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.

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Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO 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 2974 articles for us.


      • 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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.)

  7. 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.

  8. Oh. I was so close to saying “fuck it let’s do it” and just registering and hoping I could find a job/sell enough of my worldly possessions to make up the amount before September, then I found out how expensive flights to the US are.

    Damn world geography. Sadtimes.

  9. Oh my gosh! I about had a heart attack when I realized this had been posted on Monday and I hadn’t registered yet and WHAT IF THERE WEREN’T ANY SPOTS LEFT. But everything will be okay, I’m all registered now.


  10. i registered. impulsively. because it’s gonna cost me a fortune but it’s one that will probably get me laid… i mean, will be an enriching life experience.

    ALSO just checkin’ in — the blurb up there says “female-identified folks” but i assume the camp is open to people who identify otherwise…right?

  11. Hey guys! For those that can’t afford a plane ticket and driving is to arduous or damn expensive cause it is…, don’t look over taking a Greyhound (bus…lol) to camp! It’s probably MUCH cheaper than driving yourself if you’re not carpooling and it’s nice and comfy! That’s how I’m going to get to A-Camp in May :D

  12. Sigh…I am an undergraduate and have class in September. I also just spent an obscene amount of $ to make sure my girlfriend and I will be attending ACL (aka seeing Tegan and Sara) in October. I will start saving and planning for A-Camp 3 next May (and maybe bring my sister with me)! Can’t wait, although I really really reeeeally hope Hannah Hart will still be a part of these at that time cause that girl is hilarious/adorable.

  13. I can’t believe that I’m missing A Camp again because I’ll be a counselor at for a camp-like program! I much rather be at A Camp than working… :P
    I feel like I’m missing out on life.

  14. Is A-Camp open to non-female identified folks?

    (I absolutely understand if its a female-identified only space, I was just wondering if folks that do not identify within the gender binary would be welcome)

  15. So burning man ends a week before, so i’d be on that coast… all i would need is a way to occupy myself in the area for a week first… I think i could drag my post burn dusty self there.

    Is anyone else going to burning man before?

    (Also first Autostraddle comment yay!)

  16. I have never been this jealous of fortunate people. I am a pretty content person and I have always believed that jealousy is the ugliest trait. But then again sometimes it just hurts. Also, it makes me feel kinda sad that I am stuck here in the Philippines and that even Google Maps cannot calculate the miles on how far it is from here to the camp site. But on the bright side I am genuinely happy and super excited for those who will be able to attend and I wish nothing but the best for y’all. I am looking forward to a lot of pictures and stories about this. I am also daydreaming that a fairygaymother would fly me there sans the VISA. Or perhaps an overseas A-Camp that’s closer to me, haha, me to myself: “keep dreaming jay” ^____^

  17. OMG. Flying to the United States of the Americas is not for free!!! I was super excited when I saw a flight price for 279$, I was like high fiving myself, finally my ninja flight searching has paid off then I realized it was 279$ each way which equals about a million dollars more than I thought it would cost!!

  18. Yes! I’m in! My name came up! I registered, I bought a plane ticket, I can’t stop telling everyone with in five feet of me that I am going to lesbian summer camp!EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    okay, deep breath.

    Oh, and I just got the email today about the pool being open.

    I seriously can’t stop thinking about camp. Every night I have dreams about how much fun this is going to be.

    OMG, what am I going to wear?!

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