A-Camp October 2013 Recamp #4: You Look Wonderful Tonight

Saturday Afternoon Activities

Femmecraft – DIY Lingerie (Hansen & Lizz R.) // Queer People of Color Panel (Yvonne, Kaylah, Mey, Brittani, Carmen, Lex & Megan) // Hannah Hart Hike (Hannah Hart) //  Canoeing Trip to Jenks Lake (Marni) // Yes Ve Gan! (Liz C, Dani O, Rachel & Stef)

Sex Panel (Ali, Dani RDS, Riese, Taylor, Lizz R) // Wine & Typography (Alex & Geneva) Mystery Homo Theater 4000 (Brittani, Carly, Lane, DeAnne & Hannah) // Spice Up Your Life (Stef) // Dapper Hour


Robin: I was the tour guide on Hannah’s hike and I had a ton of fun!

1-A-Camp 426

Robin: I was so excited we had such a great turnout because every camp I want EVERYONE to go to the amazing overlook where you can see mountains for miles. I’m not even sure Marni or Riese have been yet!! Carly hasn’t gone either!! I’m not sure anyone knows just how close and easy this walk is you guys, you have to go check it out!!!

1-A-Camp 427

Robin: After we reached the overlook we took the long loop around to get back to camp, flagged with tape I had wrapped around trees as markers from last session. Hannah bounced around talking to fellow hikers. I love seeing Hannah in her element and I could see from her face that she was having a genuinely amazing time this session. I am so thankful she was able to come to camp and for her generous donation of a campership with travel!

(via Robin Roemer)

Robin: At the end of the Hannah Hart Hike, we had an EPIC tug-of-war in which Team Robin kicked Team Hannah’s butt.

Somer, The Gossip Counselor/Talent: On the last day of camp, Marni took us all Canoeing on nearby Jenks Lake.

Marni: I had wanted to do canoeing at all the previous camps and we FINALLY got our act together this time and headed to the lake.

(photo by vanessa)

(photo by vanessa)

Somer: Well, it was more of a pond. But it was still beautiful and peaceful, and a fun way to experience the mountain.


Megan, Program Support Coordinator: Laneia said we were going canoeing and my only thought was I can’t canoe, I have a job to do. And even though it rhymed, it was sad. Basically I’m part of an underground support system that aims to make everything be in the right place at the right time, so I don’t really have time to hang out in the woods and stare at the sky. But then Bren, because she is The Best Person Ever, hands down ever, said she could handle things on her own.

Laneia: AND WE WERE OFF. (Bren really is the Greatest Human. Look it up.)

Marni: It was a bit late in the season and a little chilly, but everyone had a great time and nobody fell in. I was even able to teach a few paddling techniques with the help of my trusty bowman Kip.

Jenks Pond (via Somer)

Jenks Pond (via Somer)

Somer: After teaching us to “J-stroke” and making sure we all had life vests, Admiral Marni took our small fleet of queer vessels around Jenks Pond.

Canoeing Fleet (via Somer)

Canoeing Fleet (via Somer)

Megan: It took a couple of minutes, but I finally semi-mastered the J-stroke — at least enough to get our canoe to the middle of the water and convince Laneia that we were not, in fact, going to crash into another canoe of campers.

Laneia: I think I only screamed like twice, and it was more of a squee anyway. I want to go to Jenks Lakepond every A-Camp. Write that down.

Here she is, admiring our majestic ships from the shore, her second-in-charge Vanessa at her side (via Somer)

Admiring our majestic ships from the shore. (via Somer)

Somer: Even the city girls had fun.

"It's just like back home in NYC, chillin' on the East River with my homies." (via Somer)

“It’s just like back home in NYC, chillin’ on the East River with my homies.” (via Somer)

"My feelings feel all wet." (via Somer)

“My feelings feel all wet.” (via Somer)

Stef: For Yes Ve GanLiz Castle made everybody delicious snacks and put together a precious, ribbon-sealed cookbook of some of our favourite recipes. Liz Castle is a dream.

