Ladies Rock Camper Tells All!

Hey Rain City Rock Camp community,

We have two AWESOME events coming up in the next couple of weeks:  First, the Rock Lotto Bands Showcase THIS Saturday (2/17) at The Skylark–we’ve got 7 brand new bands on the bill ready to wow us and put some groove in our weekend.   Second, South Sound Ladies Rock Camp is in just two weeks (3/2-3/4)!  We still have a couple spots open, and we’ve got one of our very own LRC alums here to share why YOU should fill them.

“Hello my name is Jessica Wetter, and being involved with Ladies Rock Camp both as a camper and volunteer has profoundly changed my life for the better, and I want all those who are interested to be able to have a similar life-changing experience!

On the first day of my first LRC, I called the camp director to say I wasn’t going to be able to come, that they could keep my money, that I would volunteer instead and that I was SO SORRY to cancel…. blah, blah, blah! SHEER PANIC. A short while and some smooth-talking later, I was convinced enough to drive down to Theater Off Jackson to “just stay for an hour” to see what it was all like!  I have now done LRC on vocals 2x, drums 1x, guitar 2x, and volunteered ?x. If I had listened to that panic and self-doubt, I would have missed out on so many cool experiences, so much learning, so many amazing connections and laughs, so much fun and so many moments to realize that I could do it!  And I did do it!

With my experience in mind, I have responded to some of the common reasons people say that they ‘can’t’ come to camp.

I can’t afford it

Please talk to LRC registration staff (email [email protected]) if cost is a barrier for you, and let them know where you’re at so LRC can try to get you to camp! Some examples of how LRC can support participants include: sliding scale tuition, a payment plan that you arrange with camp staff, and scholarships made possible by the LRC Community Fund.

Family Obligations

I can only imagine the juggling act that it takes to manage a family’s schedule and obligations. If you can find the resources to take a weekend away for your self improvement, your family will see you face a challenge, learn something new, and conquer scary things! What a model of ferocity you could be!

I’m not musical or I already play music

You’ve never played an instrument before? Perfect!! That is fantastic! LRC will teach you. One of my most favorite things about camp is that I have seen that each person is capable of creating a song with their band at whatever level of experience they have on their instrument! This camp could not exist if it wasn’t possible for brand new musicians to write and perform a song with a brand new band (and have fun while doing it)!

You already know how to play an instrument? Fantastic!  Everyone is somewhere on a musical path, and campers range from no experience to TONS of experience.

Beyond that, LRC is about so much more than the music; it is about expressing yourself, it’s about checking negative cultural conditioning, it’s about practicing supportive collaboration and communication, it’s about community and it’s about getting fierce and being heard!  Music is just a tool to foster some of these things.

I’m an Introvert

It is a busy weekend that is packed with activity and new people, and yet there are some quieter times for listening and reflection.  You can always take a break as you need, keep yourself fueled and hydrated with goodies provided by the amazing food crew or your favorites from home, and feel welcome to do what you gotta do to take care of yourself!

If you have no desire to be in the spotlight, there are ways to work around this, though, ultimately you will be on the stage! Costumes, make-up, and stage-positioning are all ways to side-step the spotlight if needed. Which instrument you pick, what song you create, and how your band delivers it are all aspects of your stage-time that can detract from specific attention on you personally! Get creative!

I’m Scared

I’m guessing most of us have worried about being judged at some point.  What I have learned from LRC is that what YOU think and feel about the song you create with your band is what is important.  Art is subjective, and in the end, all that matters to me is that the creators have expressed themselves, tried their best, supported each other and feel good about what they explored!

I totally understand being scared or worrying about what people might think of you. You are not alone in having those worries! But campers are a diverse group. This is an awesome opportunity, an awesome community and you are going to have an awesome time expressing yourself in a new way!  “It’s about darn time your voice is heard!”

