Summer Camps

Yoga, scuba, kung fu, theatre, magic, zookeeping, rowing, and more!

Remember summer camp? Night after night of irritating folk songs half-heartedly sung 'round the campfire, drowned out by the electric buzzing of mosquitoes fat with children's blood? Those endless days making macramé by a lake? And what about those simpering cabinmates who repeatedly wet the bed ... in the top bunk ... with you underneath? Oof! So why send your little kiddies to while away the summer months learning how to make macaroni art when they could spend quality time tearing up the asphalt in a pair of in-line skates? Or applying principals of Buddhism to cheerleading? Or shredding their axe and hitting the skins ... you know, focusing on things that could very well rock their world and change the world all at the same time?

Austin is loaded with fun summer opportunities, and with disciplines ranging from Shakespeare, scuba, yoga, zookeeping, rowing, and magic, to good old standbys like soccer-, cyber-, and Austin's patented rock & roll camps. We've done our best to find the deepest array of local kids camps and have even expanded the scope to a number of out-of-town summer sessions. Heck, there might even be a little bit of macramé thrown in ... you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

YMCA Camps
YMCA Camps


CALUSIO CREATIVITY CENTER hones young imaginations through weeklong sessions of art, theatre, and music, as well as more physical activities like swimming and field trips. Ages 5-12. May 31-Aug. 13. 7:30am-6pm. 5446 Hwy. 290 W. #106, 892-5975. www.calusio.com.

CAMP DOUBLECREEK Located in Round Rock, Doublecreek offers exciting lessons in archery, tumbling, swimming, gun safety, horseback riding, and more. Li'l pardners may then unwind with arts & crafts, on their miniature golf course, or in the veggie garden. Ages 4-13. May 31-Aug. 13. Shuttle service to & fro available at several Austin locations, 255-3661. www.campdoublecreek.com.

CAMP HEATWAVE is the AISD's answer to the dog days of summer. Offered at four local elementary schools – Davis, Doss, Mills, & Pease – kids discover diverse facts about animals, cooking, science, and travel, all while having fun over eight weeks of adventure. June 1-July 23. Various locations, 414-0371. www.communityeducation.org/summer.

CAMP QUALITY TEXAS is a free, community-based camp for kids diagnosed with cancer that assures adequate medical supervision. Each camper is paired with a trained companion to aid him or her in swimming, archery, horseback riding, arts & crafts, and more! Ages 4-17. July 18-23. Camp Tyler, 903/534-9701. tx.campqualityusa.com.

CHILD'S DAY SUMMER CAMP is offering a swim-and-gym-intensive summer camp for your K-2 kids. Field trips and theme parties also abound, along with their optional "I.Q. Kids" computer classes or vocal and keyboard lessons. Ages 4-7. Monday-Friday, June 1-Aug. 12. 7am-6pm. 2525 Wallingwood Dr., #100, 327-3274. www.childsday.com.

EASTSIDE STORY FOUNDATION CAMP This nonprofit foundation will keep your kid's brain muscle flexed with fun, educational activities in the morning, while the afternoons will be straight-up summertime fun with field trips to city parks, playgrounds, museums, and amusement parks. Ages 5-13. Monday-Friday, beginning June 7, 7:30am-5:45pm. Various locations, 322-2350. www.ci.austin.tx.us/eastsidestory.

FUN FEST USA AT CHILDREN'S WORLD Providing child care across the country, Children's World is setting out to explore it this summer. Each week, kids in preschool and older play as they learn about our nation in an educational, geographic blast. Various locations. www.childrensworld.com/funfest.

ROCKY RIVER RANCH Give your daughter an unforgettable summer with a learning adventure at this storied Wimberley ranch that offers everything from rappelling and rifle training to drama and archery. Ages 7-16. June 6-Aug. 6. 100 Flite Acres Rd., 512/847-2513. www.rrrcamp.com.

STEPPING STONE SCHOOL and its Junior Genius Achievement Camp is too cool. At any of its 11 locations, field trips and theme weeks emphasize everything from the arts and "mad" (i.e., gooey) science to swim enhancement and magic. Camp starts the day after AISD shuts its doors, so Dexter won't miss a beat in the lab. Ages 5-11. Beginning May 27. Various locations. 459-0258. www.steppingstoneschool.com.

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF offers a variety of excellent services for the deaf, hearing-imparied, and their loved ones this summer. Fun, educational programs are available across the entire K-12 age range and include a family weekend retreat, drivers education, and optional overnight lodging. June 13-July 9. 1102 S. Congress, 462-5353. www.tsd.state.tx.us/outreach/summerprograms.htm.

