Introducing Camp Autostraddle May 2013: Registration Is Way Open

Once upon a time we had a dream. It involved a couple hundred of you, 35 of us, a group retreat site in the San Bernadino Mountains and a weekend packed with workshops, panels, activities and performances designed to inspire, educate, entertain and/or make you laugh — basically, it was the spirit of this website manifested in three entire dimensions. We wanted to create a special (and affordable!) space where you could be yourself, enhance your relationships within the international queer community, support Autostraddle and make new friends forever.

It was a dream called A-Camp, and it was a dream that came true the last weekend of April, 2012. We did it again in September 2012, and it was even more amazing than the first time.

Obviously, we’re doing it again.





Thursday May 23rd – Monday May 27th, 2013+


Alpine Meadows Retreat Center in Angelus Oaks, California. It’s 1.5 hours from Palm Springs, 2 hours from Los Angeles, 2.5 hours from San Diego, 4 hours from Las Vegas, 5 hours from Phoenix and 8 hours from San Francisco. We’ll be running shuttles from LAX to the campsite from 10 AM to 3PM on May 23rd and shuttles back to LAX from 8AM ’til 11AM on May 27th.



You weirdos! Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome — in September, our campers ranged in age from 18 to 50 and came from all over the world, including lots of Canadians and quite a few Australians and United Kingdomers. Half our campers were over 25 and half were under. About 30% of our campers were returning and 70% were new.



You’ll be having the bestest biggest surprise slumber party of your life in fully insulated, carpeted & heated cabins with private bathroom/showers/baths and generously-sized bunk beds. You’ll be sharing these cabins with somewhere between 10 and 17 others, led by two counsellors from Team Autostraddle. Cabin groups are designed with your needs in mind (we meet all roommate requests!).



Tuition is $375 and is all-inclusive. No extra fees.

Just $50 down reserves your spot!


Your tuition includes:

  • Four nights lodging (linens included)
  • Three meals a day with snacks – and this time we’ll be working with the chef to design a menu and options catered specifically for our group, and there are vegetarian, vegan & gluten-free options
  • Full access to a variety of activities, workshops, panels, sports and arts & crafts. You’ll also have the option to get fun one-on-one stuff like an Alternative Lifestyle Haircut or an Individual Style Consultation, all included!
  • Kickass Tote Bag packed with amazing things such as an awesome A-Camp T-Shirt !




What the hell goes on at A-Camp?


For more information about what goes on at A-Camp, you can check out our recaps from April and September’s camp  and testimonies from campers about the joy of the experience. Keep in mind that this time around, things will be even more awesome.


A-Camp Daytime

Days at A-Camp are spent participating in a variety of programming options offered by the Autostraddle Team and special guests — Color Wars! Gender Panel! How To Pick Up Chicks! Morning Hike! Coming Out Panel! DIY Home Projects! Trans* Discussion Group! Meet & Geek! The Truth About Cats and Dogs! Lesbian Jeopardy! The Sex Panel! Free Swim! There’ll be lots of new stuff this time and we’ll be following through on your requests for things like a Bisexuality Panel, a Kink Panel and more interactive workshops. There’ll also be a Quiet Room for people to decompress and enjoy the Camp Autostraddle Library.


A-Camp After Dark

Every night offers plenty of opportunities for fun-fun-fun! Every camp opens with an all-camp campfire hosted by Julie Goldman and closes with an all-camp Talent Show and Dance With DJ Carlytron. In September, we enjoyed a wet/riotous game of Faggity Feud With Julie & Brandy, hosted a Staff Reading (our most well-loved event/activity in the history of camp) which will become a new A-Camp tradition. Other evening activities have included Hav & The Hav-Nots (a musical performance from Haviland Stillwell and the A-Camp Band), all-camp wide games and S’Mores. May Camp will definitely feature a Julie & Brandy Game Showstand-up from DeAnne Smith and will probably feature my personal fantasy Evening of Lesbian Folk-Rock Music starring Julie Goldman, Somer, Marni, Haviland and other talented teamsters! Much more TBA! (And for night owls, revelry continues all night long in various lodges.)