The amount of solidarity and encouragement in this community is what keeps me coming back and keeps me trying new musical things! The environment is so full of kindness, excitement and support; there are many hands holding up each camper as they take flight!”

Feel like giving it a try?  Sign up for South Sound Ladies Rock Camp today!

New Year, New Theme!

This year marks Rain City Rock Camp for Girls’ TENTH year as an organization. That’s ten years of summer camp, ten years of radical thinking and community building, ten years of troubleshooting programs and figuring out how to best carry out our vision.

Over the years, we have tweaked, adjusted, pivoted, changed our method—changed our name, made mistakes, taken risks, tried new roles, formed committees, counted on many, and marched on together. In the throes of hard work or in moments of struggle—as a volunteer or staff member or supporter—we always came back to our mission: to empower girls, women, and gender non-conforming individuals to engage their creative potential through music, champion equity, and thrive in a community of allies and activists.

For 2018, we dreamed of a theme that would embody this sentiment: the value of committing time and energy to make positive change in ourselves and in our community. Thanks to our Teen Leadership Crew, Amplified Teen Voices, that theme fell right into our laps. Without further ado, we present our theme for Rain City Rock Camp’s TENTH year of programming …

Practice makes progress.

This year we are asking ourselves, what does it mean to practice? What is my practice? And, what are we practicing for? We are challenging ourselves to take that thing in our lives – the one that has been subject to procrastination, put on the back burner, or too intimidating in the past – and put it into practice. Knowing that it starts with just a small step, that we might not get it right at first, and at some point we may feel as though we are failing. That is okay. We aren’t striving for perfection. The point is to keep trying—to keep playing that riff, having those tough conversations, or pushing yourself to look in the mirror and say, “you are strong, and you got this.”

In the words of ATV,

“Practice Makes Progress is setting goals, and thinking about what I CAN do.”

“It allows room for error, knowing that progress is not always a straight line.”

“It is making the choice to learn.”

“Practice Makes Progress is making a difference no matter where I am in my process.”

“It is how I set the bar for myself.”

“It is about taking steps.”

“Practice Makes Progress is bringing out into the world what I practice at camp.”

When we practice something, we are choosing where to apply our attention and focus our energy. A practice is a commitment to our beliefs, and a dedication to carrying out our values. We practice to break into habits, see what we are capable of, and actively follow through on our ideas. It takes our time and energy, but we are investing in something bigger. When we commit to our practice, we are committing to ourselves and what we stand for. Why? To witness our growth. To be agents of change. To make progress.

Our first camp had only 39 participants.

By the end of this year, because of the way our community has collectively practiced our mission, we’ve will have served over 2000 women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals. THAT feels a lot like progress.

Thanks to ATV for the great theme, and happy 10th birthday, RCRC community!

New Year, New Staff Member!

Hey everyone!

If we haven’t yet had a chance to meet, I’m Sue, the new Program Director here at Rain City Rock Camp. After four years of volunteering as a bass instructor, band coach, roadie manager, and photographer (and two years as the RCRC Graphic Designer), I am honored and thrilled to be stepping into this role!

I am most excited about moving back into working with a small, vibrant, arts non-profit; before working full-time as a graphic designer, I spent years as the Programs and Publications Manager at 826 Seattle (now The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas) creating and teaching creative writing programs for students ages 6-17 all over the Puget Sound region. That organization, like RCRC, uses creativity as a means to empower young people and encourage potential; I designed workshops on everything from shadow puppetry to break-up songs to explore and expand the boundaries of how our students viewed writing and themselves. As a performing and teaching bassist, building on that curriculum and program development experience musically, especially at RCRC, is a dream opportunity. And I even get to keep doing our graphic design!

A little more about me: I’m originally from Rochester, NY, although I’ve lived in the PNW for about a decade now; I studied bass and jazz/improvisational music at Lawrence University in Wisconsin (although I was an Ancient Greek major); I’ve played bass in a ton of different bands, and now, I mostly play jazz doublebass; My wife Sarah (a Montessori teacher) and I live in West Seattle, where we are lucky to have a killer view of sunrises; my previous job was the graphic designer for the awesome Central Co-op on Capitol Hill; I love pizza, dogs, baseball, and swimming in the ocean.

