Once upon a time (October 9th-13th, to be specific) in a land far far atop a mountain two hours outside of sunny Los Angeles, approximately 275 queer humans gathered for four days and four nights of revelry, carnivalia, intellectual stimulation, dance parties and deep sea bonding. They called it A-Camp 4.0, and it was beautiful! This is the first of four fantastic recaps which serve to ease our collective separation anxiety, give you a behind-the-scenes look at how your A-Camp soysage is made, enable us to wax nostalgic over times gone by and provide prospective campers with a brilliant glimpse into the A-Camp Experience.
A-Camp was the genesis of an idea Riese had at 3AM in July 2010: the concept was to take the spirit of the website into three glorious dimensions by renting a summer camp in the off-season and jam-packing a long weekend with panels, workshops, discussions, crafts, sports, entertainment, parties and so much more! We gave the idea a spin with an abbreviated, smaller edition of A-Camp in April 2012, followed by full-size full-length camps in September 2012 and May 2013, all hosted by everybody’s favorite dynamic duo, Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard. Which brings us to October 2013, the Little Camp That Could!
This fall’s camp was unforgettable and fucking awesome. Our amazing team was complemented by talented Special Guests including comedienne DeAnne Smith, new media superstar Hannah Hart, Me & My Bois collaborators Lex Kennedy and Emotions the P.O.E.T., rock star Somer Bingham and songstress and actress Haviland Stillwell. Our camp staff included Autostraddle.com team members, A-Camp Tumblr Inventress Emily Gigler and Autostraddle Calendar Girls Miss October 2014 Kai, Miss February 2014 Chloe and Miss June 2013 Dani.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME RECAMPPPP???
A-Camp October 2013 Recamp #1: Pre-Camp & Day One
Every year, camp starts a day early for the A-Camp team, as we muggle our way up the mountain two nights early to get prepared for your shiny faces.
Sunday, October 6th: Pre-Pre-Pre Camp
Riese, Runaways Counselor & CEO/Editor-in-Chief: Marni and I spent the whole drive down to camp on Sunday writing the first night song to the tune of Be Our Guest. You guys, it was so hard! Seriously, Part of Your Camp (our opening number for A-Camp 3.0) took me twenty minutes by myself followed by an hour of team song-building at pre-camp. Marni and I usually feel like a pretty fucking funny pair of people (although we are usually alone so there’s really nobody to confirm this, we could be lying, potentially we spend all our time together crying (impossible: Marni only cries out of one eye), but seriously this song wasn’t happening for us. Here’s probably the best part of the unpublished, unperformed, unfinished Be Our Camp:
You’re far from home
and you’re scared
but Carly’s come prepared
no one’s emo or complaining
when the puppet’s entertaining
Cut your hair! Watch for bears!
if they eat you, be aware
that you’ll miss the greatest carnival of all!
Come on and make a pass
Learn how to flog an ass
if you’re bent, give consent
Ali’s in her element
Be our camp! Be our camp! Be our camp!
By nightfall, we’d decided the problem was that we’d picked an already-comic song, thus meaning it lacked the earnest song/preposterous lyrics of Part of Your Camp, and decided to go with A Whole New World instead. Then there was a giant cockroach on the wall above Rachel’s bed and shit got real for a minute.
Monday, October 7th: Pre-Pre-Camp
Got my bag searched in Boston Logan Airport on my way to @A_Camp2013. I think the guy learned a lot about sexual health.
— Lizz (@OhHeyItsLizz) October 7, 2013
Actual question I got at U.S. customs when explaining @A_Camp2013: “And do you see yourself as a lesbian feminist?”
— Carolyn Yates (@c_yates) October 7, 2013
I’m on my way to a mountain in California to convene with hundreds of lesbians. This is my real life. I’ll keep you updated. #ACamp
— DEA(nne smi)TH (@DeAnne_Smith) October 7, 2013
Riese: The next morning we had to leave Rachel to shuttle with her feline friends because the monster truck we rented (they were out of full-size cars, what’s a girl to do) was jam-packed with camp supplies, including a puppet theater Marni had spent two weeks building. Plus we still had to stop at Alex’s to jam-pack it with bottles of JOIA ALL-NATURAL SODAS, THE BEST SODAS IN THE WORLD!
