I volunteered this week as a guitar teacher and band coach at Girl’s Rock Chicago’s summer camp. This was my fourth year volunteering with this amazing organization. Each year has been an overwhelmingly positive and inspiring experience. This time was my favorite, though.
In my guitar class, I taught 11 and 12 year olds how to play tons of songs filled with riffs and arpeggios (their favorites were The Sweater Song and My Girl). I had a great group. Two of my three students have taken years of lessons and clearly practice regularly. They’re really solid players who pick up new things with ease. My third student had only three months of lessons under her belt. This kid was so determined and fearless though! She was the first to volunteer to demonstrate the toughest things I was throwing at them. She patiently worked at each new skill and looked so happy as she started to get it. What a wicked cool kid! I want to grow up to be that confident, determined and happy.
And then I’m the afternoons, I helped an astonishingly focused group of 9 and 10 year olds realize their vision of writing an original song about waffles, candy and ice cream raining from the sky. Coaching this band was five afternoons of sweetness and light. I had no idea that such young people could be so sensitive to each other’s needs, so encouraging of each other’s ideas and so collaborative and generous. Hearing them play so beautifully on stage after only one week of lessons and practice was awe-inspiring!
During lunches and breaks, I jammed with other volunteers and had dozens of great conversations.
Girl’s Rock inspires and empowers countless campers and volunteers every year. It was just what I needed.
I can’t wait till these kids are in bands and playing shows for real: they’re being mentored by the best.