I can’t wait to work with everyone in this incredible community!

Sincerely,

Sue

Taking Rock Camp out into the World

Dear Fierce & Phenomenal Rock Camp Community,

It is with a happy-sad heart that I am announcing my departure from the Rain City Rock Camp staff. The opportunity to work and serve with such exceptional and passionate co-workers, and amongst a community of enormously caring and committed youth and adults has been life-giving, and quite frankly life-changing in the best way possible. I will miss being surrounded by beautiful, artistic, and tenacious social-justice warriors on the daily! But, the complete infiltration of Rock Camp culture and ethic into every aspect of my life is a gift that I feel fortunate to be able to take with me, and hopefully, spread to more people and places in this world!

From my first time volunteering at Ladies Rock Camp in 2011, I knew that RCRC was a very special organization. Whether in the joyous energy of cartwheels by a camp director welcoming a group of wide-eyed womxn to the “camp way” OR in the thunderous declaration of “WE ARE THE BAND” by hundreds of youth, volunteers, family and friends, Rain City Rock Camp exemplifies extraordinary in every way. Over these past six years, the community has grown in so many ways. We have cultivated a collective mindset to make these amazing opportunities accessible (instructionally, financially and geographically) for MORE girls, womxn and gender non-conforming/non-binary individuals by:

  • Working together to create highly relevant curriculum and leadership guides;
  • Implementing the sliding scale tuition format and launching community sponsorship programs, and;
  • Partnering with locations in the South Sound to amplify our mission.

We have activated and nurtured youth bands that have captivated venue and festival stages, as well as adult “fledglings” to embrace their inner rock stars, so ferociously that they are filling Teaching Artist roles just a few years later. And, in this past year, as we have actually seen threats to our communities rise; we have held our ground, raised our voices, marched, wrote letters, wrote songs, phoned, resisted and shown up for each other AND for our larger community.

As of December, I will be taking up the Managing Director role at Northwest Folklife. I am so excited to continue to create spaces where our communities’ most marginalized voices have a platform to remind us all of our deep cultural roots and of the brilliance that thriving diversity brings to our society. I will also be thrilled to volunteer for, advocate for, donate to and keep expanding community with Rain City Rock Camp. Wherever the future finds me, it will be feminist, fierce and fabulous.

Thank you so much for the love, support and community that has TRANSFORMED and EMPOWERED me to be able to take these next steps in my own journey. And as always, ROCK ON!

With all my heart,

Reese

It’s a Revolution and Everyone is Invited!

Two weeks ago I shared a blog post about the “99 Reasons You Should Volunteer for Rain City Rock Camp this Summer.” The feedback I got was great (if you haven’t read it yet, you should!), and I had various folks approach me hoping to get involved. Among these folks were a number of male-identifying individuals. Their question was generally the same—Can I still volunteer at summer camp even though Rain City Rock Camp provides programming for female-identifying/gender non-conforming individuals?

Absolutely.

The answer is yes! We are working hard to empower female-identifying/gender non-conforming individuals, shatter stereotypes around gender and music, and build a community (and world!) that celebrates creativity, embraces authenticity, and values all voices. A fierce movement like this needs a LOT of support—from everyone. If you want to help us make an impact, we want you to volunteer at Rain City Rock Camp! We have a great group of male-identifying individuals in the RCRC community who show up for us where we need them in a supportive way, and we are SO grateful for their help. In short, this is a revolution and everyone is invited.

Four ways you can show up as a FIERCE male volunteer at RCRC:

First, educate yourself. Take some time to learn about what we do! Chat with a staff member / volunteer, check out our website, read our blog – do your best to understand the space that you are going to be a part of. You don’t have to be a RCRC trivia wizard, but we’d like you to be aware of what we are trying to accomplish as an organization. Tip for success: learn what we mean when we say “Get Fierce.”

