A-Camp September Recamp 4: Small Town Saturday Night



Block C:

Autostraddle Trivia w/Riese & Alex & Laneia

Glee Club: A group voice class w/Haviland

Vegetarian and Vegan Life w/Sarah Croce, Rachel, Jamie & Stef

Soccer w/Crystal

special mack

Carmen: I went to my cabin to nap but instead Gabby and I had a heart-to-heart in my bed and it was really sweet. I kind of wish Gabby was my mentor? In being a person.

Crystal: No one showed up to play Soccer in the afternoon and I was secretly relieved because playing soccer at 7,500 feet is really hard work. I returned to my cabin, saw a spider above my bed and commenced a freak out that was disproportionate to size of the spider. Carrie and Carolyn heroically rushed to my rescue because that’s the kind of people that they are, ones who will make you feel better even when you’re being unreasonable.

Sarah Croce: I can’t even talk about how much I love Vegetarian/Vegan Life! There was a lot of good discussion about nutrition and balanced diets as well as recipes.

Stef: Surprisingly, a few people at the workshop weren’t vegetarian at all, just curious, and everyone was very happy to answer their questions.

Daniela: I’m not a vegetarian so first I felt kind of like a spy or something, particularly when everyone started introducing themselves and mentioning how long they’ve been veg*an -but, by the time I shared my plantain recipes I was in.

Stef: Jamie and Rachel brought a couple of cookbooks to pass around and review, and we exchanged tips on everything from dealing with family pressure to eat meat to delicious vegan breakfast options.

Daniela: Now I have a badass list of vegan deserts to make as soon as I unpack my cooking utensils.

Sarah Croce: I think next camp we’ll do a recipe exchange!

campers strap it on for the ropes course on saturday (photo by meghan)

Riese: Autostraddle Trivia was an event that evolved from me noting how fun it was to write AS-related trivia questions for Jeopardy in April. AS Trivia cut the crap and got down to business with 100% Autostraddle-related questions. The winner of Autostraddle Trivia would not only nab the points for their color team, but win a 100% Campership for A-Camp May 2013. My money was on Brianna before I even knew if she was planning on coming.

Carrie, Forever 21 Counselor/Community Managerette: I could watch Brianna answer questions about Autostraddle all day. I mean, she knew the amount raised in the Indiegogo campaign down to the exact dollar! Girl is an Autostraddle factoid machine.

autostraddle trivia, early round (photo by katie)

Alex: My favorite part was Riese’s brilliant idea to read a selected comment and the contestants had to guess the guess the post it was from. This could only mean that we were treated to a dramatic reading of a comment from the infamous Taylor Swift article, obviously. Also you guys, the Autostraddle Trivia competition is serious. You know more this website than I do and I am amazed.

Riese: The final two competitors were Brianna and Alice, and the Final Round Challenge was to name as many Autostraddle Team members as possible in 60 seconds. Each went individually while the other waited outside the room.

Laneia: I got to escort Alice to the patio and I felt like Vanna White or one of those nameless women from The Price Is Right. What I’m saying is it was more fun that it should’ve been.

Riese: Here’s the amazing thing: THEY BOTH CHOKED. Seriously neither named more than five team members before apparently becoming frozen with fear and unable to go on, despite the eight team members in the audience gesticulating wildly and pointing to their own faces. Because both contestants blew that round though, it didn’t really count, and Brianna ended up winning the game! Free campership for Brianna!

Brittani: Looking around and seeing all of the writers present be completely stumped by some of the questions was one of my favorite moments of camp. When Brianna won, I felt like a proud mother. But I’d never met her so I just was a very proud stranger.



Block D:

Chapstick-making w/Laura

Slam Poetry w/Whitney, Gabby & Carmen

Sex Panel w/Riese, Carolyn, Daniela, Ali, Sara Medd & Mollie

Dealing With Isolation and Finding Community w/Guest Facilitator Sara Evan

Free Swim


Carmen: The Slam Poetry Workshop birthed the hashtag #dandybeast. Use at your own discretion and interpretation because it’s art.

Gabby: We all shared solid pieces and took the time to comment on each other’s work. Ashley is probably one of the best slam poets I’ve heard in a very long time. She could be a guest panelist next time. Homegirl gave me the poetry chills. But for real, It’s hard to concentrate on poetry when a raucous sex-panel is happening on the camp grounds. We ended early to catch the last twenty minutes of the panel.

hanging out on a log (photo by madeline)

Carolyn: After lunch I mostly spent my time worrying about The Sex Panel. Bourbon may or may not have been involved. I was also nervous about the fact that my main qualifications for being on the panel were my involvement with the NSFW Sunday, which mostly qualifies me to recommend semi-tasteful gender diverse tumblrs, and the fact that I have sex, which is not really a qualification.