Riese: By the time we reached the top of the mountain on Monday afternoon, we were in a total rut with that A Whole New World, too! Still I was furiously re-writing lyrics while we unloaded the van upon arrival. I was really excited about wearing a hoodie. Here’s a sample of the unpublished, unperformed, unfinished A Whole New Camp:
We can show you the world
stumbling, shivering, splendid,
tell me campers, now when did you last let your heart decide?
Dani got you a ride
sent you shuttle by shuttle
over, sideways and under
on a hellish mountain ride!
A whole new camp!
A new craft Hansen’s made for you
no one to tell us no, or no homo
or “that’s too many feelings!”
Hansen, Heartthrobs Counselor and DIY/Food Editor: I was one of the first staff members to arrive and I met Grace, Lizz and Stef in Terminal 6. We had about five hours to kill until our last staff member showed up, so I stole Stef’s captain’s hat and we all sat around while Lizz talked about how amazing her girlfriend Chrissy is (she lived up to the hype, for the record).
Ali, Wildcats Counselor and Geekery Editor: I speak to the Autostraddle staff more than I speak to most members of my family. Seriously. I get upwards of 100 emails from these weirdos per day. And that’s not counting the times I text them to ask them questions, or the weekly Skype meeting between the content editors. I LOVE these humans with my entire heart, soul, body and being. When I see their faces in person, it is everything I can do not to melt into a puddle of feelings. Walking into Terminal 6 at LAX and seeing all these familiar alternative lifestyle hair cuts that have morphed and changed since the last time (and we’ve been kept abreast by the Tumblr http://straddlecuts.tumblr.com/ but it’s not the same). AND! I finally got to meet Kai, my co-counselor and Ms. October. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person with SO MANY TALENTS.
Carolyn, Amazons Counselor and NSFW Editor: Going up the mountain always feels really surreal, even without the gorgeous landscape and stomach-churning hairpin turns — but even getting off the airplane and getting to see other staff in real life for the first time in months (or for the first time ever) feels surreal. There’s always a moment of, “All these people exist in real life?!” which is maybe weird but also a result of talking to people on the Internet all day every day. Seeing Stef in her captain’s hat in the airport feels more like being home than being in my actual home does, and that’s only the beginning.
Stef, The Gossip Counselor and Music Editor: Because I am a neurotic weirdo control freak, I really enjoy gathering and rallying the staff at the airport. I kept a detailed account of everyone’s arrival times and delays, and did headcounts constantly like a nervous kindergarten teacher chaperoning a field trip. When everyone had been assembled, I called the shuttle and we took off on our epic adventure, managing to only accidentally leave one staffer stranded at the airport (I love you Sophia)!
Hansen: We stopped at Trader Joe’s and I bought ALL the beer while wearing nautical stripes and a captain’s hat and I’ve never felt more validated in my life’s decisions.
Stef: The bus had a raised seating area for passengers, so we couldn’t see out the front window or readily observe where the driver was going. It wasn’t until we had already overshot Angelus Oaks by a wide margin that Cee and I noticed that we had gone the wrong way and were nowhere near Alpine Meadows. The driver told us the bus couldn’t make it up the mountain via the normal route, which we absolutely knew to be false, but at that point we were so far out that we had no choice but to take a scenic tour of Big Bear and its surrounding fauna. We’d all been traveling for a full day by this point, and we were a bit out of it.
Ali: I always sit in the back because I have panic attacks going up and down the mountain (and I don’t ever get panic attacks ever), but Hansen and Crystal gave me a mantra to repeat this time: “Everything is lovely and fine.” And I didn’t have a panic attack this time! Instead, Lizz and I discovered that we had made *ahem* very similar choices for the staff reading and began to plan any/all jokes we could make therein. Even though our bus got lost for an hour, I didn’t care because I was talking with my Autostraddle staff family.
Rachel, Girltrash Counselor and Senior Editor: I had never gotten to take a shuttle up the mountain with a large group of other people before — due to a variety of circumstances, I’ve ended up in cars, going up in the dead of night, driving a shuttle myself; really, everything but a sled pulled by dogs. It was so good to get to see everyone, and to get a head start on getting all of my feelings out. It made me feel like I had a leg up on the mountain and its witchy effect on my emotions. I’VE ALREADY STARTED PROCESSING, MOUNTAIN. WAY AHEAD OF YOU.
