How Did This Summer’s Camp Go?
Monica: We had a blast at camp this year! Our 30 campers aged 8-17 formed 8 bands and each wrote and performed an original song at the end of a week. We taught 10 workshops and had 15 adult volunteers. Some of our volunteers came from as far away as Fairbanks and Portland to share this intense musical experience. There’s no way to ever fully explain what Rock Camp is like in a paragraph or in an article. So many of the things that happen during that week seem like normal social interactions when they happen occasionally throughout life. But there is something about putting a group of strangers together and asking them to dig deep into their core and throw away their fears and nerves, and learn a new instrument in front of strangers, and then co-write a song with those new people who will feel like friends within a matter of a few days.
There are campers who have played multiple instruments for years sharing the stage with others who have never performed or never even knew what a bass guitar was until Monday morning!
They all learn to be comfortable with their own skill level and rate of progress and stop the petty comments and competitive attitude that they often see on television music shows. They are allowed to be loud, and encouraged to just go try a new instrument at lunchtime and see what they think about it. It rarely feels like a classroom and often looks chaotic from the outside, but the amount of work these campers accomplish in a week is impressive. Two of the phrases that we found ourselves saying a lot that week were, “If you have a question, the answer is most likely yes.” and “Expect to be respected.” When that is how you start out Monday morning of a summer camp you are bound to have 30 smiling faces and a successful showcase at the end!
Monica: Here are a few quotes. I think that they express it better than I could.
“I have never said my opinion out loud so much in one week!” – a thank you card from a camper.
“I don’t want this camp to end, who am I going to discuss this stuff with next week?” – teen camper.
“Thank you for changing my life.” – adult volunteer on the final day of camp.
“I don’t understand why kids at school make fun of me for ‘being a girl’. I go fishing, I ride 4-wheelers, I can use a bow and arrow…. but when I point that out to the boys at school who are making fun of me they say, ‘Well your fish probably isn’t as big as ours.’ When is it going to be enough?” – 9 yr old camper
A camper attended another camp in Alaska after ours, and called their mom on the first day and said, “But mom, I thought it was going to be more supportive and encouraging, like Girls Rock Camp was!!”
“I have never felt so respected by an entire group of people.” – camper
Monica: While we know that girls are vastly underrepresented in music and media careers, we also believe that it is important to include both boys and girls in the discussion of equality and how to use original music as a way to express their opinions about the struggles they face in the world. We discussed the possibility of offering programs for boys and families with the campers at our Girls Rock Camp this year and they overwhelmingly thought that their brothers and classmates could benefit from the same types of empowerment workshops and music instruction.
We will keep the Girls Rock Summer Camp model pretty much the same for the next few years, just increasing the number of campers who are able to attend and the number of scholarships we can offer each year, but we will be adding a couple other programs throughout the school year that are available to the whole family! Here is a list of our program descriptions. We will be available to talk about all these programs at our booth at Salmonfest in August and registration for the fall programs will be available on the website very soon. List Of Program Descriptions