Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2013 Caitlin Sweeney
Misty McElroy had no idea when she crafted her senior undergraduate capstone project at Portland State University in 2001 that she was starting a worldwide phenomenon—the Rock ‘n’ Roll Campfor Girls. What started as a week-long summer camp for girls ages 8 to 17 to teach them how to play rock music has since blossomed into an organization with over 40 branches worldwide, serving 3000 girls every year and affecting the lives of thousands more women and girls in the surrounding communities. The Girls Rock Camp Alliance operates as the organizing body for the dozens of Rock Camps across the globe. Together, these organizations work to build girls’ self-esteem through music creation and performance and further, to create feminist cultural change. Rock Camp, like so many other nonprofits, exists on a political continuum, with radical direct-action groups on the far left and mainstream, foundation-funded organizations on the right. Misty’s original vision for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls was rooted in radical feminist politics that followed in the footsteps of Riot Grrrl and made an explicit connection between girls playing music and political movement. While feminist politics continue to form the foundation of the work that every Rock Camp does, from its pedagogy and curriculum in its programming to its organizational structure, and every organizer will agree that Rock Camp is a fundamentally feminist organization, it has made a series of choices over the past decade that now places it closer to the center of the continuum.
Sweeney, Caitlin, ""I'm A Little Pony And I Just Did Something Bad:" Feminist Pedagogy and the Organizing Ethics in the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls" (2013). Scripps Senior Theses. 287.
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