of STEM and trades-related activities.  The goals are not to create the next generation of mathematicians or carpenters, but rather to use STEM and trades activities as vehicles for teaching self-efficacy, confidence, and strength.  The camp aims to empower young girls to pursue their dreams, whatever those dreams may be, and to be supportive of one another in the process.   Woven throughout the camp are activities and discussions that focus on and critically assess leadership, gender identity, the role of women in today’s society, media literacy, sisterhood, and problem solving.

Rosie’s Girls® fosters a safe and healthy place where girls can get their hands dirty and take on positive risks – all while having fun and making long-lasting friendships!  Through both classroom and fieldwork, Rosie’s Girls empowers young women to find their strength and confidence, and to support others through this process!

  Goals

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    Challenge expectations society has for girls and women;

  • Encourage team building and positive group dynamics, with a focus on creating and maintaining a safe and positive community;
  • Foster fun and creative behaviors and ideas during all activities;
  • Hear from professional women who are experts in STEM and Trades fields;
  • Examine gender stereotypes and expand media literacy;
  • Push past preconceived limitations;
  • Expand math and science skills through concrete applications; and
  • Develop new areas of physical and emotional confidence.

Curriculum

IMG_2392Welding and woodworking are the cornerstone of Rosie’s Girls and are included in every summer session, but each summer also provides a different focus through a range of activities and discussions.  There are other staples of the TSS Rosie’s Girls program, such as practicing mantras, discussing gender roles, defining and practicing the art of sisterhood, and improving media literacy skills.   As our community changes, so does our curriculum.  Our goal is the meet the needs of our community and explore all that Vermont has to offer.  The activities below are only samples of what we have offered in previous years.

It takes a community to empower our youth, so Thaddeus Stevens School partners with local businesses, colleges, high schools, and organizations to provide the best possible summer camp experience.  For two years in a row, we have worked with the University of Vermont, and teachers from both Lyndon Institute and St. Johnsbury Academy, to provide the best possible summer camp experience.

And, as with any summer camp, we offer a ton of fun (and messy) games, songs, and activities, many of which we keep secret until the event!
While each year can build on the previous skills learned, we welcome new campers every summer into the Rosie’s Girls community:
Year A: Girl and Her Self

  • Practice martial arts and self-defense

    We practice "No Body Talk" at every session: we cover up the mirrors with positive messages about our character and integrity, and we refrain from commenting on physical appearance throughout camp.

    We practice “No Body Talk” at every session: we cover up the mirrors with positive messages about our character and integrity, and we refrain from commenting on physical appearance throughout camp.

  • Discover mindfulness and meditation practice at Karmê Chöling, a Buddhist Shambhala meditation and retreat center
  • Improve media literacy skills through discussions and artistic projects
  • Explore artistic self-expression and learn about female artists
  • Develop physical confidence and emotional peace through the practices of yoga and dance
  • Learn about how to use social media for positive and empowering results, and learn how to avoid the trap of online negativity and bullying

Year B: Girl and Her Environment

  • Explore Geology at the University of Vermont, and venture into the field to visit some of Chittenden Counties ancient geologic history
  • Discover more about Lake Champlain through the Rubenstein Lab at the University of Vermont, including a boat trip on the research vessel Melosira
  • Visit the Freighthouse to learn more about Farm To Table and the importance of sustainability
  • Hike through the town forest in St. Johnsbury to practice tree and plant identification
  • Utilize skills learned in carpentry to create wind chimes, lanterns, sun dials, and other useful and fun creations
  • Hear from female workers in STEM fields, and learn about the history of women in STEM

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Year C: Girl and Her Technology

  • Learn about 3D Printing at St. Johnsbury Academy and create objects using the 3D Printer to take home
  • Learn basic computer coding and dismantle computers to explore how the hardware inside computers works together
  • Explore video journalism & photography
  • Visit the local airport to learn about aviation and piloting
  • Discover how women in the video game industry have altered games for the better, and explore the changes of diversity in video game characters and design
  • Create batteries, small working robots, and solar ovens

Why do we need Rosie’s Girls?

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According to the 2015 Vermont Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 50% of girls are less likely to feel like they matter in their community, and boys were significantly more likely to feel valued. 36% of girls have been electronically bullied, and 53% of girls who were bullied at school were likely to miss school as a result.

According to recent studies, 53% of 12-year old girls are unhappy with their bodies.  That number rises to 78% by the age of seventeen.  Over 60% of women struggle with some form of an eating disorder, and rates of depression among

girls and women have more than doubled since 2000.  The American Psychological Association recently declared self-objectification a national epidemic.

As a result, American society is seeing young women spend more money on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and hair products than they are on their own education. Young girls tend to be less likely to raise their hands in classes, pursue opportunities, and follow their aspirations.

In 2013, Vermont Works for Women published a report titled Enough Said that surveyed over 210 girls between the ages of 15 and 25 from 28 different communities in Vermont. The results stated that young women in Vermont lack knowledge about personal finance, experience social aggression among girls frequently, and lack exposure to careers or hobbies that might be of interest.

Rosie’s Girls fosters an environment that encourages young girls to pursue challenges as a result of increased self-efficacy, resilience, and confidence. The goal is not to create the next generation of STEM or Trades professionals, but rather to encourage life-long learning, positive relationships with girls, and expanded beliefs of what women are capable of accomplishing.  Together, we can dismantle these alarming statistics and help empower our young women!

13620971_1064766223589066_3276784268055581334_nRosie’s Girls Successful Results

Evaluation is a core component of the Rosie’s Girls program.  We believe strongly in measuring the importance of our work.  The surveys implemented at Rosie’s Girls include: 1) pre-surveys for all participants, including staff members, and 2) post-surveys for all participants, including staff members. The short-term outcomes that we have seen is that girls feel:

  • Increased resilience, self-efficacy, and sense of self,
  • Enhanced media literacy skills and analysis of stereotypes,
  • Improved ability to critically analyze different points of views,
  • Development of technical skills in the trades and STEM fields, and
  • Strengthened sense to advocate for themselves and others.

According to pre- and post surveys from the 2016 and 2017 Rosie’s Girls at TSS, 100% of campers showed increase resilience, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.  As one camper said, “Rosie’s Girls changed how I see myself and other girls. I want to support them, not compete with them.”

19511442_1393075944091424_9018949235960987532_nSupport Rosie’s Girls at TSS

Tuition is set at $600 per camper, but that amount, even if the camp is at full capacity and campers pay full tuition, does not cover the cost of operating expenses, which include transportation, curricular development and instructional time, food, and materials. The camp runs at approximately $530 above the full tuition price per camper.  In 2016, 84% of our campers were on full or partial financial aid.  As many are aware, the Northeast Kingdom is one of the more financially depressed areas of Vermont.  Part of our goal at Rosie’s Girls at TSS is that financial struggle does not prevent a young girl from a potentially transformative opportunity. Every donation goes directly to operating expenses.  Rosie’s Girls is a program of Thaddeus Stevens School, which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

If you wish to make a donation to Rosie’s Girls at TSS, please contact Emma Hansen.