Introducing Camp Autostraddle

click for more on a-camp

In July 2010, I woke up at 3am and wrote “CAMP – THIS WILL BE OUR THING” on a notepad I keep by my bed for nocturnal moments of genius. I can’t remember precisely what thoughts I was thinking before I thought the thought about camp, but I remember all the thoughts we’ve had since as the project has expanded and become a team effort.


What Would Autostraddle Look Like in 3-D?

Here’s the idea: a few hundred of you, 20 of us, and a beautiful group retreat site in the mountains. We’ve cherry picked the things we like about other queer women’s events and vacations — hilarious comedy, diverse panels, the occasional dance party and the chance to revel in one another’s awesomeness — added heaps of our own original ideas, and found a way to serve it to you for a fraction of what those other events cost.

It’s an opportunity for you to discover new things about yourself, enhance your relationships within the international queer community, make new friends forever, support Autostraddle, and, you know — get away from your laptop for three days!


A-Camp: A Place Where You Can Be Yourself

We feel like there’s a void out there for awesome queer women who desperately wanna meet each other and experience the magic of communing with like minds, but aren’t into beer-soaked pool parties and can’t swing cruises to the Bahamas. Our original idea was to hold Camp a few times a year, for 4-7 days each time, in different locations, but that seemed like a huge thing to dive into, thus . . .

The First Ever A-Camp Weekend was born!! It’s a pilot run that gives all of us a chance to determine the website’s future!



When: Thursday April 26th – Sunday April 29th, 2012

Where: Alpine Meadows Retreat Center in Angelus Oaks, California. It’s 1.5 hours from Palm Springs, 2 hours from Los Angeles, 2.5 hours from San Diego, 4 hours from Las Vegas, 5 hours from Phoenix and 8 hours from San Francisco. We’ll be running shuttles from LAX to the campsite all day on April 26th and shuttles back to LAX on April 29th.

Lodging: You’ll be having the bestest biggest surprise slumber party of your life in fully insulated, carpeted & heated cabins with private bathroom/showers/baths and generously-sized bunk beds.

Just $50 down reserves your spot!

Cost: $300

Your Cost Includes:

* 3 nights lodging
* 3 meals a day and snacks (with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and kosher options)
* Full access to a variety of daytime programming situations, including typical camp stuff like crafts and sports as well as workshops and panels with AS Teamasters
* World-Class Night-time Entertainment: The entire event will be MC’ed by world’s funniest duo, Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard
* Gift bag with exclusive Camp-Only Autostraddle T-shirt you can sell on ebay in ~4 years


* Memories that will last a lifetime, probably longer
* Staff dedicated to all of your feelings or lack thereof
Be an active part of the group that determines the future of A-Camp

Who: You guys! You guys are really gonna like each other! All ages welcome/encouraged! ALSO:

Also — Camp TeaMasters will be Robin & Marni/bcw, and your “counselors” and workshop leaders presently include, confirmed: comediennes/actresses/writers Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard, actress/singer Haviland Stillwell, actress/producer Sarah Croce, actress/writer Ashley Reed, Internet Superstar Chef Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen, Stylist Sara Medd, DJ/filmmaker Carlytron, Fashion Icon Fitforafemme and world famous photographer Robin Roemer as well as Riese, Laneia, Crystal, Annika, Taylor, Katrina, Emily, Whitney, Intern Hot Laura, Alex, Lizz, Brittani, Bren, Gabby, Jess S., Intern Grace, Carmen, Kelsey and Stef.

In addition to having life-changing conversations around a campfire with some of the coolest girls you’ll ever meet, you’ll have tons of activities, workshops, groups and panel discussions to choose from every day.

We’re here, you’re queer, it’s family.

We’ll roll out information and take requests regarding programming over the next several weeks, but rest assured there will be so many fun things to do if you wanna do stuff, like:

 Lesbian Feminist Jeopardy

Writing workshops with Rachel & Riese

Basketball! Hiking! Arts & Crafts! Cooking! Yoga! Speed-Dating!