Ali, Bomb Girls Counselor/Contributing Editor: You guys, I was so nervous about the sex panel that I could smell myself sweat. I got sick in the bathroom in Eagle before hand and luckily no one was in there to witness my shame.

Daniela: I dealt with my serious feelings about The Sex Panel by hugging Ali and freaking out with Carolyn -we even strategized about which seats we should take.

Riese: The Sex Panel is easy! Much like sex itself, chances are good that even if you’re nervous, it’s gonna go well and everybody will have a good time. Basically; the audience sticks their questions up our boxes and then we answer them ’til time runs out. We can go on and on and on.

Laneia: As an observer, I’d say that having Intern Grace read the questions to the panelist was one of the best decisions anyone has ever made at A-Camp.

Ali: Having not been present at the first A-Camp, and therefore at the first sex panel, I didn’t know what to expect and I was terrified that everyone would be terrified to talk about sex. I told my cabin that if there was any dead space, they had to just stand up and ask a question on the spot. I believe I said something to the effect of “Here are the topics I can talk about: I like to get hit in the face, oh, and I have a good fisting story I can tell. So if there’s silence, you’re obligated to ask me one of these things.” There was no silence and I should have had more faith in the 200 queers on a mountain. But I did get to tell my fisting story, and I love to talk about fisting.

Carolyn: Luckily Daniela is a sex educator and Ali is basically Daniela but with more graphic stories of being mauled by her cat during strap on sex, and we made it through.

Brittani: Nothing makes me happier with my own sex life than attending the sex panel. It’s weirdly reaffirming.

Sara Medd: I was there, I made people laugh. But I will never repeat what was said. You just have to be there.

Sarah Croce: Sex Panel: Sexy.

lucky socks at the sex panel (photo by katie)

Daniela: Everyone in the audience was so ready to be there and receptive and funny and then everyone on the panel was so smart and so ready to share their own stories and perspectives and have a sense of humour about this sex thing -it was great. I learned so much and loved so much having the time to just sit there and think and talk and geek out about sex -you can’t find those spaces everywhere, and I love that A-Camp provides us with that.

Ali: On top of many other things, I discovered that Daniela and I are leading parallel lives. Right down to the roles we had in the Vagina Monologues, we seem to be identical people. It’s scary. I have an extremely deep love for Daniela now. Deep, deep love. And I was so impressed with how much everyone knew about sex! I was so proud to have been included in such an amazing group.

wild applause at the sex panel

Ali: I have a lot of feelings about talking about sex. We, in our communities, talk about literally everything else. But we don’t talk about this huge part of our lives. Sex is on a list of needs for most (but not all) people. It’s a huge motivator in our actions, it is a part of many of our relationships. It has the power to maim our bodies or send them into ecstasy and has a huge amount of control over our psychological well-being. And yet this incredibly important topic doesn’t get airtime in the same way other topics does. We need to, as a culture, de-taboo talking about sex. I should be able to get any job I want while being out about the fact that I’m a sex writer, but that’s not the case. And I feel as though us 200 queers talking about sex in public and with each other on a mountain is such a good step toward that. Our bodies deserve pleasure. And us bringing that into normal is one of the ways to attain that pleasure, to make it easy for us to talk to our partners about sex.

Riese: To take a crack at the questions we didn’t have time to answer and get the toys/etc recommended in the panel, check out last week’s NSFW Sunday Special.

sex is hilarious! (photo by kelly)


Next: And the moon will rise and the sun will set…

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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 3225 articles for us.


    • *Hunger Salute*

      And so it was that Purple team won the Recap War after already winning the Rainbow War. Unfortunately we’re losing the Gay Pet War(for now).

      Purple for life!!!

    • Thanks, Mer!

      *Hunger salute*

      I will properly respond to this final recamp after I finish processing all those feelings…

  1. Okay. After going through all the pictures, reading campers quotes, reading what the staff had to say, all of these feelings are coming back.

    I want to thank everybody soooooo much for being the amazing people that you are and teaching me so much in a span of 4-5 days. A-Camp was one of the best experiences in my life, and I can’t wait to see everyone again in May.

    Somebody’s chopping onions in the office, yo.


