Introducing Camp Autostraddle September 2012: Registration Is Wide Open

Once upon a time we had a dream. It involved a couple hundred of you, 35 of us, a group retreat site in the San Bernadino Mountains and a weekend packed with workshops, panels, 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. We wanted to create a special (and affordable!) space where you could be yourself, enhance your relationships within the international queer community, support Autostraddle and make new friends forever.

It was a dream called A-Camp, and it was a dream that came true the last weekend of April, 2012.

So we’re doing it again.




Wednesday September 12th – Sunday September 16th



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 from 10 AM to 3PM on September 12th and shuttles back to LAX from 9AM until 3PM on September 16th.



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. You’ll be sharing these cabins with somewhere between 5 and 17 other female-identified humans. Cabin groups are designed with your needs in mind (we meet all roommate requests!) and are headed by Counsellors from Team Autostraddle.



You weirdos! Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome — in April, our campers ranged in age from 18 to 49 and came from all over the world. This time, we’ve got exclusive use of the site all week and will be doubling enrollment.



Tuition is $365.

Just $50 down reserves your spot!


Your tuition includes:

Four nights lodging
+ Three meals a day and snacks (with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and kosher options)
+ Full access to a variety of daytime programming situations, ranging from arts+crafts to morning hikes to panels/workshops.
+ Special Guests: The entire event will be MC’ed by world’s funniest duo, Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard and you’ll be seeing a lot of the beautiful ladies of Unicorn Plan-It.
Kickass gift tote packed with amazing things such as an A-Camp T-shirt you can sell on ebay in ~4 years


What the hell goes on at A-Camp?


For more information about what goes on at A-Camp, you can check out our recaps from April’s camp and testimonies from campers about the joy of the experience. Keep in mind that this time around, things will be even more awesome.

Days at A-Camp are spent participating in a variety of programming options offered by the Autostraddle Team and special guests — Speed-Dating with Hannah Hart! Gender Panel! Poetryfest! Lesbian Jeopardy! Style Workshop! Sewing Circle! How to Pick Up Chicks! Writing Workshop! Picking Up Chicks! High Tea! ‘Zine-making! We’ll have a whole slate of brand-new and/or improved activities in September, including panels/workshops on topics like “Trans* 101,” body image and queer religion/spirituality.


Every night offers plenty of opportunities for fun-fun-fun, including the All-Camp Talent Show (hosted by Julie & Brandy), DJ Carlytron’s T-Dance, Julie & Brandy’s Trivia Extravaganza and campfires to gather ’round and sing Indigo Girls and/or eat S’Mores.

Okay, I’m in. What Now?

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

1. For the low low price of a $50 non-refundable deposit (and $3.21 “service charge” from the registration interface — you’ll only have to pay this once), you can snag your spot for the fall festivities. Answer a couple questions about yourself and you’re good to go.

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

3. On or before June 5th, we’ll update the registration interface to include options for paying your tuition, questions about your travel plans, rooming/bunking needs, dietary desires and other special feelings.

4. If you’re driving in on Wednesday, please plan to arrive between 12:00 noon and 5:30 PM. On Sunday, please plan to leave around 1 PM.

5. If you’re looking for flights and will need transportation from the airport, then please book your incoming flights for Wednesday, September 12th to get in by 3 PM at the latest. Camp officially begins at 6 PM. There will be activities going on throughout the afternoon, but mostly we want to allow you time to get settled in before your counsellors take you into the woods and brand you for life while howling at the moon.

If you’ll need transportation to the airport on Sunday, September 16th, then please try to get a flight that leaves after 1pm. There will probably be stuff happening on Sunday morning, and if you wanna be there for that stuff, try to get a flight after 6PM.

If those travel specifications are totally absolutely impossible for you, email at gmail dot com to make special arrangements.

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

Quick Note on Workshops

If you’ve secured your spot at camp and are a specialist in your field or have a super-special skill you think would make a great addition to the schedule, then we are accepting workshop proposals from campers. Please get yours in to Marni & Robin by July 1st. These workshops/panels/activities should be unique ideas specific to your background and skill-set (aka, things we couldn’t do ourselves without you) — in April, we had a camper teach Crossfit and another lead a workshop in Circus Acrobatics For Everyone.

If you’re interested in participating in an Autostraddle-populated panel, we’ll have more information on that later this summer when we finalize the list of panels that we’re doing. In April, we had two campers join Katrina and Carmen in leading the Activism Workshop and another camper with a relevant background appeared on our fantastic Sex Panel.

We do not accept applications for Camp Staff or counselor positions, those are all handled in- house.


Q: How do you win camp?

