The Welcoming Committee blog

Life is short, start a takeover.
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The Rafting Takeover

When you first heard about TWC’s Rafting Takeover on June 27-29 you were all

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But then you thought about hanging out with a bunch of queers in the woods and were like

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And then you checked your email and saw the schedule full of karaoke, bonfires, live bands, and, of course, rafting, and suddenly you were all

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So you sign up and find out about the pre-party, where you introduce yourself to your 100 new insta-raft-friends.

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Finally the day arrives. On August 23 you pack your bags and head north from Boston

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And when you get to the campsite in Maine you see all your new friends and someone hands you a beer

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Once you’ve got your beer in hand, you hit up your bunkhouse, meet your brand new bunkmates, get settled, and all of you decide, “Hell yeah karoake!”

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Meanwhile, you spot some of your new rafting buddies hanging out at the indoor/outdoor bar, and you’re like

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Until the end of the night when you roll up in your bunk/tent with your roomies

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Saturday rolls around and you wake up for your $7 all-you-can-eat breakfast.  It’s a big day. You need lots of energy!

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You link up with your friends and set out for rafting

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When you first get in the raft you look around and everyone’s like

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But after a while you get into the swing of things and it’s all

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At the end of the ride you stop for a full BBQ lunch by the side of the river and see all your peeps from the other rafts.  But there’s really only one thing you’re interested in

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You get back to camp to dry off and realize that the partying is about to start all over again

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You head over to find the troops when your new friends remind you that there’s live music at the bar.

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Saturday night rocked. Then Sunday morning rolls around and you hit up the breakfast bar again before packing up your car. Before heading back to Boston, you and some of your new besties hit the hiking trails in the area

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You get back home. You head to bed. And when you wake up on Monday morning at first you’re all “whyyyyy?”

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But then you remember the amazing weekend you had, full of new friends, rafting, karaoke, dancing, and full-on awesome, and you’re just like

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The Mount Snow #DestinationTakeover

Welcome aboard #DestinationTakeover: Mount Snow. From January 10th to the 12th, we’ll be descending on one big snowy mountain in Vermont for 3 days and 2 nights of skiing, boarding, tubing, hot tubing, dancing, drinking and snow angel making. Here’s what you may be wondering:

TRAVELING:
1. What time are we leaving and from where? How do I get there?
BOSTON
: Buses leave from this spot outside of the Christian Science Center in downtown Boston. The pick-up location is between the Prudential and Symphony stops on the E-line (green line) and is a short walk from the Mass Ave stop on the orange line. The #1 bus also runs from Cambridge down Massachusetts Avenue. You can also take Uber, which is offering new users in Boston $20 off with code “BosTWC.” Just click here.
- If you’re on the early bus, be ready to go by 6:45am on Friday, January 10. Your bus should get to Mount Snow by 9:45am.
- If you’re on the late bus, be ready to depart at 6:30pm on Friday, January 10. Your bus should get to Mount Snow by 9:30pm.
How do I know if I’m on the early bus or late bus?
If you’re coming from Boston, when you grabbed your ticket, we asked you which bus you wanted to board. Check your inbox for an email that confirmed your choice from TWC!

PHILLYThe bus will depart from the Cira Center, just outside the 30th Street Station, on Friday, January 10 at 3pm. The bus should arrive around 8:30pm, depending on the weather. The 30th Street Station is served by the Market-Frankford Line as well as SEPTA trolleys and buses. You can also take Uber, which is offering new users in Philadelphia $20 off with code “TWC.” Just click here.

2. Will we be dropped off at the same locations on Sunday night?
Yup!

3. Is there enough room on the buses for my equipment and bags?
Yes. The buses are charter buses with A LOT of storage space underneath. You won’t be able to put your big suitcases in the seating area of the motor coach but we won’t have any trouble fitting everything in the storage compartments below.