Second, sign up & show up! Go to our website, fill out a volunteer application, and, most importantly, show up!

Third, follow our lead. We would love your help where help is needed. Please trust our direction and follow our lead! Understand that many of us have been exposed to the “anything you can do I can do/tell you how to do better” mentality (some might call this mansplaining), and we’ve worked hard to create a space where this doesn’t happen. We welcome you giving us your ideas and feedback, but please be mindful of how you do so.

Fourth, be aware! Understand how your gender plays a role in how you interact with the world, and how the world interacts with you. We love that you identify as a male, we just ask that you be aware of your perspective and its origin.

Bonus! If you want to be an extra-fierce male volunteer, check out these additional tips on how to do so, and feel free to ask us any clarifying questions you might have!

Volunteer Opportunities for Male-Identifying Individuals at Summer Camp:

On board and ready to help? Great! The following volunteer are open to all genders, cis or trans, and do not require any musical experience:

Food Crew

Our fierce food crew prepares breakfast and lunch for approximately 75 volunteers and an afternoon snack for approximately 70 campers. Yes, that is a lot of food, which is why we need a lot of help!

Camp Support Crew

Throughout the week, support crew volunteers are called upon to help with data entry, passing out surveys, on-the-spot job coverage, photography, and other tasks that help everyone have a great day at Summer Camp. This position requires a laptop.

Front Desk/Receptionist

From the front desk, the receptionist helps register campers, check people in and out, monitors visitors, takes phone calls, gives directions, answers questions, and sells Showcase raffle tickets/camp merchandise.

Runner

This volunteer helps out with last minute needs, runs to the store, fills in for other volunteers, and generally offers help as necessary. This position requires both flexibility and a car.

Nurse/Doctor

We need someone who is available throughout the day as a point person for medical emergencies, minor accidents, helping campers with special medical needs, prescriptions, and assisting the receptionist and Mental Health Crew as needed.

Camp Photographer

This individual should be an experienced photographer, and will take candid shots, ID photos for campers and volunteers, camper band photos, lunchtime band photos, large group photographs, and Showcase documentation.

Camp Videographer

We also need an experienced videographer comfortable with shooting video documentation of camp, including interviews and b-roll, and editing footage into short (1-3 minute) clips for social media.

Set-Up! Volunteer

Set Up volunteers help get camp set up on Saturday, July 15. This position includes loading gear into Greenlake Elementary School, putting up posters, organizing swag bags, and more!

Tear-Down! Volunteer

We also need a bunch of volunteers to help clear Greenlake Elementary School of all evidence of cam on July 30. Muscles welcome.

Showcase Volunteer

Showcase volunteers get to hang out at the Crocodile for showcase and help with stage management, merch sales, raffle ticket sales, raffle prize organization, or general set up. We also need people to help get gear from Greenlake Elementary School to the Crocodile the morning of the Showcase (July 22 & 29)

Now that you have all of the information, there is nothing left to do but sign up!

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING RCRC AND WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT SUMMER CAMP!

99 Reasons to Volunteer at Rain City Rock Camp this Summer

Okay, maybe not 99.  But here are the top 10:

1. What we do.

This begs the question…what does Rain City Rock Camp actually do?  In a nutshell, we empower girls, women, and gender non-conforming individuals to engage their creative potential through music, champion equity, and thrive in a community of allies and activists.  Yes, we agree, it is a pretty rad mission. This year we will run 4 weeks of Summer Camp, all sliding scale, all volunteer powered.  Campers come for a weeklong crash course in instrument instruction, songwriting, social justice/empowerment workshops and wacky camp culture.  At the end of the week, campers get to perform their original song with their band at a local live music venue.  In Seattle, this means the Crocodile.