Crystal, Heartthrobs Counselor and Human Resources Director & Writer: Hansen and I sat in the back of the shuttle and used flashcards to quiz each other ‘Who Am I?’ Jeopardy-style on the campers in our cabin. We fell asleep, and I woke up super confused as to how we’d been on the road for so long and still so far away from camp.
Sophia, Holograms Counselor: Monday I managed the beautiful task of arriving at LAX perfectly on time to miss the shuttle up to Alpine Oaks for the second camp in a row. If Brittani and Liz hadn’t been driving up a couple hours later with DeAnne I would’ve been out of luck chilling in LAX until I was totally soulless. I also would’ve missed our jolly classic to camp mired in discomfort car ride where Brittani had contact problems, my friend Naomi was stung by a bee and suitcases took precedence over humans.
Laneia, Runaways Counselor and Executive Editor: We weren’t the last ones up the mountain this time! We made it, before midnight, and without crying. Nothing stresses me out/scares the everloving shit out of me like driving up a mountain, but for real, I didn’t even cry this time.
Liz Castle, Firestars Counselor and Autostraddle Contributor: Being late is not usually desirable, but by the time Brittani and I had packed the car (only 3 hours later than planned) I had received several frantic calls from Steph and Marni letting us know that a mere 3 people had accidently been left at the airport. This was great news because we had 1.5 seats left so everyone (else) turned out to be pretty stoked we were running late. Liz: In figuring out how to fit everyone in the car, DeAnne suggested that Sophia open her legs and then mimed me backing up into her lap. Turns out she meant we should spoon instead of sit hip-to-hip but was feeling too awkward about the word ‘spooning’ to frame it that way. While it was definitely not less awkward, it was effective and we were all so excited about our first camp adventure we were mostly able to ignore the fact that it felt like Miss Trunchbull’s Chokey back there.
Stef: By the time we arrived at camp, we were all exhausted but in excellent spirits. When Brittani and Liz C. finally arrived with their car stuffed to the brim with tiny travelers, I felt a lot better.
Sophia: Bren and I also became bunkmates this night and I so appreciate how wonderful she is and patient considering every night I dropped stuff on her bed and also on Saturday night I fell asleep on her bed in all of my clothes and got lipstick all over her pillow.
Tuesday, October 8th: Pre-Camp
At Pre-Camp, we stuff your bags and decorate your walls and plan what we’re gonna do to you when you get here.
Robin, A-Camp Co-Director and Photographer: I love pre-camp. This is the first time it has felt like fall in Angelus Oaks. Some of the trees had turned a beautiful yellow and the air was chilly and crisp. I always get butterflies during Pre-Camp walking around the empty camp, anticipating another amazing session. Everything felt easy and relaxed mostly because our incredible staff members were mega-prepared for their workshops, panels and for their campers!
Emily Gigler, Rockford Peaches Counselor: Precamp was predictably cold but sunny, and the leaves were all those incredible autumn colors, and everything was magical.
Somer, Nighthawks Counselor/The Talent: My wife Donna & I have been together for seven glorious years. Just having her at A-Camp this time around was a highlight for me. I mean, look how cute she is!
Rachel: My favorite part about pre-camp was that Marni had already made the pigeonholes, because I swear to God I’ve ended up spending like six hours putting them together with a staple gun every other time. Just kidding! My favorite part about pre-camp was getting super excited to see all the campers and planning out the details of all my panels and realizing how amazing they could be. Also the pigeonhole thing though.
Hansen: Crystal and I specifically requested our cabin be named Heartthrobs because we didn’t write a very nice review of the Tegan and Sara album when it came out, so this was our penance for our folly of that mean review of an album we genuinely love now. We decorated the cabin with a million pictures of Tegan and Sara, a Taylor Swift shrine (which was amazing) and a lot of rainbow streamers. Also, a One Direction poster that ended up in someone’s bed, I think?
Crystal: The Taylor Swift shrine was definitely our greatest accomplishment as cabin leaders. I’m not in this for the glory, but I secretly hoped that our campers would appreciate the physical and emotional challenges that we had to overcome to tape a giant crepe paper heart on the roof.
Carly, Camp Special Programming Director & Contributor: Everyone should always call Marni “hot cups;” that is her nickname. Also never forget the #bin! I also want to take a moment to thank Grace for being the awesome other half of the A-Camp A/V Club. Hanging out with Grace all the time is one of my favorite things about A-Camp.