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’ll offer two ways to pay — upfront in June or in installments throughout the summer. 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.

You can also apply for a “Campership.”

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: What’s the deal with alcohol?
A: Drinking isn’t part of any A-Camp activities and we do not serve alcohol. But if you’re over 21 and wish to drink at camp, you have to bring your own alcohol, put your name on it, and store it in one of our designated lodges (food/drink are prohibited in cabins because of bears) where you can access it whenever you want. We’ll be providing a “sober cabin” option for anyone over 21 who would prefer to room with other abstainers.

Q: Are there extra charges for any activities?
A: Yes. We’re not positive about the shuttle cost yet, but I think it’s gonna be a $25 fee each way for those requiring transportation to/from LAX. There’s also a $20 fee for the Ropes Course or Climbing Tower, and a $10 fee for linens. You’ll get the chance to put money down for those things later.

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

Q:  I can’t come to camp but would like to help somebody else get there, can I do that?
A: Absolutely! Just go right here.

Q: When are you doing an East Coast camp?
A: I know this seems like SUCH a good idea! But for a zillion reasons including a shorter off-season and the fact that most of our team lives on the West Coast, this simply isn’t affordable or logistically possible for us right now — and in turn, for you. This is something we hope to do in the future but we’re not sure when that will be yet, so don’t hold your breath. However, it’s worth noting that we picked a site near LA because it’s one of the cheapest airports to fly into in the country. Have you been to California in the fall? It’s really nice, it’s basically summertime.

Q: What about A-Camp in CANADA?!
A: The expenses required to put on A-Camp in any other country would drive your cost to about $2,000 for a weekend, and that’s before plane tickets, passport fees, etc. If we ever do an international A-Camp, it would be years from now.

Q: When is the next camp after this camp?
A: We’re not 100% positive yet, but it will probably be in May at the same site.

Q: What’s that link again?
A: Here it is!

Q: Anything else?
A: Please we beggeth of you from the deepest depths of your beating heart, to make sure we have an email address for you that you check often. We will be sending you updates via e-mail and it’s imperative that you receive and respond!

Also! Marni & Robin are the contacts for A-Camp questions as they are A-Camp directors. You can reach them at at gmail dot com and robin at autostraddle dot com.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our A+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining A+ and supporting the people who make this indie queer media site possible?

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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. Posts about camp sort of make me sad, because there is no way in hell I’ll ever be able to afford $365 plus a plane ticket to California. And seeing y’all being excited about it makes me feel left out :(

  2. I might have to eat ramen and peanut butter for a year, but dammit, I will find a way. *registered* That said, I won’t know my school schedule until August, and nursing school isn’t kind about missing an exam unless you’re in the process of some life-threatening thing…do you know the last day that you can cancel for most of your money back?

      • the last day you can cancel and get any percentage of your money back would be August 12th — if you want a full refund (everything but the deposit), then you’ll need to cancel before August 1st. We’ll lay out all these dates for you when we get into the money stuff.

        but more importantly YAY CAMP!!!!

        • So not only did I JUST find out I can’t finish paying for acamp but I also just read this. I believe this is the part where I start having a nervous breakdown while planning how I will begin tricking myself out to finish paying for this so as to not let the money I’ve already put into it go to waste.

  3. Oh also I want to be in the naked cabin. Except I suspect the friends with me won’t want to see me naked, but I have no fucks to give. I’m just saying. Nudity/partial nudity cabin. I’m especially ok with it if it’s Annika’s.

  4. Grrr I’ll be in school for this A-Camp :( crossing my fingers that the one in May will be after my finals next semester (but let’s be real, if it isn’t I’ll probs just go anyways because I’ll be kicking myself if I don’t)!

    • THIS. CAMP. so much yearning! I know you can’t tell us for sure due to the site’s schedule and so on, but how likely is it that May’s camp will be in the second half of May? I’m trying to decide between skipping the fourth week of exchange and flying over from the East Coast for September, or waiting for the next one to come before I fly all the way across the world again, and hoping it comes after exam week…

  5. Please please please do all the recaps of camp again- even though I didn’t go (and can’t go to this one, since I would be 10 to 6 days away from 18), it’s really awesome to read about how amazing autostraddle is in 3D. Maybe you could make the third camp in late May rather than earlier? Just so that college kids can go after exams. Good luck with everything, I’m sure it will be even more fabulous!

  6. I won’t be at A-Camp, but if I were, here’s a workshop I’d like: “Teach me how to be a girlie-girl”. I mean, I’ve never learnt how to apply make-up, use product to style my hair, do an updo, stuff like that… I’m *clueless*!! And I’d like to learn. I can’t be the only one!
    What do you guys think?

