Join us for the inaugural Rad Fat Adventure Camp in beautiful Minnesota! Camps and outdoors activities frequently leave fat folks out - but Rad Fat Adventure Camp is crafted to be a fat positive experience for fat people only! From a Health at Every Size™ and fat positive lens, this fat camp will be about enjoying and appreciating the body you have today: no weight loss or diet talk allowed!
We acknowledge the indigenous claim to this land. This camp exists on Anishinaabe territory and we express gratitude to those who have been living here since time immemorial. We recognize that colonialism is an ongoing process which many of us benefit from and that this acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture, which must be coupled with authentic relationships, ongoing advocacy, and informed action. To learn more about land acknowledgement visit: https://native-land.ca/territory-acknowledgement/.
Rad Fat Adventure Camp
Sept 27-29, 2019 in maple lake, mn
Rad Fat Adventure camp includes:
- Outdoor adventures: Kayaking and canoeing, hiking, and bonfires
- Presentation and discussion sessions that center fat experiences
- Crafts: friendship bracelets, fidget toys, and more
- Movement sessions: synchronized swimming and yoga asana (the movement practice of yoga)
- Golden hour lake group photo shoot (Friday evening - for overnight weekend campers only)
- Pool party (Friday evening - for overnight weekend campers only)
- Camp exclusive SWAG: Fat Camp Patches, exclusive print by Shelby Bergen Illustration, and other surprises
- S’mores by the campfire
- Talent Show featuring our rad fat campers
- Two nights and two days OR Saturday-only day pass on occupied land of Anishinaabe people: Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN
- All meals (Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast/lunch/dinner, Sunday breakfast/lunch)
and best of all: quality time with fat positive people
Camp dates · Sept 27-29, 2019
Location · Camp courage, Maple Lake, MN
early bird pricing extended through July 7!
- $295 Full weekend (2 nights, 6 meals)
- $175 Saturday-only (3 meals)
full price starting July 8
- $375 Full weekend (2 nights, 6 meals)
- $225 Saturday-only (3 meals)
To ensure a t-shirt and special dietary requests are accommodated, register by August 27.
scholarships - closed
Camp Courage is designed to be an accessible camp. The paths to each building on site are paved, and the distances are relatively short between meeting locations, dining, and lodging (1/10 of a mile). Anywhere there are stairs, elevators and ramps are also available. Chairs have a high weight capacity (similar to hotel conference center chairs) without arms. Beds have thick foam and are comfortable for larger adults. We can accommodate a wide range of requests and are happy to provide any specific information needed to inform your decision to attend camp. Contact us at camp [at] radicalhealthalliance [dot] org .
What’s not included in Registration fee
- Transportation to camp (though we will be helping facilitate ride share options!)
- Linens. Bring your own (sleeping bag or sheets/blanket, pillow) or pay $14 for a linen pack (flat and fitted sheet, blanket, pillow, pillow case, and towel).
- Snacks. Bring your own snacks in sealed containers. Limited fridge space is available, with priority for medications needing refrigeration.
- Camp T-shirt. Purchase one for $25 at registration. This helps keeps the base registration costs low.
Details & Logistics
- Camp Courage is located about 55 miles (just over 1 hour by car) from the Twin Cities between highway 55 and I-94.
- Meals are prepared on site by Camp Courage, who have extensive experience catering to special dietary needs, such as gluten free and allergies.
- Meals are buffet style and in the cafeteria with another group on site.
- Snacks are not provided, we encourage you to bring your own in sealed containers.
- Refrigerators are available in the lodge, space is limited though as there is one fridge per 20 campers.
- Coffee and pop are available in the cafeteria throughout the day.
- Another group is on site during Rad Fat Adventure Camp. Our lodging and meeting spaces will be exclusive to our group.
- Lodging is in open, communal, spaces, and this is an all genders camp. We will accommodate same-gender rooms as needed.
- Beds are camp style, single bunks. Mattresses are thick foam. Lower bunks are available for all campers.
- Parking is free onsite.
- Wifi is available throughout camp and cell phone coverage is adequate.
- Pets are not allowed at Camp Courage.
- Cancellation policy: full refunds available until June 15. After June 15, refunds will only be provided if we can fill your spot.