Robin: We decorated cabins, put together the best gift bags we’ve had yet (thanks to our awesome sponsors) and chatted about the importance of making this experience special, creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere for everyone and setting the tone for camp.
Liz C.: Tuesday morning Brittani and I spent approximately 17 million hours making flaming duck tape bowties for the Firestarters so we could take a group picture. BUT THEN WE FORGOT TO TAKE A BOWTIE PICTURE. I’m definitely not bitter about this at all.
Riese: As per ushe, we decorated The Runaways cabin to look like a ‘zine come to life, which will be one of many attractions in our first amusement park.
Cara, Nighthawks Counselor & Contributing Editor: I’m not at all a crafty person in regular life (stuff gets in my hair), but many of my favorite memories from camp involved crouching on the ground and trying to make paper look pretty. This was the first camp for which I was in charge of my cabin decorations and I kind of blacked out at Party City. On Tuesday, Somer and I realized I had purchased a sign that said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in cutout letters (it was also construction-themed). I managed to convince her that we could make it say “NIGHTHAWKS” instead and, with great imaginative prowess and some deft scissorwork, we totally did (though we were laughing really hard and I’m surprised we didn’t glue ourselves together). Take that, Gothip.
Chloe, Calendar Girl & Blue Crush Counselor: Decorating the Blue Crush cabin with Grace on day two of pre-camp was definitely a highlight of camp for me. Grace made really adorable posters from a surfing magazine that I spent way too long meticulously placing around the cabin. I also spent time counting every ring on our paper chains to make sure each bunk got the same amount. Cabin decorating was basically three hours of Grace validating my neuroticism and telling me that I was doing a good job and I will cherish it forever. Also, we set up all of the campers gift bags between the cubbies and they looked just like presents on Christmas morning, it made me really happy and was perfect for when A-Camp turned into Snow-Camp the next day.
Lizz, Flashdance Counselor and Fashion/Style Editor: In the morning before campers arrived Donna, Somer, Cee and I went for a hike. In all my A-Camps I’d never actually gotten a chance to go on a hike. It was amazing! It was beautiful and breathtaking. Literally breathtaking, I think, for Somer and I. I don’t usually “do the outdoors.” It was so relaxing though, I think it really set the stage for me to have the most relaxing and fun camp yet! If you ever go to A-Camp and you’ve never actually walked through the mountains you absolutely must! For the record though, if Cee tells you she’s going to take you on a 30 minute hike and she totally knows the way, she’s lying. It’s a two-hour hike and she has no clue where she’s going.
Riese: I have been to all the A-Camps and I have never actually walked through the mountains. But maybe one day I will, who knows, anything could happen, Lizz looks like Heidi!
Yvonne, Stormtroopers Counselor & Associate Editor: After decorating our cabins for our campers, Lane and I decided to venture off into the wilderness for the first time since getting to Alpine Meadows. We started walking past the swing sets and before we knew it, bam! There was nature in all its glory —trees, acorns, twigs, leaves, dirt and rocks. We walked a little further and found a beautiful view of the mountains. I stood there admiring the view for the longest time because shit, I definitely don’t get to see this everyday. After a while, Lane and I sat on a log and talked about relationships and what it means to be single and queer in your twenties. The real adventure was getting back to camp because we had apparently gone downhill without realizing it. By the time we basically climbed up the side of a hill and defied death, we were out of breath and happy we made it back.
Sophia: As Carmen was still in DC, I was shoving things in bags, carrying linens and trying to work double speed. Geneva and I roamed the camp afterhours and marveled at how everyone was in by eleven. We watched Adventure Time in the Smoker’s Circle and talked about how we both wanted it to snow but didn’t want it to snow (and should we do a happy snow dance just in case? for the adventure of it?)
Laneia: It always takes Riese and me like 40 hours to finish decorating our cabin. This time I made a really amazing garland out of artificial flowers and old toys — like Power Rangers and Simba and Bambi — and it was by far the most amazing thing I’ve ever made. But I didn’t get a picture of it, so you’ll just have to trust me.
Riese: We kept trying to assemble a group of funny people to help finish the song but eventually decided that we’d make the opening night work without a song. So the night before camp began, my heart was fluttering with terror that 50% of the things I’d started working on for camp were still only 75% finished and therefore for all practical purposes; unfinished. BUT The Runaways cabin looked fucking awesome, SO.
