What did you learn at the Encampment?  I was a farm kid — one of four girls — and there were mostly farm kids and vets at Iowa State where I was a sophomore. It was really different, living with girls and boys who were Black, Native Americans — a real mix of people. I missed working on a tractor by going to New York, but there were kids from cities and all kinds of other environments, so that was really interesting. And then there was management vs. labor. As a farm kid, I was both. Our workshop, led by Warren Raymaley, went to Seabrook Farms in New Jersey. It was a frozen food factory. They had places for the immigrants who were raising the vegetables that they froze. The housing was interesting … We also went to a carpet factory and then a union headquarters north of New York. And the speakers were so good. We were outside in the hottest summer on record (until then) listening to really good speakers. I was taking history and government as my majors — I intended to be a librarian. At the Encampment, I was learning more about communism and socialism, and how they contrasted with democracy.

Experiences like being in the city — the learnings, what I did, and being independent. For instance, I took a train to Philadelphia by myself to visit my aunt and uncle and I saw people sleeping in the subway…. It was quite a contrast to what my life had been before, and, it readied me for the rest of my life because I have been brave enough to go places and be on committees by myself — it gave me gumption!

How has the Encampment influenced your life? Going to see the UN at Lake Success impressed me. I was honored as an Iowa Master Farm Homemaker in 1981, so I joined the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW). At that time, there were 9 million members in 141 countries. Then I was on the UN Committee and traveled to London for meetings. That is something that influenced my life directly. At the UN, Admiral Nimitz was a speaker and he was telling us about trying to negotiate a settlement between Pakistan and India for Kashmir and guess what — it’s still a problem, and that’s a long time ago.

We all took the bus to see Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill in Hyde Park — we had sandwiches made on a grill and then she came out, threw a blanket on the ground, and told us about her interest in the United Nations in 1949. Then in 2001–03, I was going to London for this UN Committee and I did go to the UN — a March meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Why is the EFC important now? For the same reasons as then: to make young people aware, early in their lives, of what’s going on in the world beyond themselves — and do something about it. That’s what the Encampment taught me: You can do something about it and you need to! Vote, at least; pay attention so you can vote wisely. Speak up and help other people understand what’s going on in the world beyond their own daily dozen. Write letters to your Congressmembers: the people who represent you. Talk to your neighbors about something besides the daily things. One of the blessings that I have is my four children tell me that I’ve inspired them to be the same way and to care about people — that’s the best!

What is your favorite memory or story from the Encampment? We did a lot of fun things besides the meetings and the workshops. We went to see “Mister Roberts” with Henry Fonda — we were in the top row, the cheap seats. We saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and Oscar Levant playing the piano somewhere outside with a symphony. A gang of us went to see the Brooklyn Dodgers play. My first-time pizza ever! Six or eight of us went on the subway to the end of the island over to the Statue of Liberty and climbed it. On the way back, we had pizza pie in Greenwich Village.

We were a mixed group on the subway, including Black and Native American, and people got up and moved indignantly to another subway car to avoid us. To experience that and know what that felt like has stayed with me all my life.

What motivated you to go to the Encampment? A neighbor of my mom’s had two children, Roger and Terry Newburn, and they had been to the Encampment. Terry came to me and asked, “Don’t you think you’d like to do this? I’ll get you the papers so you can apply. You could apply for a $200 scholarship.” My folks had plenty of other things to spend money on, including helping to go to college. It seemed like the Encampment would fit with what I was learning. My folks were enthusiastic about it, although they were a bit cautious. They asked Congressmember [James] Dolliver and he was very skeptical and didn’t think they should let me go, but I did anyway. The next year, our family took a trip to Boston and stopped in New York, and Warren Remilly gave us three-hour tour of New York City. We stopped in DC to have lunch with Representative Dolliver and we informed him that this was a wonderful thing to do, and if he could get anybody else to go to the Encampment, he should use his persuasion to do that.

What topic did you spend the most time on at the Encampment and what did you learn? I was in a farming workshop. Warren lived in Long Island and he took our group to his county agent, the agriculture advisor. In the group were young people from Montana, Wisconsin, and other places. It was different farming in Long Island — small farms. We also went to New Jersey and saw different kinds of farms. I was especially interested in the immigrants. We talked to them and we saw where they lived. They were crowded without much privacy. We saw them working hard in the factory, dealing with cold and hot extremes, probably working long hours.

On our family’s farm, we raised potatoes and sugar beets. We had a Mexican family work with us. The dad worked at the washing machine factory and they would come in the summer and do vegetables for us … We had a house for them to live in and we played ball with the kids.

I’ve been a farmer most of my life. My husband and I were a team. I drove the tractor. Having had the Encampment experience, I went on to try to make life better for everybody, especially women and girl children. That’s also what the ACWW does. In most of the world and even here, I wonder if women are treated equal to men — whether girl children have the same advantages as boy children.

We also went to Jones Beach and I saw the ocean for the first time.

How did the Encampers get along? How did this change over the time you were together? People were shy to begin … it seemed like you could visit with somebody anytime you did anything. We had really good friends — some more special because you did more things together.

What were some of your favorite leisure-time activities? We had dancing out in the courtyard and ballroom dancing. I learned to waltz. A lot of kids swam because there was a pool there. I wrote so many letters to family and friends during rec time that I didn’t do very many of those activities, though.

Anything else you would like to say? When I came back home, I gave talks about the Encampment — one to the junior college my sister was going to in Eagle Grove; one to the Republican Women’s Convention because my mother belonged to that; and the 4-H Club. I don’t know if the Encampment expected that, but my parents did — that I should tell other people about that experience.

Our thanks to Judith Mann for donating her 1949 photos to the archive. Contact us at admin@encampmentforcitizenship.org if you have photos you would like to donate.



Give to sponsor a 2024 Encamper!

If you agree with Dorothy that the Encampment is important now, please give to our sponsorship fund. Right now, we have a $1,000 match from an alum: until June 15, the donor will match every donation made until all the new contributions add up to $1,000. Help us to create the diversity that Dorothy found so meaningful by helping to fund young people whose families cannot afford the full program fee. Click our DONATE page to find out options for donating.

Election 2024: Democracy is #1 on the Ballot and at the 2024 InterGen: Montgomery, Alabama, July 19 – July 21!

Gathering near the end of the 2024 Encampment, we will reflect on the legacy of those who fought passionately to preserve voting rights and learn what inspires the next generation of changemakers — the 2024 Encampers. These young people are eager to engage with adult allies as they face unprecedented challenges to democracy. We invite you to be part of the solution by joining us at the 2024 InterGen! EFC’s engaging interactive programming includes an all-group trip to the Lowndes Interpretive Center which commemorates the historic march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. Explore Montgomery’s vibrant culture with local activists and fellow alums. Email admin@encampmentforcitizenship.org for registration materials.

Help us share EFC’s transformative work with the world by building our social media presence: follow and “like” EFC on:   

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_encampment/?hl=en

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theencampment

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2381986793/

PFSP: https://www.instagram.com/pesticidefreesoilproject/?hl=en

Want to share your EFC story? Email admin@encampmentforcitizenship.org and we will interview you.