- Review camp rules & guidelines, community expectations, and liability waivers.
We are currently not taking registrations as we wait until the scholarships have been awarded to ensure that any applicants who do not receive a scholarship award have an opportunity to register. Scholarships are now closed.
Meet our Fat Adventure Leaders
Erin Sharkey is a writer and cultural producer based in Minneapolis. She is the co-founder of an experimental arts production collective called Free Black Dirt. Erin has been awarded the Bell Museum of Natural History Artist-in-Residency, Loft Literary Mentor Series mentorship, VONA fellowship, Jerome Travel and Study grant, Coffee House Press in the Stacks Artist-in-Residency, and Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellowship. Her work as appeared in Brooklyn Quarterly, Paper Darts, Walker Sightlines, and Primer magazines, and the Walk Towards It and Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride anthologies. In 2019, She was awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, and is currently producing Sweetness of Wild, an episodic web film project, and teaching with The Loft Literary Center and Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop.
Session: Written in the Body Writing Workshop
Memories live in our bodies. Inspired about the natural environment and time for reflection, this writing workshop will focus on generative activities aimed to identify ripe stories, evoke sensory information, and make meaning of life experiences across time. In this workshop there will be a chance to connect and share stories with other campers. No previous creative writing experience necessary.
Stephanie Chrismon is an Afrofuturist, writer and educator with over 15 years of experience as a higher education professional. She is also the founder and principal of Afrofuturist Innovations, LLC, a high-level, full-service social justice training and consulting company.
She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Hamline University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Minnesota, Morris. Stephanie was a participant in the 2016-2017 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose and was a fellow in the 2015 Emerging Writers’ Mentor Program sponsored by the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. Her writing has appeared in Water~Stone Review, MN Artists, The Root, Black Girl Nerds, and is included in the forthcoming anthology Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride. Her debut novel (under her pen name dc edwards), Bright City, was published in 2017.
Stephanie lives in St. Paul with her wife and their two weird cats. One of her favorite quotes is by writer Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Session: The Cult of Fat Shaming
Shows like the Netflix series, Insatiable, caused a stir across the internet. The initial backlash from the trailer was epic. On its surface the fat shaming message was loud and traumatizing for any woman who lived their lives being called (or believing that they were) fat.
Disordered eating is inherited. And it impacts communities in a variety of different ways. Body size, image, and the ways we talk about these issues and the way we consume or regard food are also part of the narrative. Often, disordered eating is not about the act of binging and purging that we associate with bulimia or the starvation methods of anorexia. But a complex (and sometimes) accepted way in which we have a relationship with food.
We call obesity a public health crisis but how do we address disordered eating without fat shaming or disrespecting food traditions within diverse communities? How do we show up as caring professionals and still work with diverse communities on the joy of “ordered” eating?
The Subversive Sirens
The Subversive Sirens are a Minnesota-based synchronized swimming team committed to Black liberation, equity in swimming / aquatic arts, body positivity in athleticism, and queer visibility. Zoe and Suzy of the Subversive Sirens will be leading this session.
Zoe Holloman is a fat, black, queer 40 year old living with her wife, Erin, in South Minneapolis. Professionally she is a Community Food Justice organizer and Planning Practitioner. She works with communities in MN and nationally to create more local, sustainable, and equitable food systems. She also teaches park planning and design to teens at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. She grew up in Buffalo, NY and first got involved in synchronized swimming at the age of ten. She loves the specific ways she gets to be creative with her team in this sport, pushing herself beyond what she thinks she can do, and supporting other activists in health and self care.
Suzy Messerole is a theatre director, teaching artist and community activist who works at the intersection of theatre and social change. Her artistic homes are Exposed Brick Theatre and the Million Artists Movement. Suzy grew up in a town of 800 in Iowa. During the summer, the town’s swimming pool was the center of all the action. While there were no formal classes for synchro, Suzy created many routines all on her own in the middle of that pool. Officially learning how to synchronized swim and reconnecting to that childhood love of water and body has been an amazing journey.
session: SPLASHmob with the Subversive Sirens
In this workshop, the Sirens will teach some of the basics of synchronized swimming and then choreograph a "SPLASHMob." No swimming experience necessary - just get ready to dance in the water!
