Help the Girls Rock Institute!

Girls RockThe Girls Rock Camp is an organization in Portland, Oregon, that runs a week-long summer camp for girls focusing on musical instruction and self-reliance. They are now starting a year-long after school program called the Girls Rock Institute which offers programs similar to those at the camp, only all year round. And their fledgling library needs materials. They are looking for all kinds of donations, so those of you in bands might want to send your cds to the library collection.

For the last three years the Girls Rock Camp has run a week-long summer camp for girls focusing on musical instruction and self-reliance. They’ve gotten quite a bit of national press, so you might have heard of the camp. (Incidentaly, they have a concert at the end of camp every year, and it is apparently mind-blowing to be in the presence of those girls. They do rock.)

The folks at Girls Rock Camp are now starting a year-long after school program. It’s called the Girls Rock Institute. The Institute is new this year, serves girls 10-18, and offers programs similar to those at the camp, only all year.

And they have a new library. This fledgling library needs materials. Please consider making donations yourself, or ask your music library or musician friends if they can donate.

They want:

1. cds

2. all kinds of music magazines (you can sponsor a subscription)

3. books, of any kind, but especially:

• sheet music for guitar, bass, vocals, drums and keyboards (in books or loose)

• biographies of musicians, bands, writers, other artists and performers

• music business, publishing, copywriting, touring, managing, media relations

• technical books (i.e. electronic repair, audio recording)

• how-to/craft books (i.e. woodworking, photography, sewing, book making, web/graphic design)

• journalism & creative writing

• women’s studies & self-care (i.e. health, first aid, self-defense, yoga, etc.)

• an encyclopedia set (newer than 5 yrs old) and a dictionary

They’re also looking for office supplies, furniture, and library materials of all kinds. The initial donation drive is from Dec 1-15, and if you’re in Portland you can drop things of at various sites throughout town. Call or email the Girls Rock Camp for details. Their contact info is:

8900 “A” NE Vancouver Way

Portland, OR 97211


The Girls Rock Camp is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. More information about the Girls Rock Institute can be found on the organization’s website, or by writing/calling at the address above. They would love a major donation from a music library or a music fan’s personal collection, and would be happy to accept it after Dec. 15.

When asked if they really want people to send them their random, unwanted cds, Executive Director, Misty McElroy told Glorious Noise, “The library coordinator will handle the review of the cd’s – you just never know what treasure might come along!” Unfortunately, we know all too well what kinds of treasure might come along, ha ha.

If you don’t want to give up any of your own personal music library, you can still help: “We do have a scholarship program, both for the summer camps and the after-school sessions. So we’re desperate for monetary donations since 59% of our girls attend for free,” says McElroy. “We’re also hosting a Ladies Rock Camp April 16-18, which costs $300 and is a fundraiser specifically for the scholarship program. Applications will be up this week; info online. So spread that gospel, too!”

So please forward this info to anyone you think will be interested.

9 thoughts on “Help the Girls Rock Institute!”

  1. I work for a company called Disc Makers (coincidentally, we make CDs). We recently made a CD for this camp. I think at the end of the year, they make like a compilation CD with the girls performing various covers and songs that they wrote on it. Anyway, that’s it.

  2. I’m surprised there is no mention of Sleater-Kinney, who I heard was behind the Girls Rock Camp. This is cool because I had a big stack of CDs that I was going to take to Flat, Black and Circular here in Lansing. But I would love to support the girls’ rock camp. Matter of fact, one of the CDs I’m getting rid of is Television- Marquee Moon, which I think sucks, but I know for a fact that Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney is a big Television fan and said that Television’s favoring of melodies over chords really influenced her style. So I’m imagining the girls’ rock camp getting my Television CD in the mail and myself possibly winning a date from Carrie Brownstein. Unfortunately, I would not be able to accept Carrie Brownstein’s date offer because I no longer believe in her ability to rock, because S-K’s show in Detroit last year was sooooo shitty.

