A-Camp September Recamp #3: Reading Dancing Spooning Singing Sewing Clubbing Dreaming

Capture the Flag

Robin: Capture The Flag “apparently was socialism because I don’t think anyone won” (-camper Lanie Hughes). Playing this game with my own color team was one of my favorite memories from camp when I was a kid. I just need another hour and a whole lot more light and next time, there will be a winner!!! :)  So many people wanted to play and the “jail” was so overcrowded we couldn’t time anyone’s stay, but if they wanted to swing around the stripper pole Mollie Thomas had left up there from dance class, they were set free right away!

Carrie: Robin assigned a bunch of us to be the “jailers” in Wolf Lodge for this game. We were supposed to make sure people stayed in the lodge for three minutes of their “jail time” before letting them leave.

Sarah Croce: This game wasn’t sexy enough so we only let captives out on “good behavior” (read: pole dances).

rachel walker is a fantastic pole dancer

Carrie: I’m glad real jail doesn’t work like that, but it’s the only way that lesbian camp jail should work.

Robin: I know it was a bit of a mess, but thanks for playing anyway! Maybe next time there should be a Hunger Games theme.

(photo by rachel walker)

Bright Lights Big Campground

Carly: We juxtaposed the heaviness and feelings-ness of the staff reading with the subsequent event, Haviland & The Hav-Nots: Bright Lights Big Campground. This was a lot of fun, and was our first collective glimpse at Rockstar Marni, who gave me a lot of confusing feelings.

Gabby: I got to intro Hav & the Have-nots. I can now die a happy homo.

Mary: Haviland Stillwell really classed things up with her shiny, gold belt.

Crystal: I’m still laughing about the fact that Haviland and her band — Alex, Stef, Marni and Ashley — had named themselves ‘Hav & The Hav Nots’. Genius. They were so fun to watch!

Riese: I knew Marni, Alex and Stef were all super-nervous about the Haviland Stillwell Family Funtime Variety Hour ’cause there hadn’t been much time to rehearse but it was SO GOOD and fun! Haviland always keeps it pro — like she brings 150% to everything she does. As the hub of the chart-branch that brought those four together into each other’s lives at various points in history, I loved seeing them all play together, and Ashley too! Also now everybody knows how hot and talented Marni is!

Marni: Seeing Haviland up there doing her thing, and having the chance to be on the stage jamming with her, Stef, Alex and Ashley was just so unbelievably fun. And kicking my leg in the air before starting the intro to Heart’s “Crazy on You” was possibly the highlight of my life. I want to be in a band with Stef everyday.

Stef: Truthfully, I just wanted to play “Crazy On You” with Marni and her well-choreographed guitar kicks over and over and over again.

Riese: Also I was sitting on the ground with The Runaways, so it was winning all around.

Riese: At the end, Marni and Haviland did the Indigo Girls’ classic encore song “Closer to Fine” together, so now everybody knows that Marni is hot, talented, and can sing. Also because it was basically my lifelong fantasy coming true. YOU GUYS, CLOSER TO FINE! MY GIRLFRIEND AND MY BEST FRIEND SINGING “CLOSER TO FINE.” I can’t even.

Sara Medd: I think I giggled through this entire thing because of the irony of all the songs Haviland chose. I have to admit that they were all some of my favorite songs in life, and there is just something about Haviland performing that proves uplifting. Especially when wearing a white tube top. My favorite by far was “Crazy on You” by Heart. Haviland, please sing that song to me every day for the rest of my life.

Brittani: I spent most of this time lamenting on the fact that I didn’t know any of the songs being performed, wished I did. After this, I was introduced to the amazingness that was Klub Deer.



Carrie: On Friday I was in charge of late-night karaoke in Deer, but the microphone was confusing and no one wanted to sing so we decided to do a repeat of the previous night’s dance party with help from Cee and Meredydd. This was when Deer Lodge officially became Klub Deer.

Sarah Croce: With borrowed speaker equipment, a Dinah DJ mix I had on my phone, wristbands from Forever 21 that Carrie and I had left over, endorsements from many popular staff members, a giant tube of lube, a twister board, and headlamp strobe lights: Klub Deer was born.

Carrie: The wristbands — I’ve never been so proud of an Oriental Trading Company purchase.