The Talent

We like to bring smart talented lesbians with lots of shit going on to entertain, educate, and hang out with you. They come because they believe in Autostraddle and A-Camp and we’re really excited about our Talent Roster (so far!) this time:

Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard – You know Julie & Brandy from their hit Autostraddle webseries In Your Box Office, but that’s not all the duo does together — they’re staff writers for E! Fashion Police WIth Joan Rivers, are regular guests on The Gay Pimpin’ Podcast. Julie Goldman is a world-renowned lesbian comedian and star of the former Logo TV program TThe Big Gay Sketch Show, and has also appeared in Bones, DTLA, The Sopranos, The New Normal, Weeds and Best Friends Forever. Brandy Howard has appeared in 56 beer commercials, as well as Untold, Ditching Party, Just Shoot Me! and It’s Like, You Know.

DeAnne Smith – DeAnne blogs for Autostraddle, but mostly she’s known for her hiLARIOUS stand-up and prolific career as a comic. DeAnne has appeared on Last Coming Standing, Good News Week, Canada’s The Comedy Network, HBO Canada and has won and been nominated for heaps of awards all over the world, such as the Sydney Comedy Festival’s Time Out Best Newcomer and the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Somer Bingham – You know Somer from the terrifying Showtime reality series The Real L Word, throughout which Somer remained a low-key down-to-earth human amid a gaggle of oversexed lesbians, but if you really wanna get real you’ve gotta read our amazing interview with her. Somer hosted SOMER FRIDAYS for Showtime with her wife Donna and heads up Clinical Trials, a “thrashy all-female electro grunge rock [band] with a side of angst.”

The cast of Unicorn Plan-It – You know the ladies of Autostraddle’s hit webseries Unicorn Plan-It — Haviland Stillwell is an actress & singer (her first album “How I Role,” debuted in 2009), who appeared on Broadway in Fiddler On The Roof and Les Miserables and onscreen in Single LadiesThe Client List, CSI: New York and Eastwick; among others. Ashley Reed is a screenwriter/producer & playwright and Sarah Croce (Miss April 2011) is an actress, producer & editor you may have seen in Levi’s Jeans Commercials, Flick’s Chicks, Girl Talk, GO Mag’s Red Carpet or The Real L Word Parody.

Mollie Thomas – 2013 Autostraddle Calendar Girl Mollie Thomas was the first openly gay woman running for Miss California USA. Mollie taught a pole-dancing class at September Camp and is very active in Animal Rescue and animal rights work!



How Is This Camp Not Like All Other Camps?

If you’ve been to camp before, rest assured that in May 2013, we’ll be blowing your minds with heaps of new activities and scheduling that offers a little more breathing room. In addition to returning (but reworked) classics like The Gender Panel, we’ll be rolling out a series of more tightly-focused activities that really utilize the talent and expertise of our staff. We can’t wait to see what our new team members come up with!

We put a new twist on the experience every time (and get progressively more organized), so the only way to know the whole story is to come to camp, obvs.

Okay, I’m in. What Now?

If you wanna get on the saddle and trot on over to A-Camp with us this spring, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

1. For the low low price of a $50 non-refundable deposit, you can snag your spot for the spring festivities. Please read the instructions at the top of each registration interface page if anything seems remotely complicated.

2. When registration fills up, you can put yourself on the waitlist. Be sure to put an e-mail address you check regularly & often, so you don’t miss our note if you’re up!

3. If you’re driving in on Thursday, please plan to arrive between 12:00 noon and 5:30 PM. On Monday, please plan to leave by noon.

