Friday, July 16, 2010

Girls Rock 2010!

July 16
Today's the day all the bands get to play in front of the whole camp and it's a really great exercise for the girls. They also got their t-shirts back, screen-printed with their logo designs. A very exciting day indeed. The older girls even changed their clothes for the camp performance. All the girls were adorable. Some were nervous and some were obviously born to stand in front of a mic. It's pretty amazing to see what kids can do with just basic knowledge of their instruments with only a week to learn.

The Black Candles still entertain me. Each of the four are so laid back and I'd say Lily is the most social of the group. But there have been conflicts and it occurs to me that some girls I've observed this week have so many rules with each other. A lot of the conflicts I see are happening because one girl tells the other that they can't do something because of a specific reason. The other girl will challenge the reason, but the other girl will expand the reason, which just makes matters worse. Then they both get angry; one girl is mad that the other won't do what she's telling her to do and the other girl is mad because someone is trying to prevent her from doing what she's doing. It becomes hard to navigate sometimes because we want the girls to feel empowered, but we certainly don't want them to take away the power of other girls. Then again, as Heather pointed out, we can't be expected to change bad habits/personality traits in one week!

The Black Candles did pretty good during their performance. It's so fun to watch them as a volunteer manager who's been with them all week. You spend so much time trying to teach the basics (not just with music, but common courtesy and respect for others as well) and you think that they're not getting it. But then you watch them at the end of the week and realize they've been listening all along. After their camp performance, the girls were pumped up. Lily sang louder, Xelah was into it and more involved with the band than ever. Anna didn't seem phased (it's her 3rd annual camp, after all) and Marin continued to bring a great balance to the band, creating a role for herself as the band's leader.

July 17, Performance Day!
This is usually a very chaotic day. In the morning, all bands will get a chance to play their song one more time in the community room. While they're not playing, they will either make buttons or get their hair and makeup done. A temporary tattoo station was thrown in for good measure. All of the girls seem to really love the button and makeup/hair part and it's hard to keep these things flowing so that everyone can be finished by the time pizza is served. Once they've eaten, their parents come and pick them up and take them to the venue.

Also during this hour, all the donated equipment has to be gathered, loaded and taken to the storage space. A certain amount of equipment has to be loaded and taken to the venue. Some volunteers need to get to the venue to set up. Some need to stay with the girls. And too few gathered, loaded and transported equipment to storage. I was one of those very few, and on the hottest day in years (102 degrees) it didn't seem like the best thing to be doing right before the big showcase. At the venue, there was even more chaos. There was no air conditioning in the venue. The parents were waiting out in the hot lobby with no chance for cold beverages, since there wasn't a venue staffer in sight. And no one knew who was to be the person at the merch table and at the door. Luckily, a few moms helped get things straightened out while the campers were running rampant inside the venue. After what seemed to be an eternity, the volunteers all got on the same page and began to corral the girls into the space they would be in for the entire show unless they were on stage.
When the doors finally opened, word spread that the line to get into the venue was around the block and I couldn't believe it was about to get even hotter in there. But that's rock 'n' roll, right? It was really something to see all that support for the girls. Those families, including grandparents, were so very proud of their daughters, you could just see every face in the audience beaming. And it was nice to see that someone was behind the bar serving cans of Pabst and other cold beverages. It probably wouldn't have been appropriate for me to have a beer, but oh how I wanted one!
Every band was great. The Black Candles were really fabulous and it's so hard to believe that in about a half an hour, it was all over. The week was so long and within minutes, your band is done and you have to say goodbye soon after.
So another end to another rewarding camp experience. And hopefully this camp wasn't about teaching girls that they are better than boys, but rather that they, like boys, deserve to be heard and respected and valued. Putting microphones, guitars and drumsticks in their hands goes a long way in reasserting that. And the music, friendships and memories that come out of that whole process is just icing on the cake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting an insider's perspective. We got bits and pieces of things but Marin was so tired when we picked her up at the end of each day that often said a couple of words and then fell asleep for the ride and sometimes even the evening. Thanks for being such a great leader for the girls. Jess + Rick (Marin's parents)