LERN

Garage Band Rock Camp

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The community responded in a big way and campers wanted sessions to continue weekly. Community members wanted the Garage Band Rock Campers to perform for various events. More than one camper reported Garage Band Rock Camp “changed” his or her life, and more than one mentor echoed the very same comment, organizers said.

What started off as a little idea soon became the “little engine that could” for Sanford Community Education in Springville, Maine. Slowly, more and more local musicians joined the cause to create what would become Sanford’s weeklong summer camp for musically-minded students, mentored by local rock musicians.

In the beginning, the musician mentors met monthly to fine-tune the details of the camp. The musicians became so invested in the concept, and they all agreed to donate their time to the camp. One mentor even donated $200 to help provide scholarships to students in need.

When the first camp week arrived, 10 students had registered and eight musicians had signed on to mentor. After a week of daily sessions, the first camp ended with a rock concert starring the campers on Friday evening. The house was packed for the concert and the “good vibes” were everywhere, organizers said.

The community responded in a big way and campers wanted sessions to continue weekly. Community members wanted the Garage Band Rock Campers to perform for various events. More than one camper reported Garage Band Rock Camp “changed” his or her life, and more than one mentor echoed the very same comment, organizers said.

The kids and mentors were brought back together during February break to learn and practice a new set of songs for a fundraising concert to raise awareness about the camp and to raise scholarship money for needy campers. The success of this event led the group to be invited to Sanford High School’s Battle of the Bands contest and concert to provide an intermission/half-time set by the mentors to promote the camp directly to musically-minded high school students. Three campers also went to the concert and spoke about their experiences, and by the end of the night more students were expressing interest in attending.

Sanford saw a modest profit for the first summer and expects revenue to grow.

“Sanford Community Adult Education takes seriously the community aspect of our program – that’s why Community comes first in our name,” organizers said. “Garage Band Rock Camp’s mission to support at-risk youth will see long-term profit both financially and by addressing real community needs.”

The second year of the camp saw doubled enrollment, five corporate sponsorships and 13 mentors who all donated their time to the program.

The program continues to grow and so does awareness in the community – participants regularly perform at community events throughout the year, and more musician mentors are always asking to join the cause.