Cee: Carrie came into Wolf, where we were all hanging out, and kept saying there was a huge party in Deer and kept convincing people that’s where the cool people were hanging out. We all showed up and it was completely empty. But somehow within 5 minutes, music was procured, the lights were turned low, headlamps were turned into strobe lights and Croce and Carrie were at the door with shades on looking like tough bouncers.

Meredydd: Nothing beats the sight of Carmen Rios trying to get through the crowd of campers going into Klub Deer and the bouncers making her wait for a wristband.

Carmen: Carrie and Croce opened Klub Deer so I felt I really had to be there, y’know? I’m kind of a big deal. No, actually I didn’t get in for a little while and was embarrassed.

Stef:  I wandered into Deer in search of bourbon, only to be met by “security guards” asking, “Welcome to Club Deer, do you have a wristband?” Club Deer continued the previous night’s tradition of headlamp-flickering, scandal-inducing dance party, but added Twister and lube.

hello nurse

Carolyn: We opened the windows and doors and then Robin came by and told us to we were being too loud and we had to shut it down. Club Deer was born.

Carrie: When it got really loud we kicked everyone out and the party moved to the Wolf Lodge, our rival club up the trail. #klubdeerforever

Stef:  It is an A-Camp nightlife staple that will live in infamy.

Croce: Please note: Klub Deer became the biggest prank to be pulled at A-camp yet. Because all 100+ people who attended the sexy dance party showed up to breakfast the next morning wearing BLUE WRISTBANDS. GO TEAM BLUE!

special mack & anna (photo by meghan foster)

Laura: Renamed “cuddlingus” by our guest, Ms. Rachel Walker, the Bomb Girls spent Friday night practicing what we learned in the spooning workshop in a fort made out of trundle beds and  sheets. I can’t tell you what kind of top secret stuff we talked about but I can tell you that we had the best named slumber party ever.

bomb girls (photo by jenna)

Crystal: I took a time-out in Riese’s cabin and therefore only found out about Klub Deer after it had been shut down. It was all anyone was talking about the next morning!

morgan & crystal on my floor (photo by riese)

NEXT TIME: Klub Deer makes flyers, we talk about sex, and enjoy a Show of Talent!


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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 3197 articles for us.


  1. The workshop on spooning is brilliant! I have always wondered, what DO you do with the inside arm?? If only I was there to find out!

    • A lot of people tuck their inside arm under their head and sleep on it, but as I’ve demonstrated in the picture, when you extend it, especially under the other person’s pillow, they can rest their head on your arm or you can slip it in the nook between head and shoulder (neck, I guess!) and then wrap your arms around them.

      It’s worked wonderfully with me, but mainly with girls smaller than me. Never tried with some of the same size or larger.

  2. I’ll be honest, I am honored to have a visual proof of my demo with Katrina on what to do with your dead arm for the Spooning Workshop.


  3. So I don’t remember if the massive exotic dance class was Thursday or Friday, but I wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who attended and Mollie for being my teacher partner in crime. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in a workshop that was created the day I was asked to teach it, but you crazy mob of sexy, sexy dancers made the workshop amazing. You were by far my biggest class I’d ever taught and you were so upbeat, so into my longwinded self-esteem pep talks and you were all great dancers! I was honored to spend time with you.

    Also, thank you again, A-Camp, for the Queer Women of Faith panel. I didn’t know how many feelings I had until they kind of exploded out of me. It was so crucial for me to be in that space at that time, to feel those good spirit vibes and the community I’d been missing. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • Friday was kind of feelings explosion day for me because of coming out panel and I took a feelings processing hike and basically did all the things wrong. I forgot to tell anyone where I was going, I went alone, I didn’t take my phone, and I was wearing noise isolating earbuds (so I couldn’t hear bears), and flip flops (so I could totally be bitten my a snake), but I wasn’t lost for more than an hour.

      Haviland encouraged me to go to the queer women of faith panel in her response to my question at the coming out panel and if you are ever lucky enough to have Hav tell you to show up for something I just want to let you know you will never regret it.
      Basically I shared the darkest part of my soul in that room and I am happy that I met Launa and heard her story. I learned that faith like love shouldn’t hurt and that there are welcoming places of worship if you are willing to try something new. It is scary, but so worth it.

      Staff Reading!!!! I will be back to camp specifically to hear your amazing work.
      Bright Lights Big Campground was the perfect follow up event because it felt like lesbian sing along time and I have been waiting for that forever, plus I think Hav and Have Nots are everything. (and Haviland’s Hannah Hart impression was perfect)

      I got into Klub Deer after the lube twister, but the dance party itself was a good release after feelings friday and I made hand holding happen.

