A San Diego camp is hoping to empower girls through music later this month.
Leucadia resident Melissa Grove founded the nonprofit Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls San Diego two years ago as a way to help the girls build confidence and talents.
The San Diego chapter is one of more than 100 worldwide.
"My main goal in life is to give children empowering experiences," said Grove, who formerly worked in child development and the theatre. "This allows me to use my gift in the performing arts in a way that I'm passionate about."
At the camp, which runs July 24 through the 28 at the San Diego Performing Arts Center, 40 girls — in age groups of 8 through 11 and 12 through 17 — take on the guitar, bass, vocals, drums or keyboards in eight bands and are led by volunteer female instructors. For some, it will be their first time picking up an instrument, Grove said.
Each band also writes its own original song.
The hard work is culminated with a performance at the House of Blues San Diego on July 29 at noon. The event is open to the public, and tickets cost $10.
"It's a fast program, and it's very powerful," said Grove, who plays the guitar. "We come in with a punch and then they get the honor of playing at the House of Blues, which has been very supportive."
Throughout the week, the girls also participate in empowering workshops that focus on topics like image and identity. They also design band logos, which are then screen-printed onto T-shirts.
Grove said her goal is to help shape the girls into strong women.
"We're in an interesting, challenging time right now, especially for females," she said. "This allows the girls to come together and collaborate, communicate with each other and just have a space for self-expression. It's a great place for them to come and try new things out, have a voice and be heard. I really want to encourage girls to be advocates for each other, as well as themselves, and foster leadership."
Grove believes every girl should have a chance to participate in the camp, regardless of financial status. Camp registration is $375, but the nonprofit also provides financial aid to those who need it.
Registration is nearly filled, but the camp may still have spots available. Those interested should check the camp's website.
Grove said she enjoys seeing the girls collaborate with each other.
"When they come in on a Monday, they're coming in as an individual,” she said. “It's like magic over the course of the next couple of days. I can hear their conversations being a little more open-minded, they want to collaborate more and work together."
For more information, visit www.rockcampforgirlssd.org