A-Camp May 2013 Recamp #4: YUP.

Block CD: Sex Panel (Daniela, Lizz, Ali, Nic, Riese) // Speed Dating (Deanne Smith) // Alternative Lifestyle Barbershop (Katrina) // “Out in the Country” (Jill, Taylor & Mary) // High Tea (Laneia & Rachel) // Nerdcraft #2 (Whitney, Carrie, Meredydd, Mey)

(photo by katie o)

(photo by katie o)

Jill, Wild Things Counselor: My favorite camp moment would have to be the Out in the Country panel. It was the little panel that could. Interestingly the three moderators of the panel – myself, Taylor, and Mary Tully – do not currently live out in the country, while all panel attendees do currently live out in the country. I was amazed and inspired about what everyone had to say about building queer communities in rural areas, dealing with homophobia, and just dealing in general. Attention everybody: these campers are changing the world and starting the queer revolution. They inspired me and made me realize that if they’re doing it, I can do it too.

Ali, Contributing Editor & Outlaw Counselor: I’ve participated in one A-Camp Sex Panel before this. The last one was funny and informative, and this one was informative and funny, in that order. I’m super proud of us. I feel like we really brought the information on this one. Plus I love any panel I get to sit on with Daniela. Because I have this crazy fierce love for Daniela and I just think she’s so smart and I’m pretty sure the first thing I ever heard her say ever is “vulvas are beautiful.” So there’s that.

sex panel

Daniela: I have a huge professional fangirl crush on the people I got to sit with at the Sex Panel. Like, these are people that I knew about before they knew who I was and now I’m all like “glass dildos are the best!” while seating right next to them. The Sex Panel holds a special place in my heart because even though it changes its tone, shape and number every camp, every camp it still proves just how much one can know, understand and communicate about sex and sexual health between two minutes long bursts of laughter. Keeping sex safe, hot and fun, A-Camp style.

Riese: This Sex Panel I discovered Brittney Griner isn’t the only lesbian whose finger length exceeds my own.

(photo by katie o)

LOOK AT ALI’S HANDS YOU GUYS (photo by katie o)

Daniela: I loved being part of panels, discussions, workshops of feelings. With that in mind, sometimes the best part of those activities was the aftermath, when I was done and no longer holding the mic. I cherish every single one-on-one conversation I had at camp as a result of something I said or maybe even failed to say at a panel. Every camper that approached me to geek out about non-monogamy, pick my brain about kink, or even just to touch base about self-care after a particularly heavy discussion left me feeling excited for the connection and challenged to know even more and be better next time. You guys, I was so inspired by the campers.

Somer Bingham, The Talent: Some of the best times at A-Camp are had when you’re just hanging out with new friends. One such occurence was during an off-shoot of High Tea when a few of us gathered and I found myself at a picnic table with Deanne and Taylor. Taylor sat down with an avocado, a package of dried salmon that no one would share with her, and a knife, which she used as an eating utensil. (Hot).


click to enlarge

Stef: Right after lunch, my campers Hannah and Caro asked if I wanted to come with them on a hike. I’d been meaning to get out on the trails for most of camp and kept being sidetracked by activities, so I was really into the idea. Where else but A-Camp can you have a thoughtful discussion about sexuality on the side of a mountain, with hummingbirds buzzing around you and lizards skulking across the rocks? It wasn’t a structured A Camp activity but it was a beautiful break, and a reminder that our campers/readers are just so fucking smart.

photo by stef

photo by stef

Riese: The idea of a “pool party” is more or less petrifying to me, but holy shit was Julie and Brandy’s Pool Party an Enormous Success!

Robin: Brandy played the best music and Marni and I had a beer and worked on the shuttle schedule while we watched campers splash around in the pool and Julie dance to Gangnam Style. Can’t ask for much more than that out of your camp afternoon.

Marni:  God the pool party was so fun. You guys, Brandy Howard (aka DJ Sexo Pharmacia) is a for real killer DJ. Her set was amazing. There were a lot of fun things happening that block, but loads of people came out to swim and lounge and dance and have a great time.

