Introducing Camp Autostraddle 7.0

Once upon a time we had a dream. It involved a couple hundred of you, 40 of us, a group retreat site in the San Bernardino Mountains and a weekend packed with workshops, panels, classes, meet-ups, activities and performances designed to inspire, educate, entertain and/or make you laugh — basically, it was the spirit of this website manifested in three entire dimensions mixed with a dash of old-fashioned Summer Camp goodness and an infusion of conference style. We wanted to create a special (and affordable!) space where you could be yourself, enhance your relationships within the international queer community, support Autostraddle, be a kid again and make new friends forever.

It was a dream called A-Camp, and it came true the last weekend of April 2012 and it was a total shitshow but also amazing. We’ve since held increasingly spectacular A-Camps in September 2012, May 2013October 2013May 2014 and June 2015. In 2016, we’re only gonna be holding only one A-Camp, and it’s definitely going to be the best A-Camp in the history of modern camping. Probably we will discover unicorns, slay dragons, swing dance and find all the horcruxes.

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When

5:30 PM May 29th – 10 AM June 3rd

Where

Alpine Meadows Retreat Center in Angelus Oaks, California. It’s less than three hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, four hours from Las Vegas, five hours from Phoenix and seven hours from San Francisco. We’ll be running shuttles from LAX to the campsite from 11:30 AM to 2PM on May 29th and shuttles back to LAX at 10:00 AM on June 3rd.

Who?

You weirdos! Our campers range in age from 18 to 50 and come from all over the world, including lots of Canadians and quite a few Australians and Europeans. Generally half our campers are under 25 and half are over 25, and 60% are first-timers.

Also: Us! We are headed up by A-Camp Co-Directors Kristin Russo & Marni Kellison, and in order to give you the broadest range of programming possible, we’ve got a staff-to-camper ratio of about 1:7.

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How

Tuition is $625 and is all-inclusive — that’s five days and nights of food, lodging, programming and entertainment for less than $125 a day! It’s the most affordable event of its kind, and  just $75 down reserves your spot. Questions about the cost? Check out our FAQBut do know that tuition prices go up because we want camp to get better every time — better guests, better workshops, more supplies, more staff and talent on site. That costs… more money! Demand is high enough and similar events are expensive enough that we could raise the prices a lot more and still fill up, but we think the diverse range of campers who attend is part of what makes A-Camp such a special experience and we know excessively high tuition would take away from that diversity.

Want more details? Let’s go!


Anything…

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Is…

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Possible…

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We’re shaking it up again this year with more multi-day workshops, guest instructors and spectacular programming that’ll find the happiest loveliest chamber of your heart and extract it from your chest for you to look at. We want to teach you new things and enable you to have TONS OF FUN.


LodgingA-Camp 2

You’ll be having the bestest biggest grown-up slumber party of your life in basic, fully insulated, carpeted & heated cabins with private bathroom/showers/baths and bunk beds. Think hostel, not hotel! You’ll be sharing these cabins with somewhere between 12 and 18 others, which can be intense, but is mostly A BLAST.  Cabin groups are designed with your best interests in mind, and you’ll also be teaming up with other cabins to compete in the camp-wide Rainbow Wars.

Note: All campers under the age of 21 will be in the same cabin.


Food

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You’ll get three mediocre meals a day with snacks — we now work with the chef to design a menu and options catered specifically for our group, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as meals for people with food allergies.


Daytime Programming

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You’ll have full access to a variety of activitiesworkshopspanelssports, discussion groups, classes and arts & crafts.