    • Any chance you’re from the Bay Area M? I’m checking out Amtrak and from my hometown to LA Union Station it’s only 65$ round trip. And someone else is driving, obviously, giving you plenty of time to read or surreptitiously play drinking games with Nalgene bottle whiskey.

          • From what I can tell, it’s anywhere between $60-90 less than flying out of San Francisco, Oakland, or Sonoma County. If you end up doing Amtrak and getting the Martinez-Bakersfield train as the main leg of your trip, we will most likely be on the same train and I’d love some company.

          • Thanks for the heads up Riese! I took Amtrak from Martinez to Salt Lake City with my mom once and it was chill but granted we did spring for one of those train bedrooms. Also, the food was terrible and it was probably way more expensive than air travel. We just wanted to feel like old-timey, dapper broads. M., there’s a discussion going on with some other people from the Bay Area about getting together for Amtrak or carpooling on the next page.

          • The only Martinez-Bakersfield line that would go to Union Station would arrive @ 4:10 pm or later as far as I can tell… which is too late to catch the shuttle up to camp. However there is a train that goes from Stockton to Bakersfield that would arrive @ Union Station @ 2:30 pm. And if we end up on the same train, we should hang out.

          • I was also looking at the Martinez-Bakersfield train and was bummed to learn it would be too late for the shuttle and it doesn’t look like it will be possible to get to the Stockton-Bakersfield train from the Santa Rosa area in time either. :(

          • Santa Rosa represent! :D Even if the train idea just doesn’t work out, I think a Bay Area carpool would be awesome.

      • I want to ride Amtrak from the Bay Area to A-Camp (mostly because Taylor’s Amtrak liveblog made me feel like there where extra adventures to be had via train instead of plane.)

        I just need to check with my work situation tomorrow, if all is well, I’m A-camp bound!

    • Bay Area peep over here, anyone want to carpool? :D I mean, I paid $120 for my round trip flight to get to A-camp and I fucking hate Amtrak so much after dealing with a long distance relationship.

  7. Also I have never been to camp (because UK/Ireland) and the whole summer I was a counsellor in the US I was thinking “fuck fuck fuck I am SO SAD I never got to do this” because I knew I would love it and now I get to do it and with queer girls and weirdos and Autostraddle! And I am the happiest happiest happiest happiest and I cannot fucking wait. That is all. :D :D :D :D :D

  8. It’s 4 am in Tokyo, legit just stayed up all night refreshing waiting for this to pop up. Super excited, have no idea how I can justify skipping half a week of class the second week of the semester, but OH WELL REGISTERED AND GOING ANYWAY.

  9. Hold. The fuck. Up. I need to check money, electricity and water just came out of my account and it caned me good, need to know if friend is on board, flights from London, potential job situation, I AM SO UNPREPARED FOR THIS.

  10. This is happening right after I get back from Chicago and start school! Well I’ll be going to Mills so hopefully it’ll be like A-Camp all year-round, except with papers and stuff. Have fun everyone! I will join you a few years down the line :-).

  11. Registered!! Frantically called my dad so that I could use his paypal account. My explanation? “It’s this lesbian camp that will be the most amazing thing in the world…” Thank god for liberal parents.

  12. OMGOMGOMG. I’ve been reading this site for so long and i’ve barely ever commented (although I did win a comment award one time, raise the roof) But now I am coming out of the auto-closet for CAMP! Fucking Camp!!!!!! ahhhhhhh!!! i can’t wait. at all.

  13. Ahh! I need to go! Waiting for roommate to call me back so i can use her debit card to register.. this is like the only thing having a bank account would be worth it for!

  14. OMG. dies. Whyyyy West Coast?!?! *sobs into pillow* I’m keeping my eye out for that scholarship because as a struggling recent grad, I might be able to scrape for tuition but not for the flight too. East Coast cats, we have mountains and nature-like things over here! It won’t be the same w/o the actual AS crew (maybe you guys can send over one or two representatives?) but I’m sure we can gather, organize and meet each other! I’m NY/NJ based! *sigh* It’s like Xena-Con all over again…yes, I just geeked out.

  15. a few notes:

    1) thank you to everybody involved in organizing this! i’ve done my fair share of organizing events/conferences/gatherings, but nothing this huge and exciting. you guys rule. i know how stressful organizing can be, so please be sure to take care of yourselves extra hard during these upcoming months. also, thank you for this again!

    2) the majority of my work day, i feel, was refreshing autostraddle on my phone to see if registration was up yet.

    3) i love everything about this.