Fat Girls Hiking | Summer
Growing up in rural Minnesota, Summer didn't hike. Winters were too cold, summers were too humid & infested with mosquitoes. Summer & her siblings would explore the woods near their home when their mother instructed them to, "Go out & play!" Other childhood outdoor activities consisted of family vacations to lakes Up North for camping or road trips to National Parks. Summer took up photography as a child, taking after her mother who is a professional photographer. She studied writing & photography throughout high school & college. Summer earned BA's in Writing and Women's Studies with a minor in Studio Arts. In 2008, she moved to Portland & eventually tried hiking. At first, she hated hiking. It was uncomfortable, she was sweaty & could never keep up with others. But eventually, after hiking alone with her dog several times a week, something snapped inside her, something changed. She fell in love with the air, the moss, the views, the waterfalls, and most of all, the strength that she felt whenever she hiked. She now enjoys hiking several times a week, taking photographs of amazing places you can only see by walking there. She loves hiking alone and with the Fat Girls Hiking community. She loves creating community for folks underrepresented in the outdoors & leading group hikes that focus on body liberation, self care and healing with Fat Girls Hiking. In the fall of 2018 she started traveling North America in a minivan, opening new Fat Girls Hiking chapters & researching ADA accessible trails. Her goal is to open FGH chapters wherever there is a need/demand for inclusive outdoor community.
Summer is a queer, fat, femme feminist that hikes in dresses.
Session: Fat Girls* Hiking, Self Care & Body Liberation in the Outdoors
Fat Girls Hiking founder, Summer, will be leading a hike where we focus on the needs of our bodies, go at a pace that feels good (no fatties left behind! We go at the pace of the slowest hiker!), absorb the healing energy of the outdoors, give ourselves permission to stop, rest, hydrate and eat when needed and connect with ourselves, each other and nature.
*All genders welcome! The name Fat Girls Hiking reflects the founder, Summer’s, experience as a fat woman in nature.
Matter of Fat Podcast
Matter of Fat is a body positive podcast with Midwest sensibilities.
Co-hosts Cat and Saraya highlight community voices with a lens on body size, body positivity, & fat liberation.
They feature Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota events during their segment The Fat Dish, interview Midwesterners and those traveling through to hear peoples’ stories as a Matter of Fat, and dive into body positivity and pop culture in the Dirt and Discourse.
Cat Polivoda [cat pah-lah-VOE-duh] (she/her/hers) co-host of the body positive podcast Matter of Fat, is a fat (intersectional) feminist here for everything from your plus-size outfits to small business tips… but is never interested in hearing about your diet.
Cat grew up in LaCrescent, Minnesota. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Hamline University where she double majored in German and Global Studies and a masters degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Training & Development. This globetrotter turned homebody is settling back down in Minneapolis as she grows her small business, Cake Plus-Size Resale.
Saraya Boghani [suh-RAY-uh boe-GAHN-ee] (she/her) is the co-host, producer, and sound engineer of the body positive podcast Matter of Fat. Saraya was born west of the Twin Cities, attended her undergraduate degree at Hamline University, is pursuing a Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is redefining Midwestern sensibilities through a fourth-wave intersectional feminist lens. She’s here to wax poetic about today’s weather, share an occasional opinion on pop culture, and support community radio.
Session: Matter of Fat goes to Camp!
Join us for a podcast recording where we'll chat summer camp, the great outdoors, and interview some of you about your camp experiences with a focus on body size, body positivity, and fat liberation. The episode recorded at Rad Fat Adventure Camp will come out later in the season.
Natalia Vargas Márquez
Natalia Vargas Márquez (she/her) is an art historian, death doula, and organizer from occupied Mapuche (Picunche, Huilliche) land, in now called Santiago, Chile. She has two master’s degrees and is currently a doctoral candidate in art history at the University of Minnesota, in occupied Dakota land. Her research focuses on the pictorial production of the centuries of colonial occupation in the Andean region. Natalia’s research has been supported by the Fulbright Commission, the Mellon Foundation, the Thoma Foundation, the Ministry of Culture of Chile, and the University of Minnesota. Her work inside and outside academia relates to social justice, equity, inclusion, and access. Alongside working as an instructor and mentor she has been part of community organizations in the Twin-Cities around popular education (EXCO), and labor organizing (Grads United, UMN’s Worker Center).