2. Who we do it for.

Youth, 8-17, who identify as girls / gender non-conforming individuals.  We target this audience to shatter stereotypes around gender & music.

3. What camp can do for you.

Summer Camp is about pushing oneself, and that means all of us — campers, staff, and volunteers.  We’ve built a culture that holds us to our highest selves and turns fear into fierce.  We cheer each other on, keep each other accountable, and work together to make something remarkable.  To take ownership of your role as volunteer and then witness the outcome of your efforts — both in yourself and in the campers– is a transformative experience.

4. We need help.

Did I mention that Summer Camp is powered by volunteers?

5. We need YOUR help.

Yes you.  The magic of camp comes from the unique gifts that each of our volunteers offer.  Teach bass, coach a band, move around gear, prepare lunch, rock a weird costume, sell raffle tickets, take candid photos, contribute to a BRAVE, safe space, be an extra cheer in the crowd for our youth. If you have prior music experience, great! If not, your help is equally valuable. We embrace and cherish that which YOU are able to bring to camp.  You are enough to volunteer at summer camp and we want you on our team.

6. Uhh, to say we have a lot of fun is an understatement.  As evidenced by this…

…And this.

…And this too.

7.  Happy Hour 😀

At the end of each day of camp, we reward ourselves by continuing the party 21+ style at a local restaurant to celebrate our success and unleash the laughter.

8.  Meet an incredible community

Lasting friendships are made at Rain City Rock Camp.  Many of our volunteers have been with us since their very first camp experience, have joined bands with other volunteers, and have helped us raise the bar year after year after year.

9.  Be part of our vision.

We envision an equitable world that celebrates creativity, embraces authenticity, and values all voices.  If this resonates with you, please help us realize this vision.

10. #Get Fierce

Our theme for 2017 is Get Fierce. At Rain City Rock Camp, we play our music with pride and we fight for what we believe in. In the face of adversity, we aren’t sitting idly. Instead we are cranking up the volume, amplifying our message, spreading our reach, and calling on YOU to get fierce with us.  Join us.  Sign up.  Volunteer and be the change you want to see in your community.

Your summer camp experience starts here.

This is South Sound Ladies Rock Camp

There were many firsts at the 2017 South Sound Ladies Rock Camp in Tacoma. It was the very first Ladies Rock Camp held outside of Seattle—part of RCRC’s attempt to expand our reach and encourage more individuals to #getfierce with us. For many campers, it was also their first Rock Camp experience – new faces lit up the stage and inspired us all with their fierce willingness to try something new.   Lastly, it was the first Ladies Rock Camp that I would witness as a newly initiated staff member.

I showed up to The Mountaineers in Tacoma around 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon, the second day of camp. It was band practice, and recently written songs still in their infancy echoed throughout the space. The smell of baking cookies wandered out of the kitchen accompanied by bursts of laughter from the food crew within. Wendy, our front desk volunteer, greeted me ever so enthusiastically as soon as I poked my head through the door. So this is rock camp, I thought.

A little later on, Bo Po with Mo (Michelle’s body power workshop) inspired fierce self-love within us, as well as a sense of empowerment throughout the room. As we watched powerful media clips and engaged in activities that challenged us to practice radical body love, I thought, wow, this is rock camp too.

Flash-forward a few hours and the aura of empowerment must have stuck around because I was in a purple wig scream-singing Bonnie Raitt karaoke style as campers and volunteers danced interpretively with feather boas before me. All right then, I thought, this is ALSO rock camp.

The following morning Reese facilitated a fierce session of rock-aerobics and to get everyone hyped for the last day of camp as well as the impending showcase event later that evening. Although nerves were up, Reese had the campers roaring like lions and high kicking the air, which seemed to help. Typical rock camp moment, I thought (I was catching on).

