Mission Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is a non-profit music and mentoring program that empowers girls and women through music education and activities that foster self-respect, leadership skills, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.
Statement of Purpose The organization brings together girls and women from diverse communities and encourages them to explore self-expression through music, hone their critical thinking skills, build meaningful alliances with other girls and women, develop confidence in making healthy choices in their lives, and effect positive change in their communities and in the world.
The organization operates a summer day camp, after school programs, and community events in New York City.
History Founded in 2004, Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls held its inaugural camp session in 2005 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan. 66 girls attended. In 2006, the program expanded to include two sessions, and a total of 160 girls attended. The 2006 camp season took place at Brooklyn Friends School.
The camp is named after Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a blues and rock performer/songwriter who was one of the first women to play the music that came to be known as “rock n’ roll.” The camp grew out of the Portland, Oregon-based program Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, which was founded in 2000.