WET AND WILD ADVENTURE CAMP shuttles budding beach bums across Central Texas to more than 35 lakes, streams, and swimming holes. Still want more? How about Lazer Tag, bowling, Schlitterbahn and ... Fiesta Texas? Ages 8-14. Sessions begin June 1. Morning drop-off in Oak Hill between 7:30 and 8am, or at West Enfield between 7:30 and 9am. Afternoon pickup is between 5:30 and 6pm at Oak Hill or Austin High School. 892-2224. www.wetwildcamp.com.

YMCA CAMPS It's fun to play at the YMCA. Programs on sports, the arts, summer fun, and much more are offered to everyone kinder through teen and in between, with that traditional Y emphasis on character. Various locations, 236-9622. www.austinymca.org.

Art & Music

AUSTIN SCHOOL OF MUSIC has been doing its thing for nine years now, offering two weeks of intensive music training that culminates in a performance at Antone's. Sending your pride and joy to this camp also gets you a CD and video starring, you guessed it, the campers themselves! Rock & Roll Camp Ages 10-19. Multiple sessions beginning June 1. Drum Camp Ages 10-19, June 14-18. Jazz Camp Ages 10-19, July 16-17. 2428-B W. Ben White, 476-7666. www.austinschoolofmusic.com.

ROCK 'N' ROLL CAMP FOR GIRLS This nonprofit feminist camp boasts an impressive roster of volunteer instructors that reads more like an indie-comp than a camp, with names like Sleater-Kinney, the Haggard, and Team Dresch. Ages 8-18. Session I, July 19-24. Session II, July 26-31. Girls Rock Camp, Portland, OR, 503/445-4991. www.girlsrockcamp.org.

NATURAL EAR MUSIC CAMP is a great place for the kid in your family who can't stop singing into a hairbrush or beating the pots and pans with a wooden spoon. There are two day-camps for Austin kids and a residential camp for out-of-towners who want to rock. Day Camp Ages 8-17. June 7-25, July 12-30. Residential Camp Ages 13-18. July 18-30. 1306 W. Oltorf. 447-5910. www.naturalearmusic.com.

UMLAUF SCULPTURE GARDEN takes its terrific children's workshop a step further this summer. For one week, groups can carve, mold, and create to their heart's content in the Umlauf's serene surroundings. Ages 8-9, June 7-11; ages 10-11, June 14-18. 605 Robert E. Lee, 512/445-5582. www.umlaufsculpture.org.


DOUGHERTY ARTS SCHOOL Just like Fame, but right here in Austin! The kids who attend this camp will get their fill of visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, video and computer productions. Ages 3-12. Classes June 2-Aug. 22. 1110 Barton Springs Rd., 397-1468. www.ci.austin.tx.us/dougherty.

KIDSACTING One of Austin's favorite year-round acting schools also has summer camps that feature lessons in what it takes to mount a play, make a movie (using video), and all that sort of Hollywood stuff, culminating in a live show for family and friends at the end of camp. So many disciplines to choose from! Various weeklong camps from June 7-Aug. 13. 5811 Burnet Rd., 458-5437. www.kidsactingstudio.com.

SHAKESPEARE WORKSHOP is the ultimate summer retreat for the serious thespian in the family. Students will work with actors fom the Shakespeare Festival to learn stage combat, voice, dialects, and audition techniques in addition to set and lighting design, make-up, costumes, and stage management. Ages 13-18. July 12-24. Drama Workshop Monday-Friday, 9am-12:30pm. Shakespeare Production Workshop Monday-Friday, 1-4pm. 2900 Bunny Run, 327-1213. www.kidsactingstudio.com.

STATE THEATER CAMPS The State Theater offers a wide range of acting camps for kids (ages 13 to 17, 8 to 12, and younger) throughout the summer, incluuding a professional film workshop for ages 10 to 17. Perhaps best of all, these classes are led by the talented Christa Kimlicko Jones or Peyton Hayslip or both. Camps are one or two weeks long, depending on their area of study. July 7-Aug. 1. 719 Congress, 472-7134. ata.convio.net.

TEXAS ARTS PROJECT Hosted at St. Stephen's Episcopal School, TAP offers an intense, collegiate-style sleepaway camp for the performance-bound. Kids choose their major (dance, acting, or musical theatre) and supplement it with electives fitting their art, culminating in a performance for family and friends the final day. Ages 13-18. June 6-26. 2900 Bunny Run, 327-1213. www.sstx.org/theatrefocus.