Activities offered at previous A-Camps include…

Arts & Crafts:

  • Dapper Collar Pins
  • DIY Daisy Dukes
  • Witch/Craft
  • Chingona Chats and Crafts: Sacred Queer Heart Shrines
  • Look After Yourself: Self-Portraits
  • Nerdcraft
  • Make A Thing: Merit Badges
  • Finger Knittin’ Good

Workshops:

  • Learn to Magish
  • “Ropes Course” and Kink Workshop
  • Erotica Writing
  • We’ve Got Your Back: Community Care
  • YO! A-Camp Raps!
  • Slam Poetry
  • Comics With The Lumberjanes Team
  • Lez Talk About Sex(ual Health)
  • Swagger 101
  • String Cheese & Boxed Wine Tasting
  • Casual Sext
  • Improv Comedy

Sports, Games, Etc:

  • Basketball Wives
  • Self Defense 101
  • Cheer Camp
  • Ballet for Basic Bitches
  • Rock Yoga
  • Beyonce’s Dance Grooves
  • Chair-Dancing With Cupcake
  • Canoeing
  • Pop Science Trivia
  • Mindfulness & Meditation
  • Haus of Vogue

Discussion Groups, Panels & Presentations

  • Changing the Narrative: The Importance of QTPOC Fiction
  • Chosen Family
  • Gaming, Identity and Community
  • Queer People of Color Politicking & Zine-Making
  • Mixed-Race/Biracial/Multi-racial Discussion Group
  • Profesh Pantsuit Power Hour
  • Working In Solidarity: Combating Transphobia in Queer Spaces
  • Mommy Queerest: Queer Parenting Panel
  • Party of One: An Introvert Feelings Atrium
  • Tardy for the Party: A Coming Out Later In Life Discussion Group
  • Mountaintop Bisexual* Discussion Group and Hummus Appreciation Society
  • Real Talk: Your Relationship Doesn’t Have To Suck
  • Bloody Hell: A Menstruation Feelings Atrium
  • Mystery Homo Theater 4000
  • Destigmatize Your Size

Nighttime Entertainment

Autostraddle After Dark includes a roster of entertainment experiences that change every time. But there’s always some comedy…

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…and some music

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…and some dancing

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…and some other things!

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One of A-Camp’s most treasured experiences is the Staff Reading. Other past After Dark activities have included game shows like The Strip Spelling Bee and Family Feud, musical extravaganzas like Lilith Flair, X-Files screenings and The All-Camp Variety Show.


Talent

We’ve always managed to round up an exceptional group of queer weirdos interested in hanging out with you for a week. Past talent has included Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard of The People’s Couch, actress Jasika Nicole, new media superstar Hannah Hart, comedians DeAnne Smith and Elicia Sanchez, musicians Mal Blum and Haviland Stillwell and Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli. This year’s line-up (still in progress — we realize it’s very white right now!) is already looking pretty good — and we’re hoping that some of those people we just told you about will be returning to A-Camp this year as well!

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Brittani Nichols, Comedian

website // twitter // instagram // autostraddle

Brittani Nichols is a comedy writer and actor that performs stand-up, sketch, and improv at Upright Citizens Brigade, iO West, The Clubhouse, and other venues in/around Los Angeles. She appears as the recurring character, Nicol, in Season 2 of Amazon’s Emmy-winning comedy, Transparent and Parker in Buzzfeed’s You Do You, which premiered at #1 on iTunes. Previously, Brittani created and starred in the popular web series, Words With Girls, which went on to be a pilot produced by the star and creator of HBO’s Insecure, Issa Rae.

Recently Brittani started a podcast called Brand New Podcast with fellow comedian, Ariana Lenarsky, to showcase her neurosis and give other people something to cry and laugh about. This year she wrote, starred in, and co-produced an indie comedy feature called Suicide Kale which will be playing festivals in 2016.

When not performing, Brittani enjoys playing basketball, talking about her own hair, desperately trying to convince people she’s important, refusing to Instagram pictures of food but Snapchatting every Blue Apron meal she makes, and knowing 99% of the words to the musical Hamilton.

Cameron Esposito, Comedian

website // twitter // instagram // facebook

Cameron Esposito is a standup comic, actor and writer. You’ve seen her on NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, E!, the Cartoon Network, Buzzfeed, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and in the movie Mother’s Day alongside Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson, out in spring 2016.

