Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls

Girls Rock! Camp

Girls Rock! Camp is a week-long summer day camp program for girls aged 8 to 18. The program offers instrument instruction, workshops, songwriting/band practice, live performances by visiting artists, and culminates in a showcase concert. Two summer camp session are held each summer.

Campers receive two hours of instruction each day on selected instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals, DJ/turntables), in semi-private groups organized by skill level and age. All classes are taught by volunteer women musicians.

On the first day, campers form bands, and during daily band practice, campers write music and lyrics collectively, assisted by band coaches. Campers also attend workshops on topics ranging from songwriting to sound engineering to self-defense.

Campers gain first-hand exposure to professional women musicians through performances and workshops. Past visiting artists include Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Kathleen Hanna, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Kimya Dawson, and Martha Wainwright.

At the end of the camp week, camper bands perform their original songs at a showcase concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, cheered on by an audience of 500+ people.

Campers do not need prior musical experience and tuition is sliding scale. Prospective campers submit applications and a review committee forms a camper group that is diverse in age, income, race/ethnicity, and instrument. To ensure that girls from a range of economic backgrounds are served, Rock Camp offers reduced tuition to at least half of participants, using a sliding scale based on household income. The camp conducts outreach to underserved communities across NYC, and more than half of campers identify as young women of color.

The summer camp is almost entirely volunteer-powered, with approximately 120 volunteers – including professional women musicians, classroom teachers, lawyers, designers, visual artists, social workers, marketing and public relations professionals — participating in each summer camp session. Volunteers serve as informal mentors, provide instrument instruction, lead camp workshops, and work with camper bands as coaches.

For information about other programs and services for girls, click here.