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our history

The inspiration to start a Girls Rock Camp came from Portland, Oregon, home of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. It was the first camp of it’s kind who opened its doors in 2001. After volunteering at RNRC4G, our founding organizers- Natalie, Melissa, Anna, Sarah and Carey- decided to bring a similar camp to the Bay Area.

In July 2008, our inaugural summer camp crashed, banged, shredded and wailed at the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland with 65 girls, 40 volunteers, and a sold-out showcase at Bottom of the Hill.

Since day 1 in 2008, we have expanded our programs now serving hundreds of youth per year. We have a growing staff collective and committed Board of Directors, along with a large community of volunteers.


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Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers young people through music, promoting an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity and teamwork. Our camp centers the experiences of girls, trans and/or non-binary youth in our explicit commitment to gender justice and creating an inclusive environment that supports a wide range of marginalized gender identities and expressions.

BAGRC challenges gender stereotypes, encourages collaboration and tolerance among peers, and provides a comfortable space for people of all backgrounds to express themselves. Through music lessons, workshops, group activities, and performances, rock campers acquire skills that help guide them throughout their lives.

We exist to:

  • Build confidence in youth through music education
  • Provide youth with positive role models as they are discovering their own voice
  • Foster a space where youth support each other and feel free to express themselves without judgment and competition
  • Create a space where difference is celebrated and nurtured
  • Empower youth to recognize, understand and respond to discrimination
  • Create a world free of the myths that tell young people they can’t do or be something because of their gender

We value:

  • Building and sustaining an inclusive and diverse community
  • Providing services to youth regardless of their families’ ability to pay
  • Nurturing an intergenerational environment that brings together youth and adults
  • Encouraging self-discovery through hands-on experience and risk-taking
  • Striking a balance between technique and experimentation

We believe:

  • Music is a powerful tool for self-expression and empowerment
  • Music connects people across differences
  • Making music together inspires creativity, collaboration, communication and respect

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp supports the Black Lives Matter and No Dakota Access Pipeline Movements.


Additionally, we would like to acknowledge that our office is in Oakland, which is traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone land with a deep history and a community of people who have lived here for thousands of years.  We have started paying the Shuumi Land Tax, which directly supports the Sogorea Te Land Trust’s work to acquire and preserve land, establish a cemetery to reinter stolen Ohlone ancestral remains and build a community center and round house so current and future generations of Indigenous people can thrive in the Bay Area.


What are your programs all about?

We are about breaking down stereotypes, providing a safe space for people of all backgrounds, promoting tolerance, and creating positive social change in our community.

What happens at your programs?

All programs include instrument instruction, band formation, collaborative songwriting, and participation in various workshops such as Music Herstory, Self-defense, Zine-making, Screenprinting, Image & Identity, and more. Each program culminates in a showcase performance at a live venue, attended by hundreds of adoring fans.

Do you need to know how to play an instrument to come?

NO MUSICAL EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY and we provide instruments for all participants.

Where are your programs held?

Summer camp is held at Oakland School for the Arts; all other programs are held at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts.

When are your programs?

Summer Camp sessions are one week long and happen between June and August.  Girls Rock After School Program is a 10-week session from January-March.  Women's Rock Camp is a 3-day weekend for adult women in the spring.

Who do you serve?

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is open to self-identified girls, trans and/or non-binary youth aged 8-18.

What does it cost?

Summer Camp costs $450 and Girls Rock After School Program costs $350.  We offer financial aid for all programs on a needs basis, and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Bay Area residents are prioritized for financial aid.

Can my child participate in the program again?

Absolutely.  We have many campers who come to our programs again and again.  Our workshops change from year to year, and we have separate tracks for our younger and older campers.  We also have an internship program for campers between 15 and 19 who have participated in 2 or more programs.  Campers may participate in multiple sessions of summer camp if space permits.

How can I volunteer?

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp relies on volunteers to carry out all of our programs.  In addition to instrument instructor and band coach positions, we have many other volunteer opportunities year-round.

Do I have to have musical experience to volunteer?

No.  We have many volunteer positions that do not require musical experience.  You can lead a workshop, manage a band, be a roadie, work in the kitchen, help out in the office, and much more!  Many positions are flexible and can work with your schedule.


Are you a local or national organization?

We are an independent 501(c)(3) organization.  We are affiliated with the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international coalition of programs with the common mission of empowering girls through music.

Are you a rock climbing camp?

NO, though we can totally see how rock climbing can be an empowering activity

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