Dannielle Owens-Reid, Entrepreneur / Comedian

website // twitter // instagram // tumblr // autostraddle

Dannielle is the Co-Founder and CEO of Radimo, a collective of humans working toward living their best lives, launched in 2016. Radimo is a site dedicated to mindfulness, living well, honesty, positive change, and making the choice that will make your life better. In 2010, she founded Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber and Everyone is Gay. She has written for Nylon Magazine, MTV Style, Autostraddle, and co-authored This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids in 2014. Dannielle is currently living the dream in Los Angeles, producing a web-based video series on fashion and gender, and designing a unisex clothing line for Radimo.

Jenny Owen-Youngs, Musician

website // twitter // instagram // tumblr // autostraddle

Musician, songwriter, and natural history enthusiast Jenny Owen Youngs grew up in the forests of northern New Jersey and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Since 2006 she has released three albums and a handful of EPs, and toured extensively in the US and Europe (headlining and also opening for artists like Against Me!, Regina Spektor, Frank Turner, and Amanda Palmer). Her songs have been heard on WeedsNurse JackieCatfish, and in Victoria’s Secret stores the world over.  Please feel free to approach her about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and/or Game of Thrones.

Julia Nunes, Musician

website // twitter // instagram // tumblr // autostraddle

Last year, Julia Nunes traded her Brooklyn boy problems for love in Los Angeles and wrote about 80 songs in the process. She released Some Feelings in September 2015, it will make you cry and also dance. Her first paid gig was opening  for Ben Folds on a tour in 2008. Now 26 – she’s toured with A Great Big World, played Bonnaroo twice (where she jumped in on Weezer’s set) and performed on Conan. On the horizon are music videos, acoustic sessions, collaborations with some special guests, and a fully acoustic version of the album.

She’ll also be writing about minimalism, getting healthier, and being good to yourself for Radimo.LA in 2016.

Rhea Butcher, Comedian

facebook // twitter // instagram

National touring standup Rhea Butcher has been seen on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Buzzfeed & Funny or Die. Rhea is the host of weekly standup podcast and live show Put Your Hands Together and her debut album is forthcoming from Kill Rock Stars.


Swag

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You’ll get your very own A-Camp Tote bag, chock full of fun shit from our sponsors and your very own A-Camp T-Shirt. (If you’re an independently owned business who’d like to see your swag in our bags, hit us up!)


Camperships & Tuition Discounts

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Your generosity has sent over 40 deserving humans to A-Camp over the past four years and you’ll have the chance to make dreams come true again this year when we open up the campership fund and submissions, which will be within the next month!

Our goal is to offer 5-8 full camperships and 5-8 partial camperships of 30%-60% off, and five spots at half price. We’ll start accepting essay applications and soliciting donations next month in a post which will feature essays from our Spring 2015 Campership recipients. But if you wanna donate to the campership fund right now, you totally can! If you donate a full campership we’ll be in touch regarding whether or not you’d like your identity revealed to the camper. If you have an independent business who’d like to sponsor a campership, get in touch with alex [at] autostraddle.com. Previous sponsors have included Sharpe Suiting, Kipper Clothiers, Scout’s Honor, Kreuzbach10, OK Cupid and Hannah Hart.

We also recognize that as A-Camp becomes more expensive it becomes harder to maintain the diversity we require for a truly successful A-Camp. We encourage campership applicants who are of color, trans women, mothers, or over 35 and newly out and will have some specific opportunities for QTPOC (like this one from last time).

If you cannot attend camp without a full Campership, do not register for camp! We reserve spaces for Campershippers so you don’t need to snag one in case you become a Campershipper — that’s been taken care of.


Okay, I’m in. What now?

If you wanna get on the saddle and trot on over to A-Camp with us this spring, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

1. For the low low price of a $75 non-refundable non-transferable deposit, you can snag your spot for the spring festivities. Please read the instructions at the top of each registration interface page if anything seems remotely complicated. Your full tuition is due April 7th. You can make partial payments between now and then by logging back in to the regonline system and making partial payments.

