Top 10 Reasons You Belong At A-Camp This October

Our October A-Camp is coming around the corner and getting exponentially more exciting by the minute — exciting enough, really, to warrant this brand-new post about some of the amazing shit we’ve got planned.  We have some spots opening up and wanna be sure you have the chance to fill them! Are you ready?



Top 10 Reasons You Belong At A-Camp



10. Because You Can Move Your Body In So Many New Ways…


Although the Autostraddle team isn’t exactly known for its athletic prowess (except Brittani), our Calendar Girls are a different story, which’s why we’re so excited to have so many of them on staff in October, three of whom will be inspiring you to move your body in new and unexpected ways. (That’s what she said.) You’ll have the opportunity to learn Ballet For Basic Bitches with Ballet Instructor and Ginger Hottie Miss February Chloe Shapiro, experience Yoga from the inside-out with Miss June Dani Orner, and pep your heart out with former cheerleader Miss October Kai’s But I’m a Cheerleader (For Real) Class.


9. …or Just Sit Down and Take It All In


We’ll be bringing back the panels you’ve known/loved from former camps, like the Sex Panel, the Gender Panel and the Woman of Color Panel, but with some new faces and new angles. We’re also working on the ever-evolving Bisexuality/Non-Monosexuality/Sexual Fluidity Panel as well as the Non-Monogamy Panel. This session the Kink Panel is going interactive (I believe the working title is “Ropes Course”), the Queerituality Panel is tackling organized religion, and we’re presently planning on hosting panel/discussions on mental health, body positivity, queering academia, being a lady in male-dominated industries and “coming out later in life.” Plus so much more that we can’t even tell you about yet!


8. Because You Need to Unplug

walkie-talkies don't count

walkie-talkies don’t count

Apparently “Tech-Free” camps have officially become a Thing, and although we’re not gonna demand you turn over your cell-phones upon entering the campgrounds (because Instagram), campers find the break from laptops and cell phones one of camp’s most subtly invigorating aspects, especially while witnessing the remarkably smooth transition from online community to face-to-face family.


7. Because It’s a World-Class All-Ages Many-Splendored Gathering

a-camp april 2012

a-camp april 2012

Most of our campers come from the United States, but we’ve also got 14 Canadian campers, four from the United Kingdom, four from Australia, and one each from New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil. Within the United States, we’ve obviously got a whole truck-load of Californians (including 14 Los Angelenos), but domestic geographic diversity abounds! You can look forward to sharing fruit punch with 26 Midwesterners, 25 humans from New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania, 19 from the Pacific Region, 20 Southerners, 10 New Englanders and 15 Southwesterners.

You’re moms, musicians, students, soldiers, gelato makers, florists, social workers, activists, lifeguards, optometrists, kayakers, roller derby girls, art teachers, grad students, software developers and engineers, interns, restaurant managers, actors, lawyers, nannies, runners, media monkeys, entrepreneurs, writers, architects, biologists, non-profit superstars, nursing assistants, baristas, animal trainers, screenwriters, cooks, researchers, park rangers, nurses, archaeological field technicians, designers, community organizers, teachers, journalists, graphic novelists, comedians and power lifters.

Once again, about half of you are over 25 and half are under, with a bulk of campers in the 23-29 range. We’ve also got more campers over 30 than ever before!


6. Because You’ll Be Hanging Out With Some Very Special People…

When you register for camp, we ask you to describe yourself in 500 characters or less, which helps me make cabin assignments and get a grasp on the sorts of humans we’ll be sharing a mountain with — and what a plentiful array of humans we have this session! So I made a word cloud out of your About Mes.



5. …Including Super-Extra-Special People Who Described Themselves Like This:

[sentences snatched mercilessly out of context]

I can make a whole box of wheat thins disappear!

I was a semi-pro go kart driver in my teenage years

If Hogwarts was real, I’d be sorted into Ravenclaw, and I would probably die pretty early in the Hunger Games and/or the zombie apocalypse.

I apparently dress like a French Sailor

I’m eating grapes right now

I like Skittles

I was the One-Match Fire champ at Girl Scout Camp

I like to write satirical articles and pretend to go on runs

I’m a recent college graduate, which is another way of saying I’m unemployed, have a serious Netflix addiction, and irregular sleeping habits

I’m made out of people-meat

I’m an incorrigible punster, so don’t incorrige me.