When the evening rolled around, we all reconvened at Jazzbones, a proper dive bar fit to feature only the fiercest of rock bands (also a classic Tacoma venue). I was not quite prepared for the performances that were about to rock my socks off, nor was I expecting the level of inter-camp support I would witness afterwards. These campers had two and a half days to learn an instrument, join a band, write a song with original lyrics, and perform in front of a sizable crowd, and they absolutely killed it. They killed it, and they fiercely supported one another. The cheers that erupted during and after each performance were as inspiring as the songs themselves – a true show of what rock camp is. It was that moment after each band gave it their all and stood beaming on stage while being showered with love that I thought, THIS is Ladies Rock Camp.

Written by: Kate Hall

Fierce Activism

Tired of injustice?  Get fierce.  At Rain City Rock Camp, we believe in more than just getting fired up about what we care about—we believe in doing something about it.  To us, action is fierce, and we want to make taking action more accessible to everyone.  

Activism Made Easier

Intentional activism takes time and energy—it just does.  Whether it is jumping into a last minute rally, moving your social plans around to attend a political discussion, or weeding through social media posts to find ways in which to get involved, staying politically active is a choice and a commitment.  Since RCRC is in it for the long haul, we’ve been brainstorming some activism “hacks” to help us boost stamina so that we can continue to advocate for what we believe in.

  1.     Check Out Our Community Calendar

My Facebook events page is a mess and I often find myself imagining a better way.  The Community Calendar is way for folks to see what is going on in our community in one comprehensive space.  We dream that this will be a platform for events, rallies, discussions, workshops, and anything else relevant to fierce activism.  Go to the events page on our website to review our submission guidelines, submit an event, and check out what is happening.  Special shout out to Jenn Johnson and her magic tech powers for making this happen!

  1.     Keep a Protest Pack Handy

I learned a valuable lesson after dropping my dinner plans to attend a rally that lasted for 5 hours: hanger is real, and can be prevented with proper provisioning.  If you find yourself consistently attending rallies/protests, shave some time off your preparation process by having a “protest pack” ready to go.  Mine includes the following:

  •      Water bottle
  •      Granola bars
  •      Extra sharpies (for sign-making purposes)
  •      Hand warmers
  •      Chap-stick

Resistance does not imply self-deprivation, which brings me to my next point!

  1.     Fierce Self-Care

To effectively make an impact, we believe in showing up as our best, most rockin’ selves and staying awesome.  This takes self-care.  Whether it is making sure you have what you need to stand in the rain at a rally or asking for support when the news has you feeling down, take care of yourself!   Seriously.   We don’t have to be run down and ragged to show that we care about the world.  

How is RCRC Staff Getting Involved?

In any way that we can!  Each week at our staff meeting we share an instance of how we “got fierce,” and support one another in partaking in events that support both our mission and our personal beliefs.  

Additionally, tomorrow we will be honoring International Women’s Day by participating in “A Day Without Women,” a one-day strike demonstration of economic solidarity.  Translation?  We won’t be coming into the office to recognize the justice and human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people.

We understand that choosing not to work on Wednesday is a privilege, and that many individuals do not share this privilege.  Thanks to organizers of The Women’s March and International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled some additional ways in which you can get involved on Wednesday.

  •      Wear RED in solidarity
  •      Strike from paid and unpaid work
  •      Avoid spending money (with exceptions for small, women and minority-owned businesses)
  •      Host a screening of / watch “Embrace,” a documentary on body image (available on iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Video & Google Play for $3.99)
  •      Download and share A Day Without A Woman graphics here.
  •      Tweet and post what you’re striking for on 3/8 using the hashtag #IStrikeFor.
  •      Post a photo of yourself on social media with this caption: “A #DayWithoutAWoman is a day without me.”
  •      Be Bold. Take a Stand. Close the Gap. Read this.

Have Ideas?  Let Us Know!
Our intention is to help one another get involved in ways we are each able to, and in a way that is sustainable.  We welcome all ideas about how to do this, and encourage everyone to submit to our community calendar.  Thank you for reading and stay fierce!