Brittani, Firestars Counselor & Sports Editor: I announced the movie selection for our Mystery Science Theater during lunch of that day to lots of positive feedback. We’d decided on Lost and Delirious and what a grand decision that turned out to be. Glossing over the fact that the movie file was corrupt and just skipped certain parts of scenes, we still had a great time. Hannah Hart, Carly, DeAnne Smith, and Lane joined me in interrupting that ridiculous piece of crap. One of the many highlights was during the sex scene, DeAnne moved her hand in front of the projector so that its shadow caressed various body parts while the actresses got it on. Her hand was Piper Perabo’s and Jessica Pare’s erotic third which has to be the highlight of all of their careers.

Carly: Grace said to me, “this is the thing you were born to do” and she was right. MHT4K was basically an extension of my living room, because I talk through all shows and movies all the time (sorry Robin).

Robin: Listening to Carly comment through movies is basically what I do every day of my real life so I decided to move on and let you guys enjoy the comedy. What an amazing comedy powerhouse of Brittani, Carly, DeAnne, Hannah and Lane!

Carly: The panel consisted of myself, DeAnne, Hannah, Lane and our fearless leader Brittani. We screened Lost and Delirious — arguably one of the worst films ever made — and just tore it apart. I think the best part was that somehow the video file was corrupt and would just like skip scenes mid-sentence. So awesome. If I could do that every single day I would be a happy lady.

DeAnne Smith, The Talent & Contributor: Carly especially, was killing it with her added commentary. I never want to watch a cheesy queer movie again, unless I can listen to hilarious asides and score a group hug at the end. (Thanks, guys, I needed that. The movie’s end seemed to imply that if you’re gay, you have two options: kill yourself or transform into a crow.)

Lane, Girltrash Counselor: Mocking Lost & Delirious with DeAnne Smith, Hannah Hart, Carly Usdin, and Brittani Nichols in a room full of incredible people who were just as confused by the plot as we were is something I wish I could do every single day and one day I will live in a world where that is a thing.


Stef: For my inaugural hot sauce tasting, Spice Up Your Life, I made a two-hour playlist of Spice Girls songs and collected a dozen hot sauces from all around the world. We sampled a pumpkin chipotle sauce and an Ethiopian berbere mixture, as well as sauces made from habaneros, scotch bonnets, ghost peppers, and even Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers (the hottest peppers in the world). I like to think of myself as a seasoned hot sauce veteran (pun intended), but I got a little bit teary-eyed after that one. Best of all, the incredible Cee Webster took two hours out of her own busy life and made us homemade naam prik pao (sans shrimp paste) from Thai chilis. It was so insanely delicious that most of the attendees sat around snacking on that and only that for most of the session.


Carmen, Holograms Counselor & Contributing Editor: The wine tasting, which became Dapper Hour, provided me with two unexpected opportunities: a moment to sit back in a sea of beautiful humans and say nothing, and my first time ever appreciating a glass of red wine.

Riese: Alex and I had such a good time hanging out with the girls from Stand Tall Wine last winter after they contributed to our fundraising campaign, and so we hit them up to ask if they’d like to donate some of the only red wine in the world I actually enjoy, Genetic, to A-Camp, to drink during Dappy Hour. But because they’re amazing fucking human beings, they were like, “We’ll come down and do a tasting!” Reports suggest it was a riotous success.


Hansen, Hearthrobs Counselor & DIY/Food Editor: During Dapper Hour, I walked into our staff cabin to find Carolyn teaching her camper, Maddie, and Cara how to tie someone’s hands. Carolyn asked if they could practice on me, and the answer when Carolyn asks if she can tie you up is always yes. So Maddie and Cara took turns tying my hands up, which was hilarious, and then we put the ropes on them so they could feel it. Maddie’s nose started running as her hands were tied, and I went into full-on nanny mode and offered to wipe it for her, so here’s a mental image of Carolyn tightening ropes around Maddie’s wrist while I hold her wine and wipe her nose. It was every bit as amazing of a moment as it sounds.

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Kai, Wildcats Counselor & Calendar Girl: Marni was a bear. All of camp. She was a bear in the day. She was a bear in the night. She was actually THE bear that rummaged through the trash. Marni the bear, everyone.

Kaylah: My cabin dynamic was definitely shocking. One minute they are sitting in a circle entertained by coloring books, the next they’re singing about fisting and having sex toy talk at dinner. You have to keep an eye for those Peaches! Less than 3 forever!