I’m basically Jane Lane without a Daria

I’m very good at attempting to participate in Sports

I wish I could major in bean recipes but my counselor advised against it

I love carly and robin’s marriage

I like days when my fro is super big

My girlfriend says my spirit animal is a sloth

I am a student of the universe who is currently expressing her Inner Awesome through floral design and coffee-making

Some people describe me as a puppy

I cried within the first ten minutes of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie found the golden ticket and was too emotional to watch the rest. To make matters worse, it was the Johnny Depp version

Not a Bear Person

4. Because You Will Be Attending The First-Ever A-Camp Carnival!


bonus rainbow wars points for anybody who shows up dressed like sandy or danny zuko

Our first-ever A-Camp Carnival will take place all afternoon on Friday. Get your face painted, play carnival games, perform on the festival stage, gnaw on cotton candy and enjoy a variety of A-Camp-tailored funfair activities. In preparation for what will surely be a monumental and life-changing event, Camp Co-Director Robin Roemer has dedicated herself to learning the art of making balloon animals, often enlisting the assistance of her peers:

camp fall 2013

3. Because DeAnne Smith Gets Real Gay For Our Grrrls

this is deanne inviting you into her bosom for a-camp

this is DeAnne inviting you into her bosom for a-camp

If you’re American and have ever attended a gay cruise or pride event or raucous Palm Springs pool party, you’re likely familiar with many esteemed and hilarious lesbian comedians — but you’ve probably yet to see DeAnne Smith. Which is unfortunate, because DeAnne Smith is a hilarious big deal lesbian comic but she’s not on the Celesbian circuit because she is on a DeAnne Smith circuit, which is like a circuit party except with less man-on-man sex, more Canada, and more Australia. DeAnne Smith’s set at May A-Camp made everybody die of laughter and she inspired a multitude of campers to request her return to the A-Camp stage.

DeAnne’s been honing her comedic chops on television (she recently did a spot on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and has previously appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Canada’s Comedy Network, HBO Canada and Australia’s Channel 10, among others), in comedy festivals all over the world and in solo shows.

But of course there’s nothing quite like performing for your own people, is there?

You can read DeAnne’s posts for Autostraddle here, and here she is performing a Nerdy Love Song at A-Camp in May:

2. Because Lex Kennedy & Megan Benton (a.k.a.,  Emotions The P.O.E.T. ) of “Me & My Bois” Are Coming!

We’re also really excited to be bringing in workshop presenters from Me & My Bois, a collective of masculine of centered people creating media outlets for LGBTQ/Queer people: ​Lex Kennedy and Megan Benton, a.k.a., Emotions The P.O.E.T., who will be leading and participating in some workshops/panels as well as conducting interviews with interested campers for their Me & My Bois Documentary!


Megan Benton and Lex Kennedy (Photo Credit: FlyEarth Photography)

Here’s more about these kickass additions to the roster:

Megan Benton aka Emotions The P.O.E.T. is a spoken word artist, activist, writer and healer from Los Angeles, CA. Megan is one of the founders of Theta Xi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and a member of the Brown Boi Project. Megan Benton has a Masters in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in LGBTQ studies. She specializes on working with LGBTQ / Queer People of Color and gender non-conforming people, providing a healing space for clients to develop healthy identities in regards to the intersection of race, culture, sex, gender, lifestyle and spirituality.

She has facilitated groups at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center as well as Life Works, LBGTQ youth center; and presented at events including Butch Voices, The LAGPA Conference, The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Conference, the EDGY Conference, True Colors, Case Managers of America, and Models of Pride.

Lex Kennedy is an award winning filmmaker and visual media artist residing in Los Angeles by way of Lex’s east coast roots in Atlanta, DMV, and New York.  As a genderqueer, masculine of center BOI, Lex uses art as activism.  After screening consecutive years at the Fusion film festival, and Outfest film festival Lex is determined to bring more queer people of color stories to every screen possible.

From volunteering with the Los Angeles Gay&Lesbian center to Americorps Vista program, Lex believes that through community service and self care the work of an activist is never done.  Which explains Lex’s No days off philosophy.  Whether it’s creating visuals for poets, such as Emotions the P.O.E.T, or making commercials for 826LA a non-profit writing and after school tutoring program, Lex remains busy building a community where every human being is loved. Appreciated. And Welcome.


1. Hannah Hart Is Coming!

Y’all are pretty into this chick, yeah?

photo by robin roemer

photo by robin roemer

I don’t know, we just get a feeling that some of you hold Hannah Hart in your Heart-O and wouldn’t mind being stuck on a mountain with her?

Launa Sorensen - Hannah Hart

Well, the good news is that she feels EXACTLY THE SAME WAY about you!

thumbs up for a-camp

thumbs up for a-camp

New Media Entrepreneur Hannah Hart will be returning to A-Camp for the third time, ready to make you swoon, laugh, smile and take photos for your jealous friends back home.


What Are You Waiting For?*

Sign Up Now!

*Also, if you’re low on cash at the moment, Paypal offers some very reasonable financing situations to pay off your balance over time!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, 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. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. Okay I just started A Job and canNOT take time off for 6 months. WILL YOU HAVE ANOTHER? I have wanted to come but “midterms”, “finals”, “finances”, were a thing and NOW I can contemplate it but… I need it in 6+ months….
    All the reasons are perfect and I’m crying.

