WWII-era women honored through Rosie the Riveter gardens
THETFORD, VT – Vermont has become the 25th state to become home to a Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden, and Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is honored to host that garden at Camp Farnsworth.
Madeleine LeBeau, a Gold Award Girl Scout from Virginia, has been installing these gardens around the country as part of her iWitnessed-IRemember (iWiRe) Gold Award project. Her concept was to offer teenagers a way to learn about World War II directly from that war’s veterans, civilians, and concentration camp survivors, and apply those lessons to service projects today. She has created four videos of interviews she did with 20 World War II eyewitnesses, created World War II-themed interactive challenges including two escape rooms, organized community events and speaking engagements, and joined with other veterans groups to honor World War II veterans.
LeBeau, entering her senior year in high school this fall, visited Camp Farnsworth on July 2 with her parents, and the three engaged a group of young day campers in a series of activities. After learning about the women who entered the workforce during that war and becoming known as “Rosie the Riveters,” the girls made three tied-fleece blankets to give to veterans through Walter Reed Naval Medical Hospital, sang songs about female empowerment, and decorated pavers to encircle the rose garden. They also engaged in conversation with a real-life Rosie, as LeBeau put 93-year-old Bertha Glavin of Massachusetts on speakerphone, and she told the group about making raincoats for Navy sailors during the war.
Working with Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive, LeBeau has been helping to create a network of Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Gardens, not just one in each state, but eventually one in each of the 435 Congressional Districts in the U.S. At the end of the day’s activities at Camp Farnsworth on July 2, the day campers helped finish planting two rose bushes, and surrounded them with pavers they decorated. LeBeau and the girls dedicated the garden to the memory of the “Rosies” everywhere, sang songs, and heard a short speech from Edna Curtin, Regent for the Vermont Daughters of the American Revolution. Curtin pointed out a T-shirt one girl was wearing, saying it summed up what women can do: Dream, Believe, Achieve, Repeat.
Similar gardens were planted and commemorated by LeBeau at Girl Scout Camp Runels in Pelham, NH, on July 3, and in Quincy, MA, with Bertha Glavin on July 4.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls, and the most difficult to earn – and it is only available to Girl Scouts. This Gold Award project will continue to be carried on through iWiRe and Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive. “Gold Award projects are such an incredible way to get involved with your community and really make a difference,” said LeBeau, who encourages all Girl Scouts to take on this type of service project.
The highest achievement in Girl Scouting is the Gold Award. Girl Scouts ages 14 to 17 must initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally, and/or globally through unique Take Action Projects. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers who make the world a better place. They take the G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ philosophy of Girl Scouting to become women of courage, confidence, and character.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.