Girls Can't Be What They Don't See!

$380 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 11 months


Marie Wilson of The White House Project said about girls, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Unfortunately, in our society young women see far more negative images of women than that of powerful, successful women. The media images that females see are not of strong women achieving great things, but more often of females that are helpless and/or need rescuing. or are sexualized as their only value.

Many of us have daughters and granddaughters, and we need to give them as many strong role models as possible to counteract negative media images.

The world simply needs more dynamic "woman stories" like that shown in the documentary “Five Weeks and Five Days.” This is the story of 12 women who decided to build a heritage hand crafts ‘village’ in their poor 20% unemployment county to create jobs and be a tourist attraction--and only had FIVE WEEKS and FIVE DAYS  in which to do it to be open in time for the beginning of tourist season. And did it despite having no background in building!

Girls are still bombarded with messages that they're aren't quite as good as boys, that it's not "feminine" to be ambitious. Women often are made to feel they don't measure up. That is why this compelling story of heart and grit and innovation needs to be told for every little girl and every woman who's told she can't do something because she's a female.

We were 12 ordinary women: teachers, nurses homemakers, community volunteers. None of us had any experience in building or marketing a project of this size. This powerful story counteracts harmful media images with powerful role models that females can relate to.


They wanted to do something about the 20% poverty rate in their poor rural country. They dreamed of building a heritage hand-crafts village as a tourist attraction, a place to employ people and be a market for local artisans to sell their wares. The women bought 67 acres of wilderness. There was NO infrastructure; a road had to be built, electricity brought in, well drilled, and septic system put in. Eight cottages had to be built, 200 crafters found. an inventory system set up, 60 people hired and trained to work in the shops. Starting from scratch, from the day they broke ground to the day they opened was just five weeks and five days. Corporate Report Minnesota said, “What the women did would knock the hardhat off of every general contractor!”

The reality is that you can’t build a ‘village’ in five weeks and five days. The women didn’t accept that “reality”--and figured out how to do it.


We were teachers, nurses, homemakers, community volunteers. None of us had any experience in building or marketing a project of this size. I also, in my workshops, teach WHY these women were able to do what they did: highlighting unusual leadership qualities of women, knowing how to forge strong teams, cultivating the most important character traits of all--persistence and resilience.

Called “crazy” by the locals, I and the other 11 “Founding Mothers” did it in just FIVE WEEKS AND FIVE DAYS from the day we broke ground. The Village of the Smoky Hills won all the top tourism awards in Minnesota that year. We told our bank we would have 20,000 visitors, and almost a 100,000 showed up. The Village eventually employed 100 people, and sold the handwork of 400 artisans. The economic impact on the local area was astounding--all from an idea that gained traction at a baby shower!

When I speak around the country, I see the strong response of females of all ages to this story, who sit up stronger with an “I can do it!” attitude.


A. DOCUMENTARY. I’ve already done some of the “heavy lifting” in that I’ve produced and paid for the high-quality documentary “Five Weeks and Five Days,” which has been shown on public television and at film festivals.

B. COMPANION BOOK. I’ve also written and paid for the initial printing of the companion book “Anything Is Possible: What You Can Learn From a Little Girl Who Went to a Two-Room School to Building an Award-Winning ‘Village’ From Scratch in Just Five Weeks and Five Days." (#84 on Amazon in Business Leadership). The book goes into more detail about what was inside these 12 women that made them achieve that "impossible" feat, and how they stepped out of the box and away from traditional thinking. This book has been lauded by Brian Tracy, the well-known guru of small business, who wrote the testimonial for the front cover: “This is an extraordinary book, full of ideas and insight that inspire you to set bigger goals and motivate you to persist until you succeed.” (Brian Tracy, Brian Tracy International.)


I also include in my workshops the story of the women pilots of World War II.  I was a history teacher and had never heard of them! These amazing women (flying in an era when most women didn't even have driver's licenses) flew over 60 million miles. There were 1100 of them, and 11 died in service. Young girls especially begin to dream big dreams when they hear the stories and see the pictures!


1. To distribute the documentary and the book across the country to schools (7th grade through college), libraries, girls and women’s support groups, foundations that teach leadership, etc.  After I spoke at the Blandin Foundation Leadership Conference, I received a letter that said, "We can find any number of people who give technical assistance; you, however, give people hope."

2. To spread the story. I want to continue to speak to women's groups, women studies classes at colleges and universities as well to bring this story to coed entrepreneurship classes and the Girl Scouts, I also want to fund the travel to speak in both rural areas and inner city schools, which have trouble getting quality speakers because speaking fees are beyond their reach.

Here's a picture of me with a Girl Scout troop, where I spoke on the women of The Village and the women pilots. It is so exciting to watch their faces when they hear these stories!



For years I have been giving, and funding myself, workshops for women and have also been speaking to groups of young women such as the Girl Scouts. However, as word of my speaking is spreading, I’ve been getting requests to speak in places that are distant (For example, I live in NC and in Nov. spoke in San Francisco.) I have requests to speak in WI, KY, and CO as well as throughout NC. To continue my work, I need help with travel costs and also the following:

Initial funding of $20,000 will be used for:
- Producing more DVDs of "Five Weeks and Five Days"
- Reprint of the book "Anything is Possible!"
- Costs of distribution to schools and libraries: mailings, etc.
- Travel costs when speaking.

As I said, I've been funding this myself. However, I had an accident that left me with  back, brain and knee injuries and unable to work for several years while I went through rehabilitation.  Personal funds became limited, and I don't want to see this work stopped because of that. I really need your help to continue this important work for inspiring the female half of the population as to what females can do when "unleashed" instead of being told what they can't do because they're female.


* MN Women Business Owners Hall of Fame
* MN Woman Business Owner of the Year
* Governor’s “Entrepreneurship Award” 
* National Assoc. of Women Business Owners " Vision  Award”
* Powerful Women International Connections “Courage Award”

I was a history teacher early in my career, and my passion now is to educate on overcoming stereotypes.


For those who donate to this critical campaign for countering media stereotypes, I am offering great "perks" of either coaching with me, or books that I have written or co-authored (which would make great presents!) as well as copies of the documentary "Five Weeks and Five Days." Please see the description of each perk in each category of donation.

Many of us have daughters and granddaughters, and we need to give them as many strong role models as possible to counteract negative media images. Let’s not let another generation still be living in the world of what Marie Wilson of The White House Project said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Help me spread this powerful and empowering story across the nation, to inspire everyone to see that women are not brainless Barbie dolls but are powerful, intelligent beings who deserve recognition of how strong they really are.

Thank you for your support of this critical campaign to make up for what we don't read in history books!

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$380 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 11 months
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June Caldwell
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