Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp has been inspiring girls to play music for the past six years. This year 32 campers will be learning an instrument, forming a band and writing a song and performing their first gig all within a week as the camp returns to the Gate, July 9-13.
“I wish I’d had this when I was a little girl,” said Bailey Smith-Orton, who is excited to volunteer at the camp for her second year.
“A friend of mine told me about it last year and it seemed like a great idea. It’s really inspiring for young girls,” Smith Orton said, adding she will be volunteering as a band manager and at the front desk this year. Last year she was volunteering as a guitar instructor as well as front desk.
“I’m excited to work with the girls and the other volunteers,” she continued.
She is among 25 volunteers helping this year.
The campers will spend the mornings forming bands and learning instruments, but in the afternoon, there will be classes dedicated to learning how to silkscreen T-shirts with Sinking Ship on Thursday and learning how to 3-D print keychains on the Wednesday.
There will also a be a seminar with the YWCA and other fun to be announced.
Organizer Silvana Campus is excited not only that Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp has expanded, but that some of the returning campers are also going to be interns this year.
“We have six interns this year. So that’s the biggest change,” she said, observing the Girls Rock Camp concept began 18 years ago in Portland, Oregon.
“So that’s exciting. We gave the campers the option of taking on more responsibility as interns. We’re excited to see what they will do,” Campus continued.
“It’s very cool so many people are supporting the camp,” Campus continued.
It has been a tough year for Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp as last September someone stole all of their instruments, which inspired local rock band the Chevelles to hold a fundraising concert at Average Joe’s to raise money to buy new instruments to replace them.
“A couple of the instruments came back to us thanks to the King of Trade. But we’re really, really grateful to the Chevelles for their concert. They raised a lot of awareness and money for us. It’s great to see the support from the community,” Campus continued.
The community also came together for the always popular Lethbridge Girls Rock Band Swap fundraiser, which took place at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 16. The band swap mirrors the campers’ week in that they form a band, write a song and perform at the end of the week, though most participants already know how to play.
“We had 13 people sign up, so we formed three bands and I played a solo set on bass. One band even covered Lethbridge Girls Rock Campers’ songs and one of the bands covered one of the songs too,” she said.
Campers will be entertained daily during lunch by local musicians Megan Brown, Rabbyt and MomBod plus South Country Fair songwriting competition winner Tara Warburton.
Warburton is excited to inspire the girls with her lunch-hour set
“I’m excited about it. I didn’t know about Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp until Sil Campus (camp organizer) talked to me about performing and speaking at the camp after the competition,” said Warburton, who will also give a talk to the girls.
“I’ll talk to them about filtering out negativity from other people. I write music because it feels good when I do it,” she said, adding used music as a means of coping with a serious case of chronic fatigue syndrome.
The gala concert for Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp is July 14 at the Gate, where all of the sessions will be held. The day after that, Union Barbershop is raising their annual charity fundraiser in their parking lot with local bands MTBC, Ezra Sulin, Megan Brown’s band Makiisma, Heather Light, Biloxi Parish and Rabbyt.
“This year they’re donating the money to us,” she said.
New volunteer Victoria Madge is excited to volunteer as a band manager and vocal instructor.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m pretty comfortable singing,” Madge said.
“It’s a really important program. I’m looking forward to working with the girls and the other volunteers,” Madge added.