A-Camp 6.0 Recamps Part Four: Don’t Believe Me Just Watch

End-of-Camp Dance

KaeLyn: We ran out of cups in Eagle. I was concerned for people’s personal safety, especially one of my campers who made hot coffee in a tiny cone paper cup. People were mixing drinks in the little cone cups. It was terrifying. Also, we really needed cups. I drank out of a stranger’s dirty cup that I fished out of the trash. I was so thirsty. Speaking of, I was very proud of Shark Week, who was also quite thirsty at the end-of-camp dance. Good work, sharks.

Alex: Carly played a block of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj and it was pretty much best thing that ever happened to me.

Nikki: Every time there is a pick a partner to dance with at camp I am always left without a partner, I’m serious, EVERY TIME. Luckily Gabby and Laura W. are perfect humans and let me interrupt their dance for a moment before they found someone else dancing alone for me to dance awkwardly with. Sorry human who danced with me awkwardly, I am not a good slow dancer.

Mey: Heather apparently didn’t know that there was a big dance until after the Family Band Concert, which, how did that happen? But that just made me love Heather even more. All of us in Hogwarts also helped her put on a tie so that she’d be all dressed up and camper Niko came over and tied an Eldritch knot, which was amazing.

Heather: The way Hogwarts rallied around me when they realized I didn’t realize a dance was happening was so magical. It’s so funny how I wanted to take care of them all like a mama bear all week, but then, in the end, they ended up taking care of me!

Mey: Heather looks pretty good all dressed up. Every single person in Hogwarts looked so great all dressed up for the dance.

Heather: Mey and I took one of my favorite photos ever at the dance. I don’t want to brag, but I think we were born to be Hogwarts Head Girls together.

Stef: In six camps, I’ve probably gone to two dances, usually because I was making out with someone cute but this time because I was sleeping and it was amazing, no regrets, A+ nap.

Carmen: I was so proud to dance on a platform at the closing night dance, where so many of y’all were making out and/or off doing it in the woods that we closed shop a few minutes early. Y’all did it right.

Trent: I got some good video footage. Sang a lot of Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Drake songs. Watched the crowd dwindle down. Observed a game of spoons. And enjoyed Aida embracing her inner video vixen because someone she knew the lyrics to every song and made me feel like I was watching a music video with all of her moves and such. Carly, thanks for the tunes.

Dannielle: Greatest music of all time. Hottest dances of all time. Also bro down with Abby and Riese that took me back to our BlogHer days and made me wanna stay at camp forever. I can’t believe we didn’t get more time together. Camp is so intese.

Riese: Intense / perfect.

Morgan: I wrote “Mt. Bump n Grind” on bookface after the dance and this was entirely accurate. One of my favorite nights of dancing in my whole goshdarn life.

Gigler:  Carly knows exactly how to turn me right the fuck up and she used it a few times to get my ass in the air, it works every time. Thanks for always bringing Big Freedia and Le1f, you have my big gay heart. Also Kimber was on several that night.

Brittani: I make a habit of shutting the dance down and this time around, we got Carly to leave her post and dance for the last bit of it. She also did me the solid of playing a Childish Gambino song which turned into me and Kimber improvising some sort of weird video on the near empty dance floor.

Riese: I can’t dance unless I’m drunk and I wasn’t drunk, so I mostly observed while in a group of dancing people. Mostly I observed Abby, Brittani and Kimber; as well as Kristin and Jenny laughing delightedly and going WHERE DID YOU FIND HER about Abby.

Dannielle: Julia danced!! Even with her knee all busted she danced! We all danced! Abby somehow turned into jello with rhythm! EVERYTHING IS SO GREAT WE CAN NEVER LEAVE CAMP OH NO WE HAVE TO LEAVE TMW NOOOOOOoooooo

Elicia: I spent most of the last dance in Wolf with my camper Ashley from Ghost Power and Astrid who I had met at camp the previous year.  Ashley showed me another cool magic trick which I insisted Mey watch.  Ashley is awesome.  She also showed me how to open a beer bottle on a door frame. Then Ashley and Astrid and I preceded to get into a possibly hour long conversation about B-movies and alcohol and comics and just all of my favorite things in life. Nerding out at parties is often my favorite activity.