Photo by Cee Webster

Photo by Cee Webster

Brandy Howard, The Talent: Our first annual pool party was my favorite favorite favorite part of camp this time!!! Why? Because I got to do my three favorite things: DJ, drink during the day, and have fun with sexy girls in bikinis!!! Exhibit A:

Image via Brandy

Image via Brandy

Marni: Everybody seemed really happy and comfortable, which is the opposite of my personal understanding of pool parties, which usually make me want to put on all of my clothes and retreat inside. It was so amazing to see so many women of all shapes and sizes just chilling, in a completely loving, accepting atmosphere. Definitely something we’ll be doing again.

Pool Party

Kate, Contributing Editor & Tiger Beat Counselor: The Pool Party happened. Did I bring my circa 1994 hot pink swim trunks that I acquired at a Salvation Army in upstate New York? Of course I did. Did I actually plan on wearing them? Not… really. I’m not super with exposing my body, especially all the parts that get shown when wearing bathing suits. Bathing suits are one of the most gendered articles of clothing in existence, and it’s incredibly difficult to find something that is comfortable to swim in and isn’t a total nightmare for dysphoria. I haven’t actually bought a bathing suit since I was 16, and that suit was a bikini with cherries on it. Cherries. Cherries with wet dew drops on them. Let that image sink in for yourself.

I only brought a binder for camp and I was a little terrified of getting it wet, and hell was likely to freeze over before my Barely A breasts got any exposure outside of some kind of airtight container. I wasn’t sure that swimming or pool or anything within a one hundred foot radius of the pool was going to happen. But then I got to the poolside and the babes of Tiger Beat were sunbathing and swimming together. And then Amanda Walters got out of the pool and sat on my head. My hair ruined (after an hour of preparation, Amanda – AN HOUR) and my cabin cheering me on, I took a look around at the pool full of queerios of all presentations and decided maybe, MAYBE, I could do this.

So I did it.

I borrowed Piper’s sports bra and I wore the swim trunks and I wore a Billy Joel muscle shirt and I got in the water. I took my shirt off in the water. I balanced on noodles in the water. Granted I found a way to put my shirt back on before exiting the water, but I did it. I did it. I wore a bathing suit, and I went in a pool, and there were dozens of people around. I almost hyperventilated, but it happened. That was a very big deal for me.

Pool Party1-001

Carmen: I got to the pool party later than expected for reasons, but it was still hoppin’ when I rolled in with a solo cup filled with beer froth and sincere hopes for the future. I introduced one of my campers to Julie & Brandy because she really likes them and I like to appear to be a gateway between mere mortals and communities of celesbians as much as possible; in exchange they told us about their adventurous lives and Brandy Howard cheers’ed with me while “Rehab” played. “I put this on the mix for you and me, Carmen.” A more honest or poignant moment has never happened in history.

Pool Party2

Katrina, Contributor & Foxfire Counselor: Basically everything that I really liked about Camp was also something that challenged me fully, like physically, emotionally, socially (all day), and creatively. For Phresh Cutz, sometimes people come to me looking for a very specific look, sometimes they give me full creative license. Either way, I hope my clippers and shears made your visions of yourselves come true. You’re all so patient and wonderful. You’re also exciting and good-looking, and I’m glad I got to spend time with you.

photo by Cee

Katrina: It’s also worth mentioning all of the hair art weirdness that went down this time around. Y’all, did you know that Somer is really weird/cool and made these hair sculptures? ‘Cause she did. Also I am aware that some of you got hair notes in your pigeonholes. I am not at liberty to name the perpetrators, but I will say that I am almost disappointed not to have received one. Almost.

