Girls do rock, thank you very much, but a lot of young girls miss that message, especially in middle school and high school, when social anxieties run highest and can have the most lasting effect on their lives. That’s where Girls Rock RI comes in. The weeklong summer camp (which is running again this year in July and August, with culminating performances at the Columbus Theatre) is about teaching girls not just the fundamentals of music, but of rocking out, on stage and in life. “We hope that by challenging themselves through music creation and collaboration, campers will be better able to develop healthy identities and see other girls as potential partners rather than competitors,” says Hilary Jones, founder of the RI branch of Girls Rock (there are 60 across the country).
Much of their curriculum is focused on empowerment and personal development. Every day at the camp includes workshops like: The History of Women Who Rock; Screenprinting and Band Art; Image and Identity; Performance Anxiety and Body Confidence; Media Literacy; Self-Defense; and Zine-making. “By doing what seems unthinkable (even to most adults) by learning an instrument, joining a band, writing a song and performing it live in front of 500 people – all in five days – campers can take the confidence they’ve gained and transfer it to other ‘unthinkable’ opportunities in the future,” she explains. It’s a philosophy that, quite frankly, rocks.