LODGING:
1. Where’s my lodge in relation to the mountain?
If you’re staying at the Grand Summit, you’re right at the base of the mountain. If you’re staying at the Snow Lake Lodge, you’re a quick shuttle ride away.

2. I’m getting there early on Friday. Does that mean I can check in early?
Some of the rooms will be ready to go for you to check into on Friday morning. If for some reason you can’t check in as soon as you arrive, the lodge will give you a key to the locker room so you can stash your stuff, change, and hit the slopes.

3. What do I do with my gear on Sunday when I check-out at 11am and want to go to the mountain?
A few of our staff rooms at the Grand Summit and Snow Lake Lodge will remain open so you can drop off your things for the day on Sunday. The front desk will also be happy to hold them for you until we depart.

4. How often does the shuttle come to Snow Lake Lodge? 
The shuttle is on a continuous loop and will show up about every 15 minutes.

5. How far is my lodge from dancing?
Both lodging options are a 4 minute walk to The Snow Barn, where we’ll be dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Here are walking directions from Snow Lake. And here are walking directions from Grand Summit.


WINTER ACTIVITIES:
1. I didn’t get my lift / equipment rental / lesson tickets!! How can I get them?
Easy. Just go here! Be sure to buy them by midnight on Monday (January 7) or you’ll have to pay higher prices at the mountain!

2. When will I get my lift tickets?
Lift tickets will be handed out when you check-in at your hotel. If one of your roommates checks in early, we’ll have your team captain hold on to all of your lift tickets and make sure you get them when you arrive.

3. I’m going on the early bus. Does that mean that I can get a 3 day lift ticket and ski Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

You betcha! If you’ve already purchased a lift ticket and want to upgrade it, just email Ashley and let her know: Ashley@thewelcomingcommittee.com. Otherwise you can buy all of your lift tickets here. Just make sure you’re back and ready to go by 5pm on Sunday night.

4. What about tubing? And snow shoeing? And other winter stuff?
If your interested in other winter activities like snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, you can pick up passes for those at Mount Snow - reservations aren’t required. Tubing info is here (and is $20). And snowshoeing/cross country skiing info is here.

If you want to go snowmobiling, we’d suggest you make a reservation in advance. Find out about all of that here.

5. I heard there was hot tubing. True or false?
True. There are hot tubs at both of the lodges.


ENTERTAINMENT:
1. I just wanna dance! That’s happening right?
So do we and yes, yes, yes! On Friday and Saturday nights you’ll get into Mount Snow’s nightclub, the Snow Barn, for free. Friday night dancing tunes will be provided by a DJ and on Saturday night there will be a live band.

2. Are we going to Apres Ski?
Do unicorns like butterflies? Yes.
We’re putting together an entire schedule for you that will include apres ski spots, pre-game spots, and dance party departure times. That magic will be handed out when you get on the bus.

PREPARATION:

1. I don’t know what to pack.
Everyone does things differently, but here’s an idea for first-timers:
- If you’re going skiing or boarding, you’ll probably want three layers: long underwear and a light turtleneck as a base layer, a thick fleece sweater and pants for the midlayer, and snow pants and jacket to cover everything up.
- Don’t forget wool/fleece socks, gloves, goggles, and, of course, underwear.
- When you’re not on the slopes, you’ll want a hat and boots to stomp around. You’ll also want something to wear out the the bar on Friday and Saturday nights!
- And, perhaps most importantly, don’t get caught without a bathing suit for the hot tub!

2. I need gloves and googles and other last minute things. Can you help?
We’re so happy you asked! Our friend over at City Sports are hooking us up with a discount code good for 20% off one item. That gift will be handed out at the pre-parties in both Boston and Philadelphia, so be sure to make them!

3. Will there be a GroupMe group?
Always. And forever. If you don’t already have that group communication app, get a head start and download it here.

4. What if I have questions that you didn’t answer?
That’s easy! Just reply to your team captain or email Ashley at ashley@thewelcomingcommittee.com. Her carrier unicorns are on holiday so electronic communication is best at this time.