4. If you’re looking for flights and will need transportation from the airport, then please book your incoming flights for Thursday, May 23rd to get in by 2 PM at the latest. (E-mail camp [at] autostraddle [dot] com to make arrangements for later flights.) Camp officially begins at 6 PM. There will be activities going on throughout the afternoon, but mostly we want to allow you time to get settled in before your counsellors take you into the woods and brand you for life while howling at the moon.

If you’ll need transportation to the airport on Monday, May 27th, there will be busses leaving at 8, 10 and 11, so don’t book a flight that leaves any earlier than 1PM.

5. If you need to cancel, you can just log back in to the registration interface and cancel!



Notes on Payments and Payment Plan

In the past, we’ve offered a Payment Plan, but we’re not doing that this time — BUT DO NOT DESPAIR! Although most vacations require their entire tuition upfront, we’re giving you five months before the tuition payment deadline. The registration system allows for partial payments, so you can create-your-own payment plan — all we ask is that you put down at least $100 towards your tuition by March 1st and pay all your tuition by April 1st. If those deadlines don’t work for you, just email us and we can work something out! We’re real people, know money can be tight, and will do everything we can to work with you to get you there. We’re super flexible as long as you communicate with us.

The reason for those deadlines (and part of the reason we’re abandoning payment plans) is a chronic problem we’ve had with people signing up for camp, putting down a deposit and holding that spot for months without making more than one payment, then often finally canceling when it’s too late for us to fill the spot. Coordinating payment plans and chasing people down has evolved into a nightmare and we bit off more than we could chew. We ended up with quite a few empty spots at last camp due to various problems with abandoned payment plans and non-responsiveness — and because the camp gets final numbers from us six weeks before you arrive, we also ended up at both camps paying the camp for campers who never paid us or showed up. We have to simplify that process this time for mutual sanity, and so we are!




Q: How do you win camp?

Q: I’m really super poor but I want to go so bad!
A: Firstly, this is a once-in-a-lifetime Utopia-esque situation, I recommend getting your emergency funds out. But we get that hard times are here for some of you, and that’s why we’re giving you five months after putting down your deposit to come up with the money.

Q: I’m still too poor.
A: We do give out between 5-8 camperships (based on space and the amount of campership donations) per session. To apply, campers submit essays explaining why they deserve to get a campership. Please note that we get heaps more applicants than we have camperships. There will be a post about this soon.

Q: Is there Wi-Fi?
A: NOPE! I know it’s scary!

Q: Will there be any free time?
A: Yup! I mean you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, and we’ll be adding more free/flexible time this camp. Go read by the river or go videotape your friend hiding in a tree like a monkey or just lie on the grass or in your bed. You can do whatever you wanna do, you’re a grown-up!

Q: What’s the deal with alcohol?
A: Drinking isn’t part of any A-Camp activities and we do not serve alcohol. But if you’re over 21 and wish to drink at camp, you have to bring your own alcohol, put your name on it, and store it in one of our designated lodges (food/drink are prohibited in cabins because of bears) where you can access it whenever you want. We’ll be providing a “substance-free cabin” option for anyone over 21 who would prefer to room with other abstainers, as well as designated substance-free evening programming/space.

Q: Can I work at camp?
A: No, our camp is staffed entirely in-house. But if you’re coming to camp already and you’ve got a special skill/talent and would like to propose a workshop, email marni [at] autostraddle [dot] com and robin [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Q: Are there extra charges for anything?
A: If you need a shuttle to or from LAX, it’s $25 each way. Everything else is included. Depending on demand, we may offer a ropes course option at $20 for each attendant.

Q: Me and my girlfriend/all my friends want to go together, can we stay in the same cabin?
A: Yes.

Q:  I can’t come to camp but would like to help somebody else get there, can I do that?
A: Absolutely! We’ll have a post up in the next month or so about how to help send somebody else to camp via the Power of Magic Camperships.

