In Brooklyn, there’s a summer day-camp called the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. That’s right. Girls from eight to eighteen learn to write songs, play instruments, and to “rock out.” Just like School of Rock — but for girls only. And indeed, music has such a wide appeal — why should rocking out be just for the boys? My friends in other parts of the country laughed when I told them about my discovery — “only in New York,” they said, or more specifically from those who knew New York well, “only in Williamsburg.”
It turns out the movement to bring rock music to girls started in Portland, Oregon at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. Today, there are camps popping up all over the U.S and in countries like England and Sweden.
In March, Girls Rock!, a documentary by Arne Johnson and Shane King will open in theaters nationwide. They profile the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, and focus on four students at the camp:
The primary subjects of Girls Rock! are Laura, an articulate adopted Korean obsessed with death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth-addiction, homelessness and gang activity; Palace, a sweet-seeming 8-year-old with a heavy metal sneer, and Amelia, who’s writing a 14-song cycle about her dog Pippi. Forming bands, writing songs and playing a gig in one week, these girls and the rest of the camp engage in an experiment in empowerment that will leave no-one unchanged.
Check out the Girls Rock! website for more information about where it will be playing near you — and to learn more about programs that might be available in your area. And until then, rock on!