THE MAGIC CAMP Your children will be able to enjoy the wonderful world of magic, puppeteering, and juggling in an atmosphere of fun. With a teacher camper ratio of 5-to-1 and numerous guest performers, this camp experience is guaranteed to be a magical one. Ages 6-12. June 14-July 30 (excluding the week of July 4). Fulmore Middle School, 201 E. Mary, 288-1596. www.magiccamp.com.

ZACH SCOTT THEATRE CENTER With weeklong camps focusing on subjects as varied as hip-hop, King Arthur, and pirate ships, Zach Scott has just the right camp for just about anybody. Ages 5-15. Weeklong camps, June 1-Aug. 6. 1510 Toomey, 476-0594. www.zachscott.com.

Mad Science!
Mad Science!


AQUATIC SCIENCES ADVENTURE CAMP Your kids will love this aquatic exploration of the Edwards Aquifer and the San Marcos River. Fun trips will be held at the Aquarena Center, Guadalupe River, and Barton Springs pool. Tubing, snorkeling, and glass-bottom boat riding are sure to make a splash! Ages 9-15. Sessions begin May 30. Texas State University, San Marcos, 512/245-2329. www.eardc.txstate.edu/camp.html.

ASIAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER extends an open invitation to children of all ethnicities this summer. Events focus on the Asian languages and traditional arts. Ages 6-12. June 1-Aug. 13. 11713 Jollyville Rd., 336-5069. www.asianamericancc.com.

AUSTIN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM SUMMER CAMP reads like a greatest hits of summer fun. Half-days for the wee ones tackle dinosaurs and science, outer space, math, and more, while the elders go field-tripping and learn about cool topics like forensic science, movie production, and technology right there in the museum. Ages 4-10. 201 Colorado, 472-2494. www.austinkids.org.

BADGERDOG CREATIVE WRITING CAMPS offer budding authors a chance to write and revise poetry and prose with the support of a professional writer. The camps provide two three-week courses for grades 7-9 and 10-12, with students' work culminating in a published anthology and public reading. June 9-29 & July 12-30. 3401 Webberville Rd., 512/223-5100. www.badgerdog.org/summer_camps.html.

CAMP INDIGO hopes to nurture spiritual realization through movement/dance, storytelling, gardening, nature walks, and more. Ages 5-14. July 5-9. 4100 Red River, 512/451-7044. www.divineconsciousness.org.

CENTER FOR YOUNG CINEMA is for kids interested in filmmaking, animation, writing film scripts, Web design, and more. This series of summer camps sets your children up in small classes so they can get attention from the professionals. At the end of it all, you'll be able to see your kid's work at the public screening! Ages 10-18. Starts June 27. 906 E. Fifth #106, 236-8877. www.motionmac.org/cyc/courses.html.

CHILDREN'S BUDDHIST SUMMER CAMP will enlighten many a youngster's summer with an intense, albeit brief, day camp. Taught at the Austin Fo Guang Shan Xiang Yun Temple, participants learn and apply the teachings of Buddhism through kung fu, science, discussion, and appreciation of the Eastern arts. Ages 5-11. June 4-6. 6720 Capital of TX Hwy. N., 346-6789. www.geocities.com/ibps_austin/English/Main/Event.

CYBER CAMPS offers several hands-on technology courses for kids on a variety of expertise levels, ranging from video game design to robotics. Ages 7-18. Various locations, 888/904-2267. www.cybercamps.com.

FRENCH FUN Oui, oui, mon cherie! That's what your summer will be if you send your enfant to Miss Valerie! And while it's not in an "old house in Paris that's covered in vines," the Petite Provence in Barton Hills will do just fine. Ages 4-12. Monday-Friday, 9am-noon. Sessions run July 12-Aug. 6. 441-1284. www.lapetiteprovence.org.

GIRLSTART CAMP Does your little girl love math, science, or technology? Send her to this awesome camp that has four different sessions focusing on inventions, reporting, superstardom, and investigating. Girls grades 4-8. Beginning June 7. Girlstart Tech Center, 608 W. 22nd, 916-4775. www.girlstartcamp.org.

HOSPICE AUSTIN'S CAMP BRAVE HEART is open for kids and young adults who've experienced the death of a loved one. Counselors and staff will guide campers through this cathartic three-day camp. June 9-11, Aug. 9-11. 342-4700. www.hospiceaustin.org.

