A-Camp September Recamp 4: Small Town Saturday Night

Sunday, September 16th

In which we enjoy a pajama breakfast and everybody goes home.

breakfast (photo by gabby)

Crystal: I had to get back to LA first thing to interview Vero, which meant leaving camp at a stupidly early hour and not being able to say goodbye to anyone. I hitched a ride with a car full of Thundercats who were on their way to see the US women’s soccer game (obvs) and by the time we’d reached the bottom of the mountain I had burrowed up against a camper and was sleeping the most peaceful sleep of my life.

Riese: I’d returned to my bed from The Runaways Cabin circa 5AM, so you can imagine I felt like a billion bucks when I woke up at 8AM on Sunday for Pajama Breakfast!

Laneia: Team Sad-Ass Hangover.

Carmen: I woke up at 8:30 AM on Sunday and was depressed as fuck to be leaving the little lesbian colony I’d called home for six days. I also was worried I had forgotten what urban areas and relative civilization looked like, and was terrified to descend into what we call “irl.” I arrived at breakfast late, stayed in Eagle Lodge late, and then drank a coffee and went to my cabin to pack and cry silent camp tears. JK. Sort of.

sad to go (photo by kacey)

Carmen: Geneva, Annika and I made our way to Wolf and then I made my way to the most important destination of all time, the Smokers’ Circle. And then Katrina came over and I was like “HEY! COME SMOKE A CIG!” and she was like “HEY! WE WERE WRONG ABOUT OUR FLIGHT BEING AT 9 PM AND WE HAVE TO GET ON A SHUTTLE RIGHT NOW WHICH IS TWO HOURS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED!”

Gabby: So I made it to Transpo Captain Laura’s 10am shuttle and helped her heard the queers onto the bus. I didn’t even need to be on the shuttle cuz my flight was leaving later but fuck it, right? Then I realized my plane was actually leaving at 4pm and not 9pm. I immediately texted Carmen and Katrina so they could haul their out-of-it-WOC asses to the same shuttle cuz we were all leaving on the same plane.

Carmen: I threw my cigarette to Geneva, somehow lost my pack later on in the day, and got my luggage. I only said goodbye to the people standing right there at that exact moment and all I can reveal about the next series of exact moments is that they involve me having an incredible amount of feelings pour out of my exhausted, relatively tiny body and that they end in me passing out listening to The National five minutes later.

preparing to leave (photo by rachel walker)

Sarah Croce: Boyz II Men said it best:

How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.

I thought we’d get to see forever
But forever’s gone away
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

last-day photobombing

Daniela: I can’t do goodbyes, so I was in a full state of denial the whole day.

Brittani: I misspoke earlier. Tiny spring rolls won camp.

Cee: All of a sudden it was over and I was on a bus on the way to the airport.

GET IN THE VAN!

Carmen: Gabby, Katrina and I did what we always do – drink pre-flight and try to process privately around one another. We boarded our flight with full bellies and I was wearing what Gabby went on to name my “boom boom shorts.” We didn’t end up having seats next to each other. I slept for the next 30 hours, on the plane and then on the train and then on the bus, all the way until I got home and did it some more. I tried to write but this time I had nothing left to say to myself. I think maybe my body thinks it was all just a big, alcohol-induced dream, but probably just because it doesn’t know what to do with something so special. I know better.

Riese: We spent Sunday cleaning everything, which is a daunting task, and packing/re-packing everything, which makes me want to die every time, because if I leave the wrong thing behind, the entire world will explode. Last time I left a pillow behind.

Marni: When we were just about done cleaning up the site on Sunday and I was thanking (Alpine Assistant Director) Katie before we left, she asked me if I’d been at Klub Deer the night before. When I said I hadn’t, without skipping a beat she said, “Why? Were you not on the list?”

tying up the rope (photo by alex vega)

+

disposing of the alcohol and other beverages (photo by stef)

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deflating the shark (photo by stef)

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seriously get in the van

Brittani: Thinking about going back to LA was way sadder than last camp. Mostly because everyone else was ready to get off that mountain and I’d just gotten there. LA would be a place where this thing hadn’t happened and where so many people didn’t know it happened. Like more people than don’t know who killed Jenny. It’s bothersome.

Laneia: It finally hit me that everything was over, which is when I started crying like an actual toddler and didn’t really stop until Megan bought me a fish taco and made inappropriate gestures with a french fry. We made lists and notes for the next camp, which is the only way to move on, in my experience.

