Creator of Reno Rock Camp finds the right chord |

Creator of Reno Rock Camp finds the right chord

John Seelmeyer

Michael Hill already had moved to a less-expensive home, and he’d made the decision to put off some needed repairs on his car while he fed cash into Reno Rock Camp.

“Sometimes,” he says, “you know you are going to get that miracle call.”

The miracle calls have arrived often enough that the business launched by Hill three years ago is beginning to get its feet on the ground.

And while the miracle calls out of the blue have been helpful, equally useful has been the knowledge that Hill has gained since he launched Reno Rock Camp and its parent company, RRC Organization Inc.

In its recently completed second summer program, Reno Rock Camp hosted about 90 youth aged 8 to 17.

During the weeklong or three-day camp sessions, students organize themselves into bands, learn basic chord-driven songs, star in a music video, discuss the business basics of a rock band and perform for friends and family members.

But students aren’t the only ones who have been learning since Reno Rock Camp launched its first sessions at the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows in the summer of 2013.

Hill has been learning, too.

After working as a software development and analysis executive, he yearned for the freedom of running his own business and began writing a business plan in 2009.

Striking on the idea of rock-band camps for youngsters, he scouted possibilities in the Bay Area and Connecticut — both too expensive for a startup — before he landed in Reno.

Among the big questions he needed to answer: How much to charge? The camp this year set its prices at $300 for a one-week session and $180 for a three-day camp.

Another difficult question: How to convince parents that Reno Rock Camp is a worthwhile investment in the development of their children.

“Parents are paying for band at school,” Hill says. “They’re paying for opera lessons. How do we get them to understand that this is a value-added service?”

The biggest hurdle ahead of Reno Rock Camp and its parent company, meanwhile, is building a schedule of year-round classes on the base of its growing summer camps.

Hill says Reno Rock Camp has begun offering some after-school programs, plans to expand its offerings with a overnight camp at Lake Tahoe next year and is working on a long-term vision of similar programs dubbed “We Rock Camp” in other cities.

While Hill has financed the company’s start from his own resources, he’s considering a crowdfunding campaign to raise additional capital to power faster growth.

During its summer peak, the company employs more than a dozen instructors, camp counselors and support personnel.


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