OPEN THREAD: Let’s Talk About How Awesome A-Camp Was

this is camper kate hinchey's photo of someone taking our team photo

I’m sitting at the desk in Crystal’s hotel room — she’s flying out to Australia tonight, so Marni and I stayed with her here last night — and I slept for like eight entire hours and I’m not even hungover! So I’m feeling pretty good, is what I’m telling you. But not as good as I felt at A-Camp — sans sleep, nutrients or sobriety — because nothing in the entire world that I’ve seen so far has felt as good as A-Camp. As you may or may not know, I’ve had a LOT of feelings throughout my tender exploratory life on earth, but I don’t know yet how to talk about the A-Camp feelings.

Luckily, we’ve got an eight-hour drive and two battles with transportation companies ahead of us today, and you know what that means — lots of time to process!

For now, I have this: I wish it had gone on and on and on and on, just like in the song, that I could’ve sat down and talked to every single camper instead of just some of the campers, that I had words for this (rather than just facial expressions). I’ve never been so proud of my 35-strong team and so honored to be working with them, or more in awe of their incredible talent and intelligence and spirit — and I’d like to specifically mention Robin and Marni here, too, ’cause they organized and ran this weekend like pros.

I’ve never been so proud of all of you — 163 beautiful, energetic women and otherwise-identified queers — who came to a spot in the mountains from all over the world with such enormously positive attitudes and open arms. We talked about writing, made ‘zines, went hiking, drank tea, cross-stitched, pressed flowers, got alternative lifestyle haircuts, had our breasts pelted by giant super soakers wielded by Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard, met and geeked, performed slam poetry, played jeopardy, took photos, did interviews for Carly’s documentary, speed-dated with Hannah Hart, learned to sing with Haviland, attended gender panels and queer women of color panels and sex panels and queer-women-in-media panels and activism panels and career panels and formspring panels and also we drank/danced/laughed/sang/played/loved. I laughed so fucking hard my jaw ached by the end of every day, and we all clapped and cheered for all the things. And I believe somewhere in between planning elaborate pranks on one another, many of you got laid!

But maybe the one personal memememe feeling I think I’ve got right now at 30 minutes ’til check-out and three unpacked bags is that maybe this weekend I finally started to get it, what you’ve been telling me all along — I did this, right? I found you crazy-ass motherfuckers and we made this place and I had this vision and you all helped me realize it and we all found our words and now lots of people have been transformed forever and we have THIS — THIS THING! So — I guess I’m pretty proud of myself, too.

So yes, we’re looking at October (UPDATE: Maybe September or November actually, we’ll let you know!) for our next A-Camp event — in California again, although we do plan to host camps on other coasts hopefully next year (we’re aware of your 50 billion requests for this, never fear) — and I need to see all of your faces and also a lot of new faces next time.

And now I turn this open thread over to you and your feelings. We’ll have lots of camp-related content throughout the week to share our joy with you, but if you’re anything like me, you probably have lots of joy you already need to talk about right now. Take it away, special snowflakes!

Profile photo of Riese

Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com 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 now lives in The Bay Area. 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!

Riese has written 1748 articles for us.

595 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    There are no words for how grateful I am that you did this for us Riese. It was a surreal and indescribable experience. I haven’t really found the words but I know where I will be in October.

    oh yeah, CHERRRYYYY BOMMMMBBSSSS

  2. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    My feelings are, basically:

    1. Even though I’m upset I couldn’t go because I live in another continent,
    2. I’m glad it all went amazing and you all had lots of funsies,
    3. And yes, Riese, be proud, be really proud. This place is hilarious, enlightening, interesting and in general fucking great – and you created it. :)

  3. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I can’t even begin to process the feelings I have about this past weekend but I’m so glad that I was there for the first ever ACamp. It’s amazing to see what the combined power of incredible diverse women can yield.
    I’m surprised that the next camp is already just around the corner in October and also curious to see what changes will be made to make the next ACamp even better. For a first time event this was an awesome turn out and if there is one thing I’ve come to learn about Autostraddle & its amazing staff is that they create a safe space with open communication. I no doubt any (constructive) insights and valued opinions from this first time event will be taken into consideration in making the next, and all future, ACamps even more amazing.

