Gainesville Girls Rock Camp returns for 4th year

by Chelsea Carnes, Director of Gainesville Girls Rock Camp

GGRC is a summer camp that uses music and performance as a platform to promote self-esteem, community, and creative self-expression in girls aged 9-17 in Gainesville.

The Girls Rock Camp began on the west coast in 2000 and has spread around the world with hundreds of camps as far away as Brazil and Sweden. The Gainesville Girls Rock Camp got rolling in 2013 by local musicians Chelsea Carnes and Jennifer Vito. The camp is volunteer run by an entirely woman and trans-identified cast of talented musicians, artists, and community activists, many hailing from local bands such as No More, The Ones To Blame, As Is, SODA, Goss, and Wax Wings. Each summer, they create a week of music and feminism meant to rock the world of the girls who attend.

Camp curriculum includes daily group music lessons on electric bass, electric guitar, keys, and drums, as well as workshops ranging from “Girls’ Self-Defense” to “The History of Women in Music.” Campers are placed into bands on their first day of camp. With direction from their band leaders and music instructors, they spend the week writing an original song with their band. At the end of the week, camp moves downtown to High Dive, a local music venue, where the girls’ bands perform their original song publicly in front of a large audience of friends, family, the camp staff, and the Gainesville community.

GGRC volunteers organize fundraisers throughout the year to offer full and partial scholarships to girls from low income backgrounds. All musical equipment needed for camp is provided, as well as daily lunches and snacks.

Many of the girls who come into camp have never touched an instrument before. By the time they leave camp, they have a basic knowledge and have written and performed an original song in front of a live audience. Some of the girls who come to camp are too shy to say their names audibly on the first day. By the end of the week, they are comfortable writing down their thoughts and screaming them into a microphone in front of a crowd.

In 2016, GGRC plans to accommodate 50 campers. The early consideration deadline for applying is May 12, with all registration forms due by May 30. This year, camp will be held at the United Church of Gainesville. The first session, for 9-13 year olds, will be held June 20-25. The second session, for 13-17 year olds, will be July 11-16.

For more information, email, check out Facebook at, and see the GGRC website at

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