Cee, Bangles Counselor and Tech Director: I feel that my time in both Bin and later Bunk were both really fulfilling and formative experiences for me. I think I grew as a person and that Bin/Bunk will always be in my heart. #binfam #bunkisthenewbin
Brittani, Firestars Counselor & Contributing Editor: I think something a lot of people don’t quite understand about camp is that this is the only time we, the staff, see most of the people that we work with every day. Everyone is on the go from pre-camp to the moment we get into a vehicle to leave the mountain. There’s no time to really sit down and get to know the details of people’s lives the way you think there would be when you’re technically spending five days with them. I might not know Ali’s birthday but I know what she looks like when she happy cries. Taylor might be my arch nemesis but she’s also one of the most enjoyable people to be around (don’t ever tell her I said that). Sure, Carmen will lose her voice by the second day of camp but before then she’ll have made me feel like I’m doing something right in my life enough to keep me going for months on end. You only get the essence of people and in some ways, that’s better. Everyone is so in the moment and present that the truest form of their actual personality comes through–thank goodness the Autostraddle team is pretty much the best collection of people in the world.
Next: Campers arrive, and A-Camp Day One turned to Snow Camp!
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Haven’t even read the Recamp yet, but I’m having SO MANY FEELINGS already! *scampers off to read* *Hunger Salute*
I had to skip through a lot of this and then I just couldn’t anymore. I’ll come back to it in ten minutes
I LOVE YOU MEL
I love you BOTH!
Mel I stealth read this at work…
Which turned into non-stealth when I starting having far too many feelings all over my desk.
yes this, i got so excited i couldn’t even read
I LOVE RECAMPS
THEY LOVE YOU BACK
This is wonderful. Donna and Stef nailed it on The Gossip love fest!
Which quickly spread to everyone in a 4 cabin radius :D
I REPEAT, BECCA’S FACE.
– that picture of sophia and monika arriving to camp dressed for entirely different weather situations
– the gossip, forever always amen
– that fucking picture of alice in the snow which may or may not be my phone’s background is that creepy
– recalling my confused feelings as i believe marni and cee to be 100% right about everything all the time, and how all through precamp marni kept telling us that the weather forecast was 100% chance of snow and that cee kept telling us there was no fucking way it was going to snow and that i didn’t know who to trust anymore, but then bunk happened and i learned to love again.
– somer and donna, just somer and donna
– the fucking bloody detached arm from party town that party town brought to camp and lost?!?! did we ever find it?!?!? do you think that lady from the kitchen found the bloody arm way after camp and just shook her head? i like to imagine she did.
Monika walking up in a light dress and Birks, no socks, in the middle of snowfall. #youknowyou’reCanadianwhen
texas vs. nova scotia interpretations of “chance of snow in california”.
the toasty love of a-camp totally kept me warm though!
I would like to respectfully request a photo of Party Town and Party Town in a future recamp! Rest assured, Stef: The severed limb was on the bus down the mountain with us! I recall the bus driver being especially not amused.
Party Town is totally sticking out of humanPartyTown’s Trader Joe’s bag in the picture of Stef greeting campers!
I had totally seen Peter Pan but hadn’t seen THE FREAKING ARM STICKING OUT OF THE BAG.
it’s also in the picture of the bearnicorn!!
HOW DID I MISS THIS? These photos are even more perfect than I first thought.
after 5 hours of doing homework at LAX, severed party hand appeared to be an absolutely necessary and relevant thing for camp… it’s even wearing flannel!!
I request this too!
Partié towne, is this the approved spelling of your name now? Because I’m super into it.
And this was only the beginning… of the greatest week of our lives!
For me, A-Camp gave me the strength to realize that I was not being treated well by my job, and despite really wanting it to work out, no, I’m too awesome for that shit. And so between then and now, I’ve found a new job and am moving from the DC Suburbs to Chicago! And thus, somewhat closer to the next A-Camp.
And I know I’m not the only one who found themselves staring their life in the face compared to the wonder of A-Camp and said, “Fuck this shit!” And then made it better. Because that’s what A-Campers do. We reject shit and then make it better.
I AM DEEPLY MOVED, BRITTANI. I AM.
Why is it that I always cry when I read A-Camp related things?!? I’ll make it there someday, I swear!!
YES PLEASE! we can’t wait to meet you.
Thanks guys, thanks for making my cry at work.
