Girls + Rock ‘n’ Roll + Self-Confidence = Triple Threat of Success

As a kid, I could not wait for that final bell to ring on the last day of school. I remember dreaming about days spent lounging by the pool, hanging out with friends, and not having any responsibilities. Oh, to be a kid again.

Now, as a parent, I have to admit I got a feeling of dread as this past summer approached. What was I going to do all season to keep my kid occupied? Surely, she can’t just sit in front of the TV all day long. Or can she?

For parents, summer is a time when we have to buckle down and organize the chaos that is about to ensue. We want to be sure that our kids will thrive and continue to learn without being in the classroom. It’s never too early to look into getting your child into a program next summer that will enhance their knowledge in a subject of interest.

Your kid will be continuing to learn something they love, while you don’t have to worry about keeping them busy. It’s a win-win for everyone! Camps and programs fill up fast, so as this summer comes to a close I recommend starting your research for next year!

Let’s talk about music camps. Tons of kids and teens are eager to learn how to play an instrument. Musicians still have that rep of being the “coolest” individuals out there. A simple Google search could show you the many different music camp offerings in your area. I found Arrowbear Music Camp and California Coast Music Camp, among others. However, there is one camp in particular that really stood out to me called Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls.

Four teen girls

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls vision statement is as follows: “We envision a world where girls and women collaborate with one another, instead of competing with each other; a world where we have broken down boundaries of age, economics, and culture; a world where girls lift each other up instead of putting each other down; a world where music is an intergenerational activity.”

Young girls who show an interest in music get a lot of flack from their male peers and women, in general, are very underrepresented in the music industry. There are a lot of female performers, but far fewer women at the top, in producer and executive roles. This camp’s mission is to narrow that gap, and also teach girls about self confidence, body positivity, and how to analyze mainstream media’s portrayal of women.

Only 5% of the people creating the sound and media in our lives are women.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls hosts a week-long Girls Rock Camp each summer (usually in July). The camp is open to all girls and non-binary youth ages 7-17, is held at the Santa Ana Unified School District, and enrolls around 70-90 campers each year.

Melissa Riggs, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Girls Rock Camp, explains how the camp educates girls on self-image:

We have a variety of women and non-binary folks who volunteer with the organization, who all have different talents and skills, which the campers get to see and work with. We also run a number of workshops that teach anti-bullying and how to interpret and critically analyze mainstream media, and we have done various workshops focusing on body positivity and identity. We eat lunch with our campers so that our campers can see real women eating food and nourishing their bodies. We are intentional with the words that we use. For example, we compliment campers on their curiosity and growth over their clothing, and we welcome a variety of perspectives in the body positivity movement.”

The day camp runs Monday through Friday and involves learning an instrument, forming a band, writing a song, and attending workshops. It all culminates with the girls playing a show on Saturday. Melissa says the workshops include songwriting and screen printing. In screen printing, girls create logos and band names and print them on t-shirts.. “Most of the other workshops fluctuate, but others included self defense, media literacy, world music, history of women who rock, body image and identify, and zine making,” Riggs continues.

Teen girl writing in her notebook

Combining rock ‘n’ roll music with positive role models and confidence-boosting workshops sounds like a triple threat of success to me! I asked some of this summer’s campers what advice they would give to other girls who desire to play an instrument, but are nervous about taking the leap. The responses I got are like a symphony of super-powered sisterhood:

“Don’t worry about your fears! You just need to think for yourself and not worry about what other people think. What’s the worst that can happen? No matter what happens to you you will have so many people supporting you. You are beautiful in your own way! So many musicians got noticed for being beautifully different! You are who you are!” – Mira

“There is nothing to be afraid of if you want to make your dreams come true. There is no such thing as fear. Do whatever you believe is right and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be what you want. It’s your life, you choose which path to take and you will never be afraid again.” – Eleesia

“If you’re too afraid to express yourself through music in front of others but truly desire to, the most important thing is to keep the mindset of mainly playing for yourself. Don’t worry how others will feel or grasp it, just play what’s true to your heart. Every time you play, you can imagine yourself at your most comfortable setting and focus on the notes, chords, and melodies you’ve created. Always applaud yourself for your creations and accomplishments, because you’re all truly amazing.” – Zeniah

If you have any questions about Girls Rock Camp, ask me in the comments section below! Or check out http://www.girlsrockoc.org for more info.

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