Anyone who has ever banged the drums or rocked a guitar in a band knows how important having a role model, or two, can be. For ladies, those options are more limited, but a summer camp and customer at one of our Southern California storage locations is working to change that.Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Orange County offers a series of workshops that teach girls and women to play an instrument, form a band, write a song and perform that song by the last day of camp. The camp also wants to help women break stereotypes and to teach them to better express themselves.
The camp’s drums, guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, bongos, microphones and PA systems get rolled out of storage every summer to be picked up by girls and women age 7 and up.
“The goal of the rock camp is for girls to grow and learn something new. It’s a challenge to create something with three other people you’ve never met before and doing something you’ve never done before,” said program volunteer Cat Mendez.
“But we try to make them feel comfortable and be who they are. We encourage them to stand up for what they want and tell us what they need,” said fellow volunteer Melissa Riggs.
The camp was launched in 2013 by Candace Hansen, a drummer who attended a similar program in Portland, Oregon. She spent a year building a team of volunteers, developing a program, and fundraising through crowdsourcing.
There are two camp tracks. Girls ages 7 to 17 attend for a week. For women 18 and over, the experience is compressed into a weekend to accommodate job schedules. To make it accessible for everyone, enrollees pay only what they say they can afford, up to $325.
The camp is a member of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international nonprofit coalition of organizations whose shared mission is to empower girls and women through music education.
The Orange County rock camp program also includes workshops in self-defense and body image and one titled “Women Who Rock”, designed to introduce the girls to female role models.
As for the parents, they get to see their girls do more than just have fun at summer camp. They see them learn and gain a sense of empowerment. “A lot of the parents wish they had something like this when they were a kid,” said Melissa. “Many of them come back and attend the ladies camp!”
Check the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls website for dates and details.