  4. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    My favorite parts of camp were the panels and the conversations I had with fellow campers. It was so nice being around so many people on the same page.
    I loved my cabin and also everyone else, so much. I wanted to know everyone and hug everyone and listen to everyones stories.
    Camp was so feelings heavy/feelings friendly; I never ever cry and I just couldn’t stop crying sunday.
    Nothing compares to camp.

  5. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Well now I know what thread I will be obsessively refreshing for the next several days so I can live vicariously through everyone’s A-Camp experiences. I hope when the first East Coast A-Camp happens I’m able to convince my wife that this is a thing we should go to.

  6. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Zomg A-Camp was so amazing and thank you so much for all the AS staff that were there and so nice and amazing and honestly like a million times more attractive than they look online (so, yeah they look cute online but in person? Holy shit. Just sayin’).

    I can’t wait for next camp and all the amazing activities it promises to bring, and I hope that the Little Rascals are together again and Laura can be our counselor, because she’s so amazing.

    I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS GUISE.

  7. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    “maybe this weekend I finally started to get it, what you’ve been telling me all along — I did this, right?”

    one of my favorite things was every time riese was on a stage, covering her face with her hands (just like her impersonator in the talent show), you could see her realizing this. it was so funny and cute. and yes, you did this. so thank you, and thanks to the whole team. it was kind of exactly like what I imagined autostraddle would be like in real life, and it was perfect.

  8. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This was insane. Like, reading the summary of what went down, I cannot believe that I was there and now I’m not anymore. Like, holy shit, coming back to this website is surreal because I KNOW YOU WEIRDOS. AND HOLY FUCK, YOU KNOW ME?? YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ME?? That still blows my mind that I’m “famous” because everyone at here is my hero.

    My voice is still sore from singing, and I hope it never ever goes away.

    ((Troubletooooooooonnnnnneeeeeessssssss!!!!!))

  9. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Riese, I just wanted to thank you and all of the staff so, so profusely for the incredible experience you constructed for us. I found myself again and again throughout the weekend looking around and seeing all of these gorgeous folks and thinking with awe, “These people are all queer. All of them. THIS IS CRAZY.” There just seemed to be this pervasive trust in each other, in this beautiful shining idea, and I still can’t seem to put into words how amazing that felt.

    You guys, every single one of you was so glorious. I felt like every time I turned around with my dissolving coffee cup of whiskey in Wolf Lounge I was meeting somebody stunning, living their truth. It was like looking into the sun, all day, every day. Thank you so, so much for your rays, dudes. I had an absolute ball.

  10. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I’m going to try and sum up my favorite times at camp with a few sentences.

    Getting to ride in the car with Riese right off the bat (freaked out). Met some of the best people in my van including the cutest butch and femme couple of all time. Pretended not to know any of the Autostraddle staff or Hannah Hart (I was joking but I think I was too convincing). Met the Little Rascals and fell in love with my cabin including the best of the staff, Laura and Jamie. Asking Beth for the 34th time if what I was eating was lactose free. Hiking with Sarah where I got the nickname ‘Dora’. Laughing until I cried with Julie and Brandi. Sneaking off into the woods for a ‘talk’. Swinging on the swing set for hours. Learning more about myself than I knew possible on the gender panel. Throwing my underwear on stage at the talent show… And the whole talent show. And finally, meeting all the amazing Autostraddle writers and staff and of course all the campers.

    I think I’m forgetting something… Oh yeah!
    ‘Fuck me with a strap-on.’

  11. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    It meant a lot to me to be able to thank the Team in person for their amazing coverage on AS. Being back in the “real world” is surreal and I definitely didn’t want to leave the safe haven that was camp. Thank you so much Robin, Marni, Riese, and the rest of your crazy posse for organizing this, making it affordable, accessible, welcoming, and just tons of fun. I sobbed great big crocodile tears at the Queer Women of Color Panel, stitched my own book, and shot the shit with Katrina while she gave me the BEST UNDERCUT EVER and I feel like I have a new home in my skin (does that make any sense?).

    Totally wish I could be there in October, but I will have my thesis defense and other responsibilities that require my time and money. :( But I will forever remember my first A-Camp experience!

    P.S. now all the collars of my T-shirts have been cut out. FREEDOM.

  12. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Can I ask a possibly dumb question? What was the age range of campers this time around? Because me and my wife are in our mid-30s and I’m afraid we’ll be like the old ladies if we go to one of these. (Yes, I am worrying about fitting in at a thing that I may hypothetically go to 1+ years in the future. This is how I operate.)

