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Camp For Adults: Ladies Rock Camp

By Rachel Belle

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Mary Adams, right sings on stage. (Photo courtesy Puja Parak)

Listen to Ladies Rock Camp!

Sweet, sweet summer camp. Do you ever get sad that your summer camp days are done? Well, there is a camp for adults in Seattle and it’s just for the ladies. Natalie Walker is executive director of Seattle’s Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, a camp for girls who want to spend a week rocking out. She says when the moms would drop their girls off at camp:

“They just kept hearing over and over, ‘I wish this were around when I was a girl.’ So they were like, ‘You know what, why don’t we do it?’ We’ll do it in three days, a crash course in what we teach the girls and you’ll learn an instrument and form a band and play a live show. In three days!”

Forty-one-year-old librarian and mom, Mary Adams says Ladies Rock Camp is the one thing she truly looks forward to every year. She’s come to Ladies Rock Camp, in Seattle and Portland, five times.

“It gets me away from my family. I know that sounds awful but I don’t ask for anything else. This is it.”

Mary says her parents couldn’t afford to send her to camp, so this is a dream come true.

“What keeps me going back is the female interaction – it’s positive, it’s so safe. I have never had interaction with women like I have at these camps. I have made friends. I’ve always kind of struggled with hanging out with girly girls. They were, like, really into, like, my shoes or my purse, and that just doesn’t come into factor here. We’re all here to rock. It’s so empowering.”

Ladies Rock Camp is not like any camp I ever attended. There aren’t any nature walks, they don’t make friendship bracelets or go swimming. The women come to play guitar, bass, drums or vocals and they go from 8:30 in the morning until midnight learning their instrument, writing songs and practicing with their new bands.

rock camp show poster

“My first year, I was in a band called Bad Lady Finger,” Mary says. “I don’t know where that name came from. I came back eight months pregnant and learned how to play the drums. We called ourselves Me and Mary.”

The thing that is the same as the summer camps I went to: the comradery and friendships that are established.

“The last day, we just cry like a bunch of babies, you know, and, ‘Keep in touch!’ I’m looking for that community that I can play music with and have that in common with and I think I’m finding it, more and more.”

Ladies Rock Camp is a place where the women can be loud and perhaps unveil parts of their personalities that they keep hidden. I wondered if Mary’s colleagues were surprised by her rock and roll hobby.

“They’re very surprised. I’m pretty reserved at work and a bit quiet. I’m mean too! I’m like, ‘Put that away!’ They are a little surprised but then they understand it. The punk rock in me comes out sometimes.”

Ladies Rock Camp is this weekend and you can still sign up.

“It’s cheaper than therapy, so that’s why I go every year. My husband is just, like, ‘Go and have fun. I’ll take care of the kids. Don’t worry about it, just have fun.’ He’s always at every showcase, of course, and he cries. He’s going to kill me. He cries every time!”

The big showcase is this Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe and everyone is invited to attend.

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