Introducing Preston and Wes, Your (New) Boston Community Managers

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014. Thanks for an incredible year. In fact, we’re already a little nostalgic. Let’s see what happened to TWC in 2013, by the numbers:

  • 38 Corps members trained and deployed (10 new ones being intro’d tomorrow)

  • 4,000 new TWC members added to the ranks

  • 50 venues taken over

  • 1 new city (Philadelphia), 2 Philly Community Managers, and 850 Philly members

Well, we’re ready to go bigger. To ensure that we grow even faster in 2014, as of champagne-popping-midnight last night, Daniel and Ashley will be joining the rest of the expansion team in our secret underground HQ, while we will be taking over as Boston’s new Community Managers.

So who are we? We’re Wes and Preston, a.k.a. Weston. We’re both alumni of The Corps, obsessed with hugs, and ready to meet all of you. But really, who are we? Here are some pictures, and even more words:

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AMANDA PRESTON

Meet Preston: Fully furnished with glorious glitter, hospitable hugs, and a scintillating smile, Preston is a fierce force of friendliness.

Meet Preston: When she’s not playing football or at home in Dorchester walking her dog Bailey, she’s probably watching football in her unicorn onesie or crunching numbers to improve public education.

Meet Preston: There’s a reason that the SI unit for welcoming is the Preston (Pr).

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WESLEY MASON

Meet Wes: His hugs are legendary. He is not as sure as Preston is that a giraffe onesie would be the epitome of perfection on him.

Meet Wes: Tech genius, sushi aficionado, coffee addict, philosophical ponderer, patient listener, reluctant glitter enthusiast, and sassy wingman.

Meet Wes: The warmest, kindest, most loving, most smiley, and most welcoming friend you have yet to meet.

So you know who we are, but what are we doing?

We’re here to be the body and voice of the movement that brings all TWC members together. We’ll be at events making sure everyone has a good time, welcoming newbies into the fold, wrangling the Corps, and talking to you to find out what you want to takeover next. If you want to know more, you can see our page here, or write to us at weston@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

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The Welcoming Committee is a movement of LGBTQ folks that takes over typically straight bars, sports games, special events, and major travel destinations for one-time-only experiences. Find out more and join the movement here.

#DestinationTakeover: Foxwoods. The 2013 itinerary.

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The hour draws near. Don your warpaint. Charge your phone. Grab your lucky rabbit’s foot. #BusloadsOfGays are going to Foxwoods. 

Saturday, November 9th:
1:30pm: Depart from this spot outside of South Station in Boston & head to Foxwoods Casino
3:45pm: Arrive at Foxwoods / Check-in at MGM Grand Hotel
4:15pm: Free time
5:00pm: #CocktailTime @ Scorpion Bar
6:00pm: Free time / buffet / primp for Kathy
7:00pm: #CocktailTime @ Center Bar / Get Kathy tickets from TWC staff
8:00pm: Kathy Griffin @ MGM Grand Theater
9:45pm: MiniGQB @ Shrine Nightclub (TWC gets to skip the line AND avoid the $20 cover before 10pm)

Sunday, November 10th:
Morning: Wake up, grab breakfast with your new friends
10:45am: Check out of MGM Grand Hotel
11:00am: Load buses (back to Boston)

The Weekly Pineapple

Might this be the best weekend ever? Halloween AND November’s GQB back to back. It’s gonna be big.

  • Thursday: It’s Halloween. Maybe you’re seeing Sharon Needles in Salem. Maybe you’re going trick-or-treating on Beacon Hill. Or maybe you’re just staying home to watch Hocus Pocus. Whatever you do, make sure it’s in costume and involves candy.

  • Friday: The gods of the Gregorian calendar have blessed us with GQB on the very first day of November, allowing us all to kick off the month in epic style. Join hundreds of LGBTQuties at a bar in the Fenway. This may or may not have anything to do with the Sox playing in the World Series. 9pm-2am, venue announced Thursday, Fenway, Boston.

