Columbia nonprofit encouraging girls to stand out, build self-confidence

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Published: May. 3, 2022 at 12:25 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Building confidence as a young girl isn’t always easy.

The changes and phases we go through as we get older can make it hard to find where we fit in. But one Midlands non-profit is encouraging girls to stand out!

Sam Edwards is the Director of Operations for Girls Rock Columbia, a summer camp program aiming to teach girls to walk to the beat of their own drums.

“The biggest thing I think that we do for our campers is build self-confidence. We hope to create an environment where they feel free to express themselves, where they feel supported, and that’s just something that’s so important in community building,” says Edwards.

Over a one-week program, girls create a band, write their own music, design their own swag, and perform a live concert during Soda City.

“Just to see so many of them come through on day one saying I don’t want to sing then at the end of the week they’re belting it out on stage, and it’s their own music,” said Edwards. “And I think that’s why a lot of our campers come back and volunteer with it because they recognize how valuable it has been to them and how transformative music really is in people’s lives.”

Those volunteers include people like Kristi Schrader, who’s been with Girls Rock Columbia since it started.

“I went to an interest meeting and it just sounded like an amazing organization that I wanted to be a part of so I’ve been a volunteer since 2013,” says Schrader.

She says both her daughters now attend camp and they have a blast!

“They cannot wait, every year they are counting down the days, they’re planning what they’re going to wear, planning what their band name might be, what instruments they want to play the next year,” said Schrader.

Edwards says COVID impacted nonprofits hard, and this being the 10th year of camp, the organization has a goal of raising $10,000 through Midlands Gives donations, to continue to create a space for girls to be loud and proud.

“Girls are given the space to explore and experiment and really get to know themselves and be true to themselves,” said Edwards. “Everyone’s there to support each other and it’s really just like a big family.”

10th Annual Summer Camp

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