    If you don’t absolutely have to, for heaven’s sake don’t take the first bus out of camp on the last day. It is rather isolating and you end up with WAY TOO MANY FEELINGS and no one or no where to process them.

    I’m considering roadtripping it next time.

    • Word. I woke up still, um… “tipsy” at 8 AM for my 8 AM shuttle, I had gone to bed at 5:30 AM.

      You WILL have loads of fun, don’t do the early shuttle.

    • FACT! It is so hard to say goodbye, but I think it is probably important and if you can’t miss the 8am shuttle try to remember to say goodbye the night before preferably before Klub Deer.

      I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone other than the other 8am kids (but a few of them were former nooners and I think I even did the *cough*hungersalute*cough)and Stef who gave me my morning feelings farewell hug and I feel like my heart is still on the mountain in a lot of ways because goodbye and or breakfast might have helped stop the Gin Nalgene induced cryfest that happened alone at LAX and for 3 of 6 hours in Dallas.

  3. “Crystal: At the end Carly ran up to me saying, “OMG did you see our campers perform? We have the BEST cabin!” and we high-fived in agreement. We were just so proud of everyone.”

    this just makes me want to cry and hug carly and crystal forever. i seriously think the best thing that maybe happened to me this camp was how amazing my counselors were. i feel so lucky.

    also, that photobomb picture with carly and robin in the background had me laughing forever.

    i should be packing to move to chicago in 10 days but I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS RIGHT NOW I CAN’T.

    • Yes to everything Jen said (except I’m not moving). I really go to know my cabin really well this time and can’t wait to see everyone again. Also, I have a question about May camp. Who should I e mail?

  4. OMG. I am wearing my camp shirt today and now I am crying. Miss you all! Especially my gay bopsie twin plaid wearing entourage. I LOVE the photo booth pics. I am counting down the days til next A-camp. Love you all!!! A girl couldn’t dream up a better group of people to call her friends and family. Seriously.

  5. BANGARANG. THIS. “It’s not about trying to being a “man.” For me (maybe even us) dapperness is where queerness connects to my instincts to be chivalrous, old school, gentle, well-dressed and dignified.” <<< all the words I never knew how to use to describe myself! I love it, thank you for that Gabby Darling (get it? peter pan reference? ..anybody?) ;)

    • This was my favourite comment so far. Of all the comments. It hit me right in the heart. I am femme/androgynous/tomgirl identified, I guess… but for all my dapper friends, lovers/partners, and most of all my current flame/boyfriend/girlfriend – truth.

      Also, well-played on the peter pan comment, yo.

    • aww sweet. you just made my night. now i’m having all these feelings and can’t find the words! so much love, darling, so much dapper love.

  6. I wanted to make all these wonderfully insightful comments after each page, but then promptly forgot everything I wanted to say because #FEELINGS.

    Also, that is super soon for May registration. I’m going to have to go into overdrive convincing my girlfriend that Camp is for her, too.

  7. so much SNATCH LOVE in this post! <3 between the drunken dance photos, and the fact that I got like, 3 shout outs in this recap I think I will have this big goofy smile plastered on my face the whole rest of the day :D

    NOVEMBER 12TH YOU GUYS. I don't care how broke I am.

  8. I’m not entirely sure where Crystal was, but I distinctly remember playing soccer on Saturday… 3v3 IIRC, through my altitude-magnified alcohol-hazed memories.

    • I was probably waiting out front of Wolf Lodge to see if anyone wanted to play soccer. I can’t believe I missed my own activity, what a champ.

  9. Aww! A few of my pictures were posted! And of course the video I took of Marni’s “Do It Like A Dude”, and Ali posted a link to her blog where she embedded the video I took of her telling her fisting story :)

    Also, I miss camp and can’t wait for November 12th so I can reserve a spot for May!

  10. You guys, I miss you all so much! Maybe road trip next year so more time together? Hansen, Torre, I’m looking at you. We can take detours and pick up the rest of the Avengers on the way!!!

  11. Reading all the recamps has convinced me more than ever, even though I felt deeply last April that I wanted to come this fall, but just couldn’t swing it, that I need to attend A-Camp next May. Though I am a grad student and though I live in Vancouver, I simply cannot think of one reason why I cannot make that shit happen. Not only did I work at summer camp for 6 years growing up, so camp is already heavenly, but queer camp where magic happens in all shapes and forms?!?!

    See you at A-Camp 2013!!

  12. “I cannot listen to both the True Blood theme song and “Feeling Good” without thinking about that performance.”