  16. Can I keep registering and backing out at the last minute? Can one trip really bankrupt me? As a grad student aren’t I already bankrupt? Will my life be the same if I never get to discuss J Crew and Anthropologie with Lizz? Maybe I can’t afford the trip because I buy too many clothes. Someone should tell me what to do.

  17. I so completely want to do this, and it’s SO CLOSE to being workable, given that I’m about to graduate college and am coming home to CA this summer/fall/????. But I can’t make any plans for later than mid-August until I know about my job situation for the fall.


  18. *Generic comment about not being able to come this time*

    *Generic comment about the fact I just made an innuendo*

    I wish all you lovely lady-loving ladies the time of your life in September and will be very jealous of your outdoorsy fun times.

  19. I’m pretty sure a large chunk of my excitement about this stems from all the boarding school books I read as a kid. And I’m going to come by train. Oh my goodness, girls in books always went by train and the wheels made happy sounds.

  20. I just signed up for this and I am super stoked and super anxious at the same time. I have never been to camp, any camp at all! And I’m a few months into my transition. And I think I’m using my Outside Lands money for this instead which is probably worth it. But damnit I’m taking this opportunity and I can’t wait to share in all the rainbow goodness with y’all!

  21. My heart. It breaks.

    But not spending the past 3 years of my life in vain trying to complete school just to skip the final portfolio review and not graduate is pretty cool too. I guess.


    Because I have finals when most people are starting the second week of school…? Year round art school is a weird thing, guys.

  22. I told my mom that i’m going to camp. This is our convo after I explained what camp is.
    “thats great krysta, i am so happy for you”
    “thanks! my first time at camp!”
    “your first time? i- oh yeah i wouldnt count those years at (mormon) girls camp either. im sorry i made you go to those. It must have been awful”
    “so oppressive”
    “you did get to go white water rafting”
    “oppressive rafting mother!”

  23. *sigh*

    A-Camp 2 will be happening during the second week of my first year of law school. As much as I would LOVE to skip class and fly to California, my responsible brain won’t allow it. I already miss the days of undergrad slackerdom.

    Maybe I’ll be able to make the A-Camp in May (but for the love of Rachel Maddow, please make it late enough in the month so that final exams will be over.)

  24. I’m currently working this Victoria Day holiday (boo-urns!). The fact I’m still paying off recent vacation expenses, the additional time and costs flying in from eastern Canada, the dates are during an almost non-negotiable blackout for work and the interesting time explaining that I’ll be with a bunch of other amazing unicorns to my old-school-conservative, borderline racist/homophobic Catholic mother I have yet to come out to were hardly deterrents/irrelevant the moment I saw open registration for Fall A-Camp. I went into tunnel vision and surrendered my PayPal account on the spot (which turned my “Boo-urns!” into a “Woo-hoo!”).


  25. please excuse my millionth comment of the day, but. guys i just remembered something. frequent flier miles! they will get me to camp for a very reasonable cost!

    how fetch would it be to write/see a piece on economically creative ways to travel to a-camp? the possibilities are endless!!! (frequent flier miles, freighter ships, train hopping…)

    • The problem is all inside your head
      She said to me
      The answer is easy if you
      Take it logically
      I’d like to help you in your struggle
      To be free
      There must be fifty ways
      To get to A-Camp

      She said it’s really not my habit
      To intrude
      Furthermore, I hope my meaning
      Won’t be lost or misconstrued
      But I’ll repeat myself
      At the risk of being crude
      There must be fifty ways
      To get to A-Camp
      Fifty ways to get to A-Camp


  26. basically i’m upending my life, quitting teaching, moving out of state, applying to grad school, and have no clue what i’m doing after june 15. except for the fact that apparently i just registered for CAMP WTF.

    excited for the ensuing convo with my mother- she’s going to be more excited than i am!!

  27. I’m so bummed I can’t come this time around. It’s basically my first week of college (which is equally as exciting as A-Camp, but I can’t miss it.

    Laneia- I’ll teach the sewing circle at A-Camp 3.0 :)

  28. I’m excited to meet a lot of new people and to make a lot of lifelong memories and inside jokes. I’m coming to camp by myself. I’m sure the people in my life probably think I’m going to be killed by some serial killer in the woods.

    I’m more than willing to take my chances.