    • This was definitely Friday. And as someone who would never regularly attend an exotic dance class, I had such a good time!

  4. Staff Reading is when the crying started for me. And it hasn’t stopped since.

    I had a lot of feelings about everyone’s readings, but i can’t even tell the story of Morgan’s reading to anyone without breaking down, tbh.

    • I read Morgan’s reading to my straight, cis, male roommate and he teared up a little.

      Sweetest love story. They should make it a Disney movie.

  5. No, but really when will Marni’s cover of ‘Do It Like A Dude’ be available for download?

    Also, I took about 5 pictures at camp and the best is definitely that one of Brittani as the Pretty Pretty Princess of Swag.

    • Keep your shirt on, Motes! I’ve done the initial recording; I just need to mix it and send it to Ashley to add drums.

      • So sort of obtained a ripped from youtube mp3 of your camp performance, Marni, and now I listen to it when I’m trying to fall asleep and when I’m struggling to stay awake and when I’m indulging in feelings and when I’m attempting to hold feelings off. It’s very multipurpose, basically. And I am SO EXCITED for the higher quality recording. Are you putting it in the Auto-Store or turning it into a donation reward?

        • Not sure yet. And I’m also not sure how “higher quality” it will be, because I use an old 4-track to record, but we’ll see! And thanks!

        • Ha, yes. Marni, I have been passing around the mp3 of your cover across the land.
          If anyone wants it to tide you over you can PM me your email and I’ll attach it. I ripped it from the video and cut out some of the applause at the beginning and end

  6. Friday was the day I kind of overdosed on feelings. And this recamp is making me feel almost as awesome and overwhelmed.

  7. JILL STROMBERG! also- I quite enjoyed being the biggest big spoon in the spooning workshop :D

  8. This re-camp is giving me so many feelings. Day 3 was absolutely perfect start to finish and I can’t really form any coherent thoughts about it yet and am going to have to process it all over again before further comment.

    I do want to thank Crystal for capturing that absolutely perfect “only at A-Camp” “dapper queers + bikini queers + Chloe” moment on that bench under those trees though. Living the dream.

  9. My jacket is getting so famous yo!

    That staff reading was amazing, I still remember my emotional reactions so viscerally I think everyone felt so connected and intense about that. I was upset we missed the lube twister but then they weren’t naked anyways so I wasn’t sure it was as silly to miss.

    I unfortunately was allergic to most of the foods and fortified myself on the salad bar and bread which only made the altitude experience more…interesting?

    Was this the night of the smokers cuddle puddle? This was cuddle puddle night!

    • no no, this was not cuddle puddle night, that happened after faggity feud.
      but it was the “everyone’s drinking their feelings”-night.

  10. That day was a total overload of feelings – first the Queer Women of Faith panel, then the Staff Reading. I had to drink down all the feelings at night because otherwise I had just continued crying.
    It was good going back to the cabin after the staff reading and have Diana and Dena hug me.
    I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to the reading first, then I got tipsy and really excited about stealing the props-tiara, but halfway through Whitney’s piece I had to take it off again because I felt so dumb listening to that kind of story and crying the whole time with that shiny thing on my head.
    Thanks everyone for sharing all the stories, the reading really really was a highlight for I think everyone at camp!

  11. ‘feelings’ word count : 23
    this post already beat #2 re ‘feelings’.

    oh boi, I really need a job asap.

  12. Friday was my favorite day of Acamp!! Fister spit was amazing and I still haven’t processed all my feeling about it. I’m really sad I lost my program. Morgan’s reading was especially inspirational!! Also, Swagger 101 + Spooning workshop was very instrumental to me losing my “gay virginity” later that night so props to that

    • congrats its3amandImkindatipsy, to virginity thing and also your username.
      if I wouldn’t be logged in all the time this would probs be my go-to name w/ varying time.but ew, actually I might not want proof of my unemployed/studentlife influenced drinking habits on the interwebs.also that’s what facebook’s for apparently

  13. I love that you had a spooning workshop.
    My QSA recently went camping, and spent a great deal of time group spooning. Which was greatly instrumental in breaking down some of my trust issues around physical contact, and so now I’m addicted to spooning.
    I can’t wait to one day come spoon with some of you…:D

  14. Dear Golden Girls, I used to doubt your commitment to sparkle motion and a red team victory, but now that I know you were helping the greater good by providing extended pool time you have won my heart. THE RED TEAM IS THE WINNER OF ALL THINGS!!!