Photography with Robin

High Ropes Course, Climbing Tower and Zip Line

Unicorn Plan-It Hollywood Show

Queer Women of Color Panel

 Formspring LIVE! with Riese, Laneia, Rachel, Crystal, Taylor, Lizz and Alex

The diversity in our programming will reflect the diversity of our content — shit that makes you laugh, shit that makes you think, and shit that makes you wanna change the world.


1. Put down a $50 deposit and/or put down the entire $300 to secure your spot ASAP. There’s limited space, and we expect this’ll fill up quickly. Deposits are non-refundable, but they are transferrable. (This also makes a great last minute Valentine’s Day present!)

2. You’ll provide us with some basic information while making your deposit or payment this week. In two weeks, you’ll be asked for a lot more information about things like your t-shirt size, flight times and bunking needs/concerns/requests (cabins sleep between 6 and 20 people). Then all kinds of updates will keep happening until you arrive!

3. Start making travel arrangements!

If you’re flying, we recommend flying into LAX, because we will be running shuttles from there, but arrangements could also be made from the Palm Springs or Ontario airport, depending on demand. We will request flight information from you before camp begins.

If you are flying and will need transportation, please  fly in on Thursday April 26th before 6pm and book your return flight for Sunday, April 29th (we recommend flying out after noon, but can make other arrangements if necessary)

If you’re driving, then sweet! If you’re looking to carpool or caravan, you can coordinate with other campers via the ASS Camp group or Facebook Page (both will go up this week.)

4. You’ll also have access to the event website after making your payment, and can enjoy updates there.


Q: But I’m really socially awkward! What if I go there alone and don’t make any friends?!
A: Oh girl, we ALL feel you, which’s why we’re committed to 100% social comfort. I can tell you who doesn’t make that claim and her name is Dinah Shore. Firstly, Autostraddlers are the most amazing, kind, inclusive people in the world and Secondly, we’ll be prepared for Shystraddlers and the team will be prepped on how to ensure nobody will feel weird or awkward at camp. This is our top priority. You have my promise and honestly I rarely promise things. We got this shit on eight kinds of lock.

Q: I’m really super poor but I want to go so bad!
A: Firstly, this is a once-in-a-lifetime Utopia-esque situation, I recommend getting your emergency funds out. But we get that hard times are here for some of you, and that’s why we’ve set up a “pay it later” system. Let us know when you put down your deposit that you’ll need to pay via installment plan. No fees, no gimmicks, no credit checks. We’ll work with you to get you there. That’s just how much we want you to come.

Q: Is there Wi-Fi?
A: NOPE! I know it’s scary!

Q: Will there be any free time?
A: Yup! I mean you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Go read by the river or go videotape your friend hiding in a tree like a monkey or just lie on the grass or in your bed. You can do whatever you wanna do, you’re a grown-up!

Q: Are there extra charges for any activities?
A: Yes, there is a $15 fee for those requiring transportation to/from LAX, $20 fee for the Ropes Course or Climbing Tower, $25 for a private voice lesson with Haviland and $10 for a private writing tutorial with Riese.

Q: Do you need any more speakers/activity leaders?
A: If you’re either famous, internet-famous or have a strong background in queer activism/social justice issues and experience talking to groups about that, we could use some more of both of those kinds of people. Hit us up – robin [at] autostraddle [dot] com & autostraddle.merch [at] gmail [dot] com.

Q: Me and all my friends want to go together, can we stay in the same cabin?
A: Yes.

Q: I got so inspired by your State of the Union yesterday that I donated my last 50 bucks!
A: Shoot us an email and we’ll work out a transfer.


You guys, this is the closest thing you’ll ever get to magic.

Register Now. You Don’t Wanna Miss This.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of 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 California. 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 3074 articles for us.


  1. oh my god. oh my god.
    you know what. I so hope this is going to be the biggest success of forever so that there can be a camp no. 2.
    I mean. I would come from Germany if my final exams wouldn’t start around may 3rd. it’s breaking my heart a little bit. because from june to whenever, I have all the time in the world cause I’ll be unemployed and travelling around.

    also, I’d really like to thank Gabby in person for her sweet words after my grandma died. really.