Q: When are you doing an East Coast camp?
A: I know this seems like SUCH a good idea! But for a zillion reasons including a shorter off-season and the fact that most of our team lives on the West Coast, this simply isn’t affordable or logistically possible for us right now — and in turn, for you. This is something we hope to do in the future but we’re not sure when that will be yet, so don’t hold your breath. However, it’s worth noting that we picked a site near LA because it’s one of the cheapest airports to fly into in the country.

Q: What about A-Camp in CANADA?!
A: The expenses required to put on A-Camp in any other country would drive your cost to about $2,000 for a weekend, and that’s before plane tickets, passport fees, etc. If we ever do an international A-Camp, it would be years from now.

Q: When is the next camp after this camp?
A: We’re not 100% positive yet, but it will probably be in October at the same site.

Q: Who should I email with my pressing question?
A: Camp directors Marni [marni at autostraddle dot com] and Robin [robin at autostraddle dot com]

Q: What’s that link again?
A: Here it is!

Q: Anything else?
A: Please we beggeth of you from the deepest depths of your beating heart, to make sure we have an email address for you that you check often. We will be sending you updates via e-mail and it’s imperative that you receive and respond!


Register Now! 

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Riese is the 34-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City and mellowed out in California before returning to the Detroit area to be a grown-up. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

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  1. Thumb up 5

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    REGISTERED! I registered even though I can’t put my days off request in until January 1st. I’m confident the Queer Gods will hear my prayers.

    I’m also excited to be in a big cabin this time! Last time I chose the sober cabin and it was small, but nice. But I want to be in a big cabin this time so I can experience having a big gay family at camp 🙂

  2. Thumb up 31

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    I was driving to Starbucks to work on a paper when the FB notification went up. I pulled into the nearest place with Wi-Fi, which was McDonald’s.

    I drank shitty coffee while listening to children scream in the Playplace, just so that I could register immediately.


  3. Thumb up 11

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    oh lesbian jesus, why is registration so early?
    I think I won’t make it this time around because I can’t plan for next may plus I seriously have 2 euros on my bank account today.

    but I’ve decided that if I don’t make it I’ll donate a campership cause you know, everyone deserves to go to camp and shit ain’t that expensive in euros anyway.

  4. Thumb up 2

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    🙁 so sad that this is like a week before graduation meaning I have to study for finals. And the next one is in October when I’ll be just starting college and can’t go. I was hoping you would have it in september like this year, because then I could actually go. Some day, some day A camp will be a time that school isn’t ending or starting. SIGH….

  5. Thumb up 11

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    I feel like I probably can’t afford this, but I also feel like I’ve never wanted anything more in my life than to go to A-Camp, so I might just have to give up my savings and hope that I get a lot of work over the next few months. Fuck it I’m gonna go register.

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      It really is. I’m pretty poor. I’m in community college, paying for that and also paying for massage school student loans. I can only work part time because I’m so busy.
      Even though most of my money every month goes to bills, I MAKE myself afford A-Camp. Because it changes your life in an amazing queer-tastic way.
      So every spare dollar you get a month, pay toward A-Camp. And, since we have SIX MONTHS until A-Camp, that gives you time to slowly pay it the tuition.
      You will not regret it.

  6. Thumb up 3

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    This didn’t become available till I was out of work and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get a spot BUT I DID AND I’M SO EXCITED. My bank account will be punishing me with each payment, but IT’S SO WORTH IT. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    … By the way, does anyone know if there’s any sort of discount codes/coupons floating around for flights from NYC? That near-$400 price THIS EARLY ON is a killer. :/

    Again, 🙂 !!!

  7. Thumb up 3

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    I am so so sad! There’s always something up in my life whenever A Camp happens. My graduation ceremony is on May 24 🙁 *tears* I’ve never been to camp and it has always been my dream to go to camp ever since I watched The Parent Trap. I hope there will be another one and that I would be able to go.