  2. reason #11: how many more weird foods can they make out of quinoa? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW UNLESS YOU REGISTER

    • OMG Yes. The morning announcements were great:

      “All vegan food is there. The gluten Free is over there. Soy free is on that table and oh yeah.. Rebecca you French Toast without any cinnamon is ready.”

      I loved that even though I was bad and pretty much ate everything in sight.

  3. T____T I am so so tragically poor, so I will force myself to be content with thinking encouragingly queer thoughts at everyone going!

    • Warning: Apparently two women making out on swing my be misconstrued as a bear.

      I have yet to figure out what arrangement or position simulates a bear profile. However research with my partner continues.

  4. reason #11: Because last A-camp you said you would go to this A-Camp. And you also said that the A-Camp before.

    It’s time.

    • I will always be grateful to A-Camp for providing me the opportunity to meet my girlfriend. But…I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that you, Bren, got to sleep on top of her before I did!

  5. “I cried within the first ten minutes of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie found the golden ticket and was too emotional to watch the rest. To make matters worse, it was the Johnny Depp version”

    Dammit, I was telling you that in confidentiality, Riese!

  6. CARNIVAL?!?! :'( I can totally make balloon animals, too. So bummed I’m missing this. Stupid school.

  7. Reason #11: You can participate IN PERSON in the “Should Lizz dye her hair back to black or keep it red” discussion. Guys I really need you on this.

    Reason #12: DJ Lizz’s iPod at Klub Deer!


    • Oh good because I actually have a lot of (somewhat stalkerish… stalkery? stalkerian?) thoughts on this. I’ll bring my powerpoint pros and cons presentation on a drive to camp.

      • Good. Bring all your stalkerish feelings to camp. I welcome them.

        Seriously guys we have to haves a panel about my hair color. This is an important issue in the queer community.

  8. Info I’m not finding anywhere..anyone know?
    -Wheelchair accessible?
    -wheelchair accessible-ish??
    -not wheelchair accessible but maybe if I try real hard and/or hire Tinkerbell???

    • The website says there are “handicap rooms and facilities” available but the terrain is straight up dirt & rocks, no pavement.

      • thanks for the info! of course I found the Alpine site right after reading your post and now I feel silly. Terrain like that is possible for me but always leaves me with a dilemma: use old chair and hope it holds up through camp or use a new chair and hope I don’t ruin it playing roller coaster on rocky hills!

    • Hi Charlie

      While Alpine (the current site) does advertise itself as wheelchair-accessible (which was a factor in our choosing it), in reality this is only true of certain lodges and paths and is not true of the whole site. This has been and continues to be a concern of ours, as we want A-Camp to be accessible to everyone, and we’re actively looking into alternative, more accessible sites for future camps. If you have specific questions or concerns you can feel free to email [email protected].

      • Hi Marni thanks for the reply! Is this info on the A-Camp websites anywhere? I looked pretty hard and couldn’t find anything and when I tried using google to help, my comments here are the first results. Now that I check the Alpine website I do see “Some handicap rooms & facilities available” but it might be cool to see what you posted here on the A-Camp’s pages too. Just so we know we’re welcome, you know?

        anyway, thanks for the help! I wish I could go, but it looks like I won’t be making it. GAH, wallet, why?

  9. You guys, I can’t come to camp this time so someone else will have to take over the video recording duties! Otherwise there won’t be any videos like the Nerdy Love Song one!

  10. “Bisexuality/Non-Monosexuality/Sexual Fluidity Panel as well as the Non-Monogamy Panel.”

    OMG ALL MY A-CAMP DREAMS CAME TRUE! AND I’m extra special!(Guess which one is me, ha)

  11. that word cloud is a beautiful thing.

    unfortunately the price tag on a transatlantic flight is not. plus I don’t think missing the first week of uni would go down too well. BUT attending this thing is one of my major life goals so…

    one day, a-camp. one day. <3

  12. #1111 (that’s 11:11, as in “i’m thinking about you right now”):

    opening night campfire songs. all of them.

  13. Absolutely and totally worth missing 4 classes during the second week of my freshman year in college. I am so excited for camp!

  14. *cries for nine years because money and school and being a small baby 18-year-old who isn’t yet self-reliant enough to go*

  15. Here are my camp feelings:
    Wahhhh I wanna go and I work for an airline so I can totes fly for free!
    It would be hard to get the time off from work.
    But it would be so awesome to meet all you lovely people!
    But I’m shy so would I actually meet you all?
    But I want a new experience and I know I’ll regret not going!

    …I’ve gone to the registration page then hit the back button a million times. :/

    • Real talk: many people and staff members are also shy. We’ll come find you. We’ll hug you. You’ll meet people.

