Our band (of Pickles) could be your life: A reflection on coaching Girls Rock camp

Categories: Breeality Bites

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Ladies and gentlemen, The Hopeless Pickles of Pizazz!
The Hopeless Pickles of Pizazz was the best band at Girls Rock Denver's annual summer camp this year. But I would be lying if I didn't immediately acknowledge my own bias: This band of eight- and nine-year-old girls was coached by me and fellow Westword contributor Robin Edwards. Seriously, though, how could this not be the best band in the world, with hit song "Helalulu" -- written in less than a week, by the way -- covering everything from the plight of inspirational goldfish to the smell of love in the air and the hottest topic of 2012, pigs on wheels?

See Also:
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- Five reason to volunteer for Girls Rock Denver

In signing up to volunteer a good thirty hours of my week for Girls Rock, I was selfishly concerned about my own time. Could I really devote a week's worth of work hours to something that didn't pay? But then I realized I do it all the time for adult-like projects: I play in three bands, make art for posters and fliers, write for zines, help organize shows, etc. I also assumed that my experience as a gymnastics instructor and sports-camp counselor for six years would be enough to guide my time with Girls Rock -- but failed to remember that my work with kids happened from 1994 to 2000, also known as a million years ago. Still, I could surely teach a week of half-day sessions focused on music, something so intrinsic to the rest of my life.

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The Pickles accidentally discover the Nirvana songwriting formula.
But alas, my big headed-ness was my downfall. After the first day of camp, I was emotionally exhausted. Why weren't these kids listening to me? Why didn't I know how to talk to them? Why didn't these kids like me? Why was I even worried about second-graders liking me? It is bizarre to be an adult who doesn't have kids (or interact with kids on a regular basis), even when you think it's not going to be weird at all. Kids are like the coolest version of human beings, and there is no way you can ever truly be on their level. That's what makes them so cool.

But once I got over my adult insecurities, I was able to focus on the task at hand: herding my four baby cats into a mental space where they could create something awesome together. They did everything by group consensus: from picking The Hopeless Pickles of Pizazz as the band's name to selecting the verses and choruses (or "sweet" and "crazy" parts) of "Helalulu" from brainstorming sessions, everything was done by the girls.

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