A-Camp Recap Day #2: The (Word) Limit Does Not Exist!

Welcome to the second of four fantastic recaps of our entire experience at the First-Ever A-Camp, which took place two hours outside of Los Angeles at Alpine Meadows in Angelus Oaks, California, from April 26th-29th.

The idea was to take the spirit of the website into three glorious dimensions while simultaneously creating an affordable option for queer ladies for whom other lesbian events (such as Dinah Shore) aren’t a good fit. So, we rented out a summer camp in its off-season and enjoyed a transformative weekend of fun, friendship, panels, workshops, classes, sports, entertainment, events and so forth.

These epically long monster-posts will do their best to explain and extrapolate upon the camp experience, from shitstorms to emotional revelations to glory/triumph.

Yesterday we got stranded on the side of the road and today we cast our eyes upon Friday, April 27th — our first full day of camp!

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Friday April 27th

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I. Morning Has Broken

yay morning (photo by kate hinchey)

Marni, Camp Co-Director: I woke up before breakfast and headed up to Wolf Lodge to start getting materials and things together for the morning’s workshops, only to find Robin – who had been up since 7 – just finishing up putting colored signs on the outside of the meeting spaces. She greeted me with a bright and cheerful “Good morning!!” as she taped up a sign-up sheet for flower pressing. In her captain’s hat. Love that girl.

Carly, Videographer: I was rested and ready to get going when I woke up on Friday morning. Which was good, because I was going to need that extra energy to get me through what would wind up being the drunkest night of my life.

Lizz, Rubyfruit Counselor: Breakfast Friday morning was my first real chance to see everyone at camp. I was blown away by how many campers actually knew who I was! I assumed I’d just be Autostraddle Writer #5158 to them, but a lot of people said they liked my writing. Even though I’ve been with Autostraddle for over a year, up until then I’m not sure I’d really considered myself a writer before. I was wicked flattered — a lot of campers said they’d bought blazers because I told them to. I suggested they buy a second blazer.

Carmen, Sharks Counselor: I made a joke about how I enjoy serving others because I’m half Hispanic. I was then named Hopper for the morning and saw way too many eggs.

via text:
Laneia – Marni it’s Laneia. Everyone in my cabin is still asleep. Wtf time is breakfast.
Marni – Now, almost over.

Laneia, Executive Editor: We caught the final three minutes of breakfast, which was just enough time to grab coffee and eat some cereal from a paper cup before being shuffled off to morning activities. This was the first time I was late to a scheduled meal, but sadly it wouldn’t be the last.

Also I was wholly unprepared for how little time I would have between activities to prepare for the next one. Just like, totally and completely unprepared. In every way.

Riese, Editor-in-Chief: I woke up after three hours of sleep — and a relatively uncalled-for mental breakdown about Tinkerbell — feeling like a million bucks to the head, got a cup o’cheerios (breakfast of semi-champions) and huddled with Rachel to plan the writing workshop.

Carly: My primary purpose at camp was to shoot a documentary along with Sarah Croce and superstar director of photography, Lauren Aadland. I’d never shot a documentary before and I was also learning how to use Robin’s fancy DSLR while up on the mountain, so it was a bit of a crap shoot. An exciting crap shoot. We used our time at breakfast divvying up the day’s schedule of events and trying to make sure we covered as much as possible.

Lizz: I think it was just after breakfast, we all came back to the cabin and rocked out to “Call Me Maybe.” It was pretty real– we kind of went theme song style with it. I love that all weekendlong when I would go back to Rubyfruit there would just be awesome queer women hanging around doing whatever. It was so surreal. Queer women blow drying their hair, queer women reading, queer women gossiping, queer women writing in journals. It ruled.

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The  Tinkerbell Saga, Continued:

Background: As detailed yesterday, amid the stress of departing for camp and last-minute transportation issues, Riese accidentally left Tinkerbell in their hotel room. Tinkerbell is Riese’s life-long canine companion who got born in Miami in January 2008 and has been with us ever since. She used to be a purse, has been in many vlogs, and sometimes writes for Autostraddle.

Marni: Because Riese had been so distraught about Whitney and her stranded passengers the night before, I didn’t tell her at the time that at the exact moment she had learned about the stranded car, I had received a text from Vega telling me that Jess S had tried to retrieve Tinkerbell from the hotel in LA, but when she got to the front desk they told her that not only did they not have Tinkerbell, they had no record of ever having her.

Jess had campers to pick up and had to leave empty-handed, and I spent the next hour playing phone tag with the hotel’s housekeeping, security, and front desk, each one bouncing me to the next. Despite the fact that the hotel had initially returned my call to confirm that they had found her, the night shift folks didn’t seem to have been kept in the loop and kept trying to transfer me to a housekeeping department that was clearly done for the day. Finally they told me someone would call me the next day. Needless to say, this was not welcome news when I confessed it to Riese later on that night. Tinkerbell had been really excited about camp.

Not trusting them to follow-up, I got back on the horn Friday morning, explaining to a new shift of people that this was a very important item and to call me immediately as soon as they could confirm that they had her. Tensions were high.

 

Friday Block A:

Morning Hike w/Sarah Croce

Yoga w/Lizz and Jess R

Sewing Circle w/Laneia & Carolyn

Photography Demo/Shootout w/Robin & Sara Medd

Writing Workshop w/Riese & Rachel

Activism Workshop w/Carmen & Katrina & Alice & camper

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Friday Block B:

Basketball w/Brittani

Flower-Pressing w/Carmen

Gender Panel w/Whitney, Marni, Annika, Sara Medd, Laura, Alex, Jess S, Gabby & Katrina

Meet & Geek w/Taylor, Bren & Lizz

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II. Thank Goddess It’s Friday

campers enjoying a Morning Hike

Lizz: Only a couple of people showed up for morning yoga. That was sort of okay though, because we found ourselves a nice little corner to nestle in to. Beth (Retreat Center Director), came over and told us we could use the space indefinitely if we planned on doing yoga for the entire day. We lasted about 45 minutes, but I appreciated that she thought we might yoga all day.

Stef, Wolfpack Counselor: During Croce’s morning hike, some of the more outdoorsy campers were making fun of the urban, east coast campers for being really excited every time we found a lizard. WE FOUND SO MANY LIZARDS. Everything looked like a beer commercial. I don’t go outside much.

Carly: Lauren went on the hike with Sarah and I stayed at camp and got footage of basically everything else that was going on: the sewing circle, writing workshop, photography demo, and the activism panel. Gabby was also grabbing footage, so I was very excited that Friday was off to an excellent start.

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“[I loved the] Photo workshop. Robin was a wealth of information and very professional, and also really sweet and supportive.”

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Laneia: What was originally named ‘BYOB Sewing Circle’ had officially morphed into the Embroidery Square (because we were sitting in a square, of course) and was no longer BYOB (because even I can’t drink that early). I was nervous no one would show up, but that was silly because a bunch of people showed up! Everyone was so bright and excited to meet each other! We sat on benches made from split tree trunks and helped each other thread needles and make knots, with the most ridiculously gorgeous view that I’ve ever had the pleasure of being perched in front of.

Also there was Becca!

(photo by gabby rivera)

Carolyn, Sharks Counselor: Laneia and I ended up co-opting the brains/fingers of a camper with vast embroidery knowledge — and the samples to prove it — Becca. It was really lucky she showed up and was awesome about teaching everyone.

Marni: I was on a mission to hang the pigeonholes on the wall outside Wolf Lodge, with the assistance of fellow industrious Canadian Emily Choo. Emily was pretty set on some kind of “suspension” method using string and a pipe that ran along the upper part of the wall. I was unconvinced, and decided instead to experiment with broken sticks taped to the wall as tiny support ledges for each box, supplemented by tape along the top. Finally I gave up and just started taping the suckers directly to the wall, which worked great. I had three boxes up before Emily – still in deep concentration with her string – finally conceded defeat. If we’d had duct tape then no discussion would have been required.

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Marni hanging the pigeonholes (photo by Gabby rivera)

 

Carmen: I blew up a beach ball for twenty minutes as we waited for The Activism Panel to actually start (mostly because I’ve never shown up early for something in my life and had no idea what the hell to do with myself). Once words started happening, though, it became clear that our “planning this by saying the word ‘feelings’ to each other via email” strategy had panned out.

the activism workshop (photo by gaby rivera)

Katrina, Cherry Bomb Counselor: We were so unprepared for this panel that it was more or less comical. That being said, I was really excited about how it went. I hope everyone takes up Katie’s challenge to go to three meetings/demos/protests. I think they’ll find what they’re looking for.

Riese: For the Writing Workshop, Rachel and I tossed around prompt ideas but then were like, “well, anybody could give out writing prompts” and then my surrogate daughter Emily Choo suggested we do it in the style of a “master class.” I haven’t been a master of anything since my Dungeons & Dragons days, so this was very appealing. We made a game-time decision to ask the workshop what they’d prefer, and they were down to just open it up to questions about How to Be a Writer — how/where to submit your work, how to get started, the benefits/drawbacks of MFA programs, getting a web-based writing job, etc.

Rachel, Littlefoot Counselor: I still feel like I maybe don’t have enough of a “real writing career” to say anything intelligent about it, but then we did this workshop and it felt really good! It was really exciting to see so many awesome, smart, self-possessed queer women who are writing and who want to make a living at it.

Writing Workshop this is the part where i recruited taylor to talk about her career experience as a writer

Riese: The weirdest part of the ‘workshop’ was realizing I am an expert on a thing. Taylor wandered through at some point, and as one of our most spectacular success stories I invited her to share tips too (Taylor and I met at a Halloween party Carly threw in late 2009, and we talked about the site a bit and that I was looking for a tech writer — she emailed me later that week and said she wanted to write for us and linked me to her tumblr, which’s the only place she’d published anything online. She had the voice  and I knew she’d be a perfect fit so one thing led to another and Taylor launched our Tech blog and because of that experience realized that she wanted to be a professional writer! Now she works for Tecca and ReadWriteWeb as well as AS).

Also there was another me inside my body who was just looking at everybody in the circle and smiling.

Lizz: I walked in on the writing workshop just after it had finished and was instantly jealous of all the girls who got to gather around Riese and Rachel and soak up their wordiness.

Laneia: After the first block of activities, I had to get the supplies lined up for the next crafting workshop, which happened to be Flower Pressing with Carmen. I’d kept six bouquets (of the finest flowers my local Trader Joe’s had to offer) alive for over three whole days so these lovely campers could press them, and I was pretty excited about that. The point is, this was when I realized that a) whatever ‘organizational readiness’ plan I’d naively thought I’d created was definitely not going to work and b) there was little I could do about it now.

photo by robin roemer

Carmen: The best team-building exercise of all time is having a room full of queer women lift heavy stones to place on top of heavy books to turn flowers into flattened beautiful things. I was made to look a fool by pretty much every single person in the workshop, all of whom possessed better book-making intuition than I.

Brandy, “The Talent”: Julie and I slept through breakfast and woke up with pounding headaches courtesy of the vicious cocktail we like to call “Kettle/soda with a splash of altitude.” We stood around outside our cabin eating Snap Crisps and drinking Bloody Marys while we waited for the lunch bell to ring. This was our first view of the campsite during the day and it was fegging gorgeous!

brandy and robin (photo by ashley reed)

Katrina: The Alternative Lifestyle Barbershop was my favorite thing. We turned it into a real queer barbershop with a bunch of homos sitting around, sewing, drinking, talking, laughing, loving, and breathing.

katrina cuts mareika's hair (photo by Vanessa Friedman)

Lizz: I’m pretty sure Katrina changed lives.

Katrina: I’m still so grateful to everyone who trusted my amateur hands, especially those who engaged in undercut fun and general short hair transformation. Everyone looked super great, and I hope lots of women are touching your hair right now.

(photo by vanessa friedman)

Rachel: Okay, the only way in which I was involved in this workshop was getting a haircut from Katrina, but it was awesome and it looks really cute! Thank you Katrina!

Katrina: Were there no Shane jokes because everyone knows that shit is tacky, or because I wasn’t wearing enough eyeliner? I can step it up next time you guys.

Crystal: My body will still struggling with the time difference and so after everyone finished breakfast I went back to the cabin for a power nap and slept through the first half-hour of the basketball game that I think I was supposed to be helping Brittani with. It was fine though, ’cause she had that game on lock. Some very athletic looking campers and staff were tearing up the court and although I came fully prepared to join in, my body thought it was 3am and I just sat on the bleachers and watched. If you missed out on seeing Hannah Hart playing basketball then you missed out.

Carly: Robin volunteered to get footage of the rest of Block B so that Lauren and I could go play Basketball with Brittani, some campers, and a barefoot Hannah Hart.

basketball (photo by robin roemer)

Brittani, Hotel California Counselor: The basketball court was in the ideal location. Situated next to a drop off that led into the woods, watching the ball go careening into the grass turned a normal game into jungle basketball which sounds more badass and is better for your heart.

Carly: I haven’t played basketball in over two years — when my “career” was derailed by a sprained ankle — and I also haven’t done any sort of “physical” “exercise” in well over a year, so this was ill-advised at best.

hannah officiates the basketball game

Brittani: We gathered enough campers to get a full court game going and even though a couple of people claimed not to be that good, everyone was getting buckets. Angeline even had the foresight to bring her super nice ball to camp so we looked like pros. The best part was that people came just to watch us but we were all super shy and meek so no one tried to show off for the hot ladies in the stands at all.

Carly: I somehow managed to injure several toes during the game.

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Next: The glory of the gender panel and so much more!

III. The Gender Panel

the gender panel (L to R) - Annika, Katrina, Laura, Whitney, Jess, Marni, Gaby, Sara, Alex (photo by jess r)

Riese: The Gender Panel was my favorite activity of the weekend and one of our best-attended daytime activities — we had so much variety there, from butch to trans* to “hard femme” to genderqueer to boi to femme to “grey area” and beyond. I know gender identity is something that rarely (if ever) gets discussed outside of queer/feminist communities and that this had serious LIFE-CHANGING POTENTIAL. Also I’d given myself this Activity Block off in order to attend the Panel, which was a big deal.

Marni: The gender panel was the only activity I got to really actively participate in, and I’m so glad I did. We had had a bit of an email string together leading up to camp, but only got a chance to really sit down and talk about it that morning before the panel. A few people weren’t sure they had much to offer, but everyone insisted that each person’s experience was valuable in its own way.

Annika, The Beats Counselor: We all met around an hour before the panel started to go over which questions we were going to discuss. I was expecting a crowd of maybe 20-30 people but OMG there were so many of you! I was nervous and didn’t even get to half of what I wanted to say, but the panel still went really well. I really enjoyed learning from the other AS writers’ experiences of gender. Sometimes it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in trans* stuff so this was a good reminder that cis people have gender identities too!

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“I thought it was amazing that there were all kinds of queer women on the gender panel, including femme cisgender women. It emphasized the fact that gender is everyone’s issue, and something everyone has to think about and deal with in their own way. This panel was phenomenal. Especially everything Marni said.”

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Marni:  I shared some things on that panel that I’ve never told anyone. Afterwards, a few campers told me that what I’d said had really struck a chord with them, and one camper even told me it was the first time she’d heard something that close to her experience being articulated. It’s amazing how affirming it can be for us to just hear each other’s stories and think, “Yes, that’s it. That’s me too.”

Jess S., Forever 21 Counselor: The gender panel was not only the first panel of the weekend, but also the very first panel some of us (myself included) had ever been on. We were nervous, but I think we modeled through it pretty well.

Whitney, Rubyfruit Counselor: There were so many amazing perspectives on gender and gender identity in one place, on one panel. I talked about identifying as genderfluid and genderqueer, and how my gender presentation has fluctuated and oscillated over the course of my life — from binding and men’s hair cuts for several years to long hair and bras for another few years. It was great hearing about the experiences of other gender warriors (as I’d like to call them). WARRIORS.

Laura, Little Rascals Counselor: This was hands down my favorite thing to be a part of. It was one of those moments where something that would either go terribly wrong or nowhere in real life happened just how it should at camp. Everyone had such insightful things to say and I learned a lot from everyone else who participated on stage and in the audience. I also got really nice notes in my pigeon hole afterwards and that was a happy start to camp.

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“The Gender Panel was so raw and beautiful…without even meaning to do so everyone talked about the intersections of their own class, race, culture, height w/r/t their gender expression. It was beautiful. Annika did an AMAZING job moderating it. I think it was the best put together and thought provoking panel. Also, she’s super hot.”

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Carly: Lauren, Brittani and I stopped by the gender panel and I was completely blown away by what I saw. The room was packed and the lovely panelists were just completely killing it. I kept wishing I could have been there to see more, or that I could have been a part of it.

Riese: It was adorable that both my present girlfriend (Marni) and my ex-girlfriend (Alex) said that when they were younger, they used to see girls they liked dating douchebag boys and think, “I would be such a good boyfriend!” It’s true, they’re both really good boyfriends. There was so much applause and laughter.

Marni: At one point I actually got up and left the panel for a minute because I got a call from the hotel in LA. It was my new bff from security telling me that they did indeed have Tinkerbell, and that they would hold her until someone could come and get her on Monday. It was an A-Camp miracle!

Riese: (see?!)

stef & annika

 

IV. Meet & Geek

Lizz: The “Meet and Geek” activity was where I discovered I love Bren. It was amazing to hear Bren talk about leaving a civil engineering field after 10 years. Seriously, Bren is awesome. I talked about my background and sort of couldn’t believe that anyone would care about what I do for a living. It was sort of the first time I realized I actually have a story to tell that might make a difference in someone else’s life. I’m also 90% positive I bored the shit out of everyone when I explained my research.

Bren: I was freaking out because we hadn’t really discussed what was happening. Taylor, however, had this shit on lock. She’d made signs and designated meeting pods in Deer Lodge for each geeky interest of choice (comics, sci-fi, etc.). She made merit badges! Merit badges! (I still have mine.)

Bren: I don’t think you can truly call yourself a geek until you’ve traveled across the country, climbed a mountain, and slept in bear infested woods just to sit in a room and talk to other people about video games.

meeting/geeking -- photo by rachel walker

Lizz: Then I overheard Taylor talking with Julie and Brandy about the Meet and Geek and wondering what RNA was. I burst in science style and gave a full blown impromptu lesson on DNA, RNA and proteins. I ended up using a construction metaphor which is, by far, the gayest type of metaphor.

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Friday Block C:

Career Panel w/Crystal, Meredydd, Alex, Taylor, Carolyn & Jess R

Lesbian Jeopardy w/Riese, Haviland, Lizz & Jamie

Sand Volleyball w/Robin & Bren

Vegan Life w/Rachel & Croce

Speed Dating w/Hannah Hart

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Friday Block D:

Kickball w/Jamie

Poetry Fest w/Carmen, Whitney and Gabby

Formspring Friday live with Rise, Laneia, Rachel, Taylor, Alex, Crystal and Laura

Style Workshop w/Sara Medd & Lizz

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V. Love & Other Outdoor Sports

Jamie, Little Rascals Counselor: We had no bases or baseball diamond for kickball, and instead used pine cones and guesswork – all true facts. Also, altitude will kick you in the face! But I was pleased with the turn out and having any excuse to use my time drunk on Bud Lite Lime on a kickball team in Brooklyn last summer as a reason to contribute something else in this world. This time no one kept score which is to say we all won.

kickball (photo by jamie hagen)

Lizz: After Brittani and I discovered one of the campers teaches pole dancing/erotic dance lessons, Brittani hopped on board for a demonstration. I grabbed the campers camera and began filming what would go on to be, perhaps, the greatest moment in sexy dancing history. Brittani learned how to do “The hip thing” and “Booty stuff” and demonstrated her newfound skills for the gathered crowd. When I handed the camera back to the camper, she asked if it had always had the red pause sign. Apparently I never filmed a minute.

"Pole dancing" (photo by kate hinchey)

 

VI. Afternoon Delights

Alex, Design Director: Meredydd did an amazing job moderating The Career Panel.

Crystal, Troubletones Counselor: It was great because she was totally on top of her shit while the rest of us seemed to be winging it.

Alex: We talked about being out at work, how to use the internet to your advantage to get a dream opportunity, salary negotiations (knowing what you’re worth), how we got started at our current gigs, and other general gay (and not gay) things related to making your way in the career world. Everyone involved had quite different backgrounds, careers, and so there were a variety of insights.

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“My favorite panel was the career panel. Meredydd talking about spiraling up rather than moving up a “corporate” ladder was very encouraging. I also enjoyed that it was smaller panel.”

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Crystal: I learned a lot from everyone in that session, particularly Meredydd.

Carolyn: I especially loved how many people were freelancers — it’s always nice to find out that lots of other people are going crazy/trying not to go crazy alone in front of their computers too. Also guys! LinkedIn party?

Alex: It was a smaller panel than the others, which led lot of back-and-forth conversation between the panelists and the attendees.

Lesbian Jeopardy (photo by Jamie Hagen)

Riese: After a thrilling hunt for a computer/printer sitch for me to print the questions I’d written the week before (my favorite topic was “What’s the Root?” where we gave the origin of a certain aspect of Autostraddle Lingo and made them guess the lingo), we had Lesbian Jeopardy. I love trivia so it was awesome, Emma drank a lot beforehand and therefore won AND Chrissy knew more answers than Associate Editor Hot Laura.

Lizz: It was super important to me that we do Jeopardy properly, with answers in the form of questions and whatnot. I tried my hand at writing wordplay questions and was about 90% successful. “Gay Homophones” was not nearly as good of a category as “Gay Homophobes” would have been.

Jamie: Mostly lesbian jeopardy was an excuse for me to sit next to Grace (I like to think we have all sorts of inside jokes, but we really don’t) and awkwardly try to be useful to Riese. Like the champ that she is Liz came up with the best questions, including a bunch about STIs.

Lizz: As it turns out, “Health For Women Who Have Sex With Women” is the most depressing jeopardy category ever. Also one of the campers, Alice, coined the term “Dental Damnit.” I’m still not sure what that means. Honestly though, I don’t think Jeopardy would have happened without Haviland. She was so wonderful at pumping everyone up. It made me feel like we were actually on a game show.

Jamie: Haviland channeled Vanna White to keep the crowd abreast of the spicy competition. Buzzers were buzzed, Autostraddle trivia knowledge was tested.

Riese: I got to do a thing with Haviland! Yay! I was like “I’m gonna be Alex Trebeck, and you’re gonna be Vanna White, but as if we were on the same show.” She was like, “Obvs.”

speed dating is apparently a spectator sport (photo by kate hinchey)

Marni: Because the weather was so beautiful, we decided to do Speed Dating outside. We arranged a big row/circle of chairs facing each other and one side moved over one seat after every 2-minute round.

Brittani: I think speed dating was the surprise hit of the weekend. I spent most of the time hauling chairs from the lodge to the outside area while Jess and Hannah came up with conversation topics for each round. Campers kept showing up and I kept hauling chairs. All of that physical labor left me in dire need of “hydration.” I was so “hydrated” that when someone wandered up with only a few minutes left in the activity and they were looking for a volunteer to keep the numbers even, I figured it’d be fine if I jumped in. I was even lucky enough to spend a couple minutes on the Island of Love with Chicagostraddler, Rachel. There was magic in the air.

speed-dating (photo by rachel walker)

Carly: It was one of the most wonderful and entertaining things I’ve ever seen, and after a few minutes a crowd of Autostaffers had gathered to watch the shenanigans unfold. It was really something.

Laneia: Megan and I stumbled upon the speed dating situation on our way to grab a thing from our cabin and it was FASCINATING. So fascinating, in fact, that we were transfixed and had to keep watching it. Someone said, “It’s like watching National Geographic: Lesbians In The Wild.” And it was. It was just like that.

Marni: Nobody ever wanted to rotate! It was so cute and hilarious. Hannah would blow the whistle and everybody would look at us like “why are you harshing our mellow?” It was almost as though the whole “speed dating” thing was unnecessary posturing.

Sidenote: Have you ever tried raspberry vodka? It’s not great, but it’s better out of Hannah Hart’s cup.

Gabby, Rubyfruit Counselor: I never thought I’d be in the mountains, surrounded by queer women and having my mind blown by amazing poetry at the Poetry Fest. Surreal. At first, no one wanted to read their work. Everyone was focused on their black-out poems. Then one by one our people got up and did their thing.

photo by gabby rivera

Whitney: There were blackout poems and spoken word poems and written poems. There were collaborative poems and poems that started with anxiety and ended with sighs of relief and poems that started with trembling and ended with tears (the good kind of tears).

Carmen: Despite my efforts to not have overwhelming feelings at my own workshops, the poetry group ended up engaging in open crying, group hugging, over-sharing, and group poetry-building (which, thank God, took us to a hilarious and dirty place).

photo by gabby rivera

Whitney: I read a piece about my mother to everyone and cried one of those exhausting, good cries — everyone gave me a gigantic hug. The best kind of hug.

Gabby: Alex Roxx came to me for help afterwards on her poem and then performed it at the talent show like a badass, making everything that happened in that workshop come full circle.

Whitney: If there is poetry in the mountains, there will be feelings. And there were so many feelings.

photo by gabby rivera

Lizz: In a lot of ways I was most scared for the style workshop. I mean, this is what I’m supposed to be doing for Autostraddle. Was this going to be the moment where I was found out as a fraud who actually just likes online shopping too much?

Instead it went really super well! We just all sat in a circle and talked about out fashion feelings. What style meant to us, what we were all looking for. A lot of people said things I’ve often felt– that they wanted to spice up their look or look more queer but weren’t sure where to start.

If nothing else, campers left the style workshop knowing that J.Crew sells great button-ups for busty women and it’s okay to look nice for no reason.

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VII. Formspring Friday Live: The (Word) Limit Does Not Exist! 

formspring friday

Riese: This was one of our first ideas for camp. Since Laneia and I sport 1,000+ unanswered questions on formspring — an online anonymous question-asking interface which feeds our answers onto the autostraddle tumblr — I thought we could knock five or six off the list by letting anybody ask whatever LIVE IN PERSON.

Alex: Based on the impromptu poll we took at the start of this panel, a surprisingly low number of people actually knew what Formspring was but so many people showed up at Formspring Friday Live! to ask their weirdo questions anyway! It was awesome.

Laneia: This was my first and only panel and it was so so neat and fun. We passed around a few notebooks so the campers could ask things anonymously, which helped alleviate some of the pressure that I think the audience might have been feeling — or maybe I’m projecting.

Crystal: Speaking in front of a full room is pretty much my worst nightmare, but thankfully no one else on the panel seemed to share that fear and so I didn’t need to say much at all.

Riese: I made a mental note to myself that it’s really important to get some sleep before you talk to groups of people all day — but again, like every time I talk in front of a group, I can’t really remember afterwards what I said. I hope it was funny.

Laura: I don’t have much practice with formspring, so I mostly sat there on stage drinking whisky out of a disappearing coffee cup and laughing because everyone is hilarious.

formspring friday audience

Laneia: Formspring Friday Live was exactly what I’d wanted the whole of camp to be — just all of us talking to each other. It felt like hanging out with a room full of friends, which sounds cliche but I’m serious. I wish we could’ve had dinner in there together.

Alex: We “answered” questions, but also asked the audience questions (“How many of you comment” etc) thanks to Camper Emily who suggested this idea. Turns out a lot of people just wanted to talk about the website itself and the behind-the-scenes stuff, which was a special moment for all of us I think. My heart grew two sizes that day.

Rachel: The embarrassment I later felt at telling the story of the first time I had sex with a boy was mostly outweighed by the intimacy and joy of the on-stage lesbian sex demonstration Laneia and I took part in.

Rachel and Laneia demonstrate lesbian sex (photo by Taylor)

Crystal: Rachel and Laneia’s demonstration of lesbian sex was magical / essential.

Riese: Emily’s idea for us to be able to ask THEM questions was awesome. We found out how many people comment, how long they’ve been reading AS, and had a long conversation about whether or not they felt like the site was cliquey or a “personality cult” — it was sweet to hear them say that our friendships and love for each other going on in the background of the site made them like it more. We talked about site-related tech stuff too, and afterwards Rachel W and Cee talked to us about being able to help with some of our tech needs. Also, I learned that NONE OF YOU BITCHES WATCH THE REAL L WORD, but y’all read my recaps. CHEATERS. It’s not fair to make me watch it alone!

It was like a Team Meeting, but with answers to the hypothetical questions that always come up in team meetings.

photo by vanessa friedman

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Next: At night everybody gets wet!


+

VIII. Marry the Night

Riese: After Formspring Friday I had about ten minutes free, which I used to lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling. Taylor came by looking for a beer and/or action, and I said I’m just being still, and she said, that sounds nice, so then we laid there together in silence for ten minutes being still before dinner. I mean I spend a lot of time indoors alone with my stuffed animal Tinkerbell, so this was a lot of talking.

eating (photo by taylor)

Brandy: (Pre-game) Julie and I decided to skip the smelly cafeteria, and just stay in our room. So we drank alcohol and ate Xanax for dinner.

Carly: Ever since basketball, my body pain level had been steadily rising from somewhere around a 2 to now roughly a 9, which seemed like something that Jameson could take care of. Over dinner I’d learned that I was going to be an exciting addition to Julie & Brandy’s Movie Game Show Extravaganza Eleganza, which was THRILLING. I had no idea what that entailed, however, so I left Lauren to filming and wandered over to Julie & Brandy’s cabin.

Brandy: Carly had agreed to be the scorekeeper/DJ for our game and we needed to go over everything. The meeting consisted of Carly sitting on the bed polishing off Riese’s left-over bottle of whiskey while teaching us how to play the Smash drinking game that Robin created. (In a nutshell- you drink whenever anyone is wearing a scarf, whenever Ellis is lurking, and whenever anyone says ‘what Marilyn would do’).

Carly: Sorry Riese! There wasn’t that much left anyway.

Julie prepares for the contest

Riese: Basically, their idea was that they’d ask a trivia question, and whomever got it wrong would be pelted with a super-soaker in the boobs or the vadge. It sounded like a PG-version of every moment of Dinah Shore, except with less skin, no alcohol (well, for the contestants, but I believe the hosts were eventually smashed) more trivia and the comedic stylings of Julie and Brandy. I knew we had a lot of serious shit going on and I agreed that it’d be fun to have something more sexy and funny for people who are into that, but where we celebrate actual queer women (not the gay-for-pays) and the beautiful spectrum of lesbian bodies. Like a grown-up version of Truth-or-Dare? Also, Brandy is obsessed with boobs, which is fascinating. Anyway, they did not disappoint!

julie and brandy with their supersoakers (photo by jess r)

Carly: My role was to keep score and play music any time they had to blast anyone with their Super Soakers. NO PROBLEM GUYS, I WAS BORN TO DO THIS.

Brandy: It would be impossible to sum up this wondrous event in one paragraph, but some of my feelings included:

~ hating being on stage in front of people
~ wishing I had Nacho to hide behind
~ seeing Julie’s flushed cheeks and thinking she was the funniest cutest girl in the world
~ wondering if frostbite could turn to heat stroke (I got really hot during the game)
~ loving the five adorable angels that volunteered for the game
~ watching Carly DJ the music and add up the score at the same time, and having a realization that Riese, Carly, Liz and Julie are all really smart and that must mean that Jewish girls are the smartest people in the world.
~ knowing how Michael J Fox felt in Teen Wolf when he became the wolf
~ seeing Laneia horrified at the back of the room and hoping she wasn’t mad at me for turning into Teen Wolf

Carly: Somehow I was able to keep score, play music on cue, and drink a flask of Jameson (thanks Robin!) at the same time! The game was utterly ridiculous. I was convinced that Beth was going to kick us the fuck out of Alpine Meadows, but I think it just made her love us more.

Carmen: Aside from giving all women showing some skin a standing ovation (whatever I can do to empower you), I also became friends with Jamie at this activity, partially because she is hilarious and partially because we sat next to each other. This is a perfect combination at A-Camp.

everybody dying of love and laughter

Lizz: The image of Brandy wielding a super soaker will forever be tattooed in my mind. Someday it might also be tattooed on my back.

Laneia: I sat way in the back with Riese, Marni and other people and mostly just couldn’t believe what I was watching? But not necessarily in a bad way. I mean, it was like the speed dating workshop from earlier, only entirely in reverse and opposite, and with water guns.

Carly: The game didn’t really have much of an exit strategy (and I think we were all just getting too drunk to figure it out anyway). I came up with a few bonus round questions and a winner was finally crowned.

Riese: The next day Brandy apologized for being Teen Wolf and and we all learned and grew and changed and thought about our feelings and then all was well in the village. I love them so fucking much.

(photo by kate h)

+

IX. FIRED UP!

Riese: Then we all trotted down to the fire pit for S’mores! I’d actually rented a car and JOINED COSTCO to make S’Mores happen so it was crucial that everybody imbibe as much chocolate as possible. However we went home with ten billion chocolate bars still intact, and y’all will be seeing those suckers again in September!

Lizz: The thing is that around a campfire everyone is equal. By the light of giant burning pile of sticks I was finally able to finally exhale and just hang out with everyone. We could all just shoot the shit. It’s funny how, just like summer camp when I was a kid, camp fast tracked friendships from the “meeting” phase straight to the “openly talking about all kinds of embarrassing stuff” phase.

About halfway through the campfire I really had to pee but no one would go with me to find a bathroom. Everyone kept trying to get me to go pop a squat out in the woods but I was terrified that a badger or a bear would sneak up behind me. Wasteunit had this amazing headlamp she loaned me to trek what felt like a million miles back to my cabin to pee.

hannah at the campfire (photo by robin roemer)

Carmen: To be honest, by this point I had met this Olympian named Joanna and I kind of followed her around (as well as Brittani/Alice/Grace/Jamie) for the remainder of my life.

Carly: I stopped off at our cabin to refill my recycled plastic flask. If I had to pick a point in the night where things went wrong, it would be this very moment! The rest of the night is kind of a blur, though I do remember going up to every single person I saw, telling them I loved them and explaining how drunk I was. 7,000ft. altitude + 3 flasks of Jameson = a rough morning, to say the least.

photo by robin roemer

Riese: Carly was SO DRUNK you guys, it was super-cute. We hugged a lot and talked about all the things we’d worked so hard on for the past five years to get here. She said she was proud of me a lot.

Lizz: On my way back to my cabin I was abducted by a bunch of staff off to “Cabin Bomb” i.e. go in to cabins and talk with campers unexpectedly. We went in to the first one and there were some girls in the bathroom… um… privately and they yelled at us to get out because “This isn’t your cabin!!!” They definitely had no idea that Riese was the one who had just come in and they probably would have been mortified had they found out.

Riese: I wanted to CABIN BOMB so bad! But nobody was in their cabins or if they were, they were in the bathroom. It was so sad! BUT THEN we hit up Forever 21, aka 21 Hump Street, and they had multicolored drinks and a serious pranking plan. I drank all their drinks since I was the only sober person on the campsite, and sharing all that saliva is the camp equivalent of becoming blood brothers.

ladies having fun in a cabin (photo by vanessa)

Lizz: The next cabin we bombed was planning an elaborate prank involving staying up until 4am. Most importantly, I got to tell my favorite story about Rachel getting drunk circa 2011 Pride to an extremely captive audience. Someone stopped me mid story to let me know one of my metaphors “was a good detail” and I thought to myself “Wow, these are my people.”

Alex: I don’t remember much after the fire besides running around raiding cabins to talk to our campers. Then passing out really hard.

Riese: Alex was also really drunk and I was super-pumped to go harass more people in more cabins but Alex needed to lie down and I forget what happened to Lizz.

Carmen: The solo cups did not survive this night. I ate a granola bar in Brittani’s bed in our staff cabin and left a lot of crumbs. I did not think I would feel bad in the morning. Texted my friends “B really IS hilarious” and “I love Drpaked.”

Laneia: What you need to know is that this seemed to be the night when all the drinkers decided to really, really drink, except me! PJ later explained to me that it was because Friday night was a ‘safe night’ — not the first night and not the last night. This is the best rationalization for a hangover I can think of.

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149 Comments

    • when i wrote this, my main camp feeling was that i couldn’t read about camp because i was somewhere and also part of conversations where it would be totes rude to be reading this recap on my phone… but now, reading this, i’m having EXPONENTIALLY MORE camp feelings.

      the gender panel gave me a lot to think (/journal) about, esp. about my femme-ish identity and where that came from and how it’s changed and all this other stuff, where before i was absorbing messages that translated to “femme, whatever, it doesn’t matter and no one cares.” also I went through a (intense) stage as a child where I told everyone I was a boy because… i have no idea really but it was nice to be reminded of that in this context and to think more about it and to not feel alone in that.

      via lesbian jeopardy i felt embarrassed about how many answers i knew and very happy i didn’t sign up.

      via candid photographs i feel very aware of how much hair i have.

      at formspring live the notebook reached me, after getting to almost everyone before me and it had nothing in it and i felt compelled to write down a halfhearted question (MY FRIENDS ARE BAD FEMINISTS) and watched the notebook go further down the line and i was happy that people were less intimidated by an almost blank page than a completely blank page. psychology is weird. i wish i had asked a better question. i didn’t have one ready. i’ve only seen one episode of the real l word, which was the first one. (i applied for the current season while drunk and got emailed back and it was so weird like “send us pictures of your hottest friends” and stuff but they were funny sober because i felt validated in thinking that bullshit is bullshit.)

      i love all of you and i miss you all a lot. i miss the mountain and the sound of drunk stumbling and queer conversations.

      • via candid photographs where I’m sitting next to you I feel very aware of how I was a giant mass of black clothing.

  1. seeing laneia really worried for everyone on stage friday night was one of the most adorable things ever.

  2. If
    We are all made of kittens
    Then
    Saturday’s campfire is best described by this tasteful kitty postcard

  3. hahahahhahahahah ohmygod i’m so high.
    that post is about saturday.
    this is the friday post.

    :(

  4. awww, these recaps are going to be printed out and taped to my fridge so that whenever I reach for carrot sticks/alchol I can feel like I’m back in the cafeteria with you guys again.

  5. hey lizz, i want to let you in on a thing katrina and i found out about, it’s called owl lodge, it has a bathroom and it’s right fucking next to the fire pit. there were no 9-year-old boys in there.

  6. I feel this is a safe space to confess my biggest fear RE:Camp was that I wouldn’t call Laneia by her real name. Not because I can’t pronounce Laneia, but because in everyday, regular life I don’t use her real name when I talk about her to people. By “people” I mean my cats.

    Friday was the day that fear was realized.

  7. My headlamp got a shout out! Fun fact: I asked Rachel before camp if she wanted me to bring a headlamp for her. She said something along the lines of “no, headlamps are dumb, you are a weirdo,” but then guess who had it all weekend long. Ye of little headlamp faith!

    • OMIGOD YOU WERE AT SPEED-DATING WEREN’T YOU???

      Sorry. I’m still having intense regrets for not tracking you down and hanging out with you forever.

      • Nope, I was over at Wolf for Jeopardy during speed-dating. I’m really bummed about not hanging out with you, too!

    • One of the most important things I learned from camp it was that it’s practically a rule that one in three lesbians owns a headlamp. I freaked out the first night when I realized I’d forgotten my flashlight, but never once had to wander in the dark thanks to the plethora of queer, headlamp-wearing ladies at camp.

    • that’s not true! i think i said something like “well, i guess it’s true that i don’t have a headlamp.” although i will admit that i kept the headlamp with me all weekend in my pocket, so one of us was more right than the other.

  8. also i forgot to mention that when we cabin bombed operation v.a.g.i.n.a. (very attractive girls in nice attire) was the best thing i’ve ever heard. i had also had a lot to drink at that point, so this memory did not come back until reading this just now.

  9. Are there transcripts/videos of the gender panel?! I wish I could have been there more than anything else at camp.

    • I was thinking the same thing! I wanna hear all the amazing things that were said! Especially by Marni!

      • One camper (I remember you I’m just not naming names) talked about having to wear a dress at a wedding, and we commiserated about how it felt like being in drag, and I said that this past summer my brother got married and I was one of his groomsmen, and I got fitted for a tux just like my other brother and the best man, and we all took photos together and stood together on my brother’s side and it felt like finally, actually, my family really did get me and maybe I hadn’t given them enough credit. And while it might not necessarily happen that way for everyone, it might be possible that with a little time, our families could prove themselves to know us better than we think. That was one thing.

        • My mom also made me wear a dress for my brother’s wedding in March, I felt so uncomfortable the whole time. I wish I could have stood up to her.

      • Marni is good with shelves.

        On a more serious note Marni did give a rather interesting anecdote about how she could never get really far in conversation with customers who just NEEDED to know her gender before getting help with home supplies, y’know? And there was a thing (either from Marni or Whitney, pretty sure it was Marni) about how sometimes “mistaken” misgendering is really just gender policing, which I really really empathised with because people will pointedly call me “sir” at home regardless of how feminine I dress because of my hair & how I walk/talk.

    • I want to see video of formspring Friday live! I missed it because I was hanging out in the queer barbershop.

  10. I’m pretty sure that what Liz might have interpreted as looks of boredom, while she told us about her research, were actually just the faces of everyone realizing they were intimidated by how smart she is/awesome her job is. At least that explains me.

    Lesbian Jeopardy was super fun and made me realize I need to read more.

    I also loved Forumspring Friday! Everyone admitting they don’t watch TRLW and just read Reise’s Recaps was one of the funniest moments of camp!

    Also, reading this post taught me that every woman that writes poetry is also super pretty.

    • I’m totally going to agree with the intimidation thing there…

      Lizz you’re AWESOME!

    • RIGHT? Was it you that I was whispering to during her talk about how Lizz had just become my new hero/biggest crush?

    • Very Impressed Liz! I also can’t wait to bro out with my coworkers when i finally decide to get an engineering job.

    • I definitely heard from like 5 different people how totally fucking impressive Lizz was so I know for sure no one was bored.

    • Oh you guys! My job just sounds impressive since it involves both robots and lasers. In reality all work is work.

      • LIZZ LET’S TALK ABOUT SCIENCE.

        I’m not even joking, your biology explanation sounds like it was awesome. My life is science.

  11. I’m really impressed with how fast you guys are getting these recaps out. I’ve been trying to write my own recap (of just Saturday) and it’s been two weeks and I’ve still only got about half of the things. There are so many things you guys.

  12. What happened at Hannah Hart: Intimate and Interactive? Or did the staff all skip that?

  13. Ooooh camp looks like it was so much fun. Hopefully I can make it to the next one, because this post is giving me envious feelings!

  14. It seems relevant to note: I have no recollection of Friday night. I’m certain I had fun though…Right?

    • I suspect you don’t remember Friday night because it was preceded by the Friday Afternoon Golden Girls Drinking/Talking Extravaganza.

      Someone should recap that! All I know is I came back from Lesbian Jeopardy and all these women who didn’t know each other 24 hours before were laughing like they were old friends.

      • That’s because some of us started drinking before Lesbian Jeopardy to overcome our social anxiety. And obvs it worked!

      • How can you re-cap what you don’t remember?

        (And thus my cover story is set.)

        In all seriousness, however, I think the fair amount of info I know about each of you is/ was the re-cap. It verged on the profound in there at points.

        • Incidentally, I’m reminded of my first drink before lesbian jeopardy – a “double” that touched the rim of my steel thermos cup, and so was probably slightly more than that, in actual measurement. Is that when we first started cutting into the limes I brought with tweezers?

      • That was totally one of my favourite parts of camp :) Oh, and our drinking game too, of course! So many feelings!

      • Bren siting in her bunk texting away about us..And yes..We became fast friends through liquid assistance!

    • See, neither do I, but sadly I think it was because I crashed in my sleeping bag 394820934 hours earlier than everyone else and not because I was wasted.

  15. You guys I’ve just returned home after 6 months away, and by home i mean moved back in with my entire family. Its really overwhelming so i retreated to my room to read about camp and deal with my feelings. My sister came to find me and accidentally made fun of my You Do You tote. It made me cry. I JUST WANT TO GO BACK!

  16. It is so good to relive Camp, these recaps are fantastic!
    But I after they are over I honestly need to forget about Camp for a while so that I can not fail my class on research methodologies, okay?

  17. There is a vid of the last half of the wall dancing lesson and another friemd said she has one, but it hasn’t been posted. I havr a vid of the convo that led to the lesson, though. One day I’ll make a tribute video and use it yo get a job leading an exoyic dance workshop at the next A-Camp. I never thpught I’d get to share that part of my life at A-Camp let alone a staff member!

    Also, I wanted to note that not only did you not bore me, Lizz, your talk about your work *fascinated* me. I remember saying after I left that you were so much cooler than I thought, and I already thought you were pretty darn cool. Anyone who can work math, genetics and fashion is super cool to me.

    • Sorry for the spelling. I’m writing on my phone and it doesn’t like the comment box/doesn’t let me see what I’m writing most of the time. My fingers weren’t made for touchscreen keyboards. This leads to atrocious spelling problems.

    • Grrrrl. I have that video and it should materialize in your inbox shortly. Sorry for the delay!

  18. These recaps are making me feel feelings and I wasn’t even there. I guess this means I have to overcome my real-life anxiety before September, and also start commenting more.

    • I didn’t overcome my real-life anxiety before April and I was mostly okay. You will be okay.

    • dude i have whole oceans of anxiety
      and at camp a lot of my standard anxieties went away
      and although they were replaced by other anxieties
      they were more manageable,
      like cute, miniature anxieties
      i was okay so
      i think you’ll be okay
      i like your cat gravatar

    • Anxiety can’t exhist at that altitude. Go. Do. You won’t regret it. Any of it.

  19. in case you’re wondering, the staff favorite line of the recap is “seeing Julie’s flushed cheeks and thinking she was the funniest cutest girl in the world”

  20. I got doubly mentioned in the recap by Laneia and Carolyn. I am full of warm fuzzies! Now I’m going to go back up and read the rest.

  21. Ohhhh, this sounds exactly as totally great as I definitely thought it would be. I am so happy for you all! Again, though: I am so sad about the Atlantic Ocean, and that I am not a pilot. But also, I really think I could come next time and am already getting actual panicky adrenaline rushes about how all the places will surely sell out in five seconds…

  22. I’m loving these recaps, it’s great finding out about all the sessions i didn’t go to. There was just so much awesome stuff going on at once it was hard to decide.

    It’s weird, in some ways now that i’m home camp doesn’t seem real. Like it was so amazing a thing it feels like a dream. So i’m enjoying re-living camp through the recaps and hearing about other peoples experiences as well.

  23. I was trying to explain A-Camp to one of my coworkers and tried to summarize the blocks, so I started saying “it was awesome, everyone had a choice each block: you could just hang out, or go do something sporty, or something crafty, or even maybe something scary…” and then I made this connection in my head, opened my eyes wide and blurted “OH I KNOW! Each block was like the Spice Girls.”
    Not the most accurate analogy, BUT, I wish I had thought of it at Camp. Seriously, everyone was so welcoming, and open, and awesome. Plus, there’s something really pretty and shiny about a queer woman’s laugh.

    Thank you for the recaps, Autostraddle! Can’t wait for the next two. So ready to go conquer the weekend now!

  24. GOD CAMP IS SO FULL OF BABES.
    AND FEELINGS.
    i can’t wait to go back. my heart explodes every time i read these recaps and remember a thing.

  25. I’m pretty sure Friday of A-camp was my favorite day of my whole life. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to sit here and read this over and over again.

    • katie i hope it doesn’t get old as i keep telling you how much i love you

      i just love you so much

  26. AW LOOK AT US IN THAT LAST PICTURE! // i have no recollection of that picture being taken.

  27. I’m pretty sure that cabin bomb “get out!” story was troubletones… cause it sounds really familiar. Was that us you guys?

    • OH GOD WHO WAS IN THE BATHROOM???

      I’m giving you the side-eyes. You know why.

    • I think so too and I’m pretty sure I know who was in the bathroom. It was a misunderstanding though — the person thought it was people pranking us (due to an earlier threat/situation) and she was defending the honor of the Troubletones cabin, not trying to yell at staff members.

      • Also, I just realized that my comment sounds a lot like an “asking for a friend” situation, but it actually wasn’t me in the bathroom!

        • Yeah, Carrie is right. It was a misunderstanding and a defense of honor thing and now one of the more embarrassing moments of my life. So, thanks for that. Seriously, when a group of people bust into one’s cabin just after one has gotten out of the shower (a totally solo, innocent shower) of course one will yell loudly at said intruders. So much for winning at camp. Love, Ranger

          • You’re the best, Ranger! Had it been actual prankers, I would trust you in a heartbeat to defend us! :)

  28. I have so many feelings regarding this. All of this. It’s so nice to know what happened in the other blocks because TOO MANY AWESOME THINGS WERE OFFERED AT ONCE.

    The Gender Panel was my favourite thing as well, and I was really surprised/interested in Laura and Jess’s stories about when they realized they were homos that they started changing the way they dressed. I had the complete opposite effect: when I (should have) realized I liked girls, my mind rebelled so I wouldn’t have to dress more masculinely, so to validate my femininity I managed to convince myself that I liked guys. The ploy worked for about 10 years, and Camp was really the first time I’d been out as a full-fledged lesbian/gaymo/homo, so, this gender panel really hit home for me in a lot of unexpected ways.

  29. Also: Riese, the fact that you played D&D makes me want to cry rivers of joy. I want to know what your characters were!!! What edition did you play? Were you ever DM?? Omigod you’d be amazing as a DM.

    • I agree. Though I never somehow managed to get into board game D&D (probably because I didn’t feel like I knew anybody who was enough of a geek to want to do this/not judge me *forever* for it) but I still enjoyed a few single player gamebook things and playing D&D-esque RPG computer games (Baldur’s Gate anyone?). And all the while I picked strong warrior-type and/or male characters for myself, which definitely helped me to inhabit and explore some of my genderqueer-ness and feelings about wanting to be/already being strong and powerful and being fully understood and respected as such by others too…

      No-one, including me, was asking whether I was strong enough to slay the dragon hiding in the mountains, or suggesting that someone else did it- and that meant something to a girl who was fairly petite and nice and ‘adorkable’ in the ‘real world’.

      Plus a busy imagination meant that said battle was fricking awesome.

      But anyways. Thanks for mentioning D&D Riese, and adding to the huge list of interests that I’ve felt relatively alone in having until AS has completely blown that theory out of the water.

        • Huzzah. I am not alone!
          But seriously though. BGII especially. What a game. I also like that one of the loading screens reminded you that you, unlike your characters, were a real person and needed to eat sometimes. Hah.

          • Hahaha, the Wizards of the Coast pop can? Oh man, I’m getting so nostalgic thinking about playing that game… <3

          • Pop can? I am confused by this segment of the sentence.. please enlighten me. :)

            And yes. I miss Minsc and Boo. I also had a hilarious moment lately talking to a friend about BG.. we were mentioning crushes on fictional characters and I let slip that I had a vague thing for Imoen… after which she reminded me that Imoen was my character’s sister.

            Awkward.

    • My younger brother was actually the one who was super into Dungeons & Dragons, so I got into it vis a vis him because I’d always be Dungeon Master for him and his friends. Or it’s possible I cajoled him into having lots of people over to play D&D so I could be DM. I REALLY LIKED BEING DM. Also sometimes my brother and I would play at home just with each other. I kept it on the DL, I remember, b/c at my middle school it was all the dorky boys who played D&D and it was such a boy’s club to begin with. I regret that in retrospect.

      I was actively attempting to find anyone in the entire universe willing to play GURPS with me (I don’t know if this still exists, but it’s like an insanely complicated RPG that I imagine seems outdated now that computer games exist) but I don’t think I ever succeeded in that!

      • Riese, for next camp, I will bring a GURP for us to play. I’m sure my friends have a copy of the rulebooks for Bunnies & Barrows…

  30. Before I read this recap I have to say this. I’m somewhat of a new reader/lurker (only a few months) but AS has quickly become one of my favorites on Google Reader. And even though I’m literally on the opposite side of the globe from most of you (Israel), I just had to share that I absolutely love the sense of community and love and awesomeness you guys have here. After reading the previous recap, I seriously lied awake in bed for a couple of hours just thinking about how great that whole “camp will be out thing” bit actually came true! Really, this is kinda magical.

  31. i’m really surprised but mostly happy the shark dick incident didn’t make the recap

  32. Hey remember when I fell over in my chair during speed dating next to the girl I was crushing on? And then Hannah Hart called me out? That was fun.

    • this comment makes no sense because i wasn’t at speed dating.

      jk, WHO WERE YOU CRUSHING ON HUNGER GAMES?!

    • Hey remember that time when a large insect flew into my mouth while I was talking to a cutie at speed dating and then she made fun of me while I spent the rest of our time coughing and spitting and being absolutely mortified?

  33. I’m not sure if I would be more distracted from homework by this post if I had happened to go or because I couldn’t go.

    The band I’m with may be touring the US next year.. surely I could get this to coincide with vollying as a drum teacher at Girls Rock Camp AND immersing myself in this obviously fucking fantastic queer life-altering mountaintop experience, right?

    • Also, the prospect of actually meeting and befriending you all for realsies has encouraged me to emerge from my lurker cave and interact some more. Because the idea of going to a place where the positive, smart, progressive, accepting, hilarious friendly greatness of internet Autostraddle is translated into flesh Autostraddle means that there’s a reality in which I’ll actually be able to hug you all for being so phenomenal.. and we need to make sure we’re *at the hugging point of okayness* from the split second I arrive at Camp.

      Because there will be hugs. Lots of them.

      • All this with your consent of course.. because we all know consent it important :D

          • This response from you O Riese plus having coffee with a cute lovely girl earlier today = DAY MADE

          • I also got an extension on two massive assignments due tomorrow! Did I mention that the coffee was of an AMBIGUOUS NATURE and SHE WANTED TO PAY and then afterwards she said I was articulate and that she wanted to do it again sometime (and that I also have it on good authority that she thinks that I’m cute?!)

            It doesn’t even matter that I did a sideways bike-plant onto the ground today because my right shoelace was caught on the pedal! TODAY IS AWESOME!

  34. Re: Marni and Tinkerbell
    you are the best girlfriend ever that a mother could ever want for her daughter.
    xoxo

  35. I’m newish to this amazing, beautiful website, and I’m so glad I came along when I did. You are all fabulous and amazing, A-Camp is basically utopia, and I have started setting aside some moneys so I can go to there. :)

  36. PFFT!

    I have totally started drinking at 10 am before.

    AND! I was doing an assignment too!

  37. I thought this was fegging HILARIOUS-

    “I don’t think you can truly call yourself a geek until you’ve traveled across the country, climbed a mountain, and slept in bear infested woods just to sit in a room and talk to other people about video games.”

    • WAIT WAIT WAIT. I did not even catch that. Oh God. Bren. You’re so slick. I can’t with you.

  38. I love-hate those recaps ! I consider A-camp like a weird paradise with unicorns or the 70s: sounds awesomely fun, I want to know what was happening, and I try not to act like a frustrated kid, because there’s just no way I could have been there… Nothing Europe has to offer will make up for it. EVER!

  39. aw, the part about me as a success story at the writing workshop warmed my small heartparts. i don’t know where i’d be without AS, but probably somewhere markedly less gaymazing <3 <3 <3

  40. I am SO not your demographic – I’m a lesbian, yes, but I’m also 42yo + married forever + two kids + a dog + fish + …

    And I found Autostraddle one night while surfing and I have to say – you all rock! Despite Autostraddle making me feel as if my 20’s were a very long time ago, you really make me smile. And I am so glad you exist. Kudos that you’ve created a community can be so visible, vibrant, supportive and sexy.

    Carry On!

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