(via Kaylah)

Rockford Peaches (via Kaylah)


Next: The Banquet and The Proposal!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com 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 Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, 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. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. Thanks cos I’m now crying alone in my room–but I’m also laughing at that Blue Crush Prom photo–Grace smiles in a sea of weird/laughing faces because she told me “I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO”


  2. that very flattering picture of me reacting to the proposal is actually me pointing at vanessa who was ACTUALLY MELTING, collapsing into a puddle of drippy gooey feelings onto the floor. i want a vanessa reacts to things tumblr almost as much as i want a carly reacts to things tumblr.

  3. I had no idea of the cuteness behind the planning! You sneaky, sneaky devils.

    I love all you people so much, but I especially love the blond with the killer calves.

    I’m crying at my desk right now!

    • I’m totes inspired to submit my own Camp Talk next session :D (I want to do one on a short history of queer/women’s intentional spaces and the way forward into a happier, campier future)

  4. A-Camp is everything.

    There are places you visit. There are places you stay. There are places you live.
    I live at A-camp. That seems impossible considering it’s just 5 days with complete strangers. A-camp is the only place where I am my total complete self. Just breathing the mountain air made me feel…well, all the things. In comparison to where I am now I still have to remind myself that A-camp really happened.

    I hope I can make it to the next one. I need more A-camp in my life and I’ve missed the mountain since the moment I got on the bus. Goddamnit, I’m crying.

    Final note: If you think you want to go to A-camp, just do it. Go to A-camp.

  5. “And almost two decades after we skipped our Senior Prom to watch movies I finally had a Prom date.” And then I died.


  6. I have never loved a group of people more. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself and my feelings. Do you know how easy it is to fall in love with a person when they are being the complete authentic selves? REALLY easy. Do you know how overwhelming it is to have that happen to you over and over and OVER again in the span of half a week? REALLY overwhelming.

    I am so proud to be a part of this community. You are all flawless individuals. And you better be coming back to September camp (and you reading this, the person who hasn’t gone to A Camp yet: you come too, please).

    Also, is that picture of Hansen and Dani available in poster size?

  7. Also, giving a Camp Talk was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and that doesn’t even compare to what it was like listening to everyone else’s. I strongly believe EVERYONE should apply to give a talk next time. I KNOW you queers have some awesome things to say and I want to hear them/swoon in the front row (my ulterior motive: smart, well-spoken girls are my kryptonite)

  8. I’m looking over recent photos of me and my new friends from Acamp, and realizing how much more joyful my life has been since this experience.

    It was so beautiful to just be there as our true selves; shameless and brilliantly colorful. And it was so worth everything just to meet people from this fantastic community which I hope I’ll be friends with for a long time to come.

    I had a hard time last year with dating, health issues, graduating college; and I feel like choosing to go to Acamp came at a perfect time; while I’ve been in the process of switching gears into a new era of my life, camp has helped me reset back into my more solid sense of self.

    When I was up there walking to and from cabins I had only made a few moments in between to looking at the stars. Had I been alone I could have long stared up into the night sky that was no longer so dark and obscure like it is in LA. It was clear and bright. But as much as I wanted to study the constellations, I also felt like for once I didn’t have to burden myself with absorbing all of the starlight, because there was just too much there. There was so much there, and so much happening which I didn’t want to miss.
    Still, I made an agreement with myself that I could still somehow feel all of it.
    Up there I knew where I was, I had a sense I really knew, under the seemingly eternal stars and this minuscule space and time between them. 
Those cold bright nights,
and feeling so alive.

    Love you all.
    Thanks Autostraddle.

  9. Oh my goodness I developed so many crushes at CAMP talks. Um, you want to teach me how to sustain my own little ball of life and green and beauty? I’ll sit in the front row, all ears.
    But seriously, we’re all so fucking talented it’s ridiculous.
    THEN going to the sex panel.
    I tried to think of another place where I could explore sexual preferences and opinions with an adorably sweet Canadian, passing around vibrators, and revel in the promotion of safe sex…AND I COULDN’T BECAUSE A-CAMP IS MAGICALLY UNIQUE AND SO SAFE. It’s like being swaddled in butterflies made of Nutella. Yeah. I went there. I feel very strongly about this.