(photo by aki)

(photo by aki)

DeAnne Smith, The Talent: Did you get a hair gram in your pigeon hole? (Someone please make “hair gram in your pigeon hole” a thing.) Punchy from a steep drinks-to-hours-of-sleep ratio, I taped snippets of hair (Thanks, Katrina!) onto pieces of paper upon which an anonymous staffer wrote lovely things. The results were amazing and/or horrifying, depending on which end of the pigeonhole you were on. I love these notes more than I can say, and almost as much as I love Katie.

Photo by DeAnne Smith

Photo by DeAnne Smith

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Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian 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 2746 articles for us.


  1. OMG YOU GUYS. I AM HAVING APPROXIMATELY 189 FEELINGS. Vanessa and Julia, your words were perfect. That last page is perfect. I have mixed feelings about my completelyandtotallyexcitedomg Fort Feelings photo, but I think it embodies how ecstatic camp made me feel, how joyful and included and loved so I will take it! <3


    p.s. those pictures of cait and i are literally the spin doctors’ song “two princes”


  3. My favorite part about this recamp was reading it while facebook chatting with some other Runaways who were also reading it and having ALL THE FEELINGS together and pretending like we were back in our cabin having a feelings circle. Because that is what camp is about.

  4. Somer was A-Camp’s dark horse… she just quietly did weird hilarious shit in the background and executed it perfectly and would just walk away like “what, you’ve never seen human hair attached to tiny cone-shaped paper cups before?” and no, for the record, i had not

    *i promise that i don’t just love her because she made the day 2 & 3 schedules that i was too busy to make though that is also a reason i like her but not the main one

    • Me too. Totally missed the photobooth, which gives me sad feels, but it’s okay. I kinda avoided taking photos and finding photo sessions this camp, cause I wanted to #berightthere/beherenow. It worked. I was so fucking present all weekend, which felt great. I was able to detox from the universe in the best possible way by consuming all of you. xo

      • I’m with you on that one. And I also avoided photos at the dance because I was sweating from dancing so hard. Though the outlaws photobooth photo makes me smile so hard even though I’m not in it. I might print it out in wallet size and carry it with me. Is that weird?

  5. OMG I JUST realized the photobooth pic of Hilly and I was up there. SO many FEELS. SQUEE+YIKES+YAY+LURVE+Everything!

    I love my five dollar thrift Red Dress!!!

    All the feels edition: Part Two.

  6. This is where I dole out my thank yous. I just finished watching the Stanley Cup and am PRETTY EMOTIONAL right now, so I apologize if I get pathetic.

    Country Straddlers- This made camp for me. Everyone at camp was amazingly kind, but this was the one time I felt 100% normal. People got it, the love for the land and the struggle to stay when every queer narrative you ever hear is telling you that you HAVE to go. I really loved this. This will make me come back.

    Lex- Thank you for letting me/making me cry the last night. It’d been 2.5 years since I had cried in front of another human being. I’m not always good at being compassionate with myself, and you sort of forced me to let myself be human and have feelings instead of responding to feelings with a quip and a shot. I still SORT of hate myself on the daily for the thing we discussed, but I’m trying to be kind to myself.

    Lindsey- Thank you for forcing me to go to camp. I knew literally nothing of Autostraddle before I went, and now I feel like I have all these new friends that share a life experience most of my friends here do not.

    Toros- You guys are amazing, and made me feel so welcome and wonderful. I love you guys, and I can’t wait til next May.

    I love all of you so much.

  7. So I didn’t get to go and I won’t get to go for awhile.
    I think once I’m out to EVERYONE A-Camp will be a gift I give myself. But until that time I am here for the pictures and to read about the fun I missed.

    P.S.-I hope A-Camp is going to be a thing forever because it looks like the best.

  8. Cee, I want to let you know that one of the NOPE Grumpy Cat posters is on my fridge right now, and I’ll treasure it forever along with 2 drawings my friends from A Camp 1.0 made.


  9. i have a serious love/hate relationship with these recamps.they really pressure me in making camp4.0 happen but life, responsibilities, flight rates and a fucking ocean make it so hard. but ugh, so much cuteness. i guess it’s happening!


    The pool party was the best. I especially loved our impromptu synchronized swimming lesson.