Kai: Someone brought a blow up… pool? Was it a pool? Not sure, but it was in the back of the room and they were giving rides in it while everyone was dancing. So of course I got in – floor-length dress and all – and got dragged across the floor by queers with muscles. Or maybe spun in circles? That night is blurrrry. I did some late night swinging. Talked to some sweet souls. And went the fuck to sleep.

Nikki: I think my most affirming moment at camp and maybe even in life was Cecelia exclaiming as I was shaking my booty in my bow tie and suspenders, “Nikki, you can DANCE!”

Elicia: Then I realized I’d had two mini bottles of Chardonnay and I hadn’t even checked out the dance yet so I wandered onto the dance floor and found Mey and her badass glow-in-the-dark shoes, Morgan and her amazing spinning skirt and several of my favorite campers and we danced and ran around on the mostly empty dance floor.

Carly: The dance on the last night of camp is always my favorite part of camp. This time I played a solid 30 minutes of only Beyonce & Nicki Minaj and felt really good about that — especially when I only played Nicki’s verse on “Monster” and Alex (I think it was Alex) was SO SURPRISED, it was great. Usually, my goal at the dance is to get everyone laid, but it seemed like everyone was already off getting laid so this time my goal was to play songs that Brittani or Gigler would like. Hopefully I did them proud. Also I think there was a massive inflatable swan? This is the dance playlist.

Ali: Me n’ Heather n’ a bunch of amazing campers got into a drunken debate in Wolf after the whiskey tasting about Severus Snape. This is me officially reigniting that debate to inform you all that SEVERUS SNAPE IS THE BEST, I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS.


A-Camp 6.0, Day Six: Thursday, June 4th

Saying Goodbye is the Hardest Part


Whitney: We got up early in the morning to pack up and get ready to head back down from the mountain.

Heather: I liked the part when the kitchen staff waved goodbye to us in their brand new scissoring t-shirts.

Carmen: I avoided saying goodbye to most people, not really because I wanted to but because I had to in order to get my shit packed and get on that shuttle. In the process, though, I took some final pics with Rodeo Disco (#BestCabinEver), tearfully hugged Emily Gigler while promising her I’d follow my dreams, and bid adieu to Rory, which is always the hardest part.

Rachel: Every time we have to leave the mountain I am a total monster because I’m so sad about leaving and also so exhausted. I couldn’t find, like, hundreds of people I wanted to say goodbye to and then the buses were leaving and also they had been out of breakfast when I got to Eagle and so I just gave up and slumped into a bus seat and grumped aggressively for the whole ride.

Ali: Goodbyes weren’t the hardest part this year because this year, none of my cats died. That’s already a big one-up from last year! None of my campers had to pick me up after I dissolved into hysterics! ALREADY WINNING, SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! Also, I managed to worm my way onto an earlier flight once I got to the airport, which was amazing because I was really missing my fiancée this time around (gosh I wish she could have come to Camp), and I got to see her a whole day earlier and not hang out in LAX for nine hours. So if No-Cat-Death hadn’t already left me with a win, that would have!

photo by Chelly J.

photo by Chelly J.

Hansen: I am bad at goodbyes, so I generally just make a beeline for the shuttles without hugging a whole lot of people. Stef called me out on this pretty obviously, but at this point, I was feeling really exhausted with a bad head cold.

Stef: Hansen left without saying goodbye and I’m still mad. It’s a good thing she’s cute. I walked up to the departing buses and started yelling, “GO HOME!!! GET OFF MY MOUNTAIN!!! UGH, CAMP IS OVER!!!” but I swear it was a defense mechanism.

KaeLyn: The goodbyes happened so fast! Before I knew it, we were back on the bus. Cecelia and I took a vow of silence on the way home, just listening to music and staring out the window as the bus flew down the mountain. It was peaceful and beautiful and a little sad.

Carmen: I rode the shuttle with Kaylah, Kai, Diana Salazar, and a bunch of other awesome people, so to those on my bus who wished they could fall asleep, I am sorry about serenading you with the intro to “Bump ‘n Grind.” That, and pulling Laura’s hair out in an effort to reach Abby in time to say goodbye. We all have flaws.

