Girls Camp


Session One: Monday, July 18th to Sunday, July 24th
Recording Session: Saturday, July 23rd
Showcase: Sunday, July 24th

Session Two: Monday, August 8th to Sunday, August 14th
Recording Session: Saturday, August 13th
Showcase: Sunday, August 14th

This year, we’ll be holding all camps at Josephinum Academy, located at 1501 N. Oakley Ave., in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. We welcome girls, transgender (any identity) and gender nonconforming youth ages 8 to 16 to join us for five days of instrument instruction and band practice, as well as a performance at Thalia Hall and a professional recording session with their band. Campers MUST attend all seven days to participate in camp!




Each session of Girls Rock! Chicago summer camp is seven days, and campers must be available to attend all seven days to participate. The Monday through Friday portion of camp runs from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Girls Rock! Chicago offers before and after camp care at no additional cost. Campers may arrive as early as 8:00 AM and be picked up as late as 6:00 PM.

Check out our 2016 camp schedules:

2016 Session 1 (July) Camp Schedule

2016 Session 2 (August) Camp Schedule


Campers receive two hours of lessons per day in their assigned instrument. Instrument classes average a 4:1 student to volunteer instructor ratio. Campers may choose guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, or the DJ track. Instruments are assigned on a first come, first served basis. While we do all we can to assign campers their first choice instrument, we cannot guarantee a camper will play their first or even second choice instruments. There is NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY to participate in our camp, and we encourage campers to try new instruments. GR!C will provide campers with an instrument to play at camp throughout the week for no additional charge. Campers are also welcome to bring their own instruments if they prefer.


For two hours each afternoon, campers get to put the skills learned in instrument lessons into action. Throughout the course of the week (and with the assistance of a volunteer band coach) bands work together to create an original song. Bands are formed on the first day of camp by GR!C staff and spend the remainder of the week teamed up with a volunteer counselor. Counselors attend all workshops with their band, and also work with their band on team building activities throughout the week.


Each day campers participate in two, one hour long workshops. The workshops are intended to focus on topics related to playing and composing music with a band, building self-esteem, and exploring what it means to be a girl making music. Our workshop leaders are professionals in their discipline. Past workshops have included song-writing, performance and stage presence, DIY effect pedals, DIY recording, media literacy, gender and inclusion, the history of women in rock, button making with Busy Beaver Buttons, and t-shirt crafts with Threadless.

Gender Workshops

Each camp session, we lead a one hour-long workshop that explores the question “What’s with the ‘girl’ in Girls Rock! Chicago?” We feel that it is important to address the reasoning behind why our programming is for exclusively girls and transgender and/or gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth and also ensure that everyone feels safe and included during camp. The main objective of this workshop is to provide campers with a basic understanding of gender, and how that relates to and impacts one’s experience in the world, especially in terms of oppression, bullying, and self-esteem. We also feel that it’s important for our stakeholders to understand our programming and the reasoning behind it. Please feel free to review the curriculum for these workshops below:

What’s With the “Girl” in Girls Rock! Chicago 8 – 11 Year-Olds
What’s With the “Girl” in Girls Rock! Chicago 12 – 14 Year-Olds
What’s With the “Girl” in Girls Rock! Chicago 15 & 16 Year-Olds


The weekend portion of camp offers campers a chance to perform and record the music they wrote and played throughout the week at the End-of-Camp Extravaganza, which is open to the public. Campers have had the opportunity to perform on great stages at Schubas, Metro, & Thalia Hall and record with their band mates at professional studios including ESS, Engine Studios, and Wall to Wall. The recordings are then mixed and released on CD. Each camper receives a copy of their session’s CD and a link to download their session’s copy. Additional CD copies can be purchased through Girls Rock! Chicago or directly or through our bandcamp.


Photo by Jessica Pierotti


Our counselors are screened and selected from volunteers with backgrounds in education, music, and art. Our camper-counselor ratio averages 4:1, meaning campers get plenty of individual attention and assistance when they need it.

Photo by Kathleen Grant

Photo by Kathleen Grant


Campers are welcome to bring their own electric bass or guitar, however, we provide campers with all the equipment they need, including guitars, basses, amps, straps, picks, sticks and drum kits.

Girls Rock! Chicago 128 By Amanda Barbato August 2010

Photo by Amanda Barbato


Full tuition for one week of camp is $500. Girls Rock! Chicago is committed to ensuring our summer camp is accessible to all applicants, regardless of socio-economic background, race, ethnicity, or neighborhood. Camp tuition is based on a sliding scale. We have determined Financial Aid Guidelines based on the US federal poverty guidelines, and use these in awarding financial aid on a first come, first served basis. Girls Rock! Chicago also offers before and after care, from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM at no additional cost, and provides snacks for every camper. Lunch can also be provided if arranged in advance – just tell us on your camp application.

Photo by Jessica Pierotti

Photo by Jessica Pierotti