    For those of you who are uncomfortable in traditional swimwear – that makes me at least eighteen different kinds of sad, because I FUCKING LOVE SWIMMING AND THINK EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT! One suggestion – rash guards! They’re basically t-shirts (or long sleeved shirts) that are made to be worn in the water. You’ll need a tight one if you want to go fast, but if you don’t care about that, loose fit ones are great too! As an added bonus, they also help protect your skin against UV.



  12. I’m so bummed I missed the Slayers photo op at the dance! But this reminded me of Gaela’s amazing red lipstick (she kissed me on the cheek and I walked around with a lipstick print for a while).

    but that photo of Potter and me. BROS BROS BROS.

  13. This was the day Mary Tully had the entire cafeteria sing happy birthday to me at breakfast. I was blushing and sinking as deep as I could into my seat, but it was probably one of the best moments of my life.

  14. 1.)I made it to the photobooth!
    2.)I think we all had fun at the talent show (if ever again I will secure the uke before somebody straddles a wall and I become willfully incompetent)
    3.) I will forever remember when the feelings happened on Geneva’s shoulder and how Ariella and Croce brought the smile back to my face.
    4.) What we are doing here is magic…I mean nowhere else could you find over a hundred people so determined to keep the party going that they create the music when sound fails
    5.) The morning I left camp, like a stranger on the early shuttle my last hug was from Marni, and while I forgot to ask if she consented, it was the best last hug I could have hoped for.
    6.) I have now missed the ice cream social twice
    7.) I can’t wait to do this again!!

  15. This day was so full of… feelings, camp, love, fatigue that stemmed from processing, being comfortable and happy and joyful and having learned so much over the last few days… that I couldn’t even attend that many sessions. Guys – I attended 4 panels on the first day. FOUR. So I was recovering for days after that.

    So I sat in the sun, chatted with beautiful humans, made a thing (or two or three… the camp patches were the absolute best, and my homo and queermo patches are getting good use), sat in the sun some more, went to the POOL PARTY…

    Oh my fucking god. Dancing with sexy beautiful people, jumping in the pool, dancing and smiling and talking to so many wonderful people… EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU IN BATHING ATTIRE AND CLOTHES AND ALL SORTS OF THINGS MADE OF CLOTH THAT MADE YOU FEEL OKAY – You are handsome, sexy, hot, powerful, beautiful and attractive. You inspire me.

    This was one of my favourite parts of camp.

    So was the impromptu spray painting of shirts, my favourite being gentle queer on the back of my camp shirt, and my new a-camp bag that now says “Don’t stop be fab.”

    And then there was talent, ice cream social, and a dance. And my head and heart and body and soul exploded.

    It has taken me days to be able to create an recamp response of any kind because I am still so filled up, emotional, and lovingly precious about the whole experience. Just wait until I get started on the gender, sexual fluidity, WOC/QPOC, family, and non-monogamy panels. FEELINGS.

  16. Remember that one time when…

    there were like 300 queers on a mountain and all of them were so attractive that it made my knees shake?

    the bathroom in Falcon became the best place on the mountain?

    for vegan breakfast there was only scary looking tofu scramble doused in ketchup?

    DeAnne Smith made me laugh so hard I was crying?

    the Autostraddle staff told *real* stories and I was crying for real?

    the swingset became a place to look at the stars and contemplate life while drunk?

    the swingset became a place where bears would hang around?

    Klub Deer turned into a contest of who could make out with most people on the dance floor?

    the kink panel made me uncomfortable in the best way possible?

    I met the best people and formed my most meaningful friendships?

    we all had feelings?