  13. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This was such an amazing experience. Gabby and Katrina were the best counselors! They loved us so much that they stuck it out in our packed cabin.

    There are so many things I could say, but I guess the moment that stuck with me the most was when Robin was dropping me off at the airport (in her awesome captains hat) and she smiled at me and gave me the biggest hug to see me off. I have never felt so loved, accepted, amused, crazy, overwhelmed, amazed and fulfilled than I felt at camp.

    CHERRYBOMBS!!!!

  14. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This camp was my 21st century Daughters of Bilitis experience. It was good to see the idea manifest in the form of a weekend sanctuary in the woods with so many amazing queers. This is probably what many of us often fantasized about while living in our heteronormative world. I am thankful to be a part of this and I hope for many more!

  15. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Reading Autostraddle every morning makes my life significantly less lonely and makes me feel like I’m surrounded by queer women. Going to A-Camp and literally being surrounded by you guys was one of the best experiences of my life. I completely agree Dena about coming back to reality being surreal. It wasn’t until I logged on to Autostraddle from home that I truly realized camp was over. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to the, as Gabby put it, magical fairyland known as A-Camp over and over again.

    Thank you so much to the entire Autostraddle crew. You guys are fantastic and I love you all!

  16. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    A-Camp was the best thing ever and I could never ever thank you guys enough. I cried so much on the way home. I can’t even really believe it happened, it felt like a dream. I’m excited to see the documentary so I can be sure I didn’t make the whole thing up! I love all of you so so so so much!!

  17. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    One afternoon I saw this random guy walking around. He seemed to be associated with the camp, like making a delivery or something. And he said, “Why are all these people here? Like, who are you?” and I answered, “We’re, um, all friends from this online community and we’ve come from all over the world and we all happen to be gay.” He had this look of wonder on his face and said, “That’s awesome, I’m so glad you guys have this. Have a great weekend.”

    One of my favorite parts of camp was the moment I had with Gaby where I got to tell her in person something I had wrote in the comments on a piece she had written. She gave me a hug and a kiss and told me how much it meant to her. In that (very sweet) moment, I realized that yeah, we really are family. I’m still riding the wave of warm fuzzies.

  18. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This was just, wow! I met some great new friends, and had sooo much fun at all the activities I got to go to. I didn’t want this weekend to end!!! Thank you Autostraddle Staff!!!
    This website keeps changing my life again and again for the better. Thank you!!!

  19. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    I thought I was going to be super jealous about not being able to be there, but I’m actually just really warmed reading these comments. It sounds like it was incredible, and I hope one day I can go!!

  20. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I have so many feelings about camp, that this has been one of the hardest Mondays in the history of Mondays.
    A-camp is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I have been changed. I met so many amazing people, especially my cabin. 21 hump street yo! I don’t think I can really articulate the awesomeness that is Camp Autostraddle. Can’t wait until next time!

    Thank you so much Riese for sharing your dream with us!

  21. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Oh maaaaan I’m in America in October but I’M ON THE WRONG FREAKING COAST D: I don’t think I’ll get the money to come to America again for a good few years, either, so this is generally a little sad. But still, one day, I will meet you all and have as much fun as you all did.

  22. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    All these little pieces and memories of camp keeping floating in and out of my head. I, too, am unwilling to form a cohesive narrative out of the weekend ’cause it’ll make it too past tense, too rigidly a story I will one day tell like it had structure and linear movement when for me it was really a continuous spontaneous effervescence of the joy, merriment, and excitement of all being in one place.

  23. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Hey hey! I seriously can’t stop talking about it. Whoever I’m talking to could mention literally anything and I’ll find a way to turn it into a story about gay camp.

    I’m dying that I know so many of these comment faces now. It was just the best weekend ever and ever amen.

    Highlights include:

    I wanna gayyyy baby

    My new cut that totally does look even better curly

    Dancing to Robyn

    Sleeping “with” an Olympian (I plan to not tell anyone it was just an adjacent bunk bed)

    Pull my hair, no don’t pull my hair, pull my hair!

    Beth rapping

    The like 40 lesbian spin the bottle game (is this real life?)

    Amazing new friends most of whom have texted me but if you have not yet- get on it.

