Teen Training Camp

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This is a Salon.com article about a teen training camp called Wellspring. Five years ago, it would have been called a fat camp, but Wellspring wants the emphasis to be on the training aspect. They imagine that they are training these teenagers to have a “healthy obsession” with food.

As an overweight child and teen, I’m pretty bugged by Katharine’s attitude toward overweight teenagers:

“I did meet shy kids, who seemed as if they’d be a lot more comfortable alone in front of a computer screen than with their peers. But I also met major social alphas and super-extroverted comedians, who sang and rapped and joked. It may be time for the stereotype of the overweight social outcast to get a big fat makeover.”

She was amazed that teenagers could be overweight and popular. She was amazed that one of the campers was a cheerleader back home. She was amazed that these kids didn’t fit her narrow stereotype of what overweight means. Most importantly, she couldn’t resist saying the phrase “big fat makeover.”

Since I was an overweight teenager, I look at the entire experience differently. Take Lily, the only camper there with the “kahunas” to tell the truth about her situation:

“My mom is embarrassed about the way I look,” says Lily, who weighed 170 pounds when she came to camp and at five feet, five inches is supposed to weigh between 119 and 149 pounds according to the BMI. “She’s afraid I’ll keep gaining weight. She doesn’t want an obese kid, because no one will be my friend and no one will talk to me, and I’ll be really unhappy.”

The truth of the matter is I bet most of those kids are there against their will. They are fantasizing about Pringles and milk and beef and chicken because this is an externally instituted change. The only lasting change must come from within. Unless those kids want to get thin and healthy, throwing money at an “adventure” camp won’t do a thing for them.

Every summer when I came out from under the strict regime of my grandparents and went back home to my parents, I binged. I ate things just because I had been denied them for so long. I binged during those summers, too. I saved up all my allowance money and spent it on the highest calorie food I could. I don’t think these fat camps are helpful to teenagers who are sent to them, only teenagers who beg to go.

Western Wellspring Adventure Weight Loss Camp for Teens in California

Via: Boing Boing: Weight-loss camp demands obsessive measurement


8 Responses to “Teen Training Camp”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    I wish my parents would let me go to one of those types of camps. I’m 14 and am overweight. All I do is sit in front of the computer because I’m too scared to go out and meet new people. I honestly do think that these people will not like me because of the way I look. I have a few close friends but a camp like this would make me feel so much better about myself. However, my parents are the other way around. Oh, your not fat honey. Just try and watch what you eat. I feel like I’m all alone on this and it’s really hard trying to loose weight without being anorexic. I’ve been overweight since I was in first grade and have known it since then. I just wish my parents were the type to force me into doing activities and getting more active. I’m too much of a wimp to do it on my own.

  2. sherlly Says:

    help me

  3. =) Says:

    are you still enabled to go if you are not necessarily overweight? i took a BMI test and i am actually, barely on weight, i am like 1 point off, but i’d still really like to go.


  4. Sam Says:

    I attended Wellsprings and in relation to the most recent question; no you wouldn’t be able to attend. You have to be at least 50 pounds overweight, I believe, to attend.

  5. Terrie Says:

    I think you can go if your BMI is 85th percentile or greater. Ask them.

  6. Momo Says:

    Hi, I am overweight. I took a BMI test and it told me so. I have been overweight since the fourth grade. I am in seventh grade. I would like to lose weight, but my parents can’t know. They’ll put me on a diet!!! Right now, I am 125 lbs. I want to be 100 lbs. Help!!

  7. Judy Online Says:

    One of my daughters was very heavy as a teenager, but it never prevented her from being outgoing, friendly and popular. However, when she did lose weight in her late teens, she confessed that she now felt a lot more comfortable with herself.

    But of course, every individual is different, so there really is no easy answer that fits every case.

  8. Izzie Says:

    The fact is Wellspring is different. I have been a camper there twice (I had a lot of weight to lose) and I see kids go through amazing transformations. Unlike most camps we are given an entree and then can eat as much of the ‘uncontrolled’ foods as we want. Instead of training that you cant eat they show you what you can eat and help you find foods you love to eat. We also have counseling that helps us find out why we eat, and helps us solve the problem. Wellspring is different, it does work, and it changes your life.

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