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Bellingham Girls Rock hosts winter break camp

Bellingham Girls Rock host a winter break camp Dec. 28-Jan. 3 at Fairhaven College.
Bellingham Girls Rock host a winter break camp Dec. 28-Jan. 3 at Fairhaven College. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Morgan Paris Lanza, the executive director of Bellingham Girls Rock Camp, is encouraging girls age 8 to 17 to register for the annual Winter Break Camp, a day camp that focuses on writing songs, playing an instrument, collaborating with a band, and recording in a studio.

The camp runs Dec. 28-Jan. 3 at Fairhaven College on Western Washington University’s campus, and culminates with a performance Jan. 2 at the Green Frog.

Casi Brown founded the camp for her Fairhaven College senior project in 2012.

The mission of Bellingham Girls Rock Camp is to educate and inspire girls and women to be self-empowered collaborative leaders through music education, performance, media literacy, and social justice, Lanza says.

“Bellingham Girls Rock Camp has been around since the summer of 2012, but the Girls Rock Camp movement started in 2001 with the creation of the Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Ore.,” she says.

We keep our camp size small in order to create a safe and inclusive space for participants.

Morgan Paris Lanza, executive director, Bellingham Girls Rock Camp

“Casi Brown founded the camp for her Fairhaven College senior project in 2012; she was inspired by her experience as a camper at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls in Seattle. When Casi graduated from Western, she passed the reigns to me. I was transformed by her experience as a camp counselor and workshop leader. I knew that the camp had to continue, and that the community wanted and needed it.”

“We keep our camp size small in order to create a safe and inclusive space for participants,” Lanza says. “We limit the camp to about 20 participants.”

Participants in Girls Rock events have reacted in different ways, she says, but the response is generally positive. Lanza sent me a few testimonials:

“As a volunteer, I was reminded of some of the reasons why I play music, and reminded of some of the things that I want to convey through my music. I felt that the campers saw that playing music is about so much more than glamor, and began to understand it as a vehicle for social change. I felt that everyone came into their own power by the end of the camp.”

“It helped me, as a parent, bridge the gap between ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things’ that media is constantly throwing her way. She seemed to feel more empowered to make any choice she wanted to make.”

“I have a passion for social issues and want to play my part in building a future that can provide an equal opportunity society for generations to come.”

Lanza says that in addition to the winter camp, camps are also planned for the spring and summer.

Theatre Guild update

Bellingham Theatre Guild past-president John Purdie gave me a few updates about the fundraising campaign that began in August to make key improvements to the guild’s building, which was built in 1903 as a church at 1600 H St. While the nonprofit guild has made improvements since it bought the church in 1944, the building is still not handicap-accessible.

Some people have been asking for “a donation in my name” to Bellingham Theatre Guild’s capital campaign in lieu of birthday or wedding anniversary gifts.

Purdie says the pledge total has reached $575,000. Of that, $100,000 is a pledge from Rotary Club of Bellingham, which has named the campaign its major project this year.

More than 270 people have been to the campaign website, www.btg4thefuture.com, says Purdie, and donations have come from as far away as California. Some people have been asking for “a donation in my name “ to the campaign in lieu of birthday and wedding anniversary gifts, and Purdie hopes that trend continues during the holiday season.

Other guild news:

The play selection committee is seeking submissions from prospective directors for the 2016-2017 season. Construction will begin next summer, so there will not be a fall opener slot at the playhouse. The committee is seeking ideas for off-site shows for the fall slot. The deadline to submit proposals for the season is Dec. 18. Details: 647-2873.

Submissions for the Bellingham One-Act Theatre Festival VI are due Dec. 12. The festival is an open-participation, short-play festival for Whatcom residents featuring original comedies, dramas and musicals. It runs Feb. 29- March 12.

“Behind the Curtain” events, 10 to 11 a.m. one Saturday a month, provide information on ways to volunteer at the guild. The next one is Jan. 16. An RSVP is appreciated, but not required. Call 360-733-1811.

Rock Camp

When: Dec. 28-Jan. 3

Where: Fairhaven College

Cost: $350; scholarships available

Details: bhamgirlsrock.com

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