    Now when I walk down the street I am pretty sure every woman I see is gay after seeing the amazing diversity of our group. It was really beautiful.

    Thank you sooo much for making this possible. I’m already making plans for next camp. Hotel Cali for life.

  24. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I don’t have words for how absolutely incredible camp was. I had some of the most amazing conversations with everyone- I was just struck my how honest, beautiful, and interesting every single camper and staff member was. I’m even more in love with Autostraddle than I was before, if that’s even possible. The talent show was the most fun I’ve had in a really long time, and the panels were just fantastic. I don’t have the words for how great camp was – those of you who were there know what I mean, and those of you who weren’t: I hope you have the chance to find out.

    I want to thank all the staff for being so open and welcoming. I’m honored that I was able to go the first ever A-camp, and that I actually had the chance to TALK to all of you.

    Also- the Autostraddle published poetry anthology has to happen, okay? cool.

  25. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I’d also like to add that being at camp made me feel the most comfortable and free I’ve ever felt. Being with other queer women who shared my thoughts and love and anger with the world made me feel complete, so thanks to the A Team and every single camper who made me grateful to be gay. So, yeah, that cocky bitch with the giant ego? You all made her ;) Thanks <3

  26. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I finally know what the game Apples to Apples is!

    also, morning time hugs and cuddles, A MILLI, $269 worth of BOOZERY, bottom bitch trundles that turned into floor group snuggle sessions and all of you beautiful, bold and badass babygirls as campers.

    CH-CH-CH-CHERRY BOMB!

  27. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Some way I’m going to earn enough money to afford a flight from Europe in October. I’m going to do it. I would just feel absolutely miserable if I missed out on another A-Camp.

    Did a lot of international folks come this time?

  28. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    It’s hard to find the words to describe the weekend, but maybe amazing and tiring and thrilling and thought-provoking and comforting are a good start. Thank you to Riese and Marni and Robin and the whole team and Beth and everyone for putting this together. You did an awesome job making us feel welcome and loved.

    Here are some highlights of my weekend, in no particular order.

    Meeting Julie and Brandy and getting my picture taken with them

    The talent show

    Hanging out with the amazing women in my cabin. Shoutout to Wolfpack and our awesome counselor Stef. Ow owwwwww.

    The gender panel, how to pick up ladies with Katrina and Gabby, high tea with Laneia and Rachel

    Being interviewed for the A-Camp documentary

    Riding back to the airport with Laneia and Megan and seeing how completely f’ing adorable they are together.

    And, last but not least – Riding with Laneia in a towtruck the last ten miles to camp on Thursday night with Megan’s car on the back after the power steering died halfway up the mountain in the dark and fog. Never would I have predicted such a crazy start to to an amazing weekend.

    For all of you who couldn’t make it this time, start saving now for October. Queer Autostraddle love in 3D awaits you.

  29. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Riese and I are driving back to Oakland right now (and I’m eating what feels like my tenth in n out burger in 3 days) but I just wanted to say how grateful I am to every single human who came to camp and made it so fucking fun and life-changing. And wow what an amazing staff of people who all gave 150% and made everything so fucking perfect and amazing. I love you all! Not even 24 hours have gone by an we’re already planning the next one!

  30. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Best. Thread. Ever.
    This totally makes it feel like you guys are all actually people. And I wasn’t even there. But we’re like a group of people with lives and feelings and shit.

    Also, at camp did Hannah Hart and Brittani morph into some kind of power duo? If they do a show together that would be beyond awesome.

  31. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I’m so glad everyone had such a beautiful time – I can feel the love even though I wasn’t there! I cannot wait for any east coast and/or Canada A-Camp.

    Let’s hear it for community that crosses so much space and place, amirite? Way to go, team.

  32. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    this morning i took a bus to the train into manhattan for a meeting, and i looked around and wrote an email to my wolf pack, because i can’t believe that camp is over and i’m so glad that it happened.

    i’ve always felt like this was a community that i belonged to, even though i’m introverted and a little strange, and camp was the best confirmation of that idea.
    i know i won’t be able to afford to go back in october. but that’s ok, someone else should get a chance. and now i can say i have queer friends in new york, finally.
    and when a camp comes to the east coast, you better believe i’ll be there.

    love you all
    the girl on crutches

  33. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    The only problem with A-camp, after I left, everyone I saw looked like a lesbian. I swear! In the airport I kept trying to make gay eye contact with everyone, but they were all just as hetero as I was a homo. I have so many A-camp feelings to process!