KIDS ORGANIC GARDENING SUMMER CAMP Enroll your preschool child in a fresh summer gardening camp at Ronda Dizney's Montessori Garden, an acre of beautiful gardens surrounded by shade trees where they'll learn to grow their own certified organic snacks, plus how to market the leftovers! June 1-Aug. 13. Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. 4300 Mount Vernon Dr., 707-8635. rondasgarden@yahoo.com.

MAD SCIENCE Give your budding Einstein or Curie a Mad Science experience this summer. There are seven different camps to attend, where your kid can learn the intricacies of Morse code, constellations, rockets, pollution, chemistry, gravity, and more. Ages 4-12. Starts June 7. Various locations, 892-1143. www.madscienceaustin.com.

SUMMER CHESS CAMP Campers will be taught by instructors who are all the best in their field and also teach chess as full-time professionals. Summer camp students will be taught different aspects of chess through the use of tactics such as game analysis and contests. July 5-9. Sessions meet in the morning (9am-noon), in the afternoon (1-4pm), or all day (9am-4pm). St. Gabriel's Catholic School, 2500 Wimberley Ln., 888/65-CHESS. www.chesscamp.com.

TEXPEDITIONS is held – where else? – at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Their Story of Texas Players dutifully cover the history of our state, flag, and (cough, ahem, cough) IMAX theatre. Ages 7-12. June 14-July 30, Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm. 1800 N. Congress, 936-8746.

THE AUSTIN ZOO offers two weeklong sessions, one for the all-around "ologist" (as in bio-, zoo-, archaeo-, ento-, eco-; you get the idea), and another for the kid who's always wanted to know just what zoo keepers do. Ages 5-12. Beginning June 7. 10807 Rawhide Trail, 288-1490. www.austinzoo.org.

WILD CONNECTIONS NATURE DETECTIVES CAMP bundles environmental lessons in CSI-type excitement. While scouring "the scene of the crime" – a beautiful Butterfly House, trail, and garden – campers track animals and learn their prints, traits, and more, getting very educated and dirty in the process. Ages 7-12. Begins June 7. 10802 Kit Carson Dr., 301-5553.

YOGA CAMP FOR KIDS Everybody needs a little ohmming sometimes. Here, children will learn yoga postures through storytelling and playing games. So, even if you don't have the time to find your chi, at least let the littl'uns in on the nirvana. Ages 5-8. June 7-11. Yoga Yoga North, 2167 Anderson, 380-9800. www.yogayoga.com.

GSI Scuba Day Camp
GSI Scuba Day Camp


AUSTIN ROCK GYM Are your kids sweaty with cabin fever, mucking up your walls with sneaker prints or bouncing off the ceiling from suffocating boredom? At Austin Rock Gym, they'll actually be encouraged to climb around like the little monkeys they are – and they'll learn to do so safely. Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm, beginning May 31. 4401 Freidrich, 512/416-9299. www.austinrockgym.com.

AUSTIN WALDORF SCHOOL delivers an array of specialized sports excitement. Take it to the hoop (or net) with camps covering basketball and volleyball, or work on general athletic ability with a conditioning course. Junior cross-trainers can also learn ball-basics like passing, catching, and hitting. Grades 5 and up. Basketball camp: June 1-4, 12:30-4pm. Volleyball camp: Girls only, June 7-11, 9am-noon. Ball skills: June 1-4, 4:30-6pm. Conditioning camp: June 7-July 30, 8-9:30am. 8702 South View, 288-5942. www.austinwaldorf.org.

CAMP AVALANCHE/CAMP SUB ZERO These camps get your budding Hammels and Hamiltons outta the sweltering heat and onto the ice. Kids get to skate every day and even play in a snow park; they'll also enjoy (heart)warming activities such as swimming, hiking, fishing, and volunteering. Camp Avalanche: Ages 10-13. Weekly sessions begin June 7. Camp Sub Zero: Ages 5-9. Weekly sessions begin June 7. 14200 N. I-35, 252-8500. www.chaparralice.com.

DEVIL'S CANYON WILDERNESS PROGRAM CLIMBING CAMP of St. Stephen's school offers indoor and outdoor rock climbing, trail hikes, swimming at local watering holes, a whitewater kayak instructional, ultimate frisbee, and an overnight low-impact camping and climbing expedition to Enchanted Rock. Whew! Ages 10-14. Camp I, May 31-June 4; Camp II, June 7-11. Both sessions run 8:30am-2:30pm. 2900 Bunny Run, 327-1213. www.sstx.org.