    • I’m pretty shy too, and I had a lot of reservations about signing up for last camp. I really wanted to, but I was so terrified. Luckily my best friend made me do it, and I will forever be grateful to her for that because it was the greatest experience. Like ever. In my entire life. That weekend on the mountain was life changing, and I still talk to my cabin mates daily. Runagays, I <3 you forever! Basically I think going to camp is a decision no one regrets.

    • I am super-shy and super-nervous about going, but also insanely excited. I feel confident that a ton of us will have shyness solidarity and we’ll all break through!

      • Its incredible really. Extroverted or introverted folks just find their level and it seems that level is somehow everyone. The lack of borders or self imposed definitions is what blew me away on the mountain.

        No tall women, no short women, no thin women, no heavy women. Just people as expressive souls without a lot of pre-judgmental crap. Seriously. :)

    • I am super extroverted and I love making all of the introverted friends.

      so let’s be friends?

  16. I can’t even articulate all my feelings into one coherant argument. You should just go. It will change your life.

    • There’s a spot for you right inbetween my hair straightener and all seven pairs of skinny jeans I’m bringing.

  17. The excitement is almost becoming physical pain. Can it be October already? All the best things are happening! A-camp, 21st birthdayyyy, A-CAMP, a-camp, a-camp nostalgia, then halloween to finish it all. I’m going to facedesk after making this reference, but just wake me up when september endsss. Fo’ real. Can’t wait to meet all of you!!!

  18. Oh please please please have Hannah Hart be a recurring guest speaker for every A-Camp, or at least make sure she’s there when I finally can afford to be in everyone’s lovely A-Camp presence.

  19. So I can totally afford this and get the time off from work. But good lord flights from nc to Cali are astronomical. Why isn’t there an east coast camp. We are nice ladies, make our east coast dreams come true!

    • from the FAQ:


      A: Not any time soon! First of all, the weather is way nicer on the West Coast, thus enabling a longer off-season for the summer camps we rent property from. Most of our team and talent, including Senior Staff, lives on the West Coast. The cost of getting all our humans and all our supplies cross-country would be immense, which means your cost would be in the $1,200 range. So see it’s much cheaper for you just to fly to Los Angeles! We picked a site near LA because it is one of the easiest airports from which to find flight deals.

    • You can do it, Britt! Seriously, it is so, SO worth it. For me the price of A-Camp meant that I couldn’t fix my car and I had to carry like 40lbs of cat food and cat litter up the damn hill on my heavy-ass bike for like six months after camp, and I have zero regrets. is the best for flight deals!

  20. Daaammmn flights across the ocean are expensive. Maybe some kind of European A-Camp spin-off could be on the cards for the future..? We could call it E-Camp and spend the weekend wearing berets and eating fancy cheese.

  21. This post was evidently exactly what I needed to see today. Because I just REGISTERED!!!! see y’all in October! It will be my first stop in the U.S. after living in Korea for a year!

  22. I AM SO EXCITED I don’t even have anything important to say on here I just really needed to comment and share my EXCITEMENT with the world and I’ve been waiting to come to A-camp for so long and you guys I AM SO EXCITED

  23. If you are worried about the money in an “I can kinda maybe afford this if I only eat ramen for a month” kind of way: JUST CLICK THE REGISTER BUTTON. NOW. It’s so worth it. For the rest of your life. You can save your money LATER, when you are brimming with self-confidence and love and gratitude and joy and the glow of camp.

  24. aw man i am super-extra-special! this is almost as good as the time i got a comment award and practically fell off my chair.

    can’t wait! excited-nervous-terrified-excited.

  25. Sold! I just registered yesterday, in large part thanks to this post :)

    Question, though – I noticed the deadline to reserve a place on the shuttle to/from LAX is on Sunday. I’ve already paid for it but haven’t figured out my flight info just yet…do I need to have done that by Sunday, and updated my registration accordingly?

  26. first time camper! so so so so so so excited


    this default avatar is actually super appropriate (unrelated)

  27. I’m scared of trees.
    I don’t have anything to wear.
    I only sleep under beds or in closets.
    There won’t be any food. I’ll have to forage for nuts.

    None of these things are true. I think I’m just catastrophizing.


  28. I hate nursing school right about now!
    So badly wish I could be there!
    Maybe you guys will need a nurse next year? :)

  29. I cannot explain the amount of badassery that I know will ensue at camp. First time camper and although I’m supa-dupa nervous I couldn’t be any more excited! From being one of the only out lesbians in my town to attending A-Camp? Never would have dreamed of it lol

    Side note: Did anyone else watch the DeAnne Smith video and get completely sidetracked for about an hour watching cat videos that YouTube suggested? Just me?…I find that hard to believe.

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