2023 was an unforgettable year for Tampa-based nonprofit No Fret Guitar Camp. Forty-nine camps were held in 18 states and 294 students were gifted with free guitars. The Christian-based organization celebrated its 1000th student since its beginning in 2018.
No Fret Guitar Camp is a nonprofit ministry that works with churches to share love through the lifetime gift of music with low-income and at-risk kids in middle and high school by giving them free guitar lessons and free guitars. The camps are designed with a curriculum of a total of 10 hours of instruction, typically two hours a day for five days. Students learn four chords: G, C, D and E minor. Volunteer leaders are provided training, and every student that completes the course receives a full-size acoustic electric guitar.
Director Gary Brosch began the ministry to connect students to faith in God with music. In the first year, he held three camps in the Tampa area. Brosch said that the No Fret Guitar Camp is based on the Bible verse Matthew 6:25, which instructs to not worry about life.
“We named it No Fret Guitar Camp because dealing with teenagers — the stress, fret, anxiety that they are dealing with — we wanted them to not worry. That’s why we did Matthew 25 verse,” Brosch said.
The goal for 2024 is to hold camps in 50 churches and concentrate on improvements that will prepare the nonprofit to be truly national, Brosch said. To grow, they need more churches to request camps, he added.
“Although our goal is to grow to much larger ministry throughout the country, we love more local camps so that our local support can grow, … and I can attend and share in the kids’ joy. It keeps me motivated to actually see and meet the kids,” Brosch said.
Locally, camps have been held in Dover, Brandon, Riverview, Ruskin, downtown Tampa, Ybor City, Sun City Center and Seffner. First United Methodist Church of Seffner is hosting a camp on Saturday afternoons from Saturday, February 10 through Saturday, March 9. For more information, contact Sid Fortner at email@example.com or 813-731-7089.
Churches interested in No Fret Guitar Camp can apply by filling out an entry form on the website at www.nofretguitarcamp.org.