  34. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I don’t know if squee is still a word people use, but every one of y’alls’ comments is making me squee. Fucking adorbz and very heartwarming.

    I’m ready for it to be October so I can write my very own A-Camp abstract.

  35. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Wow, the energy is palpable in these comments; it’s weird, you guys, I’m totally getting all your ESP feelings from over here.

    Question: was there any sort of sobriety corner at camp? Y’know, for those of us who are teetotalers and might be interested in going in the future.

  36. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    The Automagical A-Camp Anthem (Autostraddle has got it going on)
    Lyrics by Emily Goldsmith
    sung to the tune of Stacey’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne

    Team Autostraddle has got it going on
    Robin and Marni have got it going on
    Julie, Brandy and Harto have got it going on
    All of A-Camp has got it going on

    You teach us things we never learned in school (learned in school)
    Like how perpetuating the patriarchy totally isn’t cool (so not cool)
    Damn I am so fucking glad that you planned this trip (planned this trip)
    Umm Wait, insert another witty rhyming quip (too many whiskey sips)

    You know I am not the baby dyke I used to be
    I am all wised up now, Alex can’t you see

    Seriously A-Camp has got it going on,
    it’s all that we wanted and you waited for so long
    Riese can’t you see, we just love the way you be
    We know that it’s not wrong to Autostraddle all night long

    Team Autostraddle has got it going on
    Unicorn Plan-it has got it going on

    Steph and Hav, do you remember when you sang us songs (sang us songs)
    This all just started with our chart and a blog (autowinning blog)
    I could tell you trusted us Laneia, by the way you shared (way you shared)
    You taught how to have lesbian sex, cut our hair (and what to wear)

    This all just seems like a fantasy, but ever since YOU DO YOU,
    I am free just to be!!

    Seriously A-Camp has got it going on, it’s all that I wanted and I want it to go on
    Now I can see this is just the world for me
    I know that it’s not wrong to Autostraddle all night long

  37. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Currently coming out of my lurker closet in order to become a member and say how OBNOXIOUSLY HAPPY I am for everyone who had an awesome time at camp. And that I am now super determined to make it to the next one even if it means reminding my mother that I like girls and then also asking her to loan me some money.

  38. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I have so many feels about A-Camp! It was really the first time I felt I was really with “my people” (and the first time I really felt I could call queer women “my people”). Everyone (everyone!) I met was awesome and the staff I interacted with were friendly, outgoing, and helpful to a fault.

    I embroidered! Not terribly well, but I did it! I collaged up a bit for the camp zine (really, I did this? I went to town on issues of Nylon and Bitch with scissors, and X-Acto Knife, and glue sticks!?)! I drank Tieguanyin while talking about dissertation research and how hilarious and awesome everyone was 7,000 feet up the side of a mountain! It was too much and almost unbelievable, but it happened, and I’m glad.

    I don’t know if I could make it to the next one in October, but A-Camp was, in a small way, a life changing experience.

    Thank you A-Camp. And I love all you Golden Girls! Keep Reaching for that Whiskey Flask in the sky!

  39. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    OH MY FUCKING GOD RIESE JUST POSTED A VIDEO OF ME HOLY HELL. Seriously, camp was fucking amazing and I still can’t even handle it. The fact that I will never ever be able to afford to fix my car due to paying for camp is completely and totally ok with me now.

  40. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Taking breaks to read these comments on A-Camp is the only thing that’s getting me through finals. You’re reminding me that happiness exists somewhere, that there is life outside of school.

    PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

    (pleeeaaassseee)

  41. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I am a huge ball of feelings right now:

    1) The gender panel (so so so good), high tea with Laneia & Rachel, my cabin’s jaunt, and the talent show were probably the top highlights for me. I will definitely be going back because I missed so many things like the sex panel, zines, & t-shirts!

    2) My goal next time is to meet as many people as possible. I kinda kept to myself a bit more than others due to residual shyness. But I am super proud of myself for doing an interview for the documentary. Baby steps, right?

    3) A huge thing for me was seeing so many people who are so comfortable in their skin and with who they are. I’m out, but I’ve never been super comfortable with me or how I present myself. I’ve decided it’s time to make my appearance match how I mentally see myself.