I love you all. Seeing all of those smiles in the snow just makes all of this seem like such a dream :)))
“I’m not in this for the glory” oh my gosh stop LYING, Crystal.
THAT HEART YES
I wasn’t even at camp this time and I’m still experiencing ALL THE FEELINGS.
I AM SO SAD I WASN’T THERE. FUCK YOU TOO, PHYSICS.
Also, if you are an AS lurker and pining for A-Camp: just. go.
Also missed the Tattly announcement-hellooooo Christmas presents
Oh god, I’m having flashbacks to Dani and Emily and Chloe discussing the feminist undertones of Katy Perry songs during the trip down.
I wish we had photos from that road trip.
definitely the best road trip ever!
Seconding Chloe here. You guys, Bren is a dream of a driver and the four of us brought The Gay Presence into every single gas station/bathroom/food stop along the way. Will do it again and will record everything next time around.
I hadn’t ever been to LAX until camp, so when I landed in Terminal 1, I knew which ~direction terminal 6 was in. Cleverbot that I am, I walked out the front, crossed a street, climbed a parking garage so I could read the signs on the terminals, then crossed more streets and looked at everyone like they were speaking latin when they talked about “asking for directions” or those tunnels that I guess are there. XD
Reading this in class and omg Feels why did I think this was a good idea
SO MANY FEELINGS! I have one of the awesome Blue Crush surf collage pages in my dorm room. It’s one of my favorite things ever! I miss camp so much!!!
AHHHH I MISS EVERYONE
I miss you terribly, Somer!
I just cried and then collected myself and then had to come back and started crying again. Damn it!!! I love you all so much. I love camp so much. Going to 3.0 was the best decision I have ever made. And then returning for 4.0 was the best decision part 2.
OLIVIA I LOVE YOU
RIESE I LOVE YOU
VANESSA I ALSO LOVE YOU
OLIVIA I ALSO LOVE YOU
when does registration begin for the next a-camp? because this post makes me want to go more than ever
words cannot express the love I hold in my heart for snow camp/your beautiful shining faces
and this is only the recamp of the first day! I mean, the first day was pretty good. That super long game of Cards Against Humanity that Stacy and I dominated, and then everyone tried to build a snow wolf but it ended up looking like either a pig or Snowhenge, and we had a snowball fight, and I knew my beautiful cabin mates were definitely all cool after they agreed to play floor beer pong even though Abby and I were the only ones excited about it, and then we had a kind-of-spooky candle-holding circle with Lizz… but all this was just the first day, the one with all the nerves! I can’t wait to read the other recamps and relive it all moment by moment.
I’ll have you remember I was pretty excited about floor beer pong
it’s just that I expected to suck at it
Keely you rocked at floorbeerpong.
true true true. You all rocked at it though :)
HOLLA AT MY HOMOGRAMS
sophia next time i am going to carry you up the mountain in my own arms.
I will be waiting at terminal six in a bouffant gown on the cusp of a full swoon.
<3 <3 <3
I’m at Starbucks smiling lovingly at my computer screen and I’m convinced nothing else on the internet could make me do this in the same way.
Guise it was a hard trip up the mountain for so many of you! I don’t feel worthy of using the term ‘strugglebus’ for travel problems (though I really want to now and I probably will). I’m glad I made it up there like 15 minutes before the snowfall.. Despite the fact that I forgot my purse at a gas station restroom and had to double back 15 miles for it and I was so grateful it was still there. I like to think it was a positive sign that despite all my nervousness of going to camp for the first time, the world was smiling upon me (haha) & everything would be ok.
And then everything was magical and kitten posters and DiAnneCider and softly falling snow and meeting cabinmates…
PERFECT PICTURES OF ALICE AND LINDSEY IN THE SNOW ARE PERFECT.
-Oh I forgot how much I loved the Heartthrobs cheer.
-I Love that all of the Colorado people were totally unimpressed with the snow. We were all like, yeah sure it’s pretty but I am on vacation and was trying to get away from snow in sunny California.
-I had told myself before Acamp 4.0 (my third camp) that I was going to take the next spring camp off and maybe travel someplace else. But the moment I got onto the mountain I knew that I had been lying to myself so hard. OF COURSE I AM GOING TO COME BACK TO SPRING ACAMP!
It is home and all of my favorite people are there.
Ditto for Canadians!
