Local girls benefit from OKC's first Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls 

click to enlarge Carter Sampson poses for a photo in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Carter Sampson poses for a photo in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

Amy Lee, Karen O, Blondie, Amanda Palmer, Kim Gordon, Hayley Williams, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Lzzy Hale — these women define rock ’n’ roll and kick open doors for the next generation of powerful and determined musicians.

Girls fantasize about holding an audience’s attention while fans sing along to their creations, just like their idols do in real life. Oklahoma City’s Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls wants to help make that dream come true.

“This is our very first summer camp,” said Carter Sampson, a camp organizer and local musician.

She discovered the camps a decade ago when he watched a documentary about the first Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls, located in Portland.

The documentary included a story about an OKC camper, whom Sampson later found and talked to. Then Sampson headed off to check out the camp.

There are now 55 like-minded camps around the world that fall under a Girls Rock Camp Alliance umbrella.

The local camp is open to 40 self-identified girls ages 8-17 and offers classes on guitar, bass, drums and vocals and workshops on band management and poetry with the intent to hone skills, improve self-esteem and empower youth.

Organizers said this camp was several years in the making, as they worked to secure funding and resources. Sampson partnered with SixTwelve, a community-oriented collective located in the Paseo Arts District, which will host the camp.

“I’m really excited about what they’re doing over there,” Sampson said of SixTwelve.

As a nonprofit organization, the camp relies on donations and volunteers. A punk-rock, do-it-yourself ethos soon emerged from within the community to help make the camp possible.

A former high school classmate of Sampson heard about the project and pitched in.

“All of our gear and instruments have been rented for us for the entire week,” Sampson said.

Local bands also will perform during lunchtime each day.

“We’re kind of all learning about it together,” Sampson said about developing the local camp.

And that learning includes the realization that some participants might need financial aid in order to participate. The five-day camp costs $300. So far, about half of the applicants requested help.

Fundraisers were held at Grandad’s Bar and during Momentum OKC, and so far, they’ve been able to cover all applicants who requested financial aid.

S&B’s Burger Joint also helped with a “pay-it-forward” night. June 9 sale proceeds at its 20 NW Ninth Street location will go to the camp.

Volunteers are vital as well.

“I’ve been to some other Rock ’n’ Roll camps in other cities that are pretty much a 1:1 camper to volunteer ratio, which I think is great,” Sampson said.

There are volunteer opportunities for drum, bass, vocal and keyboard instructors as well as non-musical positions. Sampson said all volunteers must be female or identify as female.

The Oklahoma City Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls is July 13-17 with a camper showcase on July 18. The application deadline is Monday.

Sampson said the organization hopes to establish multiple sessions in the future in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and incorporate smaller communities.

Visit rcgokc.com for more information.

Print headline: Femme force, This one-week, girls-only music camp promotes skill, community and self-esteem.

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