Hansen: We got to LAX and the Fun Homos were hungry, so we asked around to see what was outside of security where we could all eat. We ended up at an (I think) employees-only deli in the Spaceship looking thing in the middle of LAX. Basically, everyone side-eyed us but no one kicked us out? Two of my campers rented a car for a road trip home and offered to drive me to CVS before my flight to buy cold meds because I was worried about my sinuses on the plane. Nicest EVER. Then security stopped me because I had a Taylor Swift saint candle in my bag from Witch/craft. There’s no explaining being in the possession of a Taylor Swift saint candle to a TSA guy. THEN, my eardrum ruptured on the flight home and we landed in a scary lightning storm and I clung to the lead singer of a band I like without knowing he was the lead singer of said band and everything was horrible but whatever, the whole trip was worth the double ear and sinus infections I ended up with. #campplaguesurvivor

KaeLyn: After we got to LAX, a few of us who had a long wait went to In-and-Out Burger by cab (convinced and herded by Carmen). It was less than a mile away, but we didn’t feel like walking with our bags. It was $20 because it was an airport cab. But by the time we figured that out, we were already in the cab. So whatever. When we go to In-and-Out, there were like three other tables of campers. Ha! #greatminds

Carmen: In-n-Out is required after camp. It’s just not okay to not get it. This is my second camp in a row getting In ‘n Out three times and I regret nothing, except not eating it more.

Stef: To be honest, the vegan options at camp this time were pretty carb-heavy and sorta lacking in protein (I’m looking at you, rice burger), and I was having fever dreams about eating an entire block of tofu like an apple the minute I got home… but after you guys all left, the camp staff put out a spaghetti buffet and damned if I didn’t go back for seconds. After we’d cleaned up the whole camp, eaten all the leftover cookies and taken down the string lights, Maddie, Chelsey and I piled into Chelsey’s car and began our slow descent. I’ve driven the mountain probably more times than anyone else on staff, so I volunteered for this mission.

Gigler: I don’t wanna talk about it!  But let’s talk about it.  I wept openly, laughed even more, hugged a lot and immediately made plans for visits and cleaned all the things.  Wow the things yinz leave behind!

Maddie: Due to Chelsey being a champion with a car, and also weird travel circumstances, I made it to and from my first camp without setting foot on a shuttle bus. Honestly, I am not sad about this, because I get carsick on buses and also wildly impatient and claustrophobic. There seems to be a lot of sort of resentful nostalgia amongst those who have taken many-a-camp-shuttle, so if I ever get on one, well then I guess I’ll be on one, and I probably won’t be mad about it, because literally everything I wasn’t so sure I’d love at camp I ended up loving 100%. … But I’m not trying to make it happen, you know? Anyway, this is all to say that I hugged all the humans, especially the Firebirds, Rory and I finally finished our magical adventure to have everyone at Camp who was in the Queer Sultry Summer Zine sign it, and then I stuck around to help pack things up. Then Stef drove Chelsey’s car down the mountain, and we stopped to take a picture of the amazing view, but only after a man flipped us off for driving at a safe speed.

Stef: As we navigated the fucked up Wile E Coyote portion of the drive, I was going what felt like a very ambitious 40 MPH when I noticed a couple of cars riding my ass pretty hard, so I pulled over so they could pass. A gentleman in a pickup truck gave me the finger as they whipped by. THANKS FOR YOUR UNSOLICITED OPINION, RANDOM WHITE GUY! Chelsey rolled down the window and screamed “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!” at the mountain. A little further down, we passed a scenic overlook and noticed a couple of grey-shirted weirdos taking in the view. We pulled over and identified said weirdos as Taylor and Evie, and we had a beautiful mini-reunion before delivering ourselves unto Del Taco. It was around here that I realized I probably shouldn’t wear my vampire cape everywhere. I need a moment to thank my beautiful Campires for being so much fun, so smart and so creative and just so, so weird. Taylor and I were the proudest vampire parents on the whole mountain.

Maddie: Stef educated me about LA public transit, they dropped me off downtown at the Subway, and I made my way to Long Beach, where I was staying for the weekend.

Gabby: I always weep a little when the bus heads down the mountain. I can’t help it… but then I hear Carmen’s hella loud wheeze snort cackle right behind my head and I can’t even get mad cuz she makes me laugh so damn much. And I turn around and like almost the whole speakeasy is on the bus, especially brother carolyn, and I know it’s gonna be ok. I know that these people are always with me somehow and that we’ll make it back to this sacred place. Laura W. held my hand and snuggled up to me and before I knew it we were at LAX.

