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 2013, October 2013, May 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.
5:30 PM May 29th – 10 AM June 3rd
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.
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.
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 FAQ. But 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!
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.
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.
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.
You’ll have full access to a variety of activities, workshops, panels, sports, discussion groups, classes and arts & crafts.
Activities offered at previous A-Camps include…
Arts & Crafts:
- Dapper Collar Pins
- DIY Daisy Dukes
- Chingona Chats and Crafts: Sacred Queer Heart Shrines
- Look After Yourself: Self-Portraits
- Make A Thing: Merit Badges
- Finger Knittin’ Good
- 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
- 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
Autostraddle After Dark includes a roster of entertainment experiences that change every time. But there’s always some comedy…
…and some music
…and some dancing
…and some other things!
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.
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!
Brittani Nichols, Comedian
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
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
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
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 Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Catfish, 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
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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (“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.