2. If registration fills up, you can put yourself on the waitlist. Be sure to put an e-mail address you check regularly and often, so you don’t miss our note if you’re up!

3. If you’re driving in on May 29th, please plan to arrive between 4 PM and 5:30 PM. On Sunday, please plan to leave by 11 AM.

4. If you’re looking for flights and will need transportation from the airport, be sure you can be at Terminal 6 by 2 PM on May 29th. If you’re getting in to LAX later than 2PM, you may miss opening night and you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements.

If you’ll need transportation to the airport on June 3rd, there will be shuttles leaving at 10am. It takes two to three hours to get to the airport, so we advise against booking flights that leave before 3PM. If the 10AM shuttle won’t get you to the airport in time to make your flight, you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements. Options exists such as “getting a ride with another camper,” “bribing the kitchen staff” (no really this might be your best option) and “renting a car for a very low in-airport price.” Also, many campers stick around LA for the night or a few days or a few weeks, too, which is lots of fun!

5. If you need to cancel, you can just log back in to the registration interface and cancel!

6. QUESTIONS ABOUT REGISTRATION OR TRAVEL GO TO cool@autostraddle.com. (“COOL” stands for “Coordinator of Logistics”)

For More Information

On our A-Camp website, you’ll find our FAQ, the talent/staff we’ve got on board so far and a link to register the hell out of your unit. For more information about what goes on at A-Camp, you can check out our recaps from past camps and testimonies from campers about the joy of the experience. But A-Camp is whatever you make of it: every camper writes their own story. Come with your heart wide open and do whatever you want.

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What are you waiting for?

Register Now!

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

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 2876 articles for us.

172 Comments

  1. Just cried laughing because I spelled my own name wrong in the “preferred name” box and I thought I had MOVED PAST THIS STRUGGLE.

    Anyway yall the “E” goes AFTER the “A” in Michael. This is a thing that I know. Even though I had to google my own name everytime I wrote it down for about a year after choosing it just to, ya know … Double Check.

  2. CAMPCAMPCAMPCAMPCAMPCAMP!!!! I had to pull over to post on fb and comment here IM SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU ALL ON MT FEELINGS. fist bumps to everyone coming back. Youre the best. And fist bumps to everyone im meeting for the first time. YOURE THE BEST. pls be advised i hug when im excited.

  3. It is 4 in the morning you guys and I set my alarm for every hour so that I wouldn’t miss registration and I feel like tomorrow, instead of going to work, I will stay at home in bed with my cats and this BIG FEELING OF JOY because I’m going to camp and everything is right in my tiny corner of the world.

  4. I’m sooooo excited!!! I decided to stay in bed and skip my 830 class today, woke up not wanting to get out of bed but then I saw registration was up. So I got up so fast and took care of that! Now I have the energy to get through my other class and doing homework for the rest of the day. CAMP! :D The best days of the whole year <3

  5. Ahhhhhh!!!!

    The moment when you step off the bus onto that magical mountain and the staff is cheering and everyone is so excited is my favorite.

    Question though, if im hoping to apply for a partial camper-ship (because money is non-existent when you have more student debt than income and living with your parents is no longer a healthy option) should I still register? Just not sure how that all works since full tuition is due April 7th. Thanks!

    Yay!!!!

  6. I want to goooooo :( but I am taking the LSAT just a few days later so it’s probably not wise (financially or academically). Have the best time and maybe see you next time around?? (if I’m not too broke as a (hopefully) law student!!

    • Hi! =) I’m from LA myself. I know a lot of campers stay before or after or both. It does depend on if you might know someone who will let you use the couch..or if you like hotels. I mean LA is a touristy place anyway. There’s a lot of stuff to see and do. It’ll be June by then and hopefully it’ll be warm/hot/not freezing.

      The only con I can think of is if $ is a factor. That and LA traffic.

      Pros include getting to know more straddlrs/campers. Getting to know LA. Being in a different place!

