When I was growing up, my parents (well, it was probably more my mother’s idea) sent me to Bible summer camp. We were Lutheran and the Lutherans didn’t have camp, so I got sent to the local Baptist church camp, which I’m sure is partially responsible for my fine moral upbringing (lol). I am not going to diss Bible camp because I always enjoyed getting away from my family for seven glorious days each summer, living in a tent with strangers, making crafts with Popsicle sticks, the scary campfire stories, and I got my first kiss from a boy at Bible camp! Good stuff—except nowadays I absolutely abhor camping and crafts!
If I were a kid today though, I would be bucking for my parents to send me to Rock ’n’ Roll Camp For Girls, a weeklong camp where girls ages 8 to 17 take up rock music instruction, form a band, write an original song, and perform it live at a real venue attended by hundreds of adoring fans! How cool is that?
The very first Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls Summer Camp took place in August 2001 in Portland, Oregon, and today this organization is going strong, with four weeks of summer camps. The Girls Rock Institute also provides after-school music programs for girls, rehearsal space, and a recording studio. They even have a movie—watch the movie trailer and you’ll wish you got to attend when you were a girl. The goal of this nonprofit organization is to foster leadership and self-esteem for girls through music education and performance. Music to my ears!
As more girls’ rock camps started forming around the U.S. and also around the world, the Portland Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls formed the Girls Rock Camp Alliance to set the standards and today there are 20 Girls Rock Camp organizations worldwide and I’m excited to say that one of them is right here in Columbus, Ohio!
As a fund-raiser, they have a Ladies Rock Camp twice a year, where women ages 21 to 100 (not sure why they decided to cut off attendance after age 100?) can have the same experience as the girls but crammed into three days. This year the Ladies Rock Camp will be held in Portland, Oregon, on May 21-23 and October 22-24, 2010. If you’ve ever wanted to be in a rock band (who hasn’t?) and meet cool women (who doesn’t?), then this is the place for you.
I spoke to a veteran of Ladies Rock Camp, Leslie Yeargers, and she said, “It was one of the most amazing experiences—number one because I thought I could never do it, and number two because it was so much fun! The camaraderie and the support of the band coaches and other women is so powerful.” Leslie always loved the bass guitar but didn’t pick one up to play until she was in her early forties and wanted to do something creative again. She explained to me that when she was growing up, girls were not encouraged to play rock instruments, and then as an adult, she felt she had missed her opportunity to learn an instrument. She got a bass guitar as a gift from her husband, started taking lessons, found Ladies Rock Camp, and hasn’t looked back. Today Leslie is a volunteer bass instructor and band manager with the summer camps, as well as the participant coordinator for Ladies Rock Camp and has sent her two daughters to Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls. What a great story and lesson that it is never too late to pick up and do something you’ve always wanted to do!
Now I really want to go to Ladies Rock Camp! Do you think my mom will let me? (Hint, hint…girls, honey…this would make a great step-monsters day gift!)
Interested in Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls and how you can get involved? You’ll find more details on the Pay It Forward page.