Together, We Are Strong

We are living during an intense time.  As our phones buzz with updates and the internet hemorrhages information fraught with conflicting facts, we are all grappling to both understand and process the sudden political changes.  At RCRC, we are clutching our sense of empowerment and looking at ways in which we can support ourselves, our community, and ultimately that which we believe in most fervently.

More easily said than done?  Yes.  Nonetheless, we are willing to try, and ready to fight.  We’ve recognized that many people are looking for ways to get involved, as well as outlets for support.  Let us support one another and get involved together.

On January 21st, RCRC community members gathered to attend the Seattle Womxn’s March; the feeling was powerful, our message undeniably strong.  We want to continue to empower one another to advocate for what we believe in, and we have a feeling that this is much better done together!  In the spirit of activism in numbers, we will be hosting a monthly event for RCRC community members and friends to gather, grieve, vent, scream, support, and most importantly, take action.

Our next event will take place on February 8 (check it out here).  We will be writing to our senators to let them know what we are passionate about right NOW.  The point is for each of us come up with our own message, based on what we feel is important to us individually.  Whether it’s ending gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women’s health, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, disability rights, environmental justice or anything else.  We see this as an opportunity to assist one another in speaking up, while indulging in the support and love of one another.  During this event, our hope is that we can all put our heads together to come up with an idea for our next RCRC community activism event.

Additionally, as a means to stay informed and engaged, we will also be launching a community calendar.  This will serve as a platform for individuals to post local events, meetings, workshops, protests, etc.  More details are coming soon!

In the meantime, as you find yourself sifting through the news and feeling overwhelmed, we want to remind you that together, we are strong. Whatever reaction you might be having, it is valid.  Whatever emotions are coming up for you, those are also valid.  But we don’t have to experience this alone — we can reach out to one another, lean on one another, lift each other up, and work together to ignite positive change.

RCRC is here for you!

Sweat, Smiles, and Rock n’ Roll: Why I Volunteer for Rain City Rock Camp for Girls

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Drum instruction at Summer Camp

By aNdi pUzL

For some time, I had been searching for an organization to volunteer for, because I wanted to work with children. This is when the universe intervened. My employer was showing the documentary Girls Rock- Claim Your Voice, which is the story of the Rock Camp in Portland.  Being a musician, I was intrigued, and had to check it out. I was blown away. My life changed forever that day. This was the first time I met Jenn Johnson, an RCRC Organizer. After the showing, she talked about how Rock Camp was starting here in Seattle, and that they were going to be looking for volunteers. My heart was in my throat, and I felt an excitement I hadn’t felt before. I knew I had to get involved, whatever that meant! I didn’t care what I did, or where they put me, I just knew this was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to help make a difference and do something meaningful. And the fact that it involved music? Perfect.

IMG_0963
Band coaching at Ladies Rock Camp

Over the last 6 years I have found a family in a community of women that I can’t imagine living without- and am not sure how I ever did before. My roles within camp have progressively changed, but one constant so far is as drum instructor and band coach. My first summer was terrifying, but it was a nervous excitement. I think we all were terrified! I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen, and  it ended up being pure magic. Every year since, I’ve willingly donated a whole week of my own time to be a part of camp. Camp is not easy, but there is no place I’d rather be than right there- not only with the campers, but the other volunteers as well. The excitement is infectious; and the atmosphere is charged. We all band together for a common cause.  The collaboration between everyone, the support, and the camaraderie is beautiful. Not only do we show the girls they have a voice, but the volunteers learn that as well. I know I did.

Lady Rock Camp, Spring 2014 2014-05-11 652
Making new friends

An amazing part of camp is watching the campers who start off shy and unsure of themselves realize throughout the week that they can do or be anything. To see the smiles of confidence and pure joy when the campers learn a drum beat, or pull their songs together feels amazing. There is nothing more rewarding than the act of volunteering. What I give and get out of Camp is worth so much to me. Rock Camp will always have a very special place in my heart.