Reel Grrls by Sunni Campbell
During the summer of 2011 I had the privilege of interning for a non-profit organization named Reel Grrls, dedicated to empowering young women from diverse communities through media literacy. Each year over 80 young women participate from several programs offered through out the school year and during the summer. Reel Grrls is a unique media and technology training organization that empowers young girls to not just critique the media images that surround them, but to learn important technological skills in order to create their own media.
Residing in the Central District of Seattle, Reel Grrls fosters the importance of educating young women and cultivating important leadership skills vital to their future. Reel Grrls offers a variety of hands-on workshops for adolescent and teenage girls in technology skills such as animation, cinematography, script writing, video blogging, apprenticeship programs, and other teen video camps.
These workshops take place during the school year as after school programs, and during spring, summer, and winter breaks. The workshops also vary in skill levels, some are directed at younger youth ages from 9-13, while other programs are more advanced and target youth 13-18. The tuition varies based on the length of each program and technology being used, but Reel Grrls does offer scholarships for youth that simply can’t afford to pay full tuition for programs!
There is a small dedicated full-time staff of five women including the executive director who keep Reel Grrls going, as well as several rotating Mentors and instructors who come in to help with different aspects of each workshop. I was one of two interns at the time, and I mainly worked with the technical media and program managers. There are so many different ways to get involved with Reel Grrls, and they are always looking for new talent, fresh minds, and strong, creative, independent young women who can be mentors, volunteers, and interns to help inspire and teach young women and girls.
If you’re interested in being an intern, I can tell you from my experience that this is an amazing organization to be a part of, and the experiences and skills you will pick up are invaluable. I was not only inspired through my internship time spent at Reel Grrls, but I took away a passion to continue my education with digital media, film, and technology, and have learned both from the staff and the students. Internships at Reel Grrls vary, but they are always seeking technical, program, and marketing interns. Volunteer positions are similar to those of interns, and vary depending on skill sets, and the capacity in which you would like to help out at Reel Grrls!
Becoming a mentor for Reel Grrls is another great way to get involved, and their main requirement: “is a commitment to empowering young women through media production. In exchange for their hard work, mentors gain access to Reel Grrls video equipment and the opportunity to network with other Seattle-based filmmakers, artists, activists, and educators.” Technical mentors are experienced filmmakers familiar with either camera, audio, lighting, or editing. Youth Development mentors “help to create an open and safe environment for girls in the program by leading group-building activities, being active listeners, and providing girls with emotional support during the program.” There are also curriculum mentors, and workshop leader positions; check their website for more info, or you can apply online.
Other ways to get involved are are becoming a Reel Grrl yourself if you are age 12-19, its fun and you will not only learn about the technology to create your own media, but you will learn about teamwork, leadership, and responsibility. For those who need extra financial aid for programs at Reel Grrls, they offer schoalrship as I mentioned earlier. This however would not be possible without donations, and scholarship contributions. If you don’t have the time to volunteer or intern, you can donate to a great organization to support the grrls fund, and give a young girl the gift of media!
In the current climate where digital media is so prevalent, organizations such as Reel Grrls play an important role in social learning education. The value of media literacy is growing as the technology for self expression grows, and the work that Reel Grrls does in educating young women in digital media is key to the technological competency of the youth.
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