“There’s no other place on earth where I feel more alive or more like my best self. No place at all. Leaving camp is like saying goodbye to my home, myself, and all the hearts of everyone I’ve fallen in love with — it’s wrenching. I’m ok with it. I know I’ll be back. But damn…that feeling makes me weep hard.”
-Gabby Rivera, QTPOC Speakeasy Director and Beyhive Captain
Camp feels like coming home now, and there’s nothing like being able to party and cry and snuggle and sit quietly with the people who I feel most myself around.
“Honestly, we came to camp with “what is this going to be and why don’t we know anything about it” vibes and we left with “this shit is going down in history books and we have made life-long friends” vibes. It was so much more than just a fun time in the mountains. It was inspiring, beautiful, and full of heart. I have never felt safe. I can honestly say there has never been a place on this planet that I can walk around and feel like no one will judge me. I can’t go to the store, I can’t go to a class, I can’t go to a show, I can’t visit a friend, I can’t go back home. I can’t do anything and feel completely safe. Until A-camp. The space that has been created is unlike any other. I’m so grateful to Riese’s vision and to everyone who took part in making A-Camp possible. It is truly unique and wonderful in way that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain.”
– Dannielle Owens-Reid, The Talent
“The best part of camp was the group of people i was bunked with. I don’t know the magic potion/formula that Riese has in putting a near-perfect combination of people together, but they essentially made my experience great. I also enjoyed the the QTPOC Speakeasy… often as a QPOC you sometimes feel like you are the only one but this space turned that on its head.”
“I was overwhelmed in all the best ways for seven days. All of the campers validated me in ways that I can’t explain. The first day there, I had a group of campers standing around me telling me that they read all my articles not only on AS but on other blogs or they follow me in social media and it was just overwhelming and weird cause to me I’m just a mofo that talks a lot. You all made me feel like what I do is valued and important in this world. I cried so many times when no one was looking. And really isn’t that what Mount Feelings is all about? I love you all every last one of y’all. And on the seventh day God said that it was good. And indeed it was.”
– Carolyn Wysinger, Firebirds Captain
I wish that it could become a commune. Because fuck capitalism and the patriarchy. We could do it. We FUCKING COULD. A-TOWN 2016.
“This is such an incredibly special space you all work so hard to create, and I feel so honored that I got to be a part of it. I left camp with a new and unfamiliar feeling. The closest I can come to explaining it is this: for my whole life, I have felt my queerness to be something negative (at worst) or an obstacle to work around (at best). My time at A-Camp made me understand my queerness as something powerful and good, something that connects me to other (amazing!) people in a way that is unique and so very special.”
-Jenny Owen Youngs, The Talent
“Camp was the only place I’ve ever felt comfortable in showing off my body…it was such a nice break. It gave me the strength to carry on and do better in the real world. I can’t wait to come back. Feelings circles, Klub Wolf, Lip Sync Battles, The State Fair Bounce House Cuddle Sesh, Boxed Wine and String Cheese, kissing cuties, Feels Academy, Chosen Family Panel, A-Camp family band. everything all of it.”
“I loved feeling like my body was truly big enough for my heart for maybe the first time in my life.”
“It’s hard to think of a way to say “my life was forever changed” without sounding like a total dummy, but my life was literally changed on this mountain. I spend so much of my time navigating queer and trans spaces and I am surrounded by many queer and trans friends, but I have never been in a place (let alone 8000 feet above sea level) where I knew that I was safe to be exactly myself, and where everyone around me was ABLE to be exactly themselves, 24-7. It affected me deeply, and I also saw how much it affected Jenny (which, in turn, affected me even more. CIRCLE OF LIFE). I also have never had more respect and admiration for the work that is done by all of you beautiful Autostraddle humans. Running this camp is more work than I can ever imagine, and in doing so you visibly, drastically change our lives. I hope we can come back every year forever. It’s been impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t been up there… but I think that’s part of the magic.”
– Kristin Russo, The Talent (and our new A-Camp Co-Director for A-Camp 7.0)
“Camp is my home, its my family reunion, its the one place I am surrounded with complete acceptance and love, and its the place thats helped me find my truest self. Its like Disneyland but with more booze and sex and crafting.”
“I came in with a heavy heart and I left with a lifted one. Each one of you helps to create this amazing dynamic that makes A-Camp what it is. I used to think that A-Camp was this magical thing on this magic mountain with these magical people, but now I KNOW it is all of the magic I thought it was. Thank you, beautiful people.”
– Djuan Trent, Beyhive Captain
“I have never felt a lower amount of shame about my body than I have felt with my cabin mates. I was able to just be myself and not have to worry about someone attacking me (verbally or otherwise) for being trans. Just being able to change clothes in the presence of other people without feeling terrified was incredible. I also found people who were attracted to me. For the first time I honestly felt like I was accepted and included in queer women’s sexual spaces with my cabin.”
“It’s always hard to say goodbye. Until next time—my heart is always up there with you humans. You’re all so wonderful and I’m so lucky to be a part of this whole thing.”
-Whitney Pow, Star Runners Counselor
“The people I was in closest contact with made me feel more human and more accepted than anyone else in any other environment I’ve ever been with.”