  3. I find this pretty interesting. I think it raises a number of questions about gender and rock n’ roll. Why do chicks need a camp to learn how to rock? Why aren’t there more girls who are putting out rock? Is there something inherent in rock that comes from “male-ness?” It seems like the roots of rock in the blues where it was mostly a male exclusive affair, with a few notable exceptions simply carried over into rock. Have things changed so little since then? It doesn’t seem like it. Rock remains a boys club for the most part. Is there an invisible wall to the entrance of such a club that has a “boys only, unless you are hot” sign tacked onto it? I don’t know. I think that rock doesn’t see its gender issues as a problem, and maybe its not. I think that a camp like this just represents the differences between male approach to rock, where gender doesn’t play any role, and the female approach, where gender is inherent in what rock means to them: otherwise the camp would be for boys and girls.


  4. No for profit, but 300$ to “register”? Maybe I am just mean, but donate to sierra club or something worthy instead. I mean music is a wonderful thing, and I like to see it spread around, especially to the less fortunate, but wtf….

  5. The militant feminist in me only seems to breathe when I catch wind of these camps – and there was even one in my hometown a few summers back. Thesemodernsocks brought up a very good point – why focus so much on the gender discrepancies of the music with such a camp? Make it for everyone. If girls are afraid to rock, they shouldn’t be taught in an environment that makes it okay because they’ve all banded together against the big, bad wolves. I was the only female trumpeter for years in elementary/junior high band and I didn’t see anything wrong with it because no one stressed my gender above my abilities. So why raise girls to be so conscious? Boys are not the devil. The corset is.

  6. My Daughter participated last summer. I’m the dad, and yet, I still got it. I almost wanted to cry everytime I went in there. It was great to see the girls and young women gathering their strength in a safe place before going out and trying it out on the world. The music industry is built to grid people down, only the strongest and most driven make it. Allowing girls, (who’ve been excluded, by their boyfriends who take over when they’re trying to play and the society that thinks only guys can really rock) to get a head start is a beautiful thing. What you’re saying is akin to saying that girls shouldn’t study self defense unless they are already tough enough to kick some ass. Huh? Finally, i really believe that [giving] $300 to send a kid there, or send your wife there, is just as good for the planet as giving to greenpeace. This is another nail in the coffin of the Patriarchy that’s fucking up our world. If you have to ask, you’ll never know.

    Rock On!


  7. I also sent my nine year old daughter there last summer and am sending her again every year she wants to go–I can’t wait for her little sister to be old enough too!

    I agree with the previous poster that there is a real need for girl’s only space. Many girls are taught that they aren’t supposed to do a lot of the stuff you need to do to rock out: be loud, take up a lot of space, jump around, show off, be sexy, be powerful, be angry or silly or whatever in public–and by the time they hit puberty, they really want to make sure to avoid doing any of that in front of boys. Even girls socialized in feminist homes get the message at school and from the rest of society.

    Further, just because boys aren’t allowed there does not mean they are villified–not at all. The most touching thing I saw was that many of the girls at the camp seemed to be accompanied by their rock and roll dads, the most devoted roadies ever–guys who know what a boys club it can be and want their girls to rock out. There was no bashing, no sense that girls were weak or boys were mean and scary.

    The other thing is that I suspect that the posters who were appalled at the price may not have children. The girls attend the camp for over 45 hours, including getting ready for the show, etc. Hourly, that’s about six bucks an hour, two bucks an hour cheaper than my babysitter! The actual cost of what they do is way more than that, and as far as summer camp goes, it is very very reasonable.

    That said, I can’t stand people insinuating that they are somehow doing this for profit or that someone’s getting rich off this. It was a labor of love and they all worked their asses off! Not only were they wonderful and professional and organized, they really saw and appriciated my kid for who she is–quirky and brilliant and amazing. And they had it together enough to deal with her chronic health problem without a hitch.

    A good resource about what happens to girls and why they need stuff like rock camp is the book Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. Check it out and rock on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *