[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith all of the music events that take place for charity, rare is the musical event that is charity itself. Girls Rock Campaign Boston is an organization that is run completely by volunteers dedicated to encouraging girls ages eight to 17 to strap on guitars that they don’t know how to play and write songs that they don’t know they have in them — all in the wonderful spirit of rocktastic liberation and personal expression.
Approximately 60 volunteers per each one-week summer camp session guide these girls along the process of forming a band, writing a song, making a t-shirt, and eventually performing a showcase gig at a place like Brighton Music Hall. Speaking from experience of a parent whose daughter has been there twice (once as a vocalist in Rainbow Fiya and once as a keyboard player in the United), the women who volunteer at Girls Rock Campaign Boston are exactly amazingly caring, smart, accepting and diverse group of feminist role models and DIY mentors that our daughters need.
But running this camp ain’t cheap. It ain’t remotely cheap. And Girls Rock Campaign Boston needs the music community’s help in a variety of ways. The organization is currently wrapping up a fundraiser this week that is critical to making their turn into summer camp season, and it’s not too late to contribute. So far, more than 190 people have donated to the cause, and they are getting close to their goal of $15,000 with a few days remaining.
Yes, money is important to keep the Jamaica Plain-based camp afloat and affordable (they have recently expanded with an after-school program called Club GRCB that could potentially give their organization a year-round base), but money isn’t the only thing in need. In addition to funding and sponsorship, getting the word out is huge.
Girls Rock Campaign Boston isn’t just for the daughters of musician/writers like me — it’s for everybody’s daughters from all walks of life. Expanding the network is critical to the future of the organization. Also, volunteers are always in order! GRCB’s is always seeking passionate, righteous women to volunteer their talents in the domain of teaching girls about how to be good to one another through the process of creating a song. Similar to the very artists that you are reading about on this website, being vital in life is not only being “good” at music.
“While the week is full of instrument lessons and song-writing and learning how to be in a band, its more about building their self-esteem and giving them a space to be loud and speak out and showing them that they can do it even if it seems scary,” says Board of Directors president and volunteer Candice Clement (also of awesome Western Massachusetts band Bunny’s A Swine, who play Roggies on January 4). “I don’t care if they never play an instrument again. But I do care if they take away the ideals that we are teaching — that women should support each other, that girls can play any kind of music they want, that we need to amplify the voices of women and girls to make social change and how to recognize and respond to discrimination.”
In addition to camps for girls, GRCB also offers a Ladies Rock Camp version for grown-ups that encourages the same virtues (sign-up for the next session of that is happening as we speak).
For all of the charitable and laudable virtues that this volunteer-based organization espouses, the main point that I don’t want to be lost in this rave is how good of a camp this is. As a parent of two, I have sent my kids to 10 different camps across Boston, and this is the best. Better than the museum camps, science camps, boating camps, and martial arts camps — for all the right reasons.
GRCB brings together the best of structure (the concert at the end of the week must happen and will happen) and creativity (kids make their own path along the way). So even if you don’t have girls yourself, but know people who do, SPREAD THE WORD! Girls Rock Campaign Boston is pretty much the coolest week-long summer camp in the city.