Camp has such VELOCITY. We plan and plan and plan and I sit on my couch thinking “oh gosh before long it’s gonna be that moment we turn up that mountain road that we’ve driven again and again,” yes, it’s here, we’re all really here, it’s all really happening, it’s all twisting and turning! We’re prepping and oh, all of a sudden the campers are there and we’re hugging and checking names of a list and it’s almost time for dinner and can we do the campfire and it just goes so fast — the whole time, you’re starving (for the food you’re used to eating, for the sleep you’re used to having) while also SO FULL of so much love and in awe of so much talent. I think the greatest feeling I have at A-Camp is knowing I brought people together who inspire each other. I love those cabins that looked perfect as a stack of index cards and turn out even better in real life. Nothing feels better than seeing those groups of campers connect, knowing I nailed a cabin assignment… or to see certain staff members connect, to see the talent meet the staff and go home to make more art together. Not everybody who comes to A-Camp is affirmed or inspired. Some people don’t like it at all, in fact, and it’s taken me a while to come to terms with the inevitability of that. But that other inevitability? The one where people do leave transformed, do finally feel like who they are is okay, and maybe even beautiful, and definitely important? I don’t think I’ll ever take that inevitability for granted. But damn, you are exhilarating.
– Riese, A-Camp Founder
Pages: 1 2 3 4See entire article on one page
“Followed by about a gallon of bourbon” Yea, though I walk through the Mountain of the shadow of vegan-death, I will fear no rice patty: for thou art with me; thy decanter and thy tumbler they comfort me
i’m not kidding
I know, that’s why I implied you used a tumbler
^ comment award ^
SHARKS! I loved how we all ended up at that random table during the dance party at like 1am.
That was such a fun night!
we are already planning next camp’s set and it is going to be the BEST ONE YET
DON’T BELIEVE ME JUST WATCH
can’t wait to see what you all have in store!
oh crap i’m totally crying but needed to read this today especially the last page. gosh what a magical place
ditto all of that.
I was read the last page while listening to this really sad Macedonian folk song in Bulgarian that I figure is about goodbyes.
“Set, Set O Clear Sun”
did not need to do that to myself.
It’s 2am time for sleep, sex or chocolate not feelings of heart bursting. :(
That day Heather Hogan gave me one blue ticket for doing pullups on the climbing frame and, I promise you, I have never been so happy in all my life.
gosh you’re wonderful.
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.
But seriously Amanda and Susi and Mary Ann, thank you for taking me to CVS. Fun Home was full of the absolute best humans I’ve ever met.
And again, we’re really sorry for agreeing to do that, and then turning around and renting a mirage
The drunken Snape debate was easily the highlight of 6.0 although weirdly I remember it taking place several hours earlier than @alioh ? that was a very, very long day.
I think the drunken Snape debate may have been a continuation of an earlier drunken Snape debate during which I was not present? But I was present for this one, so SNAPE RULES.
Yes but he really did bully little kids
SNAPE IS AWESOME.
1. <3 BONECRUSHERRRRR <3
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.
#BadVegClub You are not alone!
LONG LIVE SNAPE
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.
“Missed Bitches Brew, am still mad about it.” Same x forever.
I’m starting to think we need a whole Snape: Good or Evil panel!
We can’t have a Snape good or evil panel. The tie-breaking time period of his conduct isn’t covered. He is schrodinger’s snape. I will happily reenact the post tasting joy-shouting match, though.
I would so enjoy the panel because after reading all these years, having read both the books an un-countable number of times and having read a ridiculous amount of fan content/opinion on the subject I am still undecided.
OMG please name the panel schrodinger’s snape
SNAPE IS AMAZING AND I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT COMPLICATED PEOPLE IN CHILDREN’S FICTION LET’S DO THIS
Can said panel be decorated with Snape fanart of him wail-crying against Lily’s image in the Mirror of Erised?
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 FRIENDZONED AND THEN JOINED A HATE GROUP; WHY DO PEOPLE SYMPATHIZE WITH THIS MAN
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
I think by hate group she meant the Death Eaters, not House Slytherin.
But other than that spot on.
I mean, if ten years after the war is over, they still consider the house and evil synonymous, participation was probs not that optional.
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
I’m honestly still shocked that no one could name six dinosaurs that were in Jurassic Park.
Also, for the record, I’m 100% Team Snape Was a Jerk
SNAPE FOREVER AND EVER AMEN
(I think I’ve only seen Jurassic Park twice in my entire life)
my heart is full, ayiyiyiii <3 <3 <3
Please tell me that the bi pride coloring of the “hay grrrl hay” truck was intentional!
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.
Were most attendees in their mid 20s? I’m quite interested in going, but prob wouldn’t have the best time if most are much younger. I’m 34.
Hi Martina!!!! While I believe a lot of campers are in their 20s, there are a ton of people who are in their 30s. I think compared to the previous camp Ive been to theres an increase in people who are above 40
Also, they are the chillest
There are plenty of 30+ folks and they seem to often get roomed together through Riese’s mystical camper assignment method. And a good portion of the staff at in their mid-30’s. We even had a “grown-up” panel last year, which was awesome, and having had panels about queer parenting and other adult-ish topics in the past. GO! (Or, well, at this point, get on the waiting list!)
1) #teamyellowallday YES
2) “I don’t want to brag, but I think we were born to be Hogwarts Head Girls together.” DOUBLE YES
3) bitches brew was, and remains, the best thing.
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
I feel the same about wagon wheel
Thing I have learned from these Recamps, Stef is freakishly photogenic and there are no bad pictures of her. I think it might be some sort of strigoi magical property or something…
My first camp changed me for the better and for good.
I will come back for as long as you’ll have me and as long as I can.
Thank you, Riese. Forever and always.
The state fair was awesome. The A-Camp family band was awesome. I love camp so much. Can’t wait to be back on the mountain.
I’m trying to not get crazy high expectations about camp because I’m super introverted and generally filled with hate and anger, but I cried while reading this, so
as a side note has any camp related musical act covered the Rilo Kiley song “With Arms Outstretched” yet or is it too on the nose
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!!!
“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.”
I WAS BLESSED TO WITNESS THIS MOMENT