    (Thank you for being a friend)

  15. These A-camp recaps are so much fun. Wish I’d been there. Are any of the staff readings available online in print form?

  16. I totally forgot to mention how appreciative I was and am of Brittani bringing me cigs because there was a serious cigarette shortage at camp.

    you guys we had a lot of booze but we did not think about the cigarettes and that was a kindness towards my addiction.

    • yes! it’s gonna be half clothes and half cigarettes in my suitcase next time. also what was I thinking rolling my cigarretes. yes, I like it but should’ve known from experience that I always loose my fucking rolling paper

    • yes this. I was soo excited to find half a pack under my suitcase sunday morning. Bringing at least 3 cartons next time around.

  17. Currently whining to my girlfriend that we need to leave our comfy little East Coast of Canada and go to the next A-Camp because of cross stitching and feelings.

    • I didn’t notice the table behind her in that one picture, and couldn’t figure out how she was sitting/floating on the back of a plastic chair.

  18. “Marni, you guys. Heartthrob.”
    I don’t even want to talk about it. I got over my nervousness and talked to a few staff members, but I never summed up the courage to even look directly at Marni.

    “…I had to go hide in the woods for like an hour and cry and wish I had a cigarette. In a good way, obviously.”
    I could NOT STOP CRYING after the reading and had to excuse myself to my cabin for the rest of the night. It was horribly embarrassing but there’s nowhere to take shelter when the feelings wave hits. Also yes to Laneia writing a book, because her piece was perfect. PERFECT you guys.

    These recamps are really making me wish I’d been more outgoing and made more friends at camp, BUT that’s what mAycamp is for, I guess.

    • What you should do instead is have a couple of drinks or something and then harass Marni about where she gets her shirts BECAUSE THEY JUST FIT SO WELL.

      This is what Shannon and I did…Thursday night?
      Me: “Your shirt looks so great, where did you get it?”
      Marni: “A store?”
      Shannon: “DID YOU GET IT FROM H&M?!”

      that’s all I actually remember from that exchange except that Marni just seemed really confused, and then I talked dress shirts with her again on Saturday.

      • omg I sound like such a dick! Sorry Marika! I promise I wasn’t being dickish. I’m really bad at shopping and also remembering things, like places I’ve shopped. I thought I said Macy’s? Probably Macy’s men’s store.

        • Oh, I didn’t mean to say you sounded like a dick! Just that it’s confusing when two queers (who may possibly be under the influence of somethings) pounce on you and ask you about clothes, in a very intense fashion. I felt bad later when I realized it might be kind of overwhelming.

          I think later you said maybe Macy’s, and then the one on Saturday you said definitely Macy’s. Which is actually where I buy most of my shirts :) because the Macy’s credit card deal is just stupid amazing, they keep giving me discounts so I keep buying things…that’s probably the point.

          • Marika, did u know your name means “queer” in spanish? xD well it spells with “C”, Marica… But it pronounces the same!

  19. oh my god. i think every picture of me in these recaps i have been laughing super hard or generally looking like the happiest human being ever. and CARLY! a cat in a denim vest IS my spirit animal. you are the best.

  20. Wow after reading this I am soo jealous of everyone living in the States who can go to these camps. We need A-Camp closer to Canada!

    Also, Is there a minimum age to go to A-Camp?

  21. JETPACK shows how to cuddle like a boss! Also I’m so so super bummed I missed the readings, but Jaffe and I were holed up in Deer furiously writing our rap song for the talent show and having creative differences. People came over to talk to us and were having none of it. But I think we can all agree WORTH IT.

    • wait. you’re chelsea,yes? usernames and avatars are confusing. don’t know you but your performance was fucking ace!

    • I was also in Deer at this time as well as with a few other Jetpackers and an honorary Jetpacker. I had been planning to go to the reading and the variety hour show, but it just didn’t happen. One gets distracted very easily at a-camp. Sometimes it’s fun to just sit around and talk. (or in my case, sit around and avoid answering questions directed at me and listening in on conversations on topics I knew little about)

      I also got to witness the creation of Blame it (on the Altitude) and for that I am glad.