  10. 1) the picture of me quietly wiping away a tear at the proposal is the most accurate thing ever
    2) i’m in love with hansen, guys. seriously.
    3) alice motes
    4) the MST3 gay movie thing was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me; i still can’t get over how hilarious i thought you all were. especially carly. i want carly to talk over ALL OF MY MOVIES from now on.
    5) my cabin is so cute i can’t handle anything; also i would like to request that people stop letting drunk jen be in the front of everything with my mouth wide open all of the time.

  11. I don’t know any of you. I found this website through a discussion of bad movies (specifically Lost and Delirious… I know) I have never seen pictures of people so happy before. Everyone looks so freakin’ beautiful. Really. The story of the proposal made me cry…tears down face…I don’t even like marriage. And then did I mention that I don’t know any of you? Then reading the comments and someone mentioned vomiting rainbows…I almost dropped my phone. I wish Bren and Carrie congrats….(OMG the comment about the prom…really people you should write scripts) and all the best….to everyone else you all sound like the best camp mates EVER. I don’t even know why I am writing this maybe to say its important to show a place where there is obviously so much love and safety and gooey rainbow vomit goodness.

  12. Tiny Klub Deer after party was the best.

    I am pretty sure my Firestarter cabin-mates are the best dressed. I’m just saying.

    I mean we have Kiyomi and Saskia in one cabin. I think that puts us over the top right there.

  13. A Camp is magic! If anyone else agrees that Autostraddle is magical in the way it can predict articles you need in your life, then A Camp is 100x more magical in that it puts people and activities in your life that you needed. Even if you didn’t know it.

  14. + somehow this is the day I felt I did the most things despite not leaving my cabin until 11am?
    + noone mentioned this yet but Hannah’s CAMP talk is on youtube in its entirety! Here.
    + I FINALLY WENT ON A HIKE sorry hiking buddy who I almost let get eaten by bears
    + i’m actually in multiple pictures in this post, not sure how that happened
    + i was really confused/frightened during the proposal because I couldn’t see anything as a small person in a claustrophobic sea of mostly normal-sized persons, so i’m thankful for video
    + i did not attend prom so to speak, but i did walk through it to get to the other side of eagle. that counts, i’m sure.

  15. Inspiring queers one camp and re camp at a time. Cant believe this post topped the previous one by a whole page! Lol. Sorry sometimes i think i have OCD that kicms in which is why i think i notice these things. Did i mention how hard this is to read on a mobile device. Lol!!!

  16. What Laneia said about the moon catchers was so sweet, I died a little. Thank you for letting us symbolically climb inside your rib cage. Now I have a moon catcher hanging in my room and you know what, it’s f*cking pretty.

    This whole day was perfect. I miss everyone so much!

  17. Ohh! I just remembered this, I think, was the day Laneia was outside in a coat and weird about how it looked, and I told her, “If you look warm, you look good.” And I have since made this my life mantra.

  18. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this a million times, but I will say it a million more; camp is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It is the only time I have felt completely comfortable being me, and love myself for it, and have all these other weirdos that I have fallen in love with love me for it. Basically camp is one big ball of love feelings and pure fucking joy and a whole lot of hilarity. And I will never not go back. Runagayhearts forever(maybe that should be my tattoo!)

  19. I was using my mobile earlier I couldn’t put in all the feels i had especially for the proposal OMG!!!!!!!!!! I was practically on the floor squealing at how cute they are OMG!!!!!!. I felt like crying from giddiness at AWWWWWWWWWWWW all at the same time. That was so sweet and I especially salute the staff for helping some magic happen in someone’s life. ♥

    God I love this website.

  20. Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments on the proposal, those who said such sweet words to us that night, and to those of you who were just there sharing the moment. I love each and every one of you for making this so special for Bren & I. We could feel the love in the room and it meant so much to us. I met so many people that night that it was all just a big blur, but every one of your comments meant so much to me. You guys are the best! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was an honor to be in the same room with all you wonderful weirdos.

    P.S. You guys already know this, but Riese & Marni & Robin & Carly are awesome humans, and helped me pull this off so perfectly. You guys are amazing.

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