  8. Thumb up 2

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    Oh my god, y’all, I am such a huge lurker on this site, but this time camp starts LITERALLY the day after my school’s closing faculty meetings, which makes it a distinct possibility!!! I am seriously missing all the queer ladies after moving to Tennessee from Philly… Quick, someone convince me this is a good idea!

  9. Thumb up 10

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    i am making a jar for me and a jar for my best friend (who i met through this site THANK YOU VERY MUCH) and we are going. in october. but STILL. saving till then to come from guatemala sounds like a more reasonable idea. I DONT CARE HOW FAR AWAY IT IS I’M STILL EXCITED

  10. Thumb up 2

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    I’m so nervous this will fill up too soon for me to register. Don’t have the $50 now (holidays and medical bills sucking up every spare cent). But if I can’t go, at least I can sit and watch you all get so excited! Especially for first time campers. You’re all going to love it!

  11. Thumb up 5

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    Dang, you guys, I just almost overdrew my account to sign up for this (it’s been a rough month) but I DID IT and I am so excited, and mildly terrified since I’ve never done anything like this before… but it’s mostly the butterflies of lurrrve that I’m feeling.

  12. Thumb up 4

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    When I was reading this, two thoughts occurred to me:
    1. This has to be the greatest/most-magical/awe-inspiring/insert other appropriate adjective(s)thing EVER!
    2. Camp takes place a week after my birthday…and living in the PNW means that a flight down to Cali wouldn’t be too expensive. Hmm maybe a belated birthday gift to myself? Totes justifiable.

    So much win happening in this registration announcement!

  13. Thumb up 11

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    There will always be reasons and excuses not to go to A-Camp. They are perfectly valid. BUT SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO GO BE WITH YOUR QUEERS IN THE MOUNTAINS.

  14. Thumb up 10

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    Last April, I went to A-Camp on scholarship. This year, when I donated to Autostraddle, I grabbed me a reserve spot as my perk and was able to swing the whole cost of the trip on my own. Those of you who can’t go, think about tossing in some money for a scholarship. A-Camp changes lives. For those of you who can, see you in May. Let’s be friends.

  15. Thumb up 1

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    Can’t make it to this one, but October camp is a definite possibilty!

    Now, I have a serious/possibly extremely dumb question: am I able to use a straightener/hair dryer at camp? Whether or not I will be able to burn my hair with electrical appliances while on camp is actually the deciding factor on whether I will go or not!

  16. Thumb up 3

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    Holy smokes! I didn’t think i’d hesitated that long but it’s full already! Straddlers do not mess around. C’mon wait list, do me a solid. I’ll fly all the way from the far side of Australia if a spot comes up.

  17. Thumb up 5

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    hey waitlisted folks! don’t despair… both camps we’ve been able to let in a lot of people off the waitlist. if you added yourself to the waitlist yesterday or today, your chances of getting in are really good.

  18. Thumb up 4

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    (also, it wasn’t actually full when it initially said it was, but so many people (43!!!) had started and then not finished their applications that y’all jammed the system. so ppl at the top of the waitlist will probably get in within the next few days)

  19. Thumb up 1

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    I feel as though I must tell you all that I just created an account (after being a lurker for ages) so I could say that I’ve spent hours pricing up how much it’ll cost to go whilst listening to Tegan and Sara. Clearly, I am mentally committed to going next year! Haha. Although I dunno… I may wimp out and wait until the October one. D:

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      October A-Camp though, yes? I am 18 now but I have exams which decide my whole university future early June so I really shouldn’t disappear to America and mess that up. Very sad.

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      Well you’ll be before me. I really should’ve check the site a month ago; and answer my 50+ emails.

      Marlene! I’m sorry I haven’t replied. You would be one of the many unread emails, my bad :/

  20. Thumb up 0

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    I just woke up from a dream that I was totally shunned at A-camp and nobody liked me. Though in reality I was too late to get on the roster for the one this May.

    Please tell me there will be a follow up camp in September so I can prove my dream wrong and feel like I have a community!

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