    • LOL creative differences! I heart you Chelsea and if we have to have a lover’s quarrel everytime we make music together, I think it’s well worth it. I’ll never regret those three hours in deer lodge!!! EVER.

  22. i finally made it into a picture that wasnt the cabin shots!!!!!!!!!!! (even though it is just the back of my head)

    • the best way to get into a picture would be to befriend rachel walker or katie o’donnell, those girls took maaaad pictures

  23. Now I remember that night. It was that time we were all already dancing in Wolf and people shouted the party was at Deer, when we went to Deer, it was empty, so we all went back to Wolf. Then people still kept saying the party’s being moved to Deer, so some of us went again, but it was empty, so it was back to Wolf. It was only a few moments later that Klub Deer suddenly was booming up until the raid to shut it down.

    Epic night of clubbing. Forever Klub Deer; I took off my wristband before realizing it was a prank. PURPLE FOREVER.

  24. the reading was the best thing at camp, ever
    it was so impressive and brave and good
    i’m really grateful that you trusted us with these very personal stories

    i miss camp so much right now

  25. Oh! I forgot to mention: For everyone wanting to either relive the reading/couldn’t go, I got most of it on tape. The pieces that are public are the ones I had permission from the readers to post (so a few are missing, either waiting for permission or, in Riese’s case, my camera died almost immediately) Still, most are here (as well as other camp highlights). Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZLt3Wu9tWLJR8QhnTy4B4xPuqvPggW3N

    Also, if any staff member doesn’t see her piece and would be okay with me posting it or part of it publically, please let me know! I think some of my emails/facebook messages about it got lost in the interwebs.

    • Did you get Rachel’s reading? I know she doesn’t like being on video, but I’d like to see it even if it doesn’t get put on youtube.

      • I do have her reading, I’m just very big on video consent before making things public or passing them around. If you can get her permission, I’d be happy to send it! I just haven’t heard from her.

  26. “Misfits didn’t win Lesbian Jeopardy. Surprise!” HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Papi and I missed GLEE CLUB for Jeopardy. We buried our love of singing/Musical Theatre for our cabin . ANOTHER REASON WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN POINTS.

  27. Words cannot describe how much I wish I could have gone to this. Maybe I should start taking donations towards the next one…

  28. I didn’t realise how low my pants had gotten in the spooning workshop. That was hella healing though.

    And Whitney’s story… <3

  29. Haven’t finished reading yet, but I’d just like to toot my own horn and make a correction to this:


    I actually took the photo, since Alex is in the photo, but it was her camera? I dunno. Also – the discussion was: “Hey, Alex, your shirt is so awesome, how does one cut one’s shirt to look as badass as yours?”

    • This happens a lot but you can’t really blame them for it. The picture of the Bomb Grrls cuddle puddle is also credited to Jenna, but she’s in the photo.

      • I…I wasn’t blaming them, I just figured I’d speak up since we’re photo-crediting people and I remember thinking that was one of the best photos I took at A Camp.

      • they’re organized by who gave us the photos, so even if the camera-owner is in the photo we still credit it to them ’cause that’s who gave it to us

      • That one was from Jenna’s camera. Both of our cameras were randomly used that night by visitors, so someone probably just snapped that pic with it while we were all stashed together :D

  30. I love that blue team totally lost 100% that color wars, with like 3 points… and I think all of those points probably came from Klub Deer. hahaha.

  31. just wanna leave a drunk comment here because I told diana and @denalightningrod about probably drunk commenting on AS later after skyping w/ them and finishing a bottle of something cheap while they just woke up and where still in bed. #timedifference #skypedrinking #loveyouguys #feelings

  32. Fri + Sat = FEELINGS OVERLOAD –> missing lots of awesome parts of A-Camp because I needed to decompress, a lot. This feelings stuff is real, you guys.

  33. I feel like I was very incognito at A-Camp because I’ve been in a few pictures, but they were all of the back of my head. Also, I think that is maybe my hand giving Riese the Hunger Salute at the Reading, but I’m not 100% sure.

    The Swagger panel and the Reading were definitely my favorite things about the whole camp. Everyone was/is amazing.

  34. I am so behind on reading these recaps so no one will probably see this (maybe a good thing?) but that black & white photo of Laneia at the staff reading is making my tiny crush on her much bigger. Laneia, you are completely adorable. (I’m taken and she’s taken so it’s okay to have an internet crush, right?)

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