      • $ is the struggle so I’ll probably pass on it because I really need to save the rest of my savings for you know

        moving

        But then once Im no longer nomadic travel is harder because RESPONSIBILITIES

        ALSO HAHAHA HAHAHA HA HA “hopefully it’ll be warm then”

        it’s like 50 in LA right now, right? T SHIRT WEATHER

        #Oregon

          • I live in the UK and my families rules about outdoor pools were you had to come out when your lips turn blue.
            And my sister’s would always turn before mine. She’d be shivering in a towel saying it wasn’t fair while I’d splash away all smug.

          • There’s a pic of my sis and I swimming in wool sweaters in the ocean (oregon coast) because we could only afford to visit the beach during the winter. heheheh.

    • Most A-Campers are also or once were a person who came to A-Camp knowing nobody. And now they know a lot more people! You won’t be alone because there will be so many others who are in your exact shoes/boots/sandals/slippers

    • Last year was my first time and I didn’t know anyone either, and even though I now know 2 people who are going this year, I still like the idea of not knowing anyone that well because there is so much more potential there! All you have to do is allow yourself to be liked; and you will be liked because everyone is cool—EVERYONE! Will it be awkward? Yes, for about 5 minutes while you try not to be overwhelmed by how incredibly sweet, and friendly, and super-freaking-hot everyone is. You kind of get used to it, but it never stops being amazing. Best of all, everyone is there for the same reason: simple human connection with their fellow queerdos. You are going to love it; I promise. And I am a woman of my word, so you can trust that.

    • I went to my first A CAMP without knowing anyone personally!!! I can’t promise everything will be fine BUT it’s so cool to know people from the INTERWEBS then know them IN REAL LIFE. It’s the coolest thing!! =) I really had fun at camp even if I didn’t know anyone. I think I only know of 2 people who went and didn’t know anyone who said camp wasn’t for them….so there’s always that possibility.

      I was surprised at HOW MANY people went to camp without knowing anyone. It’s great because @riese and the team does a really really good job with the cabin assignments.

      • I’m really introverted so I was glad to see that as an option on the registration form. Mostly I’m just nervous to meet SO MANY wonderful people there! I don’t know a lot of other queer people besides myself so I’m excited to be in a kind of “Be right here, be real queer” environment!

        • I had always felt out of place and stressed in queer spaces before camp. Like I have to act a certain way to either be seen as gay enough, but not too gay as to be a walking stereotype. Bullshit, I know. But camp was absolutely nothing like that at all. Even if camp isn’t a life changing experience for you, just know that everything will be okay!

          • This. I’ve been reading all the comments all day, because I’m so excited for camp, but this is my fear. I’d ask to give you a hug right now, if I could.

            I feel really uncomfortable in queer spaces too; I’m scared I’m not queer enough, or my past choices will be used against me ( I’m not a gold star), or I’ll say something completely ignorant of queer politics, and inadvertantely offend, or worse, make someone feel undesired or unseen. Your comment to the contrary of this is a huge relief. Thank you!

          • if not being a “gold star” was used against queer people at a-camp then me and laneia and rachel would be in big trouble

    • It’s my first time too and I’m coming all the way from Aus and I’m scared that my accent will be hard to understand and also all the jetlag will make me seem like a weirdo but MAYBE INSTEAD i can be a mysterious and sexy stranger. Anything is possible on the mountain, right?

    • Same here – I’m pretty sure we’ll be in good company of other newbies feeling clueless. :) But everyone I’ve talked to (both online and in-person) has had only positive things to say about camp and the people there!

    • Is it too late to join the ‘I won’t know anyone either, let’s be friends?’ group?

