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Young Girls Learn From Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park

National Park News

For the third year in a row, the “Rosie’s Girls” program has served two dozen middle school girls in the Richmond, California, home of Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.  The program introduces young women to trades such as carpentry and welding.   

Aside from acquiring skills in nontraditional careers, the program also helps girls build self confidence by promoting the themes of female empowerment and equal opportunity that this national park embodies. 

Rosie’s Girls is a partnership between the YMCA of the East Bay, the National Park Service, the Rosie the Riveter Trust, and the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and is licensed by Vermont Works for Women. 

The National Park Service’s role in the program is to orient the girls to the park’s historic sites and also to lead field trips to other Bay Area national parks throughout the summer.  Rangers also curate a series of lunchtime talks by “She-roes,” or local female heroes, who are working in a range of jobs the girls may have never considered for themselves, thus expanding their career choices. 

During the first week of the program, the girls enjoyed an afternoon sailing on San Francisco Bay, hosted by San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and a trip to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to meet park policewomen and their police horses at the Presidio cavalry stables. 

A new addition to the camp itinerary in 2011 was a fantastic trip to Yosemite National Park at the end of the session.  The Yosemite trip was made possible by a full scholarship from the Yosemite Institute for each girl and program staff. 

“This is the first time that I'm really far away from my house and the city where I live," wrote one of the girls. 

And she was not alone; many of the girls had never spent time in the woods before.  Community partners, energized from an exciting summer, are already brainstorming new activities and doing outreach for 2012, in this ongoing program.


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