ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mia has attended the Girls Rock Camp for three summers now.
The 12-year-old musician, who is trying keyboards this year, says the week-long experience never fails to make her feel “powerful.”
“It makes you feel like you’re on top of the world,” Mia says. “Like you’re in charge and nothing can stop you.”
Girls Rock Camp is a volunteer-driven non-profit that takes over St. Pete’s Unitarian Universalist Church during the summer.
Phones are checked at the door.
So is negativity.
“Starting in elementary school and middle school, young women’s self-confidence just totally plummets because of everything just charged at them,” says camp founder and co-director Rachael Sibilia.
Words of affirmation and positivity adorn the walls. Music lessons mingle with talks about empowerment and strength.
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“To get in there at an early age, and just build them up and teach them how to empower each other instead of tearing each other down, that’s our whole mission,” says Sibilia.
There are 42 campers this year. They range in age from 8 to 17. Many of the girls are new to music.
No matter their experience, they will all work with volunteer musicians to write and play a song to be performed this Saturday at Jannus Live in downtown St. Pete.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
But long after the music is over, the rockers will remember a week that made them feel good and confident and strong.
“I just feel ginormous,” says Mia with a smile.