    4) I need to learn how to dance.

    5) Everyone in charge at Autostraddle seriously rocks. I am so totally amazed that so much awesome was located in one place at one time. And I’m even more amazed that the universe didn’t collapse because of it.

  42. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    A-camp sounds like it was magical. I’m seriously loving reading about everyone’s feelings/experiences, the banter between new friends, the inside jokes that I don’t understand (cherry bomb?), and everything else. I can’t stop smiling! I already knew that this community was extraordinary, but right now it really shows. I’m so so happy for all of the people who went and I hope I can make it next time!

  43. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    i’m going to start by agreeing with a lot of your feelings and then add my own. EDIT: there are too many feelings that i agree with. i agree with all of you, but especially:

    “nothing in the entire world that I’ve seen so far has felt as good as A-Camp.”
    “Learning more about myself than I knew possible on the gender panel.”

    ok you guys. i highly doubt that my words can really describe how fucking incredible this weekend was, but i’m gonna do my damnedest. (i am already starting to cry.) camp was the best weekend of my life. i went there with the hope that it would be amazing but the reality of it completely blew me away. i had no idea that putting 200 of us in the woods on the top of a mountain would be, as dina said, one of the most inspiring and empowering weekends of my life. i don’t think i’ve ever experienced such a safe space before and i am 100% positive that it’s because i’ve never been surrounded by 200 autostraddlers before. you are all beautiful, stunning, inspiring, loving, open, wild, hilarious, strong, AMAZING human beings. i am grateful beyond words to the autostraddle staff for making this happen. you had this incredible vision and you made it exist and i feel like now our community has become something completely on another level. you always say you love us but i don’t think i really realized how much you mean it until now, and of course it is totally and completely mutual. i can’t think of anything like this anywhere else. i’m not exaggerating when i say i love ALL of you who were at camp. the friendships that we made this weekend are on par with those that have taken years to develop and that is something really special. i’ve never felt so comfortable and safe around people i’ve never met. i can’t wait to see robin’s pictures and carly and lauren’s documentary and our zine and i can’t wait to see you guys again in october. sending you all infinite love and light.

  44. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Tea that tasted like roasted marshmallows, magical queers (who came bearing candy) from Australia, beautiful hikes long and short, the funny and gorgeous ladies who made up my bunk at the Golden Girls, our unbelievable collection of booze (somebody needs to post a picture of that ASAP), the way the woods looked in the fog and rain Friday afternoon, Brittani stopping our van so the non-California kids could know what an In and Out Burger tasted like, Katrina and Gabby playing off each other in the picking up girls seminar (I laughed the whole time, and knew I would)…just SO MUCH STUFF, YOU GUYS.

    It was enchanting – even if I was akward. And our bunk leaders. An authentic stand up comedian. A PBR cracking pirate. A super sweet person who ran in each afternoon to see how we were doing.

    This experience was incredible and everybody on this site needs to live it once. Don’t let it get away from you. Make it happen for yourself.

    Thank you AS (your proper thank you note/email is forthcoming).

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          You left out my thinking you were Miss Anon” because of how you reacted when I introduced myself as “Digger”..Still not sure what you meant by “Oh…You’re..Digger..”

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          this is where one of those innumerable links to articles about introverts would be invaluable. Because I am a person of few words (stilted ones, at that), you took it as being negative. When, “Oh…You’re…Digger” roughly translates to, “Oh Digger, thank g-d you’re here in the van with me and all thse people I don’t know, I’m so happy to meet you, I remember you from the GG page.”

          I need to get a jump on writing that introvert-extrovert language dictionary ASAP.

          Anyway, I LOVE YOU, DIGGER. Truly.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          Oh..Is that all? I’m going to need a copy of that book once it’s written. This translating is a bitch! And I’m so easily distracted by shiny things…And whiskey!

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          I think I have the perfect cover art for it – me under my bed holding my cat…

          anyway, thanks for not asking if I was Miss Anon. That shit could have gotten ugly. That shit could have gotten me killed – or put out of the van on the side of the road.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          Go coogs! Next time that has to be our cabin name.
          My little gay pinata unicorn is hanging from my rear-view mirror in my car.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          There were TWO toy cougars. And other wild animals, and scorpion rings, and York Peppermint Patties…

          so yes, :(. you didn’t smell, you looked clean – sadness.

          don’t worry, though, we’ll bring another.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          My toy cougar is really a tiger, but hey, whatevs. I’ve been carrying it around in my shirt pocket at work as a tiny reminder that camp actually happened and I didn’t just dream the whole thing up :)

          And if you need help with that introvert dictionary Melanie, look me up k?

