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