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

Your Last Words

[you can see all the prom photos here, password “prom,” or wait for them to go up on our A-Camp Facebook page]


“It is such a fabulous community. I really felt part of something, and I’m the sort of person who normally feels detached and alone. Plus everything was just such fun, fun, fun. I haven’t laughed so much in a single weekend since May camp!”


“It’s the happiest, most interesting, beautiful, safe, and delightful place I’ve ever been.”


“I think A-Camp might have to be my sort of check-up in between stretches spent in the straight/ outside world. Like an oil change – just necessary in order to keep running at peak capability.”


“I was so worried that everyone was gonna hate me and think I’m weird. But it wasn’t like that at all. It’s like all of these people already loved me before they even met me. They wanted to get to know me, hear my story, and they wanted to tell me theirs as well.”


“I learn so much every camp and meet the most incredible people. The reading and the A-Campalooza were both moments where I looked around and thought about how lucky I am to be a part of this thing.”


“The best part was all of the humans that were there. You guys could hold A-Camp in a sewer and I’d go and have so much fun just because everyone is doing their best to bring out the best in everyone else.”

1-A-Camp 430

“The best part of A-Camp was seeing the wide rainbow of people attending and realizing there is wrong way to be queer.”


“The best part was being in an environment where I actually felt normal and accepted by everyone. Being somewhere where my sexuality was not in question was a huge relief, as well as being somewhere where other people understood what I was going through.”


“I came out at 15 and my queer community at home is large and supportive, but I still consider A-Camp a necessity. A-Camp queers are a different breed of human, and the activities and performances offered are better than any conference or lesbian event I’ve attended — and much cheaper, too!”


“I didn’t come to Camp because I needed new friends, but I left camp with new friends I never knew I needed.”

1-A-Camp 431

“This was the first time I sort of ‘got it’ about how great it is to be gay. They say that it gets better, and it just did! Thank you all so much!”


“I’ll come back because of the community and sense of belonging A-Camp provides. Plus it’s just fucking fun!”


“I continue to be impressed with how so many people come to A-Camp and there’s no bitches. I mean statistically, three camps, no bitches. It’s mind boggling.”


“I’ve never been in a space with so many people that I loved and still felt comfortable being on my own at the same time.”


“I loved being in a safe space where it is totally 100% ok to be a weirdo.”


“Everything was perfect but seeing my Runaways again was unreal. Thanks Autostraddle for giving me a kick-ass family!!”


“It was really fun, and it was cool being around that many queer and accepting people. Also, the outside world sucks. Seriously, it’s really frustrating compared to Camp.”


“I loved hearing so many queer perspectives! I didn’t even have to actively talk to people. I could just be quiet and listen because there were interesting conversations happening all around me! SO GREAT.”


“It’s such a breath of fresh air, and is just so downright, radically FUN.”


“I am coming to every A Camp for the rest of my life. I will be 80 and still walking around that mountain in a purple bandana and combat boots.”


“I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as much in my life as I did at this camp.”


“My favorite part was the safe open feeling I had while I was there. I openly actually danced in front of people. I loved seeing DeAnne Smith and all the staff. I just felt so good. I loved meeting new people, my cabinmates were amazing. I loved the carnival and prom. The workshops were so amazing, I learned so much about various topics and myself.”


“I loved being outside, holding my girlfriend’s hand without getting comments or weird looks from strangers, going to the panels, meeting some of the Autostraddle writers, my cabin leaders, dancing like an idiot, canoeing, hot chocolate, coffee, & watching Deanne Smith. Was I only supposed to pick one thing? I can’t pick one.”


“For my favorite part of A-Camp, I would have expected myself to say club deer, or hanging out in the cabin, or new crafts I’ve never done… but honestly it was definitely the panels/workshops. I think I learned more about myself in five days than I have in the past few years.”


“Is it just me or was the cake the kitchen served really good? I love a good piece of cake with awesome frosting.”


“The best part, overall, was being in such a welcoming space with people who only wanted to be good and warm to you and get to know you without judgment. Also, more practically speaking, prom kicked ass, staff readings brought out a roller coaster of emotions, and I danced my face off at A-campalooza.”


“My cabin was the most amazing thing to happen. We clicked instantly, we were even friends through facebook before meeting. We were loud, queer and healthy drunks. Couldn’t get enough of each other. I met an incredibly amount of talented people and felt totally confident about being myself.”


“A-Camp reminded us of our first Feminist camp experience in Los Angeles in the early 80’s… it focused on early feminist issues: racism, sexism, homophobia, coming out, class issues, etc. The women that we met there are still significant in our lives 30 years later… It is so wonderful seeing the new generation continuing the hard work while being a part of a whole new world of acceptance and change. We appreciate you so much!”

Registration for our 2014 A-Camp, which will take place in May (exact dates TBA, but we do know for sure that Memorial Day weekend will be involved), will open January 17th.

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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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