Session: Inclusion & intersectionality in fat activism
Isabelle Lankhorst is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in the Twin Cities. She is cis, queer, and small fat, as well as a devoted dog mama. Her therapy work with clients focuses on sexuality, trauma, and body image concerns, with therapeutic lenses grounded in systems theory, intersectionality, feminism, queer studies, and HAES. She is particularly interested in illuminating the effects of oppressive systems and utilizing interventions that work to heal, reintegrate, and build resilience.
Session: Fat Resiliency and Self-Care
What is resilience? What is self-care? These are topics of popular discussion in mainstream media and culture today, and while the notion of focusing on caring for ourselves as a fad is great, white supremacy’s takeover of it is anything but (no shade to mani/pedis or decadent desserts). (Lots of shade to pressuring people to “care” for themselves by spending time and money they don’t have and then shaming them when they don’t because they don’t like mani/pedis or don’t have time or money to get them). Whew! This session will contain deep breaths. This session’s aim is to approach resilience and self-care as they relate to trauma and oppressive systems, take, for example: being a fat person in a fat-hating world! This interactive session will provide an understanding of the effects of trauma and oppression on our hearts, minds, and bodies, along with the opportunity to identify and develop skills for building resilience and approaching self-care in a way that works for you.
Amanda Gilliam is a scholar, activist, and masters level weightlifter. In 2017, she created the Instagram community @Big Girl Barbell, a fat-positive, body-positive space in strength sports. All too familiar with the feeling of being the only Black/fat/queer person in the room, she sought to create a “room” full of fat athletes, for fat athletes where they could support each other, celebrate their achievements, and advocate for their distinct needs as “fathletes.” BGB’s shift into community-based work that centers fat folks’ full personhoods, buoys Amanda’s vision that oft maligned bodies can ultimately be tools of liberation.
As a former doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology, Amanda presented her research on the intersections of anti-Blackness and fat antagonism at conferences around the world. She is currently working on independent research that examines the racialized fatphobia undergirding modern policing violence in the U.S.
In addition to her full-time job as an education consultant, Amanda volunteers for numerous immigration advocacy groups in the New York City metro area by visiting those who are detained, and accompanying folks to ICE check-ins and court hearings.
When she’s not planning her next solo trip, watching reruns of Murder She Wrote, or playing her new cello quite ill, you can find her picking up weights at M Barbell in Colts Neck, NJ.
session: Lifting As Liberation: The Transformative Power of Fat Strength
The increasing visibility of fat, non-men strength athletes whose unapologetic embrace of their body size and physical prowess in sports such as weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman offers a strong rebuke of cultural scripts that restrict athletic belonging to people who are thin, white, cishet, and nondisabled. The proliferation of “judgment free” commercial gyms and promises that “anyone can do it” further suggest an inclusive model of fitness beyond stigma and weight loss. Despite these positive changes, racism, fatphobia, queerphobia, transphobia, and ableism collude to ensure that mainstream fitness remains a contested and largely inaccessible space for people with marginalized bodies.
Amanda Gilliam, super heavyweight masters weightlifter and founder of Big Girl Barbell , invites participants to experience a radical vision of fitness that unlocks and honors their athleticism. Through an empowering series of group strength-building movements, campers will connect with their bodies, harness their physical strength, and channel the power of fat community into collective action that challenges the oppression of contemporary fitness culture. Come lift with us!
and more to be announced!
We are committed to making Rad Fat Adventure Camp accessible to as many people as possible. Our scholarship process prioritizes awarding black, indigenous, people of color, trans and non-binary people, people with disabilities, and larger fat people scholarships.
Scholarship applications are due Friday, June 7 at 11:59pm central time. Full scholarship timeline and details can be found here.
Scholarship Application is now closed
Support Rad Fat Adventure Camp
While this camp is for larger people only, we appreciate the many thin allies that support our work! If you are a thin ally, or a larger person who can’t join us at camp but want to make sure others get to enjoy it too, consider donating to our scholarship fund. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact us at camp [at] radicalhealthalliance [dot] org for more information.