GirlsRock! Iowa City is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2014 to make space for girls, trans and non-binary youth in the music scene of Iowa City. During their week-long summer program, GR!IC creates a space for campers ages 8-14 that emphasizes self-esteem and belonging. Through their gender-specific programming, GR!IC fosters a supportive environment where the often-unheard voices of girls and trans and non-binary youth are centered and celebrated.
During camp week, campers take instrument lessons and form their own bands. In addition to learning technical skills like singing and songwriting, campers participate in workshops that cover topics like history of women in music, bystander intervention, lead by local artists and performers, and attend performances by visiting musical artists.
As camp week progresses, camper bands work together to write their own songs. This process is guided by volunteers who share their insights into the creative process and work to create a smooth group dynamic, although all creative decisions ultimately are made by campers with little adult input: this youth-led creative process generates a body of work with a unique perspective, covering topics like group belonging and personal identity (and cats.) These songs are performed at the camp’s grand finale showcase on Saturday of camp week.