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Real Life "Fat Camp" Owner Disagrees With How Such Camps Are Depicted In ABC Family's new show, "Huge"
Date:7/4/2010

o try things--to learn to play tennis or go zip lining-- and it's a safe place to try new things. Nobody laughs at you and everybody makes every team. It's not about brute exercise here or cruel competition, it's about learning about sports and health and everyone is a winner."

The same sense of unreality struck the Camp Shane founder when he saw the strand of spinach represented as food and the Will character posing as a "drug dealer" selling a hidden stash of junk food to other campers.

"Trays are full at Camp Shane and the only reason gum isn't allowed is because with a crowd of kids all chewing it, it ends up on everyone's shoes," Ettenberg says. "But no one goes hungry. Teenagers are still growing. They need their energy and good nutrition provides that; it also gives us a chance to reeducate them about the food that goes into their body. We are about empowering kids to learn how to help themselves lose weight and live healthier lives."

The first episode of "Huge" also depicted a bulimic girl being sent home. "That truly horrified us here at Camp Shane," says Ettenberg. "While Camp Shane is not a medical facility and perhaps might not be the best place for teens with eating disorders, that is a young woman we would work with--along with our trained medical and psychological staff. We would also include her family and pull everyone together to get the young woman the treatment she needed. Punitive action--like sending her home because someone "snitched on her" about her problem-- wouldn't be what really happened. We are here to help."

But, as in any good story, some elements rang true.

"The compassion shown by the Camp Director in the show is familiar to us," says Ettenberg. "My wife and I and our head staff show how we really feel to our campers. We care about them and it shows. Our counselors, who are trained in ways to be kin
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Real Life "Fat Camp" Owner Disagrees With How Such Camps Are Depicted In ABC Family's new show, "Huge" 
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