  2. Okay. Here’s the plan: I’m a finalist for National Merit, which would give me a $2500 scholarship. This only costs 300 + a plane ticket. So, my parents (who are paying for my college, bless their hearts) still come out on top?

  3. Brava for some originality, Autostraddle!

    It warms my soul to know that you ladies are attempting something of this magnitude, ESPECIALLY an event that is so reasonable priced. If I wasn’t deep in the heart of Indiana, I would put down $100 today and sign my girlfriend and I up for this magnificent event. And a million thank yous for actually addressing the notion that some ladies are just a little shy at first and take some time and energy to open them up. You’re on the right track, babies. (Err…that babies part sounded weird, didn’t it? Sh*t).

  4. At some point in my life, I might live in America. Until then, this is the sort of thing I will dream about in my little pansexual heart. Everyone who goes has to have a magically fun time on my behalf NOT LIKE YOU WOULDN’T ALREADY THOUGH

  5. Blargh, despite being a continent and a lot of money away, this is alarmingly tempting.

    Can I make an advance request that while you are all in the woods, you enable image posting on here so those left behind can amuse themselves by posting a million animated gifs and take the whole site down? It will be theraputic for us.

    • cabins can sleep between 6 and 20 people, depending on the cabin. it’s a site used for corporate retreats and so forth, so it’s nice (we’re secretly way too high-maintenance to actually camp, so).

      we’ll be asking you all kinds of fun questions and taking requests and fielding concerns regarding your sleeping arrangements prior to arrival. I understand many of you will have special needs in this regard so we’ll be doing all we can to ensure y’all feel comfortable and safe.

      if you travel with somebody/ies you’d like to lodge with, then let us know and we’ll make it happen. but yes, you probably will be sharing with strangers WHICH IS PART OF THE FUN!!!! seriously it is! after filling all requests, tentatively we’ll be grouping cabins by age, i think? but like everything here, we’re listening to you!

  6. despite my social awkwardness, i was so going to do this! i was going to go alone and it was going to be scary but i was going to make friends! and i was super excited! and then i got to the registration page and realized that it’s the weekend of my best friend’s wedding and i’m in her wedding party.



  7. I want to I want to I want to go!!!
    Is it weird if I’m a high schooler and everyone else is way older and I feel odd and out of place? I’m 18!! That makes it legal right? Will I feel young and sad? Can I convince my parents to let me? These are important questions!!

  8. um this is my dream. I don’t think it is realistic for me to go, though, since I live on the East coast and don’t have my own income, and this is too cool to actually happen. HOWEVER, I hope there are Autostraddlers going to IvyQ at Brown in a couple days! It’s the next best thing, I guess!

  9. Eeeee I am working a temporary job that will end shortly after that, so I feel weird taking a couple of days off…especially when I’ve already taken off a day for Coachella. But I will talk to my boss today and figure out the situation.

    I am not sure if I can overcome my embarrassment/awkward feelings about being a queer girl who has never had a real queer relationship and is currently in a straight one. :/ Would that bother people?

  10. Oooh, camp activities.

    Two words: Starcraft Tournament!
    Three Other Words: Doctor Who Marathon! Oooh, you could have panel discussion on which companion is the cutest (Spoiler Alert: It’s Amy Pond)

    Well, if I still lived in Cali, I would certainly consider it. I hope it goes well! ^_^

  11. You have no idea (OK actually lots of you probably do) how insanely jealous I am of everyone who ends up going to this.

    I wish tons o’ success on this magical fairy adventure so that it can happen again and again, preferably in many locations state-and-worldwide. :)

    • “exploded into glitter”

      I LOVE that…I think I might have to use that at some point (with your permission lol)

      On a sadder note, I can’t go even though I really, really, REALLY want to. Being in the army means you have to take leave and it’s a whole process. Plus, we are deploying soon and I want to save my leave and my money so that I can go home before we head out. I hope it goes well so that it can happen again!