      I don’t know why, but I think it’s really exciting to break out of your comfort zone every once in a while and I feel like camp (specifically a-camp!) is the way to go :)

      • I feel like I should host a “We don’t know anyone and we’re really nervous” party in my cabin (which I’m positive my roommates will adore—so I’ll do it. There will be drinks for anyone 21 and over, of course, you shouldn’t feel like you have to drink, it’s ok not to. Everyone attending will know nobody, so you HAVE to talk to each other. I’m kidding you don’t have to do anything, that’s the point. Like me, you could just sit on the patio (I might bring patio chairs) and not talk to anyone, just bask in the lightness that comes from knowing that everyone in the room is in the same boat as you, feeling the same way as you do, and everything will be ok. You may rsvp through me. Mavi dot Llamas at gmail.

        p.s. don’t worry, I’m not hitting on you, I’m just really friendly.

  7. I’m SO glad there are camperships! Going to apply for one when they become available next month, as my budget is extremely tight. This sounds like the experience of a lifetime that I don’t want to miss.

  8. My dog woke me up after I fell asleep at midnight waiting up for this and so I registered at 2.50am. She’ll get some extra breakfast as a reward.

    And now instead of going to sleep I had to some post my excitement. Yay camp!! First camp!

  9. “3 mediocre meals a day” bahaha

    also…I am supes excited for Cameron Esposito (and Brittani Nichols of course).

    *not trying to pressure the A-Camp staff but like I Really with a capital R want to know what some of the programming is this year*

  10. I registered and I’m feeling a surreal blend of emotions: excitement because I get to act out all the childhood summer camp dreams I missed out on with what appears to be some of the kindest, most energetic, QUEER, people on the planet, and also, terror, because large gatherings of said awesome people have historically been the spaces where I felt the most possibility of rejection.

    It’s kind of backwards, and yet also rational, that I’ve spent my life avoiding the people I most wanted to be with, because, ” what if I’m not good enough?”

    So, registering for camp was the most exciting, and brave thing I did today. Thanks, autostraddle. I’m nervous, but mostly thrilled, to meet all of you.

  11. Tried to register as soon as I came home from work, but it was already full </3 Hopefully it'll work out anyway! Been interested in going since I heard of it and haven't actually been at ANY camp ever, except for christian scouts camp when I was like 12, so it's double excitement!

  12. Oh, I so want to go to camp this year! But I’m applying for an internship and would be about a week into training if I get in! But maybe I should apply for the camp wait list on the off chance that I don’t get in?

    • My totally unsolicited advice: add yourself to the wait list and, if you get in, let your internship know as soon as possible that you need to take those days off! Memorial Day is a holiday anyway and a lot of people go out of town then. I did something similar when I went to San Diego Comic Con last year and it wasn’t a problem, in fact I’m still working at that same job and all is well!

  13. So excited to be coming back again!!

    But can you only update your information/shuttles/cabin travel plan stuff after you make another payment?

    Because it wont change that I am not under 21 or add that I have been to last year’s camp. I can’t add shuttles to my total. Everything will remain unchanged when I log in again. Or it will tell me my registration has not yet been saved when I try to update my personal info even though I payed the $75 and have been confirmed.

    ??? (sorry, I get nervous about stuff like this lol)

  14. I am so mad at my job for always having a massive product launch ever freaking year like 2 days after A camp which means I can’t go as long as I’m doing this thing that I love :/
    UGHHHH
    Everyone have so much fun for me but don’t tell me because I’m going to be really jealous.

  15. Super interested! I’d be a newbie/first time camper! I’ve also never been to any form of sleep away camp :o Just nervous that I won’t have the funds in place by April :/ (and paying for a flight from NYC is an arm and a leg) but the idea of being surrounded by all you lovely ladies sounds awesome! :D How do I go about applying for Camperships???

  16. Hey I don’t know if there will be a thread for this later or a forum on the A-camp website or anything? But I will be driving from norcal and I would love to get a car of people together! That nine-hour drive is really best when shared with new camp friends! Anyone else thinking of driving down?

  17. Just came here to say that I just got off the waitlist and was able to register because my tax refund came in and I’m so excited to hang out on the mountain with y’all!!!
    PS- anyone else from Madison, WI going?

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