Access to the Arts: Spotlight on Rain City Rock Camp for Girls

Community Partnerships
07/18/2017
KEXP

On August 1st, King County voters will have a chance to vote for Proposition 1, also known as Access for All. This fund would provide arts, science, and heritage organizations like KEXP with significant new resources to sustain existing programs, greatly expand free and reduced-price access to programming, and create new long-term partnerships with King County public schools and school districts. Access for All would be paid for with a .1% sales tax levy (1 penny on every $10 spent) which would cost the average King County household about $3 per month. If a majority of King County voters approve it, Prop 1 will create a new fund for arts, science, and heritage education and access for residents and public school students. Over the next week, we'll be spotlighting a few of the other local organizations who will also see an impact from Prop 1, like today's profile on Rain City Rock Camp for Girls.

Since 2009, Rain City Rock Camp for Girls has been on a mission to empower girls, women, and gender non-conforming individuals to engage their creative potential through music. It's about more than just learning to play an instrument: Rain City Rock Camp for Girls strives to foster self-esteem, create community, and encourage social change. We asked Executive Director Natalie Walker to tell us more:

  • Over the past year, what are some of your organization's highlights in education, events, or programs for Seattle?
  • Over the past year, we had over 250 youth and 75 adults who identify as female or gender non-conforming participate in our programs, including leadership and activism for our mission. Over 200 volunteers from a diverse array of backgrounds and geographic locations contributed nearly 7,000 hours to our summer programs alone, doing everything from teaching instrument skills to facilitating challenging, but necessary discussions on body image and media influence on self-image.
  • Our showcases and events serve as fundraising tools, but we have begun messaging admission as "suggested donation" to support all of the families taking part in celebrating the accomplishments of their loved ones and members of their community. For the last 6 years, we have run 3-4 programs a year that are free to the participants. These include school partnership programs and youth leadership cultivation programs.
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  • What key aspect of your org's work do most people in King County probably not realize?
  • Rain City Rock Camp has been able to provide financial assistance or scholarships for every family that has requested it in our youth programming. This amount rose from $12,000 in 2014 to $20,000 in 2016, reflecting the additional programming and higher need of financial support in our South King County program, South Sound Rocks! Though this was a smaller program, 50% of the youth used the financial assistance in sliding scale form. At Summer Camp, about 30% of our families identify as non-white/mixed race, where at South Sound Rocks! our demographic surveys indicate 50% of our campers are non-white/mixed race. Similar trends follow in economic status portions of our data collection.
  • What would passage of Proposition 1 mean for Rain City Rock Camp for Girls?
  • Our current growth has intentionally targeted expanding to areas with underserved communities, particularly regions that currently lack music and art opportunities for youth. This puts additional costs on the organization, and without additional funding, these growth choices are not always possible. Additional funding will allow us to make our programming available in areas where there is a higher financial need, and where there is historically less access to arts and music education programs (in and out of school).

If you'd like to volunteer time, skills, or resources towards their Summer Camp and other events throughout the year, please contact them. If you'd like to donate used gear, permanent programming space, or a monetary gift, visit their donate page. You can follow Rain City Rock Camp on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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