I noticed the Gossip cabin didn’t get mention of their decorations but I loved those freaking rainbow bands EVERY.WHERE. Donna and Stef made an amazing job of making us feel welcomed and our cabin chemistry was amazing! Seriously, WOW!
so true! the gossip cabin was like a gay christmas tree on the inside when we arrived!! stef and donna were even thoughtful enough to make sure all of our “one direction” needs are covered. I LOVE YOU NIALL, i promise to never wash that neck tattoo off
I’M SO GLAD REISE MADE A RENT REFERENCE BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WHILE IT WAS SNOWING.
I AM SO GLAD I CAN COUNT ON YOU WEIRDOS TO GET MY MUSICAL THEATER REFERENCES
Probably good we didn’t set camp on fire but what a way to go if we had?!
I love using my custom Firestarter lighter that Liz and Brittani made for us. I don’t smoke but every time I light incense (because I am a total hippie) I think of camp.
then we would’ve had an opening night camp fire after all!
Not gonna say that one direction poster was specifically meant for Lucia (aka Darren and manager of Every Direction) but we all know who’s bed it ended up in.
Oh wow so maybe I’m hyperventilating with the sheer amount of emotions I just experienced?? I haven’t smiled this much since camp! Why isn’t it May yet????
Also, sometimes I look at that picture of Alice and Lindsey in the snow when I’m sad. 1) Not even joking a little. 2) I’m a super weirdo.
me too. It is the cutest.
Not gonna lie. I’ve done it.
The best I can do right now is scroll through the photos. I’m not ready for a serious cry yet from reading the actual words (already had one at the shrink’s today talking about how wonderful A-Camp/my time in CA was). Snow Day was absolutely the perfect beginning, since I rarely get any where I live.
I am reading this while waiting at the airport to return home from visiting friends I met at A-Camp one month ago. If you are curious about camp, or you think it might be fun, JUST GO. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. A-Campers are the most beautiful, validating, fun, smart people in the world.
Camp is more magical than you can even imagine.
Riese holding our sign is the f*ing cutest thing ever and the decorations in our cabin were perfect! (Tig in the bathroom every morning, come on!)
Laneia, your garland was amazing and someone in the cabin must have thought I needed company during my nap because I woke up with it covering me and loved it!
“…and made them stand in confusing lines” –this was true.
Kasey, I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FOR YOU.
And Rachel, now I have The Runaways sign in my room which pretty much means I cry every time I walk in there.
you are all such beautiful creatures
that poster has now traveled all over the world like a true runaway!
i am so happy, just knowing this
Ugh. I love this so much! I have so many things to say, so many feelings, but all I can get out is AAAHHHHHHH!
This was my first camp, and it was everything and more than I expected. Autostraddle readers and A-Campers really are the most amazing beings on this lil planet. I actually just spent a weekend in New York with a couple lovely ladies I met at camp, and it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. I often feel pretty alone in this world, but you guys, you just make everything so much better. I’m so grateful for Camp and everything I learned, the people I met, and all of the most amazing therapeutic laughter. And especially for Klub Hawk!
PS. I can’t deal with Alice and Lindseys cuteness! It’s too much!
I just love all of this so much. Camp was amazing and so much more than I thought it would be. Thank you Riese for making camp a real thing and for giving me a place to find my family.
thank you for being a part of our family <3
Leigh you are the best little ever and it makes me so happy that you had an amazing time at camp and this recamp gave me all the feelings and I LOVE YOU ALL SO FUCKING MUCH. #RUNAGAYHEARTSFORLIFE
So how about that beautiful moment when Emily and Kaylah came in to check on the Peaches and we were coloring in coloring books and listening to “Go The F*ck To Sleep”?
We were pretty much already bonded by that point, and it was beautiful.
It was wonderful.
So I don’t care what anyone says, Cylons had the best initiation. I feel like we maybe terrified our counselors, but it was awesome. Put a bunch of (mostly) introverted, (mostly) supernerds in a small snow-bound place, and strange things happen.
Also, do you realize that this recamp is happening on the day that is exactly one month since prom, also known as when I first kissed/was kissed by my cute girlfriend? Feelings. Having them.
are you and your cute girlfriend submitting to the going-to-be-so-cute couples who met at camp post?! please say yes!
Yes! We totally are :)
As a Peach that was initiated into the Cylons cabin during the strip Cards Against Humanity game, I can attest to the awesomeneess – and slightly disturbingness – of their initiation.
