Girls Rock Austin is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), dedicated to empowering girls and women of all backgrounds and abilities through musical education and performance.
Our primary program is a day camp for girls, genderfluid/non-binary, and trans youth ages 8-17. In one week, campers learn an instrument, form a band, write an original song, and play a show. Through mentorship and creative expression, we aim to give youth a safe space to try new things, gain leadership and collaboration skills, share their stories, and create positive social change in both our local communities and the world at large.
Goals and Organization
GRA strongly believes in the transformative and revolutionary power of using creative expression as a means of social change. By providing a positive, supportive environment that offers music instruction as well as a variety of workshops and performances, the camp creates leadership opportunities, cultivates a supportive community of peers and mentors, and encourages social change and the development of life skills.
Girls Rock Austin was founded in 2007 by Emily Marks, and since then we have continued to work towards the goal of bringing music education and performance to underserved communities. We believe that financial, physical, and social barriers should not prevent youth from gaining the self-esteem that comes from musical expression. In this spirit, we provide scholarships and financial aid to campers who would otherwise be unable to afford our programs. We encourage our campers to think critically about how music is created and performed: Who gets to create the art that shapes our culture? Who has been visible as creators? How we can participate in the conversation about what it means to create by adding our own voices and experiences?
The end goal of our programming is to give our youth a creative outlet to express the issues that are most important to them, as well as the sense of agency to go out into the world and create positive social change through community-building. Girls Rock Austin depends on the hard work, input, and support of many individual volunteers, donors and business sponsors. Volunteers are essential to both the existence and the spirit of our camps.
Girls Rock Austin values diversity of age, race, economic status, gender expression, gender identity, size, physical ability, developmental ability, musical interests, learning styles, nationality, religion, thought, citizenship status, and sexual orientation. We promote respect and do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying or any other discriminatory behavior or expression.
We value the power of all styles of music as a means to create personal and social change;
We value efforts that actively expand opportunities for girls and women;
We value creating a safe space for youth to tell their stories, and have positive and productive dialogue about their experiences;
We value the power and agency of girls, and strive to provide tools to amplify their already strong voices;
We value an experience where gender does not limit our thoughts and ideas of ourselves;
We value mentorship as a means to create a community that helps youth find their voice;
We value integrity, honesty and respect;
We value fostering an inclusive environment that welcomes and celebrates people from all backgrounds;
We value multiple learning styles and encourage learning opportunities in all interactions;
We value a community where everyone’s differences are embraced and not suppressed.