One thing I learned about quickly after starting to chat online to other LGs I had found was LG Camp. It seemed they all knew about LG Camp at some place called Rainbow Mountain. I was suitably confused.
After talking to several different girls, I figured out that it was a long weekend event (Thursday afternoon – Sunday morning) when LGs from all over got together – from all over the US, and then some from the UK as well. (Later, we also had LGs from The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.) They had fun getting to dress in their favorite little girl dresses and doing little girl activities and generally just getting to be together ALL WEEKEND! Brilliant!
It started as a sort of splinter off the usual Cross-Dressing weekend they had at a gay resort in Pennsylvania called “Rainbow Mountain”. It quickly grew to where there were enough for its own weekend. I remember some camps where we bought out all the rooms. There was a Spring Camp in early May and a Fall Camp in early November. The first I heard of it was in 2000 – I was quickly invited, but I was getting ready for a Foreign Mission trip for that time period. This would have actually been Camp 5 (there have been 30 now. I’ve missed 10, counting those that took place before I went to my first).
Camp 6 came up that Fall … I had a tryout in Virginia that weekend. I was also still in College. Camp 7 was the next Spring ….. the same weekend as my Graduation!! By now my friends probably thought I was one of those girls who talked about wanting to go to Camp, but never actually MADE it. Thing is, once I finally did make it at Camp 8, I was there every time until 2010, when some really bad stuff happened and disrupted my life on all fronts.
When I finally had everything set to where I could make it to Camp (and I had already met a couple friends face-to-face, such as Spinner and Amy), we set it up so that I could meet Arcee and Catrina at the Newark airport and give them a ride to Camp. This was interesting, in that I had to start from North Carolina and drive to Newark NJ to meet them. They were coming in at different times, so Cat just waited at the airport til I got there, and then we waited a little longer on Arcee’s plane. I still remember the first time I saw Arcee – I knew who she was immediately. Cat I only knew because we both showed up at the place we agreed to meet, and she said, “Well, that looks like a suede fringe jacket….”
I can’t remember if it was Cat or Arcee who, when I told her what I would be wearing (I was going through a Western Style phase at the time), she was quiet for a minute, and finally said, “Will we also be meeting your friends, the cop, the Indian, and the construction worker?”
I gave myself plenty of time to reach the airport that was over 700 miles away … I remember I got there early, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I actually DID with the extra time! I know that once Arcee was through customs, and we got her bags, we jumped in my car and headed for Camp, stopping once along the way at a McDonald’s to eat. It was late, and we wouldn’t get to eat at the Mountain. We just hoped someone thought to get our room keys for us! When leaving McDonalds, I also recall Cat telling me she knew how to get where we were going, and then suddenly yelling, “TURN RIGHT HERE!” as I drove by a road….
I remember what it was like driving up the mountain road. This was before any of us learned the back way – though I am not convinced that would have been any better in the dark!! It was VERY curvy and very steep! Suddenly there was a row of lights and an extremely sharp curve that if you missed, you would drive right into a large house (known as Cherry House even though it is yellow now….), and Cat and Arcee chorused, “We’re here!”
I confess at this point I felt my only pangs of nervousness while actually there. I’ll tell you what made me the most nervous in the days leading up to Camp. I had images built up in my mind of what these girls looked like – the little girls – and I wasn’t at all sure that I would be able to see the little girls within the adult male bodies. Moreover, I was afraid they wouldn’t see ME either. I didn’t need to worry – it was no problem at all.
There were four girls waiting for us in the lobby. They had grabbed our room keys for us. They were Spinner, Karen Marie, Petricia, and Miss Cheryl (we called her that because she was a big girl – she just liked to hang around us). The difference of style among our group was immediately noticeable … from Karen Marie in her schoolgirl jumper, to Petricia in 3 or 4 petticoats!
I had a room in Cherry House I rather liked – unfortunately I only got that room back 2 more times and then never again after that. What I liked most about it was that it had two windows facing East and North, so my room had lots of light in the daytime. There was also a big bathtub in the private bathroom. At any rate, I surprised everyone by how quickly I jumped in, getting dressed in a carhop costume I bought (it was Halloween) and going down to the lounge.
Camp was magical. So many LGs from so many other parts of the country. For many of us at the time, it was really our only outlet. It established so many traditions … some of which are still carried on by others. It permitted us to have things we always dreamed about having, like birthday parties, craft time, playing, and a fashion show, all as little girls. I wouldn’t trade my memories of Camp for anything in the world.
Taffy Cheerful once told me that she had got all she could out of Camp, that she had outgrown it now, and it was for other girls to discover what it could be for them. I truly did not understand it at the time, but I think I do now. As new girls attend camp, and eventually take the reigns, it must continue to stretch and grow and take on a new face that is more in line with what they want it to be – it has to do that to remain magical. Those of us holding on and insisting it remain the same have to loosen the hold a little. In addition, as we grow, some of us may find other venues are working for us as well … now I take a trip to Charleston at least once a year.
I suspect I will return to Camp – to see friends – but now it will be a choice more than a need.