Annika: On the final day of camp, after packing, cleaning, and several emotional goodbyes, Daniela, Whitney, and I climbed into Stef’s trusty rental van and drove down the mountain. We all had a few hours to kill before our flights left, so we decided to stop by Croce/Medd/Alex’s place in Echo Park, and then Carly and Robin showed up too which meant that we all had to repeat the emotional goodbyes from earlier that morning again.

Daniela: Before getting back to the airport, Stef, Whitney and I had dinner at this place called Mohawk Bend, which I thought it was quite fitting to the theme of the week. Still I didn’t really get the fact that Camp was over, that I wouldn’t be seeing everybody’s faces every day anymore until Stef got off the bus at the airport and Whitney and I hugged goodbye at her terminal. My phone died as soon as I got to my terminal and before I had a chance to freak out, camper Mary came out of nowhere and lend me hers, proving that the A-Camp love doesn’t die as soon as you leave the mountain. Once I started walking towards my gate, trying to ignore my own feelings, I ran into camper Keisha leaning against some chairs at her gate, watching Alex’s talent show performance on her phone while she waited for her flight and I quietly lost it. As soon as I reached my gate I retreated to myself and let the magnitude of A-Camp’s amazingness overwhelm the hell out of me, so I played “Call Your Girlfriend” on repeat until I had to board my plane.

Riese: In April, the last day was an epic shit-show and I was hungover/tired/hungry/dirty/needy, but it was all pretty painless. Except lunch.

Crystal: Later in the day I met up with Riese and Marni for our post-camp ritual of dining at The Cheesecake Factory.

Riese: The Cheesecake Factory is a jarring re-entry to Real Life, as illustrated by the patron in the ladies room who told Marni she was in the wrong bathroom. Our first journey to a public restroom after camp! OH, REAL LIFE and your humans.

Crystal: Everything felt so different compared to the last time we had done this, when our conversations were filled with notes on things that could’ve gone better. This time all we talked about were the things that had gone right, which was everything.

Riese: Things are gonna go so much better next time, though. I mean we already have so many ideas!!


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Next: Dance Photobooth Pictures, final thoughts On Camp, and the date registration will open for A-Camp May 2013.


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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2855 articles for us.

103 Comments

    • *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!!!

    • Mel

      Thanks, Mer!

      *Hunger salute*

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

    • And of course, the ever-so-amazing BRIANNA!!!

      Jetpack love, y’all.

  1. you guys i think the plural of anonymous is anonymice, obvs

  2. I feel like that picture of Stef should be her new picture for all purposes, ever.

    • (that picture being the ‘get in the van’ picture, if that wasn’t clear previously)

  3. 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.

  4. Creatrix Tiara

    TIP FOR FUTURE A-CAMPERS:

    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.

    • Lanie

      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.

      • Lanie every time you comment and I see your avatar I get really emotional.

        • Lanie

          <3 me too it is my new fave picture. I miss you and Carly and the Thundercats!

          • carlytron

            me three! #feelings

      • Creatrix Tiara

        AAAHHH ME TOO. I was the only one flying Delta and was way too early and just urghhhhhhh.

  5. yo i volunteer to hop the next dapper luncheon. i salute you.

  6. “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.

    • Sam

      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?

      • email a.camp.september[at]gmail[dot]com and i’ll get it to the right place :)

  7. 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.

  8. Joy

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • YES. I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for the flight all the way from France, but my visa expires two days before camp starts, so it’ll happen. Somehow. Lesbian Jesus, hear my prayer…

  11. 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.

      • You were probs still shaken up about the spider and needed to decompress.

  12. 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!

  13. The pictures of me, Jill, and Nate should be our wedding photos. Guys, let’s get married.

  14. 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!!!

  15. 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!!

  16. “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!)

  17. 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.

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

  18. 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.

    • My semi-prom date, I miss you.

      Definitely want those photobooth pictures in big, tooooo!

  19. Sar

    i just hit on a lesbian by showing her this recap.

    great success

  20. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    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.

    SIGH

    • carlytron

      MICHELLE ATTAH! YOU ARE THE BEST! Will we be seeing you in May!?!!?

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Mer

    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.

  22. 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.

    • Brianna, there will never be enough names to describe your amazingness.

      • it’s no “your clit deserves it,” but i’d take it if i were you.

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

  24. 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.

  25. red she said

    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 …

  26. 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.

  27. 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…

  28. Sawyer

    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.

  29. Amy

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

  30. Ava

    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.

  31. carlytron

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

  32. m

    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.

  33. 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.

  34. Anna

    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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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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