Struggling with self-confidence is a major problem for many female, trans and gender non-conforming kids. They need to find ways to help them step out of their shell and embrace who they are and what they’re capable of.
Getting creative is a wonderful way to build self-esteem—and so is imagining yourself as the next Patti Smith rocking out onstage at Lollapalooza! Whether it’s bopping on the bass, shredding the guitar, owning it on keyboard or smashing cymbals on the drums, music is a great way to express yourself and build self-confidence.
Meet Girls Rock Camp Toronto
Girls Rock Camp Toronto is a Lush Charity Pot partner that’s committed to helping female, trans and gender non-conforming youth learn to play music and improve their self-esteem. Through many of the programs they offer, kids from ages 8-16 develop the skills needed to play an instrument, work cohesively within a band and write songs with others.
The primary goals of all the programs are to build confidence, generate camaraderie and encourage and nurture creativity. They offer a safe space and support for kids to explore their musical curiosities and their individuality without worrying about being silenced, hurt or discouraged. Time after time volunteers see shy, introverted and anxious kids open up and be themselves after just a week of fun and learning.
Mentors who rock
Girls Rock Camp is an international music camp, and like the other bases around the world, the Toronto branch is led by women and gender non-conforming musicians who volunteer and share their time, skills, energy, love and invaluable music and life experience with kids. The Toronto branch was co-founded by musicians Magali Meagher and Alysha Haugen, who saw the need for a local chapter for youth to gather and learn under the guidance of strong, inspiring female and gender non-conforming mentors.
From instrument coaches and counsellors to workshop leaders and general support crew, the non-profit organization is run and supported by talented individuals who are passionate about working with youth and sharing their abilities, knowledge and love of music and community.
Programs for the peeps
Almost every program offered by Girls Rock Camp Toronto is aimed at kids who self-identify as female, trans or gender non-conforming. Instruments are provided by the camp, unless certain kids already have an instrument and don’t wish to part with their baby! From full-day workshops to week-long programs, there’s a great selection for kids and parents to choose from:
After School Rock Party
This is an eight-week long, after-school program for kids aged 12-16 that runs twice a week from 4pm-6pm. Under the guidance of their mentors, kids develop musical skills, get to know each other, form a band, write an original track together and perform live at a music venue. And what rocks is that there’s no prior music experience required!
March Break camp & Summer camps
March Break camp is a five-day camp open to kids between the ages of 8 and 14, while the summer camps are a one or two-week long event open to kids aged 8-16. For these programs, a committee selects campers while aiming to establish a diverse and balanced camp population in relation to age, desired instrument, economic status, geography and community. On the last day of each program, a showcase concert is held where the kids take to the stage and show what they’ve learned and share the songs they’ve created.
Rock Camp for Grown-ups!
This three-day program is for the big kids! Open to adult women – both trans and cis-gendered – and gender non-conforming individuals, this is an intensive music and mentoring program that’s great for people who are looking to pick up an instrument, revisit childhood dreams, have a little fun or simply meet new people. Participants will be taught the instrument of their choice, and will receive lessons in songwriting and tips for band practice. And just like the programs for the kids – at the end of the event bands will perform to show off the skills they’ve learned and the songs they’ve written!
How to offer your support
There are a number of ways you can support Girls Rock Camp Toronto. You can make a donation, become a sustainer, follow them on Facebook, or even volunteer! Alternatively, pop into your local Lush shop and grab Charity Pot Body Lotion to support Girls Rock Camp Toronto and other groups like theirs. For every pot purchased, we donate 100 percent of the sales price (minus the taxes) to organizations fighting for human rights, animal protection and environmental justice.