    Mission accomplished.

    Also, huge, amazing thanks to the two campers brave enough to learn and perform an exotic dance after *one* lesson! Best “recital” ever!

    Also also, Saturday will always live in my mind as the day I taught a whole routine to five amazing girls (and a whole second routine to Mollie, who seriously picks up choreography like a champ) we caught Julie and Brandy peeping and ended up bringing then into Deer for a private performance. Also Brandy told me Launa is a very sexual name and I haven’t been able to think of my name the same way since.

    Basically camp was inspiring and perfect again and if I can raise the money to go in May I promise another talent show striptease and I’ll get more naked (pro tip: if you’re shy and don’t want to appear in a ton of photos, dance next to Mollie when she decides to strip down to her underwear. It’ll be magical for you and you can be fairly certain no one is looking at you, LOL!)

  13. Everything I have heard about A-Camp makes me positive that this is something I need to do very much.
    How easy/hard is it to save a spot for yourself? As in, do I need to camp out by my computer to register the minute it opens?

    • spaces usually fill up within a few days — you can reserve one by putting down a non-refundable $50 deposit. however a lot of people end up canceling, in April there was a long waitlist of people who never got in, but in September everybody who wanted in, got a spot… in April we only had room for 165 campers though, in September we had room for 250. also september’s dates were like the worst dates of the year to do camp because of school, so that could contribute to why everyone got in. so,w e’ll see! i’d recommend camping out by the computer. it’ll get you in good practice for camping in general.

  14. Jetpack/Purple team recamp domination!! The fucking best of times, you guys. The best of all the times.

    • the thing about the golden girls is that no matter who “wins” the “rainbow wars,” they’ve always got gold

  15. I don’t even know what to say anymore you guys a camp put my heart together and then everyone left and where are those pieces that felt so glued?

    I love everyone in all of the photobooth pictures that was such a genius idea!! Everyone seems to be having such a wonderful and silly time.

    I especially love that picture of Tiana, Ju and me so much I want it big also

    MISFITS you guys what am I doing with my hands but our pictures are beautiful I mean really beautiful even the one I’m not in. Misfits succeed in beauty.

  16. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this post was too much for me.

    carly and alex, i love you. everyone, those whom i’ve met already and those who i’ve yet to meet, i love you.

    so much.


  17. These recamps always result in me wandering around campus with my face glued to my phone and then realizing I’ve stopped moving and because I’m so caught up reliving the emotions and experiences!!

    Also, Saturday was the longest day of my life! In such a good way, but seriously somehow 24 hours has never been so filled with activities and love <3

    • yes, me too. standing in the middle of the path, being that obnoxious person who just stops in the middle of pedestrian traffic.

  18. re: Autostraddle Trivia. First of all, I can always count on Carrie to come up with flattering AS-related nicknames for me, such as “Autostraddle’s Official Historian,” “Autostraddle’s encyclopedic magician,” and now “Autostraddle factoid machine.” <3 you.

    re: the lightning round: Alice definitely named 100% more team members than I did. Even if she was sweating it a little bit. Just thought I’d defend her honor.

    Also also also, where did all of those pictures even come from? I mean I saw people taking pictures but this is my first time seeing any of them. My #1 feeling is that I need a haircut.

  19. holy shit those photo booth pics made me cry. i’ve never cried at a recap. WHEN IS CAMP AGAIN CAN IT BE NOW

  20. My comments weren’t put in the recamp so Imma just post them right here:

    The tattoo/body art discussion was a bunch of us sitting around a picnic table, showing off our tattoos. Everyone had incredible, elaborate, beautiful pieces and I only have a few smallish ones, so I tried not to say anything until Crystal made me. Thanks, Crystal. Thanks for that. Actually, everyone was really nice and the discussion turned to workplace acceptance and that we like female tattoo artists best. Also, I want about two thousand more tattoos because of this little talk so my wallet thanks you all.

    Autostraddle trivia actually just surprised me. Some of you really, really love Autostraddle. I had no idea how deep your love runs but I’m so grateful for it.

    THE TALENT SHOW. Are there words? Sooo much Andrea Gibson, which I’m totally fine with. So. Many. Feelings. The skit about lesbian Jesus was hilarious, thank you guys for that. Zeller now sings, “Blame it on the altitude” because she doesn’t know the real words to that song and I consider this a success.