  12. Nooooo! I’m graduating on the 29th!! If only it could’ve been moved up like 2 days, then it would’ve landed during the week’s break I have between the end of the classes and graduation day. Sigh!

    This sounds absolutely amazing though!

  13. This looks amazing…if only I could justify spending $600 on a plane ticket…um, maybe you should consider having one in Hawaii? Just saying. We have a lot of beaches. And rainbows.

  14. The thought of just how awesome this is definitely going to be is making my brain have seizures. A few more of those and then maybe I’ll be fully convinced to use all my money to just fly over from Europe, already. YOU GUYS I WANT TO COME SO BADLY, why is the Atlantic so big/expensive to cross?

  15. NOOOOOOOOO I mean YESSSSSSSS but also nooooo I go to school in LA but I’m abroad in Paris this semester :[

    By which I mean :] because Paris, but also :[ because I want so so so badly to be a part of A-Camp v1.0. Pinky swear there’ll be another?

  16. I’d love to go, but I’m a Midwesterner on a travel budget. I’ll be in California in early April to visit 3 grad schools, but the official visit dates all end about 2 weeks before A-Camp starts. I can’t afford to squat in Cali until then.

    The only way I can go to A-Camp is if I’m accepted to Stanford – its admitted students weekend ends just a few days before A-Camp, so I could just drive down from SF. Stanford’s decision just got more crucial…

    Brilliant plan ladies. Whomever came up with this deserves a raise/promotion/benevolent glitter bomb.

    I also vote for an East Coast version of A-Camp.

  17. This better be super duper successful. $300 is only £191 which would be totally do-able. UNFORTUNATELY the airfare is the killer and totally unaffordable so here’s what I’m going to do Autostraddle. I’ll donate a bunch of money this year. At the end of June I’ll hand in my PhD thesis, I’ll graduate and then get a real job. Then next year I’ll fly over and join youse all. That’s what I’ll do. Unless I win the lottery or come into a lot of money. Then I’ll be there.

  18. So I was gonna go to Dinah Shore this year, haha FUCK THAT!

    OH MY GAYS, I am so excited! I’ll be coming aaaaaaaall the way from the UK and it’s going to be so. fucking. worth. it.

    But please don’t have Harto as the secret guest. I will queen out so bad on her, it will be traumatizing for all parties.

    Also, there needs to be a five a side soccer tournament. And touch rugby. I’m happy to do coaching for touch rugby. I’m certified!

  19. well i could go to this or to russia and croatia for two weeks this summer…. agggg two once in a lifetime opportunities in the same year when i have no money ever. ima just go rob a 1%er or something. womp womp

  20. Sitting in a cafe (where no homos play) in this broken down citae, annotating my literature review draft, I’ve written in the column –

    1) oh my lordy AS CAMP!!
    2) writing/knowing how to write –> important
    3) i need to buy a plant

    I hope everyone who goes has the time of their lives! How amaze

  21. [I will not be a downer. I will not whine. I will not be a whining downer.]

    A-Camp is a fantastic idea. I predict it will also be a fantastic reality and a wild success. Hope everyone has a great time (mellow and groovy vibes sent, especially to the socially awkward peoples—aka my variety of peoples).

    [Remarkable job, self. Being happy for others is nice. Four for me.]

    • Don’t even get me started, I know how to make the butterfly, the box and the Chinese staircase…

      Omg, I still can’t.


  22. Wow. Just wow! Way to come up with all of the ideas!!! Now I just need to come up with monies! This is probably the most awesome event evar!!!!! I don’t even feel like missing Dinah matters at all because this exists! Yay for nerds and social awkwardness ;)

  23. This sounds absolutely amazing. I hope it is a ROUSING success so there can be more and maybe if its on the East Coast next time I can go!

    Also please post lots and lots of pictures and stories and things after its over so those of us who can’t go can live vicariously through all of the lucky mofos who do go.

  24. Justin Bieber? Hahah JK.

    Sounds like a blast too bad I have class that thursday. – – I cud go friday- Sunday though!