Kai: This was my first time taking the bus down the mountain because normally I score a ride from someone who loves me. I had that option this time but I was just not ready to really actually all-the-way say goodbye. However, jokes, because instead of sharing love and laughter on the way down, I slept through it all. Drooled a bit too.

Kaylah: We were knocked out. There was some snoring and drooling, and of course my heart shaped sunglasses.

Nikki: I hate goodbyes. I hate saying goodbye to the mountain.  I didn’t find everyone I wanted to say goodbye to and that makes me sad.

Laneia: Oh man the last day is the pits. And even worse than saying bye to everyone is hanging around after y’all leave — it’s so empty and quiet! The only sign we were ever there is a table full of unopened hummuses. How sad.

Elicia: Last year I remember the last day of camp, even though I truly loved the experience, I was ready to head home. This year, I honestly wanted to stay!  I slept in a little late and my incredibly rad cabin-mates Mary and Alex saved me a seat at their table at breakfast and Alex even got me a plate so I wouldn’t miss the food!  I avoided packing up until late in the morning and then spent the time I should have been packing, chatting and smoking.  I was sad I missed most of my campers in Ghost Power leaving so I didn’t get to say goodbye, but I was able to give hugs and goodbyes to Rachel, Andy and help Vivian carry her huge bag up towards the buses. Luckily I ran into the rest of the Ghost Power crew at LAX and was able to give them hugs goodbye!  I’m not a big hugger, but A-Camp brings it out in me. Speaking of LAX, I probably wouldn’t have even made it off the mountain if it hadn’t been for Rory who is a goddamn perfect gentleman and ran with my bag side by side with me to the buses.  I almost didn’t make it!

Rory: Particularly v much enjoyed running up the hill side by side with Elicia carrying her bag cos I guess she was late and I guess im a gentleman and I have a major friend crush on Elicia so it was a cool last minute chance to say it’s be fun getting to know you and I wish we could friend more but I live SO DAMN FAR AWAY FROM EVERYONE. (I live in Germany because I am The Wurst)

Rory: I ran around a lot trying to give as much time and hugs as poss to all the people who I like so much and wish I could have more time with and did some weeping, did some laughing, did some meaningful eye contact. Anywayz. Caught a ride to the bay area with gigler and becca. We had Cheetos Puffs they were more than pleasant thank you whichever camper left those behind.

Gigler: Becca and Rory and I were blessed with those outstanding clouds hovering eye level cushioning us for a gentle drive down the mountain.  THEN we were blessed again when the very first bathroom we stopped at was gender neutral!

Abby: I can’t talk about goodbyes, it’s too hard for me. SO instead I just pretend Instagram and Facebook is reality and constantly bombard all my friends all the time. ALL THE TIME IT’S LIKE IT’S STILL CAMP.

Elicia: Once we made it to LAX, I found out Morgan was on a later flight as well so we got to hang out as some shitty flight attendant misgendered her and I took her on a quest to find a spot I could legally smoke in.  We ended up parting ways too soon at security and I had to rush to my flight.

Riese: We’re always the last ones on the mountain. I overslept and missed the busses and all the goodbyes I don’t like to say, but I do like to hug, and I wish I hadn’t missed that. We had to clean everything, like we do, and begin our complicated multi-vehicle packing process. It’s always me, Marni, Robin, Carly, Alex, Mary — this time Abby, too. Usually Taylor, often Megan and Laneia, often Stef, Liz Castle, Brittani. I was moving a thing from one building to the other when Robin asked if we could talk. I could see that her eyes were a little watery and before she said it I knew what she was going to say, and then she did — that her photography career in LA had gotten to the point of success where she couldn’t do camp anymore, there wasn’t any room in her life for it, but that she still wanted to be on staff and be the photographer, if I wanted that. Of course I did. For a minute I felt like nobody could ever replace Robin and how will we go on. It’s true, nobody can replace Robin. But I took a deep breath of mountain air and knew we’d somehow figure it out. Then Abby and I drove down the mountain and collapsed, exhausted, into a bed in a hotel room in Redlands.

Abby is so fresh/clean

Abby is so fresh/clean

Riese: Then we went to Outback Steakhouse and ate everything on the menu all at once.

Kaylah: I FORGOT TO CHECK MY PIGEON HOLE!!! I’m really upset about it. I just know there had to be a few love letters in there…

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO 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 and then headed West. 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 Nylon, Queerty, 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! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2954 articles for us.


  1. Reading this and all I can ask is what did I even do that day?!? Because I remember getting a (adorable!) tattoo from Rory but then, ?????? No idea?
    Goal for this camp: attend everything.


    2. Yes. I took one bite of the rice burger and ate a hot dog for the first time in maybe 15 years.

    3. Sadly I did not participate in a Harry Potter debate but I am proud to throw my hat in Heather's ring: Snape is the worst! (Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall are the best.)

    4. That picture of the Beehive is in my wallpaper rotation, and every time it comes up I close all my tabs and gaze at it with starry cartoon eyes and sigh wistfully and happily.

  3. TENDERGANG. Somebody remind me to make that a patch.

    I am marginally disappointed that nobody mentioned the inevitability of the Singled Out part where Casey was onstage and answered the question and everybody else walked off and ONLY FELLOW OUTSIDERS WERE LEFT STANDING because obviously our love and friendship is as inevitable as The Stars aligning a camp return next/this year.

      • Can there be a portion where it is duly noted that he loved a woman he pushed away, couldn’t have, loved from afar that married a jerk then spent life and how as queer lady loving folks we may or may not sorta relate to that?

        If so fan-art away some wail-crying

      • He was kinda put in the hate group by a magic hat? Because his abusive father was in the hate group? And the only person who seemed to like him even though he was in the hate group dumped him for his own school bully. Snape just really wasn’t a fun person to be, is what I’m saying

      • INCORRECT!

        Because you still have to be a friend in order to be friendzoned. :D

        Also empathy =/= sympathy

        I do not give much sympathy because he had choices, just as I had choices. But some people need the approval of others, they have a need to belong and that is how people are recruited for terrible things. How people end up and stay abusive relationships too. That fundamental human need for pack and approval.
        It is a great strength of hominids, but also a very exploitable weakness.

        • Yeah I meant Death Eaters

          Altho in retrospect I can’t really remember if he was in that or not

          I can empathize with p much everybody but shit circumstances are NO EXCUSE for being MEAN and generally just rude to children

          I don’t think house slytherin is evil but I do think it’s underground situation would bum me out a lot

          IDK, I stopped at book five because of that opening dream sequence / everyone in my life telling me I’m Luna Love good when I’m a snarky asshat and Luna Love good is too pure for this world

          and only finished the series a few years ago just because I felt like I ought to?

          And I was p disillusioned about every adult in Harrys life by the end

          But esp Snape and Dumbledore

  4. Omg you guys I always get so many feeling about Camp when I see the re camps.

    I always have this feeling of wanting to come home. Of just wanting to be at home and knowing the people you’re with there ARE your family. Like Ive only seen these people what like 2x in my whole life and I consider them to be my lesbros and seesters and just my family.

    I remember my first A Camp..my first thought when I got on the mountain was IM HOME.

  5. Just re-read everything. Got teary eyed especially with camper words at the end. YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS. CAMP. OMG.

    I remember the State Fair. I remember Robin getting really concerned about me in the bounce house with @kadryd and those huge ass boxing gloves. I mean if the nurse gets injured then what.. LOL Also I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT @heatherannehogan has footage of kadry and I duking it out in that bounce house! YOU GUYS IT WAS ALL THAT AND MORE.

    OMG. CAMP. The first thing I did when I got home was unpack and download all the songs from A Camp Family Band night. I’ve listened to wagon wheel so much in the past year you guys. All the vids I have from that night are on my youtube page just FYI. And I THINK I have the vid of the pie eating contest. =p

  6. The whole creation and experience of camp sounds so damn beautiful and it’s just amazing that ‘Straddle have made the initial vision into a reality. No luck in going as of yet but my teeny queer heart knows I’ll get to come annoy you guys in person someday. Thank you for existing!!!

  7. “As it turned out, I was pretty impressed by the lengths campers were willing to go to, particularly Mo Ucros, who dove directly into the tub and pretty much swam to the bottom before emerging triumphantly with a nectarine in their teeth.”


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