    After the talent show, Julie and Brandy introduced all of the Autostraddle team and I got to be in it! I went through camp in relative anonymity because I wasn’t a staff member. I didn’t know this was happening and I was sitting in the back and couldn’t get to the front and everyone was so kind and parted their chairs for me. I actually don’t remember anything about it except Brandy getting me confused with someone else, saying I was going to fix the site. Whatever! I’m fine with it! I tried to hide behind Morgan, telling her that her hair was too pretty to be in the back row. It is, just so you know.

    At the dance, I mostly just took awesome pictures at the photobooth. I think the highlight of the dance for me was a Misfits camper refilling a couple’s cup for them while they were making out and they were really, really grateful. This wouldn’t have happened anywhere else.

  21. I would like to say something very meaningful and smart but I can´t get over the pictures of MARNI doing things. Her butching up is like foreplay or something, so I just go back to page 1, stare and objectify the shit out of her. And I´m not gonna feel guilty about it.

    ldfehowighrpl …

  22. Okay, so I know that there were a few campers who also played violin so I figure I should let you all know what my solo song was. It was Grazyna Bacewicz’s Polish Caprice. It’s actually way easier than you might think and it’s super fun to play.

    Also, I highly recommend looking her up on Wikipedia because, not only is her life and accomplishments pretty awesome, she has the most don’t-give-any-fucks picture.

  23. looking at those pictures I can only repeat what I said/thought at camp ALL the time: EVERYONE IS SO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.

    a friend of mine texted me last night because she started to cry when she saw pictures of me at camp.

    girlfriend on the other hand makes fun of me because she says that a) I obviously look like I am praying in the healthy luncheon picture and b) she’s very amused by the “hey I got a shiny thing on my head”-expression I make in the cabin picture. “It looks like they photoshopped you into that picture, everyone is goofing around and you’re just like ‘look at me I’m pretty'”

    reading all the recamps, I feel like I should have talked to a lot more people and done things I wouldn’t necessarily have done. next time…

    • what I really wanted to say is that I didn’t get to say goodbye to ca. 100 important people and itfelt really bad. Daniela kept running away because she didn’t want to cry and that was really cute but heartbreaking too…

  24. So I didn’t even go but reading all these recaps has made me cry so I’m sat here crying at my laptop and my mum just walked in and asked what’s wrong and I don’t know how to explain that I’m crying that all these queermos I’ve never even met are just so HAPPY. I think you broke me goddammit.

  25. Saturday was the day I decided I was done have feelings, and I am consequently having too many feelings now.

  26. These recaps make me really sad that I won’t be able to make it to A-Camp for the forseeable future but also really happy that something like this even exists. For all the queers but especially for the younger queers, or the ones who don’t have a support system in real life. I’m 32 and have been out for many years and am lucky to have a totally supportive family. But when I think about what A-Camp would’ve meant to me and done for me when I was 18 and just coming out and scared and confused and all of those things, I could cry.

    So please keep having A-Camp for years and years, so all of the people who may need it or who simply just want it can experience it. If it’s still going a few years from now, when my wife and I will perhaps be able to travel without kids, we’ll be there with bells on.

  27. I’m so happy that more pictures of me were taken on Sunday — when I was unshowered and sad — than on any other day.

  28. Instead of reading “OH, REAL LIFE and your humans”, I read it as “OH, REAL LIFE and your hummus.” The laughter that ensued helped relieve some of feelings I had built up while reading this recap.

  29. to the lovely queermo that had feelings with me on the swings after the gender panel, you’re on my mind and totally in my heart. i hope you’re well and finding that good groove between where you are and where you’re going. mad love. you are bold, strong and badass.

    swing set feelings forever.

  30. These posts have made me fall halfway in love with Carly – dem curlzz, dat bowtie y’all. Just sayin’.
    I want to go to the next a camp and drool over all the cute queers and their sidecuts!

  31. I have over 200 photos from A-Camp that are part of a slide show on my desktop. When my day is super bad, or I can’t deal with the conservative heteroness of my office I close everything down and just stare at my desktop. Thanks everyone for all the awesome memories and making office life just a little easier.

  32. Aw I feel like crying now because I just found out my family is planning on having a big reunion during the May camp. I would really rather go to camp. Poop.

  33. I am seriously almost crying because I desperately miss a place I have never been. Even though I’m flat broke and crazily trying to figure out how the hell i’m going to afford to go in september, simply the knowledge that such a thing even exists is just, phenomenal and makes me feel less alone in this world. Strange how simply knowing OF a thing makes you feel safer and more ok with being the queer person you are.

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