DFW Music News

Girls Rock Dallas' Annual Camp Is In Jeopardy -- Can You Help?

We've talked about the wonderful Girls Rock Dallas plenty of times on DC9 in the past few years. The volunteer-run, non-profit offers something that no other music camp can provide for females aged eight to seventeen: a chance to learn instruments, form a band, play a show, and most importantly, express themselves through music.

Unfortunately, Girls Rock Dallas has a big problem staring in its eyes right now: if they don't find a new place to host its summertime event in just a few weeks, this year's camp will not happen.

We talked with founder and executive director Rachel Michaud about the dilemma and how Dallas could help. It sure would be a shame if this didn't happen.

Tell me the rundown of the issue facing Girls Rock Dallas. Right now, we don't have a location for camp. We are running out of our own resources, our knowledge, our contacts to find a location. We're reaching out to the rest of the community and see if there is some place that could help us or might be able to host us. If we don't find something in the next two weeks, we're going to have to cancel camp, and we definitely don't want to do that. What would you describe as the most idyllic traits of the best place to have the camp? We're really open to different types of buildings and layouts. Specifically, we're looking for a space that has between six to ten different breakout rooms, a large multi-purpose room. A kitchen would be nice, but it's not mandatory.

So, places like office buildings would be great? Yeah! Office buildings if they don't mind it will be a little loud for a week. We've talked to churches and we've talked to schools.

So far, how many girls have signed up for this year's camp? We haven't opened our applications yet. We're waiting until we have final details set. We're hoping to have 60 girls this camp, and that's doubling what we had our first year, which we had 29. We're really growing. We have parents e-mailing us every day asking when applications open.

It would be a true shame if it got cancelled this year. For what you do, I don't think there's any other camp like this. Is there anything else in particular that you're looking for? Location-wise, we'd like to stay centrally-located: downtown Dallas, Uptown, Oak Cliff, Deep Ellum kind of area. Just because it's a lot easier for parents to come in and drop off their kids and go to work. But we are open to other areas, within reason. We don't want to have something outside of Plano because most of our campers Dallas proper, so we want to stay where we feel comfortable.

I don't think anyone has come away from this camp and thought, "Well, that was a waste of my time." No. All of the campers have a blast. The parents tell me that. They're always very excited. They see the changes that the girls have during the week of camp. Since last year was our second year, with our returning campers have this presence about them. They have all this confidence and they know what they're doing there. They show the younger girls the ropes. It's amazing experience that these girls are getting to experience themselves. We want to open this up to as many girls as possible.

I think having women, who have had positive experiences by the power of music, teach girls music has a positive trickle-down effect. Am I on the right track thinking this? Definitely! For camp last year, Spinderella came in and play and everyone got a chance to learn how to mix a beat. One of our campers, she has been playing bass for the last few years. She is now in love with the idea of being a DJ and for Christmas last year, her parents got her a DJ kit. You know, it's exploring options they might not have. Some of them may never pick up an instrument again, but knowing that they did at one time, they played an instrument and they wrote am original song and they performed it at the Kessler is such an empowering moment for them. It really helps them take on any challenge in their lives.

If you or someone you know have a place GRD could use in mid-July, contact GRD.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs