A-Camp Recap Day #4: The One With All The Feelings


After cabin photos and the all-camp photo, we took a photo of the A-Camp Staff and also a photo of the team that launched Autostraddle back in March 2009 (minus Tess & Natalie!).

Original team:

L to R: Robin, Carly, Crystal, Riese, Stef, Alex, Laneia (missing: Tess, Natalie & Tinkerbell)


Present team:

Team Autostraddle, L to R - Back Row: Julie, Brandy, Taylor, Alex, Riese, Marni, Lizz, Carmen, Bren, Megan. Middle row: Rachel, Stef, Sarah Croce, Robin, Carly, Annika, Sara M., Crystal, Grace, Brittani, Lauren (going down on Lauren: Ashley Reed). First row: Gabby, Katrina, Whitney, Jess R, Jess S, Emily, Carolyn, Laura, Laneia. (on top of everybody: Haviland)


On Camp

by riese

A few months after launching Autostraddle in March 2009, we decided to throw a fundraising party for New York City Pride, which took place the last weekend of June. By “we” I mean those of us on the team who lived in New York City, which is to say “almost all of us” — me, Alex, Carly, Robin, Stef and our then-business-manager Brooke. (Isn’t it funny that when we made $30 a month, we had a business manager, and now we don’t? I think it’s hilarious!)

A couple of weeks prior, Brooke had suggested we obtain interns, and so we’d put out a call for interns and literally accepted every single person who applied, developing a 15-strong “Intern Army” deployed to complete mundane duties like “transcribing interviews” and “photoshopping a picture of Sarah Shahi onto a picture of a Volcano.” Hoping to obtain their support in promoting our Pride Party online, we let them know that it was happening and provided basic details along with suggestions for press outlets and potential sponsors to contact.

Within a week, Intern Nicole, who lived in the city and sometimes worked with us in 3-D, informed us that almost all the interns had decided to COME to New York for the Pride Party. We hadn’t even thought to invite them! But our only not-broke Intern had somehow swung a hotel room via an ex-boyfriend which they all planned to share — yes, all 14 of them. They came from all over the world — Chicago, Belgium, Canada, Los Angeles, Boston, D.C, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh — and they did this despite being broke, despite being 19, despite being college students, despite parental disapproval, despite it being a long way to travel for just one weekend and despite common sense.

But they came because that’s how intense one’s desire can be to meet other people who think like you do, who care about the things that you care about. They did what they had to do to get there — and I’ll get back to that in a bit because that revelation came last, after the weekend, and it’s that revelation that made camp happen. Because that’s what I’m getting into here is the story of how camp happened.

I think when we tell these possibly self-indulgent stories about times when the Autostraddle team converged and bonded — like Pride ’09, Pride ’10the National Equality March, Dinah Shore, etc. — we tend to leave out the terrible parts and we make it sound like we all clicked right away and everything was magical. That’s not true. We don’t just exclude the unseemly stories — girls throwing up on their pants/in hotel rooms, girls’ homophobic parents chasing Alex’s car around Manhattan to retrieve their daughter from our homosexual clutches, drunken Palm Springs bar fights that kick-start actual legal battles, or awkward and ill-resolved intra-team crushes — but we exclude the parts where we were just a bunch of awkward weirdos in a room, too.

When the team met the Interns for the first time, at Brooke’s Extended Stay Apartment Situation the day before the Pride Party, it was terrifyingly awkward. For starters, the stress of the week had kicked my Fibromyalgia into overdrive, so I was lying on the floor moaning and remained prone until Intern Lex offered me respite in the form of a joint, which we smoked in the shower, dampening our socks and blowing smoke out a tiny air vent while I prayed the kids in the other room had found something to talk about. But also our planned “wordpress workshop” was foiled by dysfunctional Wi-Fi, and the DVDs we’d wanted them to burn for the party wouldn’t burn, and it looked like rain and we were 95% sure that none of the interns would get into the party and we didn’t know what to do about that or how to tell them. There we all were, in a room! All of us similar people! What the fuck were we gonna SAY to each other? I panicked internally — Is this what happens when you put so many weirdos in a room? We just sit here staring at each other, wishing we could be g-chatting instead, or reading a book?  

I wanted to tell you about that awkward first Pride Intern/Team meeting in my “speech” on the first night of camp so that you wouldn’t feel weird if it happened to you, but instead of telling you that I think I just shrieked a lot and covered my face. And then I would’ve told you that things changed, gradually, over the course of that day and the next. We had a big dinner in Little Italy, and loose after carafe after carafe of wine and high on anticipation, we broke down a little bit, started actually getting to know each other one-on-one, and we kept on like that throughout the weekend. The best part, oddly, was when the interns (predictably) got kicked out of our party for being underage and we all took turns sitting outside with them, where finally it was quiet and we could talk about their lives and what brought them here.

So basically what happened that weekend is that we met 14 of Autostraddle’s biggest fans/supporters, and it gave us something past this screen and this keyboard and the miles and hours of bandwidth between us to hold onto. I wrote, after Pride: “I have never felt such overwhelming positivity about a group of people before in my life. Seriously it was almost transcendent and in a strange way totally incomparable to any feeling I’ve ever felt before.”

Sound familiar?

The camaraderie developed by meeting each other made Autostraddle a better website. It made us better people. It got us through that first year when there was no money and very few readers and all our Moms thought this was an enormously terrible idea.

And after that first weekend the interns kept coming back to New York, against all odds. They kept coming back throughout that year and into the next; sleeping stacked like sardines in the sweaty summer of my West Harlem living room, eating mini-pizzas and drinking cheap beer, writing in their notebooks, taking photos in the park, sitting on my bed making lists, getting us coffee in the morning. Some interns dated and/or hooked up and some just drew pictures together.

And the closeted ones started coming out, too — to themselves, to their families, to their friends. Brooke came out to her parents first, like a month before Pride, on the day we first met and interviewed Katrina, and I remember how over mediocre tacos on the Lower East Side we balanced Brooke’s jubilant texts with Katrina’s interview and I felt like things were moving forward so quickly in so many positive directions, and not just because Katrina was probably on drugs and talking really fast. Most of us on the team were already out, but most of the interns weren’t, but gradually and then suddenly — they were.

We were all there in the messy living room on video-chat with Intern Vashti after she came out to her parents. She said it went well, better than she expected, and we all got teary-eyed and this enterprise felt perfectly tangible.

But what I always forgot about in between team events and remembered the moment we all showed up in the same room again was how much we already understood about each other, how much we laughed, how much we felt seen by one another in a way we never felt seen in the rest of the world. I can’t put my finger on it, or maybe I don’t want to, but there’s something we all have in common, and it’s not just being queer. I didn’t see any reason why that experience should be limited to those of us who run the website. I wanted all the readers to have it, too.

Which brings me to this point: when pitching the A-Camp idea to others, my primary piece of evidence for why A-Camp would work was that 14 interns came to Pride in 2009. It’s a ridiculously small sample size and no businessperson would ever run a business on that theory. But I knew that because they came, that you would find a way to come. And you did. This is just the beginning.


Most of you reading this will never come to camp and many of you reading this don’t want to or can’t, but I hope you know that camp will enable a better website for everybody and ideally, one day, a better world. After next week we’ll stop talking about camp all the time, but I know that the fact that it happened and will happen again will only strengthen the site’s primary mission, which is accessible to anybody with an internet connection.

Some of you reading this did go to camp and honestly didn’t really have an amazing time, or can’t relate to the more effusive memories relayed in the recaps’ camper quotes and if that’s you, I hope you still feel brave for trying. If you got on a plane or in a car and traveled all the way to Angelus Oaks to be stranded on a mountain with 200 strangers for an entire weekend and you did that alone, then I am so fucking proud of you, and I’m honored that you trusted us enough to make that choice and I hope you come back some day. We’ve got heaps of constructive feedback from all the campers and about a billion things we need to do about a zillion times better next time, and we’re already working on that.

After Pride 2009, I read all the interns’ blog entires about their trip (obviously all interns have blogs) and the one that touched me most of all was from one of our quieter interns —  I’d been worried throughout the weekend that she wasn’t having a good time, or that she felt lost amid the loudness and oft-expressed ecstasy of the other more outgoing interns. But in her blog post she talked about how even though she was too shy to talk too much, or too insecure to put herself in the middle of the action, that just being there was enough, just to be part of that energy and amongst those women, just to witness it. I didn’t see her again after Pride until a few months ago and when I saw her a few months ago she was surrounded by awesome queer women. She was radiant with a new happiness I’d not seen all those years prior and she was still as beautiful as ever. We grow into things — we grow into ourselves. We grew into this. We take tiny steps and we all have our own paths towards that comfortable place and we get there at our own pace.

At A-Camp, we had deeply closeted campers and young campers who’d never met other queer people — but we also had campers who have been out and proud for decades and campers who have families or strong queer communities where they live. Everybody is at a different stage of their life and we have so much to learn from each other — just like that first Pride Weekend, but multiplied by 10,000 and with more panels, more Julie Goldman and much cuter t-shirts.

It took us three years to get to Camp — three years of trashing hotel rooms and having dramatic email fights with each other about fliering, three years of growing up and moving and finding our footing in the world and figuring out who we are and what we want. We never could’ve done this three years ago, or two years ago, or last year, and I’m so blessed to have watched these girls grow into the inspirational women they are today. In turn, we’re all blessed by you — we only know what we are because you tell us what we are, after all — our patient, enthusiastic, intelligent, funny and endlessly kind readership.

I’d always thought that I’d lived my life to get to the writing, but it turned out I’d done the writing to get to my life — and what I learned that summer was that it wasn’t just mine anymore. It was ours.

And now it’s yours, too.

A-Camp 2.0 will take place from September 12th-16th at the same location — Alpine Meadows Resort in Angelus Oaks, California. Pre-registration will begin Monday, May 21st, at which time additional information will be shared and further questions will be answered. So please save your questions for Monday!



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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3117 articles for us.



    And also you said “third of four” at the top and I have a feeling that’s not right.

    Not to be a big “I’m only here to correct your mistakes” douche bag.

    I just wanted to be first.

  2. Camp was really amazing. And to all of you staff who put in so much hard work to make this little piece of heaven for all of us THANK YOU, it was life-changing for me and I just loved every minute of it.

    Also, I’m really sad I missed the ch-ch-cherry bomb cabin photo, but my pre-talent show jitters made me run off so I could have time to perfect my song haha.

    Unfortunately I can’t make it in September but I’m SO EXCITED for everyone who gets to do it all over again and for those who will be experiencing the magic for the first time! <3

  3. Riese, you’re a really fucking good writer, and a really fantastic person. How fucking cool is it that you’ve inspired all of these people to jump all the way out of their comfort zones and have these incredible experiences? Thank you (and all of the Autostraddle staff, it’s so obvious how hard you all worked, like holy shit, Marni and Robin, etc.) for camp. Seriously. Regardless of any kinks that are left to be worked out, I wouldn’t trade my experience of being at the first A-camp for anything. It was simultaneously the most surreal and most real anything has ever seemed, and despite Marni’s assurances that she got us all off the mountain, part of me is definitely still up there.

      • Legitimately almost cried at seeing that, and a few of you had the pleasure of seeing me get emotional on cam while reading this because this is what this website has allowed us: our very own community.

        Gahhhh #feelings

  4. Camp was amazing. It went beyond my expectations. The experience and the lasting effects it’s had on my life continues to amaze and astound me. I just want to buy you all a pony! Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

  5. I would just like to say that I havent read this yet and don’t plan to until laaaater, cause all of the comments add a totally new dimension to these recaps (and really all AS pieces). A-CAMP: AVRIL 2013 :D

  6. Jeez Riese make me cry will you?

    “how much we felt seen by one another in a way we never felt seen in the rest of the world.”

    This, exactly.

    • that quote exactly. The most amazing inclusive environment, and yeah the recap made me cry too :’)

  7. You all have left fingerprints on my wee little queer heart. Thank you, I love you.
    Once more with feeling! Thank you, I love you.

  8. Riese, look! I comment now, all the time!
    Even when I’m [redacted] and shouldn’t be typing anything at all anywhere.

  9. I texted Grace the following on the Tuesday after camp, when we were both processing back and forth, and I think this is the recap where I’ll throw it out there, because it was really fresh and true for me in that moment:

    “Would you believe that some of the best parts of camp for me were seeing the team interact? I was trying to put it into words last night, how seeing that family together and knowing how it was looking out for us made me feel, and I couldn’t, really.
    [Camp was] kind of purity. Bigger and intimate all at once. I’ve never been a part of such a positive, uncynical experience before.
    A-Camp is like a Patronus.”

