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

Sunday, October 13th: The Last Day of Camp

Sophia: The saddest day of them all.

Robin: Although I know its not the most convenient for everyone, having the buses all leave at the same time saved our staff and our campers so many headaches! The last full day of camp we are usually switching people around and the last morning we spent looking at our watches, hoping all the buses make it up the mountain on time. This system was the best yet and I loved running from bus to bus with Marni saying goodbye to your happy, tired faces.


Riese: This was the first camp where I not only went to breakfast but actually sat down and ate it with campers! Because it was the first camp we didn’t have a transportation shitshow to coordinate! Saying goodbye to the Runagayhearts is always the hardest part.

Carmen: Finding out on Sunday that the Orange team had won color wars was like being in a waking dream. After three camps, I’ve finally felt the satisfaction of winning a contest with no prize and no clear purpose. And I liked it. HOLLA WHAT? HOLOGRAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Lane: Other seriously memorable things included getting nicknamed “Emma Stone” by pretty much every single person at camp due to my even-deeper-and-raspier-than-usual voice.

Hansen: On the shuttle to the airport, I slept off my Leaving Camp Misery by cuddling Dani. Then, just as we were lured into a false sense of comfort by the slowest moving shuttle ever, Somer started smelling burning rubber, and we pulled over a few times “to reset the air conditioning.”


We were on the third shuttle, which was cursed for the ride up, so when we pulled over on the side of the freeway and were told we had to change shuttles because ours was spitting a ton of black smoke every time we hit 50, I had a little meltdown. Ali began petitioning Dani to rename the shuttles for next camp Shuttles 1, 2, and 4, because clearly the third shuttle is never to be trusted. The transition was actually painless and I was just being a baby. Then we went to LAX and I ordered the largest chicken pot pie of my life because it was the first thing I found on the menu that had meat AND dairy in it (after a week of eating from the kosher kitchen at Alpine Meadows, this seemed really exciting to me). Ali, Carolyn, Cara and I processed our feelings in a sit down restaurant where we stayed for as long as I could make it look like I was still eating this ridiculous chicken pot pie the size of my entire torso, and it was the perfect calm ending to camp.

Stef: I drove down the mountain with Sarah Evan, Cee, DeAnne and Karen, and it was a really calm, beautiful way to decompress – until the part where Sarah Evan and I realized we had about thirty seconds to make our respective flights. We both managed to get through security on time, which is a miracle, but I was unprepared for the most tremendously unlikely miracle of all – Kate fucking Moennig (aka Shane from the L Word) was on my flight. We bleary-eyed, black-clad, messy-haired queers regarded each other suspiciously across the baggage claim, and although she declined to take a picture with me, she did shake my hand. It was like a blessing from the heavens above, and it served as a pleasant distraction from thinking about how much I miss everybody, and will continue to until we see each other on Mt Feelings once again.

Dani RDS: So, everyday life can suck sometimes, you know? People are awful with boundaries and I’m a huge fan of “hoola hoop circle” personal space limits. A-Camp is not like everyday life for me. I don’t know if it comes from the fact that I genuinely fall a little in love with every single human I share space with up there or what, but it feels so okay getting closer to humans there.


Dani O., The Amazons Couselor & Calendar Girl: When people back down the mountain ask me about camp, I tend to describe it as a sort of vision quest. It’s like taking a trip to an alternative world filled with acceptance, sex positivity, high tea, and twerking. Camp is a chance to see what life should be like for queers everywhere – fun and full of love. My favorite moments had to be building tiny snowmen until my hands turned purple, realizing how many people who came out after college felt just like I do (during the late in life panel), anytime DeAnne Smith is talking, getting the help of my whole staff cabin to go from lazy femme to prom ready, and bonding over gluten-free vegan meal options. And of course meeting so many wonderful, creative, brilliant people. There is nothing else like it.

Riese: We’re always there for another three or four more hours after the last camper leaves the mountaintop (besides Alice Motes, Alice Motes sticks around), and then it’s just us — me, Marni, Robin, Carly, and usually Taylor, and another four or five team members, different every time — and we clean out the lodges and pack up the cars and throw away the things and organize the hummus.This time we still had so much energy! We were exhausted, but like hyperexhausted.

Marni: Look I’m not saying that Alice Motes took the bear suit from the table in Eagle on the last day after the buses left, but I’m also not saying Alice Motes *didn’t* take the bear suit from the table in Eagle on the last day after the buses left. That’s all I’m saying/not saying.

Carly: And then we had to leave and it was awful.

Laneia: The saddest and worst. Can’t talk about it.

Carly: I was so sad. I was also a shadow of my former self, because PROMAGEDDON.  Everything hurt and I was developing a sore throat, the first stages of the A-Camp Plague. WORTH IT.

Riese: We took forever to leave, and then we did, and as we drove down the mountain I was like, Marni, I’m legitimately looking forward to eating food at The Cheesecake Factory. So we met up with Crystal, and we went to The Cheesecake Factory and we ate and we talked about you for hours.


Robin: Thank you for making A-Camp possible! We love you. Come back.

Next: Final thoughts, feelings, and moar photographs of prom!

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6See entire article on one page

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

Join AF+!


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. I agree with Dani RDS, Carrie needs to propose to Bren every camp. Also singing “Iris” together. Every camp.

  2. I was smiling while I read this 20 minutes ago and I’m still smiling now. My face hurts. Thanks, AS! (Also cried remembering the proposal. Too many feelings. I’m exhausted.)

  3. HA! I guessed the password for the photo album before I reached the end of the article.

    (I felt like a hacker.)

  4. 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”


      • Except I was completely oblivious to anything going on that morning because I was having a slight panic attack..I DIDNT WANT TO LEAVE THAT DAMN MOUNTAIN. So I’ll have to photoshop myself into our picture. No biggy:)

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. Crying again after reading/re-experiencing Bren and Carrie’s proposal! Y’all are so cute, I wish you the best!

  8. 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.

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


  10. going through all 882 prom photos is like watching the most happy stop frame movie ever created.

  11. 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?

  12. Carrie proposing to Bren is the cutest thing ever! Congrats ladies.

    Gosh. I really wish I could go to camp. I’ve never been to an actual camp before. Shame on me.

  13. I thought nothing could top the first camp but somehow, against all logic, I just fall deeper in love with camp every time. My heart hurts in the best way after reading this.

  14. I remember that camp cake.
    I was like “what? Greenish blue icing? It’s probably terrible.”
    And then it was fucking fantastic… So, don’t judge cakes by their icing, team.

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • My list goes a little something like this:

      6)Jen & Hansen

      Related: I was at a thing yesterday and there was a queer there with hair almost as good as yours. I thought of you!

  19. also i’m kind of surprised there was only 111 pictures from the prom photobooth, i had been pretty convinced i got in there at least 100 times myself.

  20. – there I am, crying in the background of a couple of proposal pictures.
    – Alice Motes is omnipresent
    – Love you all.
    – Thank you, Autostraddle. For everything.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. oh wow. there is some Photo Booth gold in there.

    I feel like I may get a little bossy once a photo booth clicker is in my hands.

    Drunk with power. muahahahahaha.

  25. + 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.

  26. 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!!!

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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!)

  30. Riese: Stop frontin’ you know you love it.

    Marni: LIES!!! Unconscionable lies!

    Everyone: I heart you all so hard!

    IS IT MAY YET????

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

Comments are closed.