Raven Goodwin stars in ABC Family's "Huge."

That’s how much it cost for a 13-year-old girl to attend a “fat camp” for one month. I’m not mentioning any names, but this information comes from a confidential, reliable source.

Anyway, last night Mom saidoops – the girl is still very overweight, but the plan includes an eating program and phone counseling.

It was one of those “boot camp”-style settings, and all types of clothing, gear and, literally, boots had to be purchased for participation. Participants are up at 6 a.m. every day, doing military-style exercises, running and related activities, up to about six hours a day.

Google tells me there are a lot of weight-loss camps, including a rather famous one here in North Carolina. I’ve seen several shows and news segments about Wellspring, which despite shunning the boot-camp approach seems to have a lot of success. Still, the price is about $7,000n for four weeks there, too.


Maybe it’s just (cheap) me, but $7,000 seems like an awful lot of money to spend for just 30 days and 26 pounds. I just don’t roll like that. Perhaps if I did, and had a morbidly obese teen and had tried and failed other ways to get her weight down, I would.

To be perfectly honest, when my daughter was 13, I think I would have paid good money to send her anywhere for 30 days – counting bird nests in the mountains, whatever – just to have some peace in the household, because hormonal rages at that age are no joke.


I can’t judge. I think I would have appreciated being sent away to a weight-loss camp for one to three months when I was that age, because back then, being overweight was not the norm for black kids. No, I absolutely stood out among my classmates, though there were one or two larger than I was.

Isn’t it tragic that slender kids are the new minority?

Unfortunately, like everything else health-related, it costs a great deal more to lose weight than to gain it. Can’t blame politicians for wanting to tax unhealthy, alleged food items. Cigarettes are taxed, why not Twinkies?


Still, being strapped financially is no excuse. Sorry; not buying it.  Gym memberships are as low as $10 a month, but jogging around a middle-school track is free – with the added benefit of fresh air. Also free – sorta – are the fitness shows on cable.

But I digress . . .

My first reaction to the $7,000 camp was disbelief, especially for only 26 pounds. How ridiculous, I thought, as I imagined all the things I could do with an extra $7,000 – personal training, home gym equipment, a cool bike – oooh, kettlebells.


Then I called my mother this morning, to ask if the little girl was happy with her results. She was. Is the mother overweight? Not really, Mom said. Is anyone else in the family overweight? Not sure. Another daughter just had a baby, though.

I asked those questions because if the family had unhealthy eating habits, the child would likely regain her weight in a short period of time, online food diaries and counseling notwithstanding.


I’m now thinking that if I had the wherewithal, I might have done the same thing.

A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp.  ~   Raymond Duncan


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.