@erica :D + <3
(Apparently my feelings are currently best expressed in emoticons)
Er…I meant @meyrinfoot :P
Strange things indeed :-O anyway who needs counselors!
I appreciate that you shared the lyrics from the opening night songs even though they weren’t finished or performed. Very enjoyable.
Also agreeing with brittani- firestarters was the coolest cabin. I miss you guys!
Seems like Alice Motes was everywhere and doing all sorts of things.
Or, in other words, Alice Motes: omnipresent
alice motes is everywhere
nobody ever knows where carmen sandiego is, though.
It took me so many hours to read this. I had to take so many feelings breaks.
It snowed for the first time where I live and it made me have camp feels all over again so I bought a box of red wine to get through this week and the Re-Camps. I’m also really glad to learn that I’m not the only human who cries out of one eye.
re: “I might not know Ali’s birthday but I know what she looks like when she happy cries.”
I got this. It’s May 23rd. MARK YOUR CALENDARS.
Ali’s happy crying is the most amazing thing.
Oh my God. It is.
No, like, really. My birthday is May 23rd.
The first day of camp was amazing. The bus stop at Trader Joe’s was like a Portlandia scene and this adorable queer girl in front of me in line was all “who are all these people?”. She knew about A-Camp/Autostraddle, but apparently didn’t realize it happened so close to where she buys her reasonably priced organic snacks. I feel as if I, like Cee didn’t see the snow as a real situation and I packed zero warm things, but had a solid reason to invest in the new hoodie. The Stormtrooper cabin was warm and I think the snow gave us excellent bonding time. I ruined my boots, but would highly recommend SNOW CAMP FOREVER!!!
i really do wonder what the people who run that trader joe’s think about being periodically invaded by lesbians who run in, buy all the hummus and vodka and then disappear for six to eight months.
And whiskey and basically any kind of alcohol.
I imagine there is also an uptick in cookie butter sales.
Seriously, the thought of a bus load of lesbians all grocery/alcohol shopping together brings a smile to my face every time. Plus it happened 3 times in one day.
oh wow, you’re so right, can you imagine working at that trader joes when the third fucking TRUCKLOAD of lesbians rolls in
I love every single thing about a-camp and recamps and I laughed so much reading this and I am so jazzed about may camp and a-camp friends in 3d throughout the year and so much love and gratitude for such a positive, beautiful, magical experience!
And strugglebus 2.0 but that will be in the last recamp.
strugglebus 2.0 4lyfe.
Oh mah gaaaah, I’ve been waiting all day to read this because I was at work and it’s really hard to explain why you’re grinning yourself to tears at an army construction site. But guuuuyyys, this is only the first day of recamps and I’m having too many feelings!!! ALL THE FEELINGS
I miss the mountain. I miss my queer friends. I miss honest living. (teehee, Rent)
you’ll be merry
i’ll be merry
though, merry ain’t in my vocabulary.
I just want all rent all the time.
Reading this has brought all the feels forward and made me reminisce on how magical A-Camp truly is. I held strong and didn’t cry through the article but going through the comments, seeing how much we all miss camp and wish we were back on the mountain, that got me good.
Thanks Carolyn and Dani for making me feel welcome and wanted.
Life off the mountain can sometimes make it feel like camp was so long ago. Thank you Autostraddle Team for bringing it all back and showing me it wasn’t all just a wonderful dream I wish I never woke up from.
also I kind of totally stole the Club Deer sign oops
sorry except for I’m not even remotely sorry
it looks SO GREAT ON THE DOOR TO MY APARTMENT YOU GUYS
I feel SO SAD that I am not at camp anymore. And SO HAPPY that I went. This is like being on Mt. Feelings all over again, except that there’s no crowd of Gossipers standing in the bathroom door.
#bin missing you all
Recaaaamps! The things that, without fail, make me want to go to A-camp most! Fingers crossed I can make it to the next one, because dang if you guys can manage to make driving up a hill sound exciting (and after many hours of flying no less), then I want in on that.
I really want to know when next camp is scheduled. I am usually patient. but not today. not with this.
The photos are awesome! Would want to experience snow for the first time with y’all, at A-Camp! That’ll be one of zee bestest days of my life for sure! :-)
OMG THAT LITTLE SONG BLURB. There are so many other feelings I feel that I had to just concentrate on one thing to comment about. BRB, making all of my co-workers read this thing.