      • Based on Riese’s article I think I’d rather drive with lots of people. We could rent like mini-van if there are lots of us? Or use somebody’s car and all chip in for gas and then we can make new friends yayyyyy

      • yeah it’d be better in a group — but don’t count on it arriving on-time, is the thing. Taylor trained down from portland and had a great time, but she was coming in two days early for pre-camp festivities, so timeliness wasn’t so much of an issue for her. but i think it would def be more fun if you had a group of friends.

        i don’t have a car, so every time i go to LA, i have to rent a car, and it’s not that expensive really — it’s actually cheaper to rent it for an entire week than to rent it for 5 or 6 days, oddly. I think my last rental car was like $200 for the week, but it was tiny. as long as the renter is over 25. just get some mini-vans and caravan! then also you can stop and get booze on your way, if you so desire. if you split the cost between everybody it’ll also be cheaper than the train.

        • I have a car that seats 5 people (including me). So if 4 others want to drive down w/ me in my 11 year old Audi I’d be down. And we could split gas 5 ways which would be cheaper than amtrak. and then we could stop for food and stuff.

          • ALSO — if you take amtrak, you’ll need shuttles from the airport to camp, which’ll cost more $$ for each of you. if you drive, you can drive all the way to camp and not need shuttles!

          • My truck only seats 3 including the driver and is a ragged beast, but I am definitely down to chip in gas money and booze money and bring snacks for whoever is driving.

          • My car is a ’08 toyota camry hybrid that seats 5 BUT idk if it could hold that much luggage… BUT! I might be able to get a hold of this ancient suburban that holds I think 7… OR I could probably borrow my dad’s truck which seats 5 but would hold all the luggage anyone wants.

          • What part of the bay do you live in? I’m wondering how we’re all going to meet up. I could probably get a ride into the city if we decide to meet there.

          • I’m in Marin and could probably pick up North Bay people and bring them to whatever the meeting spot is…

          • I’ll be coming from Berkeley! But for real, let’s do some carpooling. Don’t think I’ll be able to drive yet but it’s a possibility.

            I say we figure out a way to start some sort of area-carpool-sorting post?


          • Ok, doesn’t have to be a facebook group! All good. We’ll figure something out. Yay for Bay people!

      • True life: One of my out of town friends once took an Amtrak train to come visit me, and in the time it took for her train to arrive I could have driven to her house, picked her up, stopped for a picnic, driven back to my house, and it would have been about 1/3 the cost.

    • I’m in Oakland and totes down to carpool with people if that’s a thing that’s happening!

      I guess I would need to know for sure before the point where the price of plane tickets starts to go up so I don’t get stuck paying a million dollars.

  29. So this is during classes and I really can’t skip them + Boston airfare puts it a little out of my college budget, but May’s camp may or may not be influencing my decision to look for co-ops in the Cali/LA area for next spring/summer.

  30. I have no fucking clue whether I will be living in FL or WA in September, I have no fucking clue how I’ll be able to afford $365+ transport, BUT I AM REGISTERED AND I DONT CARE BECAUSE I AM TOO EXCITED and I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Hopefully I’ll already be settled in Seattle and it will all be significantly easier than if I am still living in Florida and trying to move out West…

  31. Have to be over 18? Damn it. Well, I guess this would be incredibly awkward to explain to the family, so it’s not like I’d be able to go anyways. I hope A-Camp will still a thing that happens in a couple of years when I’ll be on my own and able to get away with excuses, as opposed to having to explain everything in detail to everyone. Time to start thinking of creative excuses. I don’t think I can top “Lesbian Christian Feminist Camp,” though.

  32. Totally registered in a snap decision moment. Then realized how many days we were talking about here. I just started working at a school. I don’t know if I’ll be eligible for days off yet. The probation period lasts, like 6 months. Fuuuu. I will figure this shit out. I missed the first A-camp because I hesitated too long. I am not going to miss this one. I hope.

  33. I can’t make it to this one (two trips to the other side of the world in one year is a bit too much for my bank balance!). But i’m planning on coming to the next camp – May next year should work for me :)

    Anyway, hope all of you going along to A-Camp 2 have a wonderful time!!

  34. Riese, I am so so happy that May’s A-Camp went so fantastically – not for the team, who seem to have had the most exciting and fun-filled weekend of their lives, not for the regular Autostraddlers who finally found a community where they felt normal and comfortable and loved, but for you. The brave, special person who, instead of hoping to just stumble across somewhere that felt like home for people like us, actually worked (and still works) a mind-boggling number of hours to make that happen. You have all of my love and respect and admiration. You’ve truly, genuinely changed my life, and the lives of thousands of others, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
    Your dream has become a reality! Congratulations!

    (Sorry for the length and sappiness of this, but I really just had to say it.)

  35. Oh I want to go to A-Camp SO MUCH after reading the recaps!

    Damn unemployment! So tempted to raid my savings and just hope I get a job in the next few months to pay for it.