Now in its third year, Girls Rock Denver is committed to empowering young women through, as co-director Katie Rothery explains "music education, creation, and performance." They do this every summer at a week long program where campers learn to play an instrument, form a band, write an original song, and perform it at a showcase at the Oriental Theater the end of the week. This year's camp runs July 11-16, but the organization still needs volunteers and donations to help these young ladies realize their rock dreams. We asked directors Rothery and Monique Bourdage to tell us five reasons to volunteer with them this year.
5. It's fun and you rock.
Katie Rothery: It is a lot of hard work, but it's actually a really fun thing to be a part of. You're making music and hanging out with a lot of other people who are like-minded
4. To be there when girls realize they can do whatever they want. KR: A huge part of our camp is to build girls' self esteem and self confidence and to show them that they can do anything. I mean, if you can learn an instrument and write a song on that instrument and perform it live and do all that in one week you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to. That's sort of a project of ours. They get out there into the real world maybe when they're adults and perhaps they don't choose to be musicians, but they may remember a time in their childhood when someone told them to take a risk and they have the power to follow through with things and do something awesome.
3. Because building a community of female musicians and music-lovers in Denver is important.
Monique Bourdage: I personally think it's important for the girls to realize that Denver can feel like a really small city and it's certainly not considered by a lot of people to be a music town in the same way that places like Austin or New York or Seattle are considered music towns. But we just think it's important for the girls to get to know people who are female musicians in their own community and realize how much is actually going on locally. Rock stars aren't just people like Lady Gaga and people like that. This person who just taught you how to play the guitar or whatever also has a ton of experience and is accessible.
KR: Something one of the campers told me last year is that until she came to rock camp, she didn't know there was anyone else like her in the world. She said at rock camp she found at least 30 other girls who were just like her who liked music and liked rocking out and that was a really empowering thing for her. And it works for the volunteers, too. You get into this community where you didn't realize there were that many women in Denver who care about these things. And it's really cool to find out that there are so many that do.
2. Because you wish that you could have gone to rock camp when you were a kid.
KR: One of the biggest reasons I'm involved in the organization is that I wish that something like this had been around when I was a little girl. I went to stuff like girl scout camp and science camp but I think rock camp would have been awesome. I know some of the ladies at our volunteer training mentioned that they didn't pick up an instrument until much later in life until they'd really come into their own and they were thinking reflectively if they had picked up an instrument at 8 years old instead of 22, wow. How freaking awesome would they be now?
MB: I didn't get to go to rock camp until I was 30 and I went to Ladies Rock Camp in Portland and it was awesome. So it's the same thing. Imagine how much more awesome things would have been if I'd have gotten to go at 8 instead of 30.
1. Once the girl power of rock camp enters your soul, it never gets out.
MB: That's quoting one of our returning campers.
KR: It is. Her name is Molly, and she was nine years old when she said it.
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To find out more about Girls Rock Denver, visit their website. To volunteer or donate, check out the list below of open positions and gear they still need; shoot them an email. Specific gear Girls Rock Denver is still looking for includes:
- Bass Amps
- 5 piece drum kit
- Keyboard stand
- Microphone stand
- Effects pedals
- Power strips
- Guitar cases
- Guitar straps
Volunteer positions that still need to be filled:
- Band Coach
- Bass Instructor KR: "It would be co-instructing with a couple other volunteers. They'd be working with girls who are mostly beginners. Age group is 8-17. And that time commitment is from 8:45 a.m. until 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.
- Roadies KR: "We need just a handful of them on Sunday the 10th to help load in gear and the Friday evening at camp from 4-6 to help us load out."
KR: "They offer the technical expertise to help the girls write an original song together as a band. So we want somebody female-identified who has music experience, and preferably someone who's been in a band before and has some songwriting experience. The time commitment for the band coach is 12:45 till 6 Monday through Friday, and then we'd like them to be there all day for the Saturday showcase."