When you wanna rock 'n' roll, you'll find a way to do it. It's one of the reasons why Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls has launched into the success it has — with its focus and mission to remove hindering barriers, others can learn and play music freely.
The premise behind the program is to provide education, encouragement, even guidance for young individuals who love music but may not have had an opportunity to explore the making of it all. There's no doubt female musicians can shred just as much as anyone else, but there's still a lot of overcoming to do — in and out of the music world.
When factoring how most media industries are still dominated by the male counterpart — we're especially talking about the ratio of male to female producers, executives, record label managers — programs such as this aim to level the playing field. It's a designated place where young girls can seek mentorship, ask questions and just express themselves. It's something Marmoset believes in full-heartedly, so there was no second guessing when extending support to their mission.
Sponsoring Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls means partaking in a more hands on way within the community. It means sharing our commitment for making music to a whole new level — branching out and sharing the stage with others. Kristi Balzer, the camp's Executive Director shared with us why she believes the program has been so successful nationwide.
"I believe the mission of Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls continues to strike a chord with women, girls, and gender expansive folk across the globe because there is still a real need for safe spaces," says Balzer. "Where you not only can explore your creative endeavors, but also where you feel like you are part of community that supports you and encourages an open dialog around and tools for combating social injustice. Rock Camp is a revolution, empowering it's community to amplify their voices to create a just and safe world for everyone, and that has a powerful impact on all of us."
Another great quality about the program is how attendees don't even need to admire rock 'n' roll music; from hip hop to folk, all genres can be pursued and are explored freely. And no instrument? No problem. The camp is equipped to lend campers the necessary tools to participate and learn — no one is left out.
The camp might seem unimportant to those who never have faced any sort of societal pressure to be or act a certain way due to their gender. Or perhaps some reading this may be lucky enough to have never had to prove their worth due to being a minority in a group/classroom/team/career field. But just because someone hasn't experienced such an obstacle firsthand or can't identify with such experiences, doesn't mean their neighbor hasn't. It's a legitimate cause for why Rock 'n' Roll Camp continues championing change in the community; Balzer even notes the real impact she's seen occur with attendees.
"I hear from parents every summer how transformative this camp has been for their kiddos," says Balzer. "I hear the phrase 'she really came out of her shell this week' a lot. Because we've been around nearly 20 years, we also have adults who are involved with Rock Camp today, who essentially grew up attending camp, and their lives too have invariably been shaped by their experience in Rock Camp."
So how can you contribute to the program's initiative alongside Marmoset's sponsorship? Balzer mentions the camp is currently in a growth phase, meaning, there's a huge focus on launching new programming to serve the youth beyond the Portland Metro area. With their goal of setting up a permanent residence in a building of their very own, the program is always seeking donations through their Donor Drum Circle.
Those interested can sign up to make an automatic monthly donation via the camp's website at www.girlsrockcamp.org/donate. It's the support from the community that helps programs such as this flourish, therein extending opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn't have this kind of access to creativity and education.
"As a parent of two girls myself, I can also personally attest to the power of what we do at Rock Camp," says Balzer. "I truly believe my girls will grow up to be strong advocates for themselves and for others, be more tolerant and more likely to try new things because they are a part of the Rock Camp community."
(*Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls welcomes all campers who self-identify as female, trans, or gender non-conforming to apply to be a camper at Rock’n’Roll Camp For Girls.)