GOLDEN VISTA EQUESTRIAN CENTER Can't get your kids to stop begging for a horse? Send them here for two-week summer camp sessions. From beginner to advanced, your child will care for a horse, learn handling and grooming, and ride, ride, ride! Teaching your children responsibility while satisfying their need to horse around will provide them (and you) with a happy summer. Ages 7-18. Starts May 31. 9513 Hwy. 183 S., 243-3500. www.goldenvistaequestriancenter.com.

GSI SCUBA DAY CAMP How about starting the new school year as a certified scuba diver? That's exactly what happens at GSI Scuba. Kids begin gradually, learning safety and basics, before they're ready for the plunge into one of San Marcos' plentiful lakes. Advanced courses are also available, as are pickups. Ages 10 and older. July 19-23, Aug. 2-6. Advanced camp: July 5-10. 12500 Paul's Valley, 288-1622. www.gsiscuba.com.

IN-LINE SKATE CAMP Motorblader extraordinaire Fritz Blaw wants your kid to get radical. In addition to daily grind sessions, this camp offers earth boards (off-road skateboards), trikkes, roller T-ball, pogo sticks, and capture-the-flag. Let 'em shred! Ages 6-12. Beginning June 4. 1301 Shoal Creek, 476-5662. www.gsiscuba.com.

ROWING DOCK sets sail to Town Lake for all-boating, all-floating action! Day-camp explores introductory rowing and water safety, while older kids dive deeper into rowing's athletic and competitive aspects through the Dock's morning courses. Grades 6 and older. Day camp: June 1-4, June 7-11, June 21-25, June 28-July 2, July 5-9, July 12-16, July 19-23, Aug. 2-6. Morning courses: July 26-30, Aug. 9-13. 2418 Stratford Dr., 459-0999. www.rowingdock.com.

STILL POINT AIKIDO Martial art Aikido emphasizes self-defense, calm, and safety. Offering two sessions at Hyde Park's Methodist Church, Still Point Aikido's weeklong classes may offer parents some inner peace as well. Ages 6-12. July 12-16, July 19-23. 703-8942. www.stillpointaikido.com.

SUN DRAGON MARTIAL ARTS CAMP specializes in Kyokushin karate and is suitable for all skill levels. Ages 6-12. Girls session, June 7-11. Coed session, June 21-25. 203 E. Riverside, 416-9735. www.sundragon-martialarts.com.

Sun Dragon Martial Arts Camp
Sun Dragon Martial Arts Camp


LONGHORN SOCCER CAMP, run by Austin's Longhorn Soccer Club, is the oldest overnight camp in South Texas. Located at Blinn College in Brenham, the camp offers goalkeeper and field player programs. June 20-25. PO Box 204021, 990-1234. www.longhornsoccerclub.org.

ROBERT KETTLE SOCCER CAMP offers a lot more than just soccer for the baller in your family. With gymnastics, trampolines, a 60-foot climbing and repelling wall, horseback riding, canoeing, a junior Olympic swimming pool, basketball, volleyball, and ping-pong, we're not sure the little champ will have enough time to dribble! Ages 8-17. Four weeklong residential sessions, beginning June 13. Texas Sports Ranch, Crosby, 888/GYM-CAMP. www.robertkettlesoccer.com.

SMITTY'S STRIKER/GOALKEEPER ACADEMY is run by Dave "Smitty" Smith and the Lonestar Soccer Club in Cedar Park, in conjunction with the Town and Country & CC United programs. Ages 6-18. Five weeklong day sessions, plus evening sessions for older kids. June 7-July 23. 512/331-0180. www.lonestar-sc.com.

SOCCERPLUS CAMPS is a very high-level goalkeeper academy based in Connecticut. They'll offer a one-week came in Waco, day or resident. Ages 10-adult. July 12-17. Baylor University, 800/533-7371. www.soccerpluscamps.com.

TATU'S ALL-STAR SOCCER CAMP is a weeklong residence camp from the man who brought you Tatu's Indoor Soccer Palace. Ages 9-17. June 13-18. Trinity Valley Community College, Athens. www.tatusoccer.com.

TEXAS A&M SOCCER CAMP offers four weeklong sessions at the Aggie Soccer Complex in College Station. Ages 11-18. June 12-20, July 17-25. www.texasamsoccercamp.com.

