Girls rock, but we already know that.
Local nonprofit Girls Rock! Indianapolis is amplifying that message (literally) by empowering Hoosier youth and creating gender equity through its mentoring and music education programs. The organization hosts various events throughout the year, which are largely targeted toward girls, including non-binary and trans youth, and focus on self-esteem and self-expression through music.
Its most notable affair is its annual Summer Camp, which is a week-long crash course in instrument instruction, songwriting, and music collaboration. Available to girls ages 9-16, it was designed to help campers grow and develop both as musicians and individuals.
In its mission statement, Girls Rock! Indianapolis says, “We believe in the transformative and revolutionary power of using creative expression as a means of social change. By providing a supportive environment that offers music instruction as well as a variety of workshops, youth develop their leadership skills, cultivate a network of peers and mentors, and learn about social issues affecting our community.”
Girls Rock! Indianapolis is based on four pillars: music, equity, collaboration, and diversity. Its most visible pillar is music, as it’s used as a means to create personal and social change.
As for equity, the organization prioritizes creating opportunities for marginalized genders, such as non-binary, trans youth, and cisgender girls. It states that “We take action to deconstruct patriarchal systems, internally and within the organizations we partner with.”
The nonprofit emphasizes collaboration through the facilitation of dialogue around important social issues, which leads us to its final pillar: diversity. Girls Rock! Indianapolis took a big leap to become an anti-racist organization and expanded its programming to decentralized populations, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to experience its programming.
Each summer, the organization exposes its campers to workshops and lessons on self-care, empowerment and social justice through music education during Summer Camp. For individuals who are interested but hesitant due to a lack of music inclination, the program doesn’t require previous experience, or even owning an instrument for that matter.
Woven into its curriculum are lessons and discussions surrounding self-care, social justice, and empowerment. At the end of the week, the camp concludes with Saturday Showcase, which is when campers and their bands have the opportunity to perform an original song before a live audience.
In 2017, Girls Rock! Indianapolis introduced a new program to its community: The Amplifiers.
The Amplifiers serves as a “counselor-in-training program for older and returning campers, to expand their music and leadership skills.” Those selected serve as mentors to younger campers and this part of the program is available exclusively to previous Girls Rock! Indianapolis attendees.
Similar to other camps around the city, Girls Rock! Indianapolis had to do some rearranging last year because of the pandemic and local health regulations. Most of its programming was cancelled or shifted to other formats, such as virtual. Realizing that the show must go on, the organization transformed Summer Camp into a virtual soiree during the summer of 2020, ensuring its campers still received the mentoring they craved.
“When it became apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic made it unsafe to hold in-person programming, GRI’s camp committee acted quickly to gauge our community’s thoughts on a virtual format,” Girls Rock! Indianapolis says in a statement. “We were grateful for the continued support of our campers and their caretakers.”
And because, you know, there’s still a pandemic going on, Girls Rock! Indianapolis will offer both virtual and in-person camp forms this year.
Whether you know a young woman who would benefit from Girls Rock! or just want to embody their principles in your grown up life, you can discover more information and keep up with the next generation of rock stars in the making here and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.