  45. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Omg you guys I miss you all so much!

    I loved my crafty buddies, my awesome cabin-mates (The Beats!), and of course, the A-Team up close and in person!

    The Queer Women of Color panel made me cry real tears, I felt all the feelings. It was amazing.

    High Tea with Rachel and Laneia (which I know how to say now!) and the fact that Rachel knows my name! And called me by it, more than once! Also, those teas were amazing. Smoky Earl Grey <3.

    Hanging out with Katrina and everyone while she was doing all the haircuts was rad.

    My girlfriend Dena and I making Carly laugh a lot during our interview.

    Every conversation that was so awesome, even the really short ones where we didn't get each other's names. (Next time I'm gonna wear my name tag more, but y'all may remember me having light blue glasses.)

    All the things. Just. All the moments.

  46. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Seriously, I can’t get over how amazing camp was. It was like before camp I was in the heteronormative matrix. But now A-Camp has given me the red pill and shown me how things can be. Now I can’t go back to the way things were before camp. I want the gay baby army to destroy the damn matrix!

  47. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    You guys, camp was fucking magic. I want to go baaaaaack.

    Also: thank you to everyone for checking in on my ankle. I feel like the whole camp checked in on me after I fell on day one. Y’all are the sweetest… and my ankle is totally fine now!

  48. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I’m breaking out of my obsessive-autostraddle-reading-without-commenting routine to say I’m so jealous of and inspired by all the comments and the feelings here. The idea of being in the same place with all of you amazing people is overwhelming–in a good way! I’m newly motivated to find room in my grad student budget to make October A-camp happen. If not, can we start an east coast version sometime soon?

  49. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Oh this sounds like the most marvelous experience ever. Also the next A-Camp should be sometime during the October 20 – 28 window. That’s when my fall break is and it’s probably the same for a bunch of other people.
    Also it should be in the midwest or somewhere that I can drive to from Ohio. Just saying………… :P
    Then I’d actually be able to go. XD
    And oh I want to go so so so badly.
    I will find a way.

  50. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I CAN COME IN 2014! JUST HAVE TO FINISH MY FRAKKING DEGREE BEFORE I CAN TAKE OFF ACROSS THE WORLD. Damn living in the place that is the furthest away from anywhere else ever.
    Actually, we have couch surfers and the amount of times they answer: ‘So, why did you come here’ with; ‘It was the furthest away I could get’
    Yeah, we have a lame country thanks.

  51. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Oh good lord. I didn’t know this open thread was happening because I’ve more or less been sleeping since this afternoon.

    If the next camp is in October, does that mean registration will probably open up in August and I have three months to save $600-$700?

    My justification of the cost is that I had three personal days to use. I was paid to be at a-camp, at least that’s how I like to think of it…

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      we haven’t solidified any dates yet — it could very well be in september or november, depending on what the site has available. we should know within the next few weeks and will announce dates as soon as we can and then figure out when to open registration… probably shortly thereafter, though full payment deadlines can be much later than initial registration deadlines. nothing is set in stone! but also the whole process will be handled differently this time, i believe the term is “streamlined”

  52. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I did not attend A Camp BUT I decided to chime in only cause:
    I woke up this morning to this traumatic dream where I DID attend A Camp and it was located in a college dormitory and even involved a talent show. At some point, I tried to help Riese set up a table and failed so hard that the table WAS TAKEN AWAY. What does this mean? Discuss.
    Anyway, if I go to October A Camp, I am staying away from tables.

  53. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND. COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND.

    Because I happen to know I will be free. And living in the States again. And maybe I could save up enough for a trip to the other coast.

