Published on July 18th, 2014 | by Girls Rock Charleston Junior Counselors0
A Counselor’s View: An Inside Look at Girls Rock Charleston
By Delany Chariker, Megan Dovel, Mariana Eadie, Abigail Farrior, Mikayla Fuller, Chantal Pinckney, Tiffany Rodriguez, Cinnamon Seagers, Riley Steward, Zoë Wright
Photos by Delany Chariker and Tiffany Rodriguez
Metronome Charleston was asked by Girls Rock Charleston if we could provide any insight in music journalism for their junior counselors who were interested in writing an article about their camp. We sent over a tip sheet, and they in turn sent us an article to publish. A win-win, if you ask us. We’re fans of the camp (and many of its counselors) and their message, so it’s an honor to be a part of it!
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Girls Rock Charleston (GRC) is an organization with a strong central message of empowerment and acceptance. A day of camp begins with a morning assembly to start the day off with a bang, followed by instrument instruction and workshops. After a break for lunch and a musical performance, the day is ends with band practice and afternoon assembly. Girls Rock Charleston is more than just a camp — it is a community.
The mission and message of Girls Rock is simple: to empower and educate young girls and transgendered youth through music. But what does that mean? Basically, we want to see a world in which no one judges or discriminates against anyone else. We try to help youth realize that they can be whoever they want to, and we will accept them without question. By dancing, learning how to play instruments, and being a part of a positive environment, this camp makes people feel welcome and allows them to just be themselves.
Here at camp, we have volunteers from all over Charleston who strongly support the program. These volunteers are so dedicated that some even take time off work to interact and aid the campers. Camp is a very colorful, active place every day. Therefore, there is never a moment that anyone could feel bored or alienated, all due to these wonderful volunteers.
The volunteers are the people who operate behind the scenes and make sure that every camper is feeling up to speed and ready to rock! We interviewed one of our lovely volunteers, Cory Steglin, who found out about this program through Starbucks. “I saw a flyer on the corkboard in Starbucks and thought it was pretty interesting. Starbucks flyers actually work.” When asked what Girls Rock Camp is about, she said, “There is definitely more to it. Of course, it’s pretty great that they get to learn how to play instruments and create songs, but we teach them things that can be carried throughout their whole life.”
Volunteers constantly maintain an accepting, understanding attitude to better serve the campers. It’s a typical thought that to be a volunteer, you must know how to play an instrument — that is false. Steglin openly admitted that the last time she touched an instrument was when she was about 9 or 10. This just shows that anyone willing to promote the overall message of GRC is welcome to be a part of it. This program is centralized around the participants, but we certainly give a big thanks to those who put in time to help at camp.
The grassroots workshop was led by a variety of different counselors and guests and focused on social justice issues. We discussed everything from racism to sexism to classism to homophobia and how these four issues relate to each other. Campers participated in exercises like scenarios and role-playing to prepare them for situations in which they may encounter oppression of any kind. Discussions on tactics for challenging oppression and raising awareness were also led.
It’s here, the moment all the campers have been waiting for — band practice! All campers get to meet their band members, coaches, and counselors. Band practice is truly the highlight of camp. All campers must create an original song by Friday, the last day of camp, and they perform at the Girls Rock Charleston showcase on Saturday. They also must come up with a band name, logo, and song title.
There are a lot of tasks that must be completed at band practice. It involves teamwork, time management, accepting, listening, speaking, and motivation. Campers are given so much freedom to create whatever kind of song they want. It’s a very fun time for campers to be with their bands, making lifelong friendships.
We interviewed two campers at Girls Rock Charleston. One camper was new and had no idea what she was getting into.
Junior Counselors: What brought you to Girls Rock Charleston?
New Camper: My therapist suggested it, and I said, “Why not?”
JC: What was your first impression of Girls Rock Charleston?
NC: Everyone was very welcoming and warm like a big hug; fantabulous!
JC: How has Girls Rock Charleston changed you musically?
NC: It made me feel that all the instruments are needed in a band. If something is missing, it doesn’t sound as good. There is no extra “umph!”
JC: What were your expectations coming into camp?
NC: To make new friends and learn how to play an instrument, which I did.
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The other camper we interviewed had been here since the beginning.
Junior Counselors: How has Girls Rock Charleston changed you musically?
Returning Camper: I can play drums, pay more attention to radio music, and appreciate the effort that goes into making music.
JC: How many years have you been a part of GRC?
RC: Four years.
JC: Any advice for younger campers?
RC: Never give up, and keep at it.
JC: What’s the difference between first year at camp and this year?
RC: I didn’t know anything and was here with no purpose … drifting in the sea of rock Girls Rock Charleston has given me a coat and a paddle to direct where I go in the sea.
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After a week of camp at Girls Rock Charleston, a showcase is held to give the campers a chance to show-off their new musical knowledge and talent. The concert also offer campers a opportunity to gain confidence and step outside their comfort zone while performing a song they wrote with their newly-formed bands.
This year’s show will be held on July 19 at 3 p.m. at the Sottile Theater. Doors open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, and everyone is encouraged to come rock out to some great music.
The bands performing include Electric Fireworks, American Glitter Warriors, Electric Rainbows, Neon Lightning, JAVME, Free the Fierce, Torn Skies, Tooth Decay, Hardcore Shreds, Deadlocked Verdict, Fierce Betrayal, and Global Village.
Visit girlsrockcharleston.org for more.
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