Our History

What is Girls Rock Camp?

GRC Madison is an intense, one week day-camp for girls ages 8-18. Campers of all skill levels learn guitar, drums, keyboard, bass and vocals (and other instruments such as violin), form a band, write a song and perform their original composition at the end of the week for family, friends and hundreds of screaming fans. Camp also offers a professional studio recording experience as well as daily performances from female musicians.


GRC Madison’s mission is to support a culture of positive self-esteem and collaboration among girls while building community through music.


Girls Rock Camp Madison recognizes the potential of every young woman to be a strong, talented, creative and empowered individual while providing a safe space where all girls rock


  1. Demystify the process of writing a song, playing an instrument and working in a band.
  2. allow every camper to experience the empowerment and joy of standing on stage performing an original song composed with their peers to a crowd who provides unconditional support and validation of their creative efforts.
  3. Present young girls with opportunities in music they may not have considered. Women are still in the minority when it comes to playing instruments such as drums, bass and electric guitar. With a lack of female role models on these instruments in the music world, girls can easily get the impression that, if they are not drawn toward the role of “front-woman” that they can’t be successful in modern music.
  4. Allow campers to interact with music in a way that doesn’t involve reading musical score. It can be frustrating and intimidating for some students to try to read sheet music in traditional instrument programs that are offered through band and orchestra at school. Our campers learn how to play the instruments we teach at camp through memorization/muscle memory, ear-training and rhythmic movement.
  5. Expose campers to a talented and supportive group of female musicians. This is achieved through camper-staff interaction during lessons, band rehearsals, and our daily lunch-time staff performances. Our warm, talented and diverse staff are excellent roll models for the power of collaboration and dedication.
  6. Foster long-term involvement in creative endeavors by empowering campers to actively create their own music.
  7. Provide self-esteem programming where campers actively explore the power of positive thinking (e.g. programming on meditation) and myths of body image (e.g. through “Project Girl” programming where girls explore the often unrealistic images of girls and women in the media and are taught to find the beauty in their own bodies, just as they are.)
  8. Support professional female musicians by providing employment and networking opportunities.


Year # Campers # Sessions  Additional Information
2010 32 1
2011 80 2
2012 100 3 Offered new advanced camp to target older girls
2013 115 3 Introduced Club DJ and Violin programs
2014 120 3 Introduced new Stage Tech program
2015 127 3
2016 145 3 Introduced before/after camp care
2017 143 3 Piloted “taking up space” stage presence workshops

We have also offered 2 Ladies Rock Camps annually, serving anywhere from 14-28 campers ages 19 and over.

Organizational Structure

Girls Rock Camp Madison operates under the supervision of a Board of Directors and the Administrative Team (Executive Director and Music Director). We employ staff (outlined below) to work during at the camps and enlist a team of volunteers to help with other activities throughout the year.


In addition to GRC Madison’s camp leaders, we also employ:

  • Instrument Instructors: teach bass, guitar, drums, keyboard and vocals (we also employ a violin, a Club DJ and a “Tech” instructor)
  • Band Coaches: Assist campers with the songwriting process while in their band rehearsal. There are 2 band coaches for every band (bands are comprised of 5 campers)
  • Band Managers: Supervises campers (1 staff for every 5 campers) and serves as a go-to person for campers if they need help during the week
  • Girl Power Coach: This is a position for a person with advanced skills in child psychology or development who can support campers in emotional crisis and outline and enforce behavioral policy as needed.
  • Gear Manager: We are outfitted to provide instruments and amplification needs for all of our campers. Our gear manager overseas all this gear and maintains it.
  • Breakout Session Instructors: In addition to musical programming, we also provide opportunities for our campers to do artistic projects like t-shirt design, hip hop dance, self-esteem workshops etc by employing staff to teach “breakout sessions.”

Funding and Financial Aid

Funding for Girls Rock Camp and Ladies Rock Camp comes from camper tuition, money raised through fundraising events, generous donations from individual contributors and grants. We do not turn any camper away based on ability to pay. Financial aid is offered on a case by case basis. From 2010-2015, GRC Madison gave over $39,000 in financial assistance to campers to allow them to attend camp on a lowered or no cost basis.