    And, dudes, I didn’t meet my soulmate at Camp, I didn’t break any beds, see any bears, have a quality conversation with Laneia (September, lady, I’m coming to High Tea) or finish a bottle of whiskey without several devoted whiskey pals’ help. But I did experience that thing Riese talks about, a feeling of believing in something massive/so small as to exist in the deepest parts of yourself, and how that feeling creates bonds between people. You guys have really made something beautiful, and special, and we can see it every time that you’re together…on the site, and out in the woods/WORLD. And you should be really fucking proud.

    I think I said to Barb and Sondra on the drive back, “I don’t really feel like I need to be a part of that inner A-family…I’m just really glad they’ve got our backs, you know?”

  10. Camp is important. I feel so guilty taking a spot away from someone else for Camp 2.0, but I’m selfish enough to do it anyway. I need to be there if I’m going to keep breathing.

  11. I’m in.

    (thank you for not scheduling it the same weekend as my cousin’s wedding, that is still appreciated).

    Also if there’s a partial/total nudity cabin, I want to be in that one (Annika’s sounds PERFECT). As any Chistraddler can attest, I have a penchant for pantslessness. You’re not a real Chistraddler until you’ve seen me in my undies (American Eagle trunks, usually). Which means, oddly enough, former intern Elli was a bit behind…?

    I do, however, apologize in advance for the fact that I will be having friends text me updates on North Central roller derby regionals. AS trumps derby, but the combination is best!

    • A-Camp was definitely a home away from home for me. I have never felt more comfortable with myself and my life. People at A-Camp were genuine, awesome, hot, funny, smart, and hot (did I say hot? There were a lot of attractive ladies). I can never express my gratitude to Autostraddle for making their huge gay dream of creating a camp into reality. This little Utahan who thought she was all alone now has a gay family spreading all over the United States and parts of Canada, Australia, and London. So thank you.

      • Oh and one more thing, LITTLE RASCALS FOR LIFE!!! Love you girls! Laura don’t look so scared on my shoulders, many girls would kill to be in that position. (zing)

  12. a-camp 2.0 is at the best possible time for me: after i move to LA, but before grad school starts!!! thank you for meeting the needs you didn’t even know i had.

  13. This was so beautiful!!! I’ve loved reading these recaps. UTOPIA!

    I am SO SAD that I won’t be able to make it to camp this September. I’m pretty sure I’ll be walking around in a fog for the next few weeks (or possibly until I register for Spring A-camp?). Is there any chance that the next spring camp will be in LA as well?

  14. Seriously you guys, A-Camp was one of the best experiences of my entire 25.7 years of existence. I don’t care where I am in September. I can somehow be working on freaking Mars, but you can bet I will commandeer a space craft of some kind and crash land my way back to Angelus Oaks for A-Camp 2.0! <3

  15. I WILL find a way to get to A-camp next time… Reading about A-camp has been inspiring, so I’m sure the real thing will be even better.

  16. Riese, I’m seriously considering your suggestion to rob a bank to get to the next camp. Also, thank you for your beautiful words that obviously resonate in all our hearts. Feelings forever!!

  17. Am I the only one that checked the calendar and noticed this starts on a weds? An extra day of camp? I couldn’t make the first one because of work in Toronto but I will register for the sept one if I can snag a spot!

  18. I am so choked up from reading this, and I just feel so blessed to have experienced camp and all of the beautiful campers that attended. Thank you for the ending section Riese, it was perfect. Getting to play a small role in making this happen was more rewarding than I ever could have expected. I so look forward to 2.0 <3

  19. I didn’t go to camp, but riese’s thing still made me cry…this website has seriously been a huge resource for me for the past year and a half, it helped me come out and at least begin to explore who I am within the confines of a conservative town. one day, I will get to camp and meet the truly awesome people that have changed my life from behind a computer screen. I love everyone on this website* without even meeting them!

    *except for the trolls that got hotdogs. but that was still really funny.

  20. Also I just did the complex math required to convert real life time into an Art Institute schedule, and I realized that A-Camp 2.0 falls over the exact day of my final portfolio review for school. The one that if I don’t go to, I am not permitted to graduate college.

    Ouch. My heart. That’s the last week that I actually have to be physically in school ever again in my life.

    But the fact that this exists and will continue to exist is still amazing. One day, A-camp. One day.

    Additionally I cannot get over the amount of stylish pairs of shoes in these pictures. You guys are doing something right.


        I think I’m moving to L. A. when I graduate too (literally 2 weeks after a-camp 2.0 happens) so I hope they don’t take everyone’s advice and finally have an a-camp on the east coast… … … … because it’s definitely all about me.

  21. Oh nostalgia… I remember following Riese’s blog in 2007 and watching the VLOGs thinking: “I wish I could meet these people, or have friends like these people. This is what life should be like.” I remember reading Autostraddle as soon as it went online, wondering why something like it didn’t already exist. I remember the Rodeo Disco looking like so much fun in 2009, but I was too young (like the interns), so I didn’t go. Then I remember marching with a group of friends at the National Equality March and yelling “GO AUTOSTRADDLE” when I saw you all down the street – Katrina looked at me like a crazy person before shouting it back. I’ve been reading ever since (which also includes finding the courage to come out to the world, moving to NYC all on my own, and finding a girlfriend through AS). I didn’t go to camp because I felt like I would still be a weirdo outsider. But, I’ll be pre-registering and getting plane tickets this time.

    I applaud you all. I’m so glad that I YouTube searched: “L Word Parody Vlog” all those years ago. You’ve come so far! #feelings

    • This so much, thank you! i think there are so many readers here that have been around since the vlog/lword parody days and we are all just so proud and cant believe what riese and her team have accomplished.

      I didnt go to camp. I am not even a registered user here. but I read this website everyday and I feel like I know you people and I love you.

      In 2010, I went to NYC to visit a friend for new years eve. I was just coming out to my closest friends but no one else. I was getting off the train from long island into the city and who passed me? alex vega. alex motherfucking vega. in real life!!! i said nothing. i was afraid of looking ridiculous/weird/crazy etc…but all i wanted to do was shout “semicolon! nobody’s ready for winter!!by the way can we be friends?” luckily somewhere in my rational mind, i realized that was inappropriate. in reality i was a stranger but she and riese, stef, haviland et al. seemed like who i wanted to be if I could ever get there and they meant so much to me during that time. to this day, i still sort of feel like alex vega was my gay angel…assuring me just by walking by me that this world is smaller than i think, and these people I relate to so much are real and not so far away after all. that must be what camp felt like but multiplied by infinity. i hope to be a part of it someday.

      thanks so much for all your hard work making camp happen. it makes everything seem possible.

  22. “… how much we felt seen by one another in a way we never felt seen in the rest of the world.”

    “I’d always thought that I’d lived my life to get to the writing, but it turned out I’d done the writing to get to my life.”

    Words like these are what make Autostraddle my very favorite website. Out of all the thousands of millions of sites out there, this is the one that I feel like understands me. (That sounds crazy but y’all know what I mean.)

    I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to come to an A-Camp, but I will always love reading about them.

  23. Hannah Hart sitting on my lap for all of 5 seconds was indeed a magical (if drunkenly hazy) moment, but it is most definitely eclipsed by SO MANY OTHER beautiful/hilarious/goosebumpy moments that really made A-Camp the incredible experience that it was.

    Sad the recaps are over but so fired up for September!

    Also, Sharks for life.

    • I can’t believe my handwriting is on Autostraddle.

      Also, how long it took us to come up with “safe space, gay face”. We wait for perfection.

      I also still feel guilty for hurriedly writing a billion copies of that while Riese was like “everyone pay lots of attention right now” and I was 2 feet away, clearly not paying any attention. I am sorry! I have a guilty conscience. I want to give Riese all the attention all the time.

      • Oh god, that must’ve taken us like an hour to get “safe space, gay face”. And to explain what we were working on. “WE NEED FOUR SYLLABLES, TWO WORDS. TWO WORDS THAT HAVE TWO SYLLABLES EACH TO MAKE FOUR SYLLABLES. WE’RE REPLACING ‘STREELIGHTS, PEOPLE’. THIS SHOULDN’T BE THAT DIFFICULT.”

  24. This recap made me cry. All the feelings of wonderfulness!
    Basically A-Camp changed my life. I came back a more confident person and more comfortable in my queerness. I literally wanted to shout “I am gay and I effing love it!” every where I went. I went from knowing zero lady-gays to knowing many and formed long lasting friendships with them (I will be moving in with 3 of my cabin-mates come fall). 21 Hump Street for life!
    This was the best experience of my life thus far and I can’t wait to do it again in September! :)

  25. These re-caps…..just….wow. Thank you to everyone on AS and on our FB group for helping me re-live the best weekend of my life.

  26. omg . . . Taylor’s note <3

    also Taylor, your documentation of your trip to camp inspired me to make plans to take the train from the Bay area up to Portland to visit my best friend this summer. I'm already sort of thinking about what train snacks to bring.

    I guess I have until September to come up with a really good lie for my parents about where I'll be. (!!!)

  27. I had to stop and comment before finishing to ensure I am credited with the initial idea to carry around a banana in a Banangrams bag because that was one of my best jokes of A Camp and I riffed about it for roughly three minutes. I will also probably use it as a gag at some point so let the record show that though Taylor is the one that ate a shit ton of bananas, this is my joke. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

  28. you guys some how magically matched all of the cabins perfectly

    not once did i hear “omg so and so in my cabin sucks” or “i really don’t like my cabin”

    i think every single person said “my cabin is the best cabin ever” at least once during camp

    that was magical
    i made at least 4 bffs within like 15 minutes of being at camp

    and i still think the sharks were the best cabin

    come at me bro

  29. This was beautiful. I love this site because I can tell everyone behind it is so human and I loved reading the bit about the interns. Sometimes I feel like faceless robots write some of my favorite blogs.

    I’m so sad that I won’t be able to make my absence go unnoticed for five days at the beginning of the semester. BUT ONE DAY I WILL BE THERE.

    (I’m anxious it will fill up if you couldn’t tell from capslock)

      • dude, flights are at about 800€ right now! I so wanna get this over with before I have time to think about how fucking expensive it’s gonna be.

        • oh my.
          if we get our spots/go we should really not only stay the week-end. I vote San Francisco. seriously though.

          • oh yeah, if I have to pay that much to get me there it’s not just gonna be for a weekend.
            I’ve been to SF a few times and loved it so I was also thinking of maybe going there after camp. but seeing the date I just realized that my father and his very lovely(ahem) new wife are gonna be there till the end of semptember. and I just know that I will totes bumb into him even in a big city like that and that might raise some questions about why on earth I’m about 10000miles away from where I’m suppose to be. but will see

          • hm, you could be a paid city guide for someone who has never been to SF! ;)

            I am so nervous about this, already!!

  31. First of all, I’m freaking out ’cause there’s now three pictures of me on Autostraddle through these recaps WHICH IS FREAKING AWESOME.
    Secondly, Little Rascals for life! I fucking love all of you, and I honestly hope we can meet up again even if it’s not through camp and it’s just crashing on each other’s couches for a few days when we need to get out of wherever we are.

    Riese, you’re amazing. Honestly, I was about in tears by the end of this.

    Laura and Jaime, you’re the best counselors ever and though I can’t come in September, I hope you two are my counselors next time around.

  32. Crying. Again. Just like I did basically all day Sunday. (Sorry to those poor campers in my van.. I could say I was tired, but I think most of me was genuinely sad that camp came and went like the blink of an eye for me and I felt very helpless that the last few hours were out of my hands.)

    I didn’t write anything for this day because I don’t like thinking about the last day, but this was really nice. Especially the ending Riese. Thank you! I’m so honored to be part of this and I’m so very excited to be planning for Camp 2.0!!!

    • I was in your van. It was totally fine. I ate New England Clam Chowder in California and did not have to sit in the airport for 12 hours.

      I would just like to say that my flight wasn’t until 11:20pm and after Carrie left me all alone in the world I couldn’t find ANYONE. I went to the bookstore looking for queers but apparently no one likes to read and I was in the wrong place.

  33. whoa memories of that first rodeo disco just came way back.
    that was so fun and so glad that happened. I still can’t figure out how we all slept in one hotel room.

    Now i want to go to camp!

  34. I remember seeing the pride and the rodeo pictures and aching. Maybe to meet the autostraddle team specifically or just other queer women: something midwest withheld, who knew. I couldn’t figure it out. But I’ve been growing up, loving [you] for your collective writing voice. I hadn’t thought of meeting you, like it hadn’t occurred to me we live on the same planet or in the same era. But at camp, pow! There you were: real people who I already felt this affection towards. And sitting near you guys, sometimes saying nothing and sometimes being much too loud: d’oh, I dunno. I’m trying to write you a love letter.

    • I remember your amazing, awestruck reaction when we got there. You were like OMG THIS IS FOR REAL CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. It was like we had discovered Narnia or something. And in a way, it kind of felt like we did.

  35. I have been reading basically all the articles on this website, checking for new ones like everyday, for about the past two years. I think I commented like once or twice, but the A-Camp recaps are so amazingly awesome that I finally decided it was time for me to become a member. Thank you for being there for all of us peoples Autostraddle, for explaining things to me that I wasn’t aware I didint understand, for making me laugh with your hilarious recaps on bad days, and smile with your continually awesome articles. Ur da best. Every person who is a part of Autostraddle is a cool bean.

  36. I had too many feelings about this so I put them here:

    “Pulling away from camp in Robin’s van that afternoon I put on a brave face while I refused to look behind us or into the rearview mirror, in the interest of avoiding a shotgun talent show of my new-found bawling skills in front of the people I told could trust me to navigate them to Los Angeles. Robin wore her captain’s hat and it felt very official. We descended from camp at a safe speed but eventually we grew a tail of cars so long that we had to forfeit the mountain-scale game of Snake and pull over to let everyone pass. A man hung out his window and obnoxiously clapped at us and I thought, ‘Grow up, asshole, you will never understand how much fun we had this weekend.'”

  37. no but seriously what is it that we all have in common? like, outside the queerness? i still can’t pinpoint it. but i love it.

    • I think there is a definite huge amount of niceness, intelligence and hilariousness- but especially niceness- that seems to exist amoungst the writers and community of this site, and more tangibly here than anywhere else on the internet and many many places in real life too (and also thus, A-Camp would be and obviously was seriously just that fucking good!). Yes.

  38. I wrote and rewrote this comment several times and I couldn’t get what I want to say exactly right, but I guess I’m kind of jealous I wasn’t there and kind of jealous that there’s no way in hell I can make the next two either, but I’m also so full of love right now for everyone, even though I’ve never met any of you. I guess the love everyone has for each other is just kind of infectious. I love your love.

    • “I guess the love everyone has for each other is just kind of infectious. I love your love.” – Exactly how I feel too.

  39. You’re all amazing. And so good looking. How are you all this good looking? I’m pretty sure that ‘people from the internet’ aren’t meant to be this good looking. But there you all are.

    Anyway, I have a question. Would I be a douche if I bought a ticket not knowing whether I’d be able to make it or not? I’d give it to someone else if I couldn’t. My job is sort of ‘interesting’ and maybe I could go in September but maybe also not. I want to go so badly, but I also don’t want to be a dick to my fellow straddlers. Is buying a ticket under these circumstances a dick move?

    • um, that’s what I’m going to do. If you can’t make it I’m sure they will be able to transfer your place to someone else (until a certain point before the camp).
      I’m not even sure where I’ll be living in September but I don’t want to miss Camp!

      • the $50 registration deposits are non-refundable, but if you end up needing to cancel, then all you have to do is cancel! and the next person on the waitlist will be contacted about a spot opening up and they will be given the opportunity to register if they still want to. after a certain date however there would be no refunds of any part of your tuition nor would we be able to bring in anyone new on the waitlist.

        • awesome Riese, thanks for the info.

          that works for great for me, and if it didn’t work out the $50 would just be like a donation to autostraddle which i’d be happy to make anyhow.

  40. I swear, if it takes all my savings from the last 5, and next 2 years, I will go to a-camp one year. It just sounds so fucking magical.

  41. Just a quick note to say thank you. Thank you for everything you do, for inspiring, for creating, for making yourself vulnerable, and for being. I was thinking the other day, that so many people have so many great ideas but so few people act on them. I would have LOVED something like this when I was coming out.

    I write a weekly list of events in NYC to help create a sense of community. If anyone wants to be on it, please email me at Daniellesonnenberg@gmail.com. Just a few weeks ago, my gf and I met a girl who went to cubby hole alone for the first time.. We helped introduce her to some people. She’s a brave one. I know how hard it is to come out. I created different lesbian events/groups to give girls a chance to meet other women.. anyways, THANK YOU Autostraddle for helping create a community… thank you !!:)

  42. My birthday is on the 23rd so it could be argued that A-Camp 2.0 is a totally reasonable birthday present to myself, yes?

  43. I cried a little while reading this post and I never even got to go! However, come hell or high water I’m GOING to A-camp 2.0 and crying over it ending in PERSON dammit!!

    This is also my very first comment after over a year of lurking! :D …I think I’m going through something here guys.

  44. It makes me a little sad that being 18, about to start uni in October and living in the UK means I more than likely wont ever make it to camp, but honestly even the re-caps have been special.

    • This happened to me when I was 18 with the buffy.com meet ups (too young, too poor, too far away). It really sucks if you can’t make it to A-Camp just now but know that some day there will be something else you love with all your heart, and you will be old enough and financially stable enough to go this time, and it will feel so so much more amazing because you know how valuable it is. (This is the reason I will be roughly comatose with joy if I get a place on Monday. It is worth waiting for.)

  45. Even though I didn’t go to camp, reading these recaps has made me so happy for everyone that went and I think it’s really nice for that everyone is able to share these experiences with the ones who couldn’t go.

  46. These recaps are amazing. I dont think Ill have the vacation time for camp in September, so sad :[

    P.S. I lost track of the number of undercuts I saw in all these pictures, so awesome. Lookin’ fierce ladies!

  47. <3 I have so much love for this.
    like this much…
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 x 100,000,000.

  48. I didn’t get to go to A Camp… Unfortunately. I’m hoping to go to one ASAP and school everyone in basketball. It looked awesome.

  49. Ok guys so I gave a presentation today at a symposium, and they announced the top 3 presenters and I was in the top 3, and then they said that they only had a prize for number 1 and it was $500 and it was not me, sadly.


    Moral of the story, don’t halfass your shit, people.

  50. A few of my comments from the post-camp survey are on here, which makes me super happy. But also reading through them all I was like “wait, did I write this? did I write that? did I write all of this? none of this?” we are all such kindred spirits!! And it’s not an accident.

  51. at AC v2.0 you should have a scheduled “saying goodbye to the new loves of your life” hour or two

    even though i spent the entire last day sitting around doing nothing, i didn’t feel like i got to adequately say goodbye to anyone

    and im not really one for crying but when gabby said “momma luvs yew” as she powerwalked the wrong way up the board walk i almost cried a lil bit

  52. I don’t care where I am or what situation I’m in come September, I am so absolutely going to A-camp in September. Plus for some reason, I feel like going on a hellishly long train ride down would be kind of fun, even though I know I’d probably just end up bored after around 3 hours. Still, though! A-camp!

  53. Thank you for writing these recaps. I laughed a lot, I almost cried, I felt warm and fuzzy inside… and I got even more super excited to attend, even if it’s not for a few years. But I have confidence that this ‘first A-Camp magic’ will translate into ‘ongoing A-Camp’ magic which shall ensure Camp is still running by the time my funds are together. I’m more worried about not getting a spot.. I gotta get that shit on lock!

    The posts have been beautiful though, thanks. :)

    Ps. Also, I’m not going to lie.. I had many reasons to read le recaps, but one of them was so that I could finally see a close-up photo of Hot Laura. And can I just say that the embroidery photo- yes, the one with the subtle concentration grimace- is totally adorable. Also, Hot Laura is indeed hot. The end.

  54. Reading about all of your camp feelings makes me want so badly to have those feelings. And I sort of lurk here mostly and I don’t know any of you, but a day will come when I can come to A-Camp.

  55. oh it hurts my little heart to know i wasn’t there but i’m happy you all went and acted like real people and made it out alive. someday i’ll go but probably not because economy. :(

  56. I haven’t even written my thank you note and we are starting all over again/making plans for Sep!

    But I love you all, whether or not I am physically present at AM come the Fall.

  57. I saw someone walking down Piedmont Ave in Oakland like 2 days ago in an A Camp shirt…..not like I was insanely jealous or anything

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