feature image by Taylor Hatmaker
Last week Autostraddle hosted A-Camp X, the tenth iteration of our wildly successful, extremely ambitious, and incredibly affirming annual adult summer camp event. We had a feeling it was going to be a good one – we’ve had nine times to perfect the weirdo art of this endeavor, after all – but this A-Camp not only met our high expectations, it blew them right out of the atmosphere. We have some feelings about it that we’d like to share; perhaps you do too!
(Also, if you’re more of a visual person or you just want to feast your eyes upon a bajillion incredibly attractive and wonderful queerdos, check out the #autostraddlecamp tag on Instagram, because it is TRULY INSPIRING IN A VARIETY OF WAYS.)
First of all, as the community editor of Autostraddle dot com, I would like to personally thank every single camper who attended A-Camp X. Without our campers, we would be nothing. The folks who attend A-Camp are some of the bravest, smartest, coolest, hottest, most incredible humans I have ever met. So many campers show up at camp not knowing a single other soul, and by the end of the session it feels like we’ve all been friends forever. That’s not a random accident – it’s because A-Campers are kind, inclusive, and generous. I witnessed so many acts of compassion and openness at A-Camp X. We were gentle with each other, and I could feel that we were all grateful for it.
Our campers are kind, and they are also so, so, so weird! In the best possible way. They are inventive and creative and hilarious. We had a camper who acts as a full-time mail person, delivering love notes and urgent messages all across camp in a full-on uniform that we certainly did not provide! (Thank you, Mailperson Maggie!) We had a board filled with missed connections that ranged from notes about who was single, offers for rides to LAX post-camp, and a casting call for a project called the Butchelorette. That’s just how camp goes, and it is one of my favorite parts: outside of the programming that the A-Camp staff works so hard to create, we have an incredibly robust set of activities that the campers simply take upon themselves to organize. Camp is truly a place where you can create your own reality and make your dreams come true.
Speaking of the A-Camp staff, my second order of business is to shout out the incredible staff team and the exceptional talent we had join us this year at A-Camp. Did you know Mary Lambert came to A-Camp, y’all? Sit down for a second and breath with that information. Mary Lambert came to A-Camp and she loved it! She told me getting interviewed by me for Autostraddle back in 2013 was as good a feeling as going to the Grammy Awards! I don’t really believe her but it was SO NICE OF HER TO SAY! We were also blessed with the presence of the following talented humans: Kim Katrin Milan, Mara Wilson, Gaby Dunn, Brittani Nichols, Mal Blum, Be Steadwell, Jen Richards, and Ava Benjamin Schorr. I could write full-on essays about how talented and inspiring each one of them is, but I’ll let the campers do that in the comments. Alongside the talent we had our tireless staff members, almost all of whom give up a week of paid work to volunteer their time to make A-Camp run. If the campers are the weirdo heart of the operation, our staff and talent are the backbone and the lungs. Are you following this metaphor? I didn’t sleep a lot last week. What I’m saying is, THANK YOU to the entire A-Camp staff and talent team, who set up an incredibly intricate structure and breathed life into the space so that a ginormous group of queer babes could prance and pounce through and infuse the whole goddamn event with more love and affirmation than most of us feel in a lifetime, let alone in five days.
We are so lucky. We are so grateful. We can’t wait to keep putting this event on forever and ever, and we hope every single human being reading this who wants to attend A-Camp is able to one day. It will change your life.
Did you attend A-Camp X? Tell us all your feelings in the comments! What was your favorite program? Did you like all four different kinds of berries equally? Was your bunk the cutest place ever? What about your new friends and your new skills and your new confidence and your new (old) irritation with straight people? Show us your cutest photos! Direct us to your Instagram feeds! I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING!
A note to our readers who did not attend A-Camp, aka Most Of You, and our Autostraddle staff who were also unable to attend: Thank you for holding down the site while we were away! Thank you for being supportive and for those of you telling us you’re saving up to come to camp next year and for being so great, really truly madly deeply. You’re lovely. We see you and we appreciate you. And to the campers who did attend A-Camp – you probably missed some really rad articles we published on Autostraddle dot com last week while you were busy crafting and dancing and sportsballing and making out – so be sure to go back to the previous week’s articles and see if you missed anything relevant to your interests!
IN CONCLUSION: Go browse the #autostraddlecamp hashtag for a very nice experience on Instagram, and I’ll see you in the comment section to gush unapologetically about how wonderful and healing and restorative the A-Camp X experience turned out to be. Is it A-Camp 2019 yet?!