Building the futures biggest girl rock stars in just one summer

Girls Rock Camp ATL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a creative and inclusive environment for young girls to learn how to play instruments. The organization was founded in 2008, but it was inspired by the very first Girls Rock Camp held in Portland, Oregon.

The camp is held over the summer for girls ages 10-16. It’s a six-day summer camp, where the girls attend workshops, form bands and perform in a big concert on the last day of camp.

The ultimate goal for Girls Rock Camp ATL is to instill the values of self-respect, self-worth and kindness to their campers. Their mission statement is to create “an empowering and supportive community for self-identified girls and women, trans and gender-expansive people through music education, creative expression, and performance.”

“No one on the board was around back in 2008 when the camp was started. The original director, Stacey Singer, stepped down in 2016. I do know for a fact that the first camp was held at Eyedrum, and there were less than 20 campers. One of the hardest parts was just acquiring all of the instruments and gear and storing it! Our summer camp now usually exceeds 60+ campers and around 50 volunteers, and it’s held at the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School in Ormewood Park,” Haley Zapal, a member of the board of directors at Girls Rock Camp ATL, said. 

This camp is not only for young girls; they even have Ladies Rock Camp ATL for women looking to pick up some new skills. 

“Ladies Rock Camp is a three-day rock and roll experience where women learn to play an instrument, form a band, write a song together, see rare up-close live performances from guest artists, and play a big rock concert finale. It’s a shorter version of the girls camp in that it all happens over a long weekend. The purpose of LRCATL is to raise money for our girls camp — all proceeds help send campers to camp in the summer. Many ladies rock campers end up volunteering in the summer, as well,” Zapal said. 

Girls Rock Camp ATL is always looking for new people to join their community.

“We always need younger volunteers (18-22) for our summer camp! Being a counselor is a great way to give back to your community,” Zapal said. “You get to influence and support the next generation of Girls Rock campers as they learn musical instruments, form bands and perform on stage live at the Variety Playhouse at the end of camp!” 

The success of Girls Rock Camp ATL isn’t slowing down any time soon either. Their board is the largest it has ever been, and they’re looking to expand their programming by offering after-school programming and workshops. Their long-term goal is to eventually have their own space.