  • Saturday: November 2 is Day of the Dead, and if you haven’t had enough sugar over Halloween, you can stock up at Taza’s Dia de los Muertos Fiesta. There promises to be food, drinks, music, face painting, and, of course, chocolate for everyone. 1-6pm, Taza Chocolate Factory Store, 561 Windsor St., Somerville, free.

  • Sunday: This is that weird day of the year where 2am happens twice, but you don’t get an extra hour in the bar. Yes, Daylight Savings Time is ending. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep for one day, and then spend the next four months complaining about how early it gets dark.

Have a story, event, or couple’s costume that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

Shit Gays Should Know

The recent crackdown on LGBTQ rights and uptick in violence against gay people in Russia has received a lot of attention, especially in the months leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But did you know that during Soviet times Sochi was one of the most gay-friendly parts of Russia? While still a refuge, Russia’s overall growing conservatism has pushed more young gay Russians abroad.  

Have a story, event, or statue of Lenin that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed (And One You Should’ve)

If you spent the whole weekend googling “Last minute easy Halloween costumes,” we understand. Somehow Hallow’s Eve got turned into Halloweek, and apparently it’s a faux pas to wear the same costume twice. Here’s what happened while you were cutting up old t-shirts and cardboard boxes:

  • Britney Spears loves her gay fans so much that she wrote “Work Bitch” for them. Meanwhile, the Merchant Navy of the United Kingdom is using her music to scare off Somali pirates.

  • Bugs are gay! Or at least very enthusiastic. And not particularly attentive to the sex of their partners.

  • Bisexual characters on television: still few in number, but now more realistic?

  • Ylvis (of “The Fox” fame) releases a new video… about Massachusetts. Will it be the Bay State’s next tourism jingle?

  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announces his intention to make Philly the one of, if not the most, LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues,” as he signs broad LGBTQ-inclusive legislation.

And everyone is posting this, which is frankly just sad.

Have a story, event, or sandwich cookie that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

Shit Gays Should Know

It’s been ten years since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted in July 2003. (Do you feel old yet?) While the show, which later changed its name to Queer Eye, traded heavily in gay stereotypes, it also doubled the number of prominent gay characters on television. It became such a success that even then-President Bush talked about it in what was probably his first mention of the word “queer.” The cast members also report that the show was instrumental in the coming out processes of many in the mid-2000s.

Have a story, event, or makeover that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

Shit Gays Should Know

The Out-Fit Challenge is billing itself as the first LGBTQ mud run, and it could be coming to Boston. Or Philadelphia. Or Dallas. It’s really up to you. If you like mud, running, obstacle courses, and afterparties, vote here to bring Out-Fit to your city. And then you can ask them why their name sounds like part of Project Runway.

Have a story, event, or set of monkey bars that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.

Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed

Over 450 TWCers took Patron’s by storm for FTC on Saturday and cheered the Sox to a win while everyone else was at home staring at the television. Here’s everything you need to know this week:

  • Just a year after finishing last in their division, the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers in the American League championship game, securing their spot in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, we’re actually talking about baseball.

  • At least one athlete is ready to go to jail in Russia to support gay rights there during the Olympics.

  • Is the Cooking Channel the new Logo? Its new show Drag My Dinner features three drag queens right off RuPaul helping clueless straights make their dinner parties a little more fabulous.

  • If musicals weren’t gay enough already, Stephen Sondheim is working on a revised version of Company in which Bobby, the central character, is gay.

  • Now that there’s wine for cats, you’ll always have company. (For the record, it’s actually just Cabernet grape juice with catnip. And, disappointingly, it’s only available in Japan.)

And everyone is posting this multilingual video. Is she the new Rebecca Black? We hope not.

Have a story, event, or chow mein that you’d like to share? Drop us a line at blog@thewelcomingcommittee.com.