    All these stories have made me mad jealous of camp and I really want to go.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      mmmm… probably not — but maybe in several years during that fantasy period of time known as “the future” when anything could happen? one of the primary expenses of putting camp on is flying our staff to the location. that’s why we picked a place near LAX, ’cause that’s convenient for most of our staff and talent to drive (especially the ones with a lot of supplies to bring — aka me, Marni, Alex and Laneia) and because LAX and NYC are the cheapest places to fly into in the country — AND YOU GUYS asking for an east coast camp… if we had camp on the east coast anywhere besides NYC, it’d be just as expensive if not moreso than flying to LAX from wherever you are. It’d be easier for me to have a site near SFO, but that’d add a few hundred bucks onto everybody else’s plane ticket (as opposed to LAX), so this we are confident is wise. Don’t let distance defer you! I used to fly from NYC to LAX a lot, also, sidenote, and those tickets were always cheaper or the same price as flying to see my family in the midwest. we had campers from australia, the UK, and at least 20 or 30 campers from Canada!

  54. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Oh god I’m going to have to make some hard decisions here.

    Like, one of my cousins is getting married Oct 20th (MAKE A CAMP EARLY OCTOBER PLZ). And then there’s derby. I might have to give up going to roller derby regionals to save money for this.

    I feel like it would be worth it, and that’s saying a lot.

  55. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    If we were playing the lesbian processing drinking game we’d all be dead right now. This thread is the best thing.

    I am still recovering from my 19 hour travel day back to Michigan. So my feelings are still somewhat jumbled.

    My number one feelings: I was so grateful to be able to see all your beautiful faces in real life. Seeing all of you being open and gorgeously living your truths has inspired me to start telling the truth more in my own life, which means coming out to more family and at work. So thank you for that!

    Winning lesbian jeopardy was definitely a highlight of the weekend, as well as zine making (can’t wait for the finished project!) and the gender panel.

    Also the insane amount of booze the Golden Girls consumed this weekend was spectacular. Thanks Digger, Cynthia, and everyone else who made our pub crawl cabin happen!

  56. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    i am not a cryer and i wasn’t even there, but this thread has made me tear up. i’m just so happy for everyone who went and so grateful to the whole team for creating this for everyone. riese, you really have made such an amazing, inspiring thing, that is way way more than just a website, NEVER sell yourself short.

  57. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Oh God. All these comments give me so many feelings that I don’t think I stopped running around to feel during camp.

    Can I just take a second to thank all the girls who came up to me and told me they bought blazers because of Autostraddle? It weirdly really really meant a lot to me. There were so many blazers and I LOVED IT. You know how I feel about blazers!

    Also if you missed the How To Pick Up Girls Workshop you missed a moment of life.

  58. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Would a fifteen year old questioning girl be welcomed in October or is it more for older, actual queers?
    This all looks so so so so so amazing
    And meeting reise and everyone else of course
    And this is just like unicorns

  59. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Bummed I had to miss it. Sounds like it was pure awesomeness.

    But, there’s hope for October! Maybe A-Camp will happen early enough in the law school semester when I won’t have to study during the weekend and could skip off to the the West Coast…or I could always study torts and contracts during that long ass flight to California.

    A more central (ie: Midwest) or East Coast location for future A-Camps would be awesome though. Snow is not an evil word.

  60. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    So I was the kid sitting awkwardly in the corner while everyone else took the massive group photo because I am so far in the closet I chose not to appear in pictures, but I want to say thank you to everyone who made me feel super comfortable the whole time, entertained my endless stream of questions, and endured my rants about not being able to convert Farenheit to Celsius in my head. Having a safe space to be myself and be among people who were really my people, people who got me, was really truly amazing even if it was just for a weekend.

    I don’t think I’ll be attending the next camp because I don’t think I could justify spending that kinda money and time on myself twice, but I will at least sponsor and/or otherwise persuade someone around me to go because (a) I really want my friends to feel the same kind of acceptance & safety that I did and (b) both Singapore and London are on the list of top 20 cities AS readers come from so WE NEED TO BE REPRESENTED.

    To anyone who might have any doubts about attending the next A-Camp: no one EVER pressurises you into doing anything you don’t want to do, and you will find plenty of things you will want to do, and honestly the best part for me was hanging around (IN THE SUN) and just talking to people. I would pay the full price just for the environment and the people alone, that’s how worth it it was.

    P.S. Riese in my haphazard rush to catch the shuttle I left my pen with you and it made it a little harder for me to fill in my UK landing card, but it’s cool I still love you because of all the other things. And by that I mean EVERYTHING. Thank you for doing this, you fully deserve to feel proud of yourself.