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SOCCER CAMP is headlined by UT women's head coach Chris Pertucelli. They have a fun and convenient day camp at Zilker Park, ages 5-18, and weeklong residence camps for ages 10-18. Day camp: June 14-18. Resident camp, June 8-12, July 7-11. 471-3624. www.texassoccer.com.

VOGELSINGER SOCCER ACADEMY is in its 39th year of advanced soccer education; based in San Rafael, Calif., they come to Austin in June, offering three overnight or day programs where "campers are protected from daily distractions and allowed to fully immerse themselves in the game." Ages 9 and up. June 6-19. 2900 Bunny Run, 327-1213. www.vogelsingersoccer.com.

WOLFGANG SUHNHOLZ SOCCER ACADEMY Suhnholz, the eminance grise of the Austin soccer community, offers a weeklong day or residential camp at Southwestern University in Georgetown. Ages 8-15. June 20-26. 512/258-2277. www.suhnholzsoccer.com.

Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls of Portland, Ore.

In an old sewing factory in northeast Portland, Ore., community activist/catalyst Misty McElroy has gone and revolutionized the summer camp. Her Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls is all about resonance. In place of those stoned summer-job camp counselors, the GRC boasts an A-list of volunteer instructors, including Sleater-Kinney, the Haggard, Mirah, and Team Dresch. And forget those off-key lunchtime sing-alongs, these campers dine to concerts by the likes of the Gossip, the Quails, King Cobra, and the All Girl Summer Fun Band.

This isn't just some rebellious Rock 'n' Roll High School run by Riot Grrrls, no. This is serious bricklaying for future Righteous Humans, offering self-reliance workshops ranging from zine making to songwriting, sound and video tech, self-defense, size oppression, and media literacy.

It all started four years ago, during McElroy's last year in the Women's Studies program at Portland State University. She borrowed a bunch of gear, made use of PSU's facilities, and put the rest on her credit card. That first year, the fledgling camp only charged $20 to attend. And, while the price has risen to $300, the camp remains a nonprofit endeavor.

McElroy offers scholarships to girls who need them, remaining true to her vision whereby girls, regardless of race, ability, size, or socioeconomic background, are included in a genre that isn't always welcoming to them. "When a girl using a wheelchair is rockin' a 700-seat sold-out theatre at the [end-of-camp] showcase," she says, "then my goal has been reached for the day."

Lilia Beaman, former camper and 19-year-old lead singer of the Austin band Laslow, credits belting it out during self-defense class for her strong voice. The class was taught to go for the eyes, throat, and groin, all the while screaming "No!" "That really helped me with my singing," she says, "to practice letting it all out."

In an unwitting nod to the powers of McElroy's camp, Lilia wholeheartedly believes that as a girl, her career will not be hindered in the slightest. "You just have to be good. If people are going to give you shit, all you have to do is come out and be like, 'Look, I am good. So screw you guys.'" Surprisingly, the only complaint Lilia has with the camp is that it's very "girl-power," and that after attending the summer of her 16th year, she "just didn't want to hear the word 'feminist' again for a long time."

"I'm shocked that she said that, considering her favorite band is Sleater-Kinney, who are self-proclaimed feminists and use their feminism as a basis for their work," McElroy responds. "Many women have been taught that feminism is a bad word, and that's really too bad." But even Lilia will admit to bumping into sexism as a young lass in the Austin music scene. Once, when her former band the Non-Stops were playing a house party, some dude kept shouting, "Yyyyyeah! A chick band!" She somehow refrained from going for his eyes, throat, and groin, and instead replied calmly: "Excuse me, sir, but we're young ladies. And next there's an all-boy band! Yyyyyeah!"

Who knows if Lilia would ever even have formed the Non-Stops, let alone felt confident enough to call out that guy's stupidity, if she hadn't attended the camp? And what about girls who have the same interests as Lilia, but perhaps not quite the same sense of self?

What McElroy has created in Portland is much more than a music camp. The real testimonial is this: While Lilia may grumble about all the feminist hullabaloo, she's excited about returning to Portland this summer as a volunteer. Not bad for someone who never wanted to hear the dread "F" word uttered again. Credit the program's eagerness to let girls feel free to speak their minds, to be exactly who they want to be. As McElroy says, "My intention is to give girls a sense of entitlement to rock music and their self expression, whether it's overcoming their fears/insecurities, starting a career in the music industry, or going on to create an anti-sexist/misogynist media."


Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, PO Box 11324, Portland, OR 97211, 503/445-4991. www.girlsrockcamp.org.

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