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Helping Young Girls Build Confidence And Leadership Skills Through Music

Take The Lead – Helping Young Girls Build Confidence And Leadership Skills Through Music

I first heard about Girls Rock camps when I was taking music management courses at the Detroit Institute for Music Education (DIME). I was asked to present leadership workshops at Girls Rock Detroit.

From the minute I walked in I fell in love with the program and the warm, safe comfortable “home” they had created for the girls. I knew right away I wanted to bring this program to Windsor.
Girls Rock Detroit is part of Girls Rock Camp Alliance, which supports camps across the world to develop leadership, social justice, community awareness, positive self-esteem and a sense of belonging, using music education and performance.

Through the arts and creative expressions, they strive to be inclusive and help girls care for and value one another. All are welcome, regardless of socio-economic background, religion, race, gender identity, sexuality or ethnicity.

Girls Rock camps address gender issues, hoping to increase female representation in music. Only 7.7 percent of inductees to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are women, three out of 10 festival performers and less than five percent of females are involved in music production.

I met with Girls Rock Detroit organizers to find out about their program. Ashley Moseley, Director of Operations explains that “We empower girls through music and create a safe space for them to have their say.”

Brooke Harris is also a board member of the international organization, Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

According to Harris, the program is “a self-esteem camp disguised as a rock and roll camp.” Her best experience? “All of them, I cry at every Showcase.” (a performance held at the end of each camp)

A typical day at camp includes morning assemblies, workshops, instrument lessons, lunch, guest performances, band practices, and afternoon master classes. Workshops include vocal techniques, recording, managing equipment, self-confidence, leadership skills, and women’s rock history.

Campers choose to learn guitar, bass, drums, keyboard or DJ skills (no experience necessary). Instruments are provided free of charge and campers work together on an original song.

At the end, each band performs at a Girls Rock Showcase. So the girls actually experience playing in a professional setting, at a prominent music venue, in front of enthusiastic friends and family.
I talked to one camper whose favourite part of the camp was being a DJ and learning about technology software like Serato DJ Pro. I am sure it had a lot to do with the instructors, which included Detroit DJ Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale — the “Godmother of House Music”.

One parent passionately described how rock camp affected her child: “This is her favourite week all year; she has autism and gets to express herself creatively in a place where she feels supported, valued and accepted.”

This statement and program impacted me so much that I am partnering with Detroit, joining the Girls Rock Camp Alliance and bringing this program to Windsor. We hope to collaborate and have a Detroit/Windsor International Girls Rock Showcase in the future as well.

The Girls Rock Windsor, Board of Directors includes: myself, (Founder Girls Rock Windsor and Director of Public Relations Mi5 Recordings Detroit); Danielle Moldovan (who runs the Marketing & Events division for Wolfhead Distillery and is Founder of Fun In The Box, a subscription based box for kids); Stacey Roberts Tobin (Founder of Women of Windsor and Law Instructor); Jessica Vennettilli (Owner of UrGalFriday and Design Consultant for Guaranteed “A” Fine ’Furniture); Natasha Feghali (Owner FGI Family Homes and Rentals and NUDE Cosmetics).

Advisors are Tom McDonough (President of Mi5 Recordings Detroit) and Marcie Camero (Editor of Music Player Magazine). And Committee members include Lori Baldassi (Biz X magazine music columnist and Director of Artist Engagement at Bluesfest Windsor).

Watch for Girls Rock Windsor camps (non-profit) to start the summer of 2020 with two upcoming fundraisers featuring local artist, Christian Vegh — one in April (details to be announced shortly) and the second in the summer at Wolfhead Distillery on August 2. Sponsors are needed for all events and camp lunches and t-shirt sales help subsidize campers.

Get more details on how your company can become a sponsor and see the latest updates on this new organization on Facebook.

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