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CoMo Girls Rock! camp teaches empowerment through creative expression, social awareness

June 8, 2017


This isn’t your typical summer camp—and that’s exactly what participants love about CoMo Girls Rock!, which is taking place this week on the Stephens College campus.

Here is where 24 campers are building self-esteem and finding their voices through unique programming that combines music education and performance, empowerment and social justice workshops, positive role models, and collaboration and leadership skill building.

rock show posterThroughout the week, campers, who are grades 7-12, learn an instrument, start a band and write an original song.

Now in its fifth year, the camp culminates on Saturday, June 10, 2017, with a live rock show at 2 p.m. at The Blue Note in downtown Columbia, featuring performances of the campers’ original songs. The show is open to the public, and admission is $10.

Luci Cook, one of the camp’s organizers, said 40 volunteers who run the camp provide mentorship and facilitate a space where campers can be themselves.

“Every day there is a theme such as ‘Rockin’ Together,’ and the day’s activities and workshops support that theme,” Cook said.

Each day campers attend instrument instruction, band practice and two workshops, among other surprise activities like dance parties, open mic and karaoke. Among the workshops this week were discussions about sexism in advertising, self-love and songwriting. 

Campers have the opportunity to learn guitar, drums, bass or keyboard, or to focus on vocals. After forming a band with up to five fellow campers, they then name the band and design a logo, which is stamped onto a camp T-shirt and worn during the live performance.

High schoolers Alexis Harper and Lauren Stokes, both of Columbia, are members of a band they dubbed Deep Sea Veins. Harper is learning drums while Stokes is working to master guitar. While designing a logo for their band, the teenagers took a risk with their band T-shirts by slicing off the sleeves and adding a V-neck. Stokes even cut fringe into the bottom of her shirt. 

“I love all the opportunities to be creative and learn new things about the world,” Stokes said about the camp.

Cook said CoMo Girls Rock! is part of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, which supports dozens of similar camps with the same mission around the world. The alliance values diversity of age, race, economic status, gender expression, size, physical ability, developmental ability, musical interests, learning styles, nationality, religion, thought, citizenship status and sexual orientation.

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