  17. Shout-out to all the crazy talented people who performed at the Talent Show, and for keeping it super classy.
    * Listening to people’s stories and slam poetry (especially the 5 person one) gives me shivers in ways that I didn’t know were possible.
    * Ranger’s smutty story was brilliantly hilarious. You really have an excellent storytelling ability.
    * Ginuwine’s Pony makes me smile stupidly large every time I hear it now, and my gf and I exchange knowing grins. Best. Association. Ever.
    * Evie’s violin serenade makes me want to pick up the violin again. (And I know, I know, it’ll be like riding a bicycle =) )
    * And Leslie’s comedy bit was seriously too short. Seriously.
    * I love everyone and everyone is family <3

  18. Post-camp (yes, even a month post-camp) I find myself just full of feelings I can’t articulate.

    Tiger Beat, I love you all (and can’t wait to see a handful of you this weekend!)
    Smoker’s Circle, I love you all as well, you were basically my second cabin.

    Just in general, I love everyone and the fact that this exists, and hope to see your faces in October.

  19. omg that girl in the background of the picture of the Phresh Cutz with the sunglasses….you are the Girl On Fire.
    Did you shoot any apples with arrows lately? Or ya know, overthrow any oppressive governments?

  20. I normally wouldn’t admit this, but I feel this is a “safe space” so I will share.

    One morning I headed to the kitchen post-breakfast time to hunt down some coffee. On the front door was a “sign” that simply said “Nope” with a sad cat on it. At this point I was unfamiliar with the internet meme “grumpy cat”… so to me it appeared that the cafeteria was closed until lunch.

    I turned around, sighed, and walked away from the cafeteria, sans coffee, and sadder than the grumpiest cat, thinking that I had to wait until lunch for coffee.


    • OMG i saw a grumpy cat poster on one of the cabins up on the hill on the smaller side of the campsite and despite the fact that i’ve been to this camp three times and therefore should be familiar with the layout and where different cabins are, i thought for THE ENTIRETY OF CAMP that that cabin was where the Alpine staff lived and that they’d put up that sign to make sure none of us went in there looking for other A-Campers. i was like ‘that is the cutest KEEP OUT sign i’ve ever seen!”

      i didn’t know that grumpy cat was a thing, let alone a meme, until we were driving down the mountain and i think marni mentioned it or we discussed it in some way

      • These stories are hilarious/cute! Since this is a safe space, can I fess up to some of my weirdo pop culture ignorance from former camps?

        At the first camp, I had no idea what YOLO meant. YOLO was everywhere. YOLO was spray painted on things. It came out of mouths. YOLO! Yolo. Looked it up when I got home. Shameful.

        At the second camp, I had *no clue* what it was that the Runaways were doing when they were saluting. And then my cabin started doing it because purple team, duh, and I still didn’t know why we were doing it. And then after camp I saw everyone refer to this as the “hunger salute” and fuck that made even less sense. It didn’t click in my brain until that GIF was posted as the first comment in a recap. AND I HAD READ THE HUNGER GAMES. I had seen the movie too!

        I am dumb.

  21. some highlights/feelings vomit/i still can’t be coherent about what those four days meant to me, so here’s a small sample:

    – I will never be able to listen to “I Love It” the same way again. The dance and Klub Deer were amazing and the perfect way to end the weekend.

    -I actually screamed aloud during the fashion show when Julie came out in her CUNTY hat and then I cried when she walked past me. there were real tears.

    – two words: smoker’s circle

    -and then this one time at the pool party Carmen introduced me to Julie and Brandy, who were basically the final straw that made me decide to come to A-Camp and I think I died. Except I couldn’t have died, because later that evening, fueled by vodka (and I’m not naming names, but that vodka might have come from my favorite aforementioned celesbians), I ended up throwing my clothing at Riese and Brandy and dancing onstage in Straddle This boxers. I think THAT’S when I officially died. It’s cool. My entire life is complete now. There will never be a better thing, and I’m completely at peace with that.

  22. So many pictures of my dancers! I’m so freakin’ proud of all you ladies who decided after a two hour workshop you wanted to choreograph and perform with me. You all ROCKED MAJOR SOCKS and worked so hard and were so beautiful I just… Ugh. All the stripper mama feelings.

    Camp is amazing, you guys. But the campers are SPECTACULAR.

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