About

Mission
Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is a nonprofit organization that empowers girls through music, promoting an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity and teamwork. BAGRC challenges gender stereotypes, encourages collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provides a comfortable space for people of all backgrounds to express themselves. Through music lessons, workshops, group activities and performance, girls acquire skills that help guide them throughout their lives.

We exist to:
    •    Build confidence in youth through music education
    •    Provide youth with positive role models as they are discovering their own voice
    •    Foster a space where youth support each other and feel free to express themselves without judgment and competition
    •    Create a space where difference is celebrated and nurtured
    •    Empower youth to recognize, understand and respond to discrimination
    •    Create a world free of the myths that tell young people they can’t do or be something because of their gender

We value:
    •    Building and sustaining an inclusive and diverse community
    •    Providing services to youth regardless of their families’ ability to pay
    •    Nurturing an intergenerational environment that brings together youth and adults
    •    Encouraging self-discovery through hands-on experience and risk-taking
    •    Striking a balance between technique and experimentation

We believe:
    •    Music is a powerful tool for self-expression and empowerment
    •    Music connects people across differences
    •    Making music together inspires creativity, collaboration, communication and respect

Building an Inclusive and Diverse Community

At Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, we are intentionally building a multi-cultural and socio-economically diverse community. Our campers reflect the rich diversity of the Bay Area; they come from a wide range of neighborhoods and socio-economic backgrounds, and two-thirds are youth of color.  Our programming offers unique opportunities for collaboration, teamwork and mutual understanding.

As a program focused on gender equity, we recognize there are many forms of privilege and oppression, and that they intersect in uneven and complicated ways. We recognize that uprooting and understanding systems of oppression is a continual process. Therefore, we maintain a commitment to constantly challenging and building our social justice and political analysis.

In our effort to build a reflective and transformative space, we ask our staff and volunteers to reflect upon their own experiences of privilege and oppression and to recognize both the differences and similarities between themselves and campers, families, and other volunteers.

Non-Discrimination Policy
Bay Area Girls Rock Camp does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national and/or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, or gender identity or expression in the administration of any of its programs, admissions policies, financial aid policies, or volunteer and employment-related policies and activities.

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp welcomes campers who self-identify as female, trans, and gender non-conforming. Bay Area Girls Rock Camp also welcomes individuals who self-identify as female, trans, and gender non-conforming to apply for leadership volunteer positions at camp. Non-leadership volunteer roles are open to individuals who self-identify as female, male, trans, and gender non-conforming.

A special note to male-identified allies: Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is primarily led by and for women and girls. We also value diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity towards all individuals, regardless of gender identity or expression. The organization welcomes the support of male-identified allies, and expects male-identified allies who would like to volunteer to respect the importance of leadership by women.

History
In July 2008, our inaugural summer camp crashed, banged, shredded and wailed at the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland with 65 girls, 40 volunteers, and a sold-out showcase at Bottom of the Hill.

In 2009, our summer program doubled in size, with two sessions serving a total of 130 girls. We debuted two new programs that year - Girls Rock After School Program (GRASP) and Ladies Rock Camp (LRC), later to be renamed Women's Rock Camp - and an amazing group of dedicated volunteers transitioned to become year-round staff members.

In 2010, 160 girls and 80 volunteers came to summer camp. GRASP tripled in size, serving 60 girls, and WRC held its second session.

In 2011, due to growing demand for our programs, we added a third session of summer camp, allowing 230 girls to write over 40 original new songs together.  GRASP and LRC continued to grow, and we tried out a new program for teens: the Advanced Music Program (AMP), held on Saturdays in the fall.  

In 2012 and 2013, our programs continued to thrive, with many campers graduating to intern status, and a few even to volunteer status. 

The inspiration to start a Girls Rock Camp came from Portland, Oregon, home of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. The first camp of its kind, the RNRC4G opened its doors in 2001, and it was after volunteering there that BAGRC’s founding organizers decided to bring a similar camp to the Bay Area.

(Above: Bay Area Girls Rock Camp's founding members - from left to right - Natalie, Melissa, Anna, Sarah and Carey)

In 2007, the Portland and Bay Area camps, along with camps from all over the world, formed the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international coalition of like-minded organizations with a common mission of empowering girls through music. Now going into its 7th year, the GRCA has a growing membership of 40+ camps, with representation in cities all over the US, Canada, Europe and South America.

Looking Ahead
In the next few years we aim to move into a permanent space to host our year-round programs, as well as lessons, workshops, performances, recording sessions and more.  Our plans also include affordable practice spaces for bands and an all-ages venue.  If you have a space to donate, or ideas, information, etc, please contact carey[at]bayareagirlsrockcamp[dot]org.