The Jamestown branch of AAUW is hosting its annual AAUW Garden Tour on Wednesday, July 20. This year’s tour is likely to have many more people attending than usual. Young people, from college-aged to mid-40s, have taken the backyard on as if they invented the concept of gardening. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, young people saw a way to circumvent “losses” by making gains in their own backyard.
The local branch of AAUW has been bringing the wonders of gardening to the public since 1990. Many of those touring this year were not even born then, but their interest is invigorating and promising that the love of growing has not waned
Connie Lillejord and Erin Klein chaired the 2021 tour and will again chair this year. It’s not an easy task. Gardeners tend to be private people, digging in the dirt because it’s their heart, not necessarily for show. But like those who chaired the first tour 30 years ago, they remind gardeners of the importance of inspiring gardeners all across middle North Dakota, who look forward every year to seeing what has been accomplished in our neck of this woods we call home.
AAUW’s tour involves the Jamestown Arts Center and the University of Jamestown. All are involved with students and education and like AAUW, the promotion of and equality for women. To help accomplish this goal, they raise funds through garden tours. This year, in addition to scholarships for the University of Jamestown, the branch sponsored a UJ student to attend an important conference.
UJ student Sydney Lewellen attended the May 24-26 National Conference of Women Student Leaders.
Lewellen is studying graphic design for e-commerce and is also active in several campus and community activities. She hopes to expand on her communication and leadership skill-set by attending this conference. NCCWSL is three intense days of virtual leadership training, inspiration and networking for hundreds of college women from across the country.
Students from Jamestown have received scholarships to attend college as well as help pay for other educational endeavors. According to its website, “NCCWSL has grown rapidly since founding more than three decades ago, attracting over 10,000 student leaders. In 2019 the conference brought together 800 attendees representing 48 states and over 300 colleges and universities. The diversity of backgrounds and ideas at NCCWSL is part of what makes it such a transformative experience. The workshops, panels, speakers and activities provide endless opportunities to learn from experts, while peer networking allows women to learn from one another and make lifelong connections
“AAUW’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) is where hundreds of young women come to turn a moment into a movement. Each year, it brings together hundreds of college women from around the country for three days of leadership training, inspiration and networking. AAUW says you “enter the conference as a passionate leader and leave it with the skills and confidence to pursue your goals.”
The local branch, using the funds from the garden tour, helps to make possible the gift of tuition as well as annual conferences. It’s one of those rare moments when your gift gets an immediate, personal benefit 00 fantastic garden ideas this year, then continues to give by way of backing at least one person trying to better him or herself through education. Ultimately, that second gift will continue to be paid forward for years to come. Be sure to watch The Jamestown Sun for tour garden locations.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402—1559.
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