a transformational experience for health professionals, trainers, coaches and exuberants
Ever wonder how your health fits in to the bigger picture? Ever have a longing to get out in nature and move your body in a celebration of habitat and tribe? Would you like to share ideas and learn from some incredibly interesting people in the health and medical community?
if so, imagine a gathering devoted to health and humanity, ancestry and activism, movement and meaning, all set in the wild habitat of the Pacific Northwest.
Exuberant Animal will set up a primitive camp with all the primitive luxuries. (Still scouting locations…looking for BLM land where primitive camping is permitted…) We’ll do all the great natural things: movement classes, presentations, campfires, martial art, massage, stargazing, drumming and dancing. We’ll ponder the mysteries of life and talk about ways to make a difference in the world.
who this is for
Ideal for health professionals and serious amateurs, this is a radical alternative to the conventional academic conference. This is about actually living the experience of health, engagement and rapport. This is professional development that just so happens to be really fun and meaningful. You’ll hear powerful, diverse voices on health and the human experience and move your body in exciting new ways. This event will richen your understanding and deepen your practice.
why this is great
The logistics will be simple. The current plan is for people to drive or fly into Bend, Oregon, then carpool the rest of the way. We’ll scout the site ahead of time and get the lay of the land. Exuberant Animal will organize a camp kitchen, and beyond that, things will pretty much take care of themselves. The primitive camping scene will give us plenty of room. (50 people maximum.)
This is the kick-off event for a twice-yearly series that will return every spring and fall. This will give you a chance to develop friendships and professional partnerships that sustain over time.
scenes from the oregon outback…
The plan is to have the primitive camp set up from mid May through mid June. Come when you can and stay as long as you like. Minimum stay is 3 days. More is better.
two levels of participation
This is a uniquely participatory event. That is, everyone shares in the camp chores and everyone is expected to cook at least one or more meals for the group.
There are two levels of participation:
Basic level participants come and enjoy the movement classes and presentations.
Teacher level participants come prepared to deliver a professional-quality presentation and/or movement class.
presentations and movement classes
Presentation topics include: ancestry, Paleo, mismatch, environmental conservation, health psychology, medicine, habitat, stress, primitive skills, bioregionalism, activism, interdependence, the future of the biosphere and of course, culture. Movement classes will be drawn from various disciplines, depending on our teachers. Expect to practice martial art, functional athletics, yoga and other arts.
Presentations and movement classes will be recorded on video and posted to an archive.
Each day will have a similar rhythm: movement classes alternating with presentations, free time and great meals…
8 am to 9 am: Morning movement class, martial art and meditation (led by Frank Forencich)
9-11 am: Free time for breakfast or wandering…
11 am to noon: Presentation and discussion
2 pm to 3 pm: Afternoon movement class
3 pm to 5pm: Free time
5 pm to 6 pm: Afternoon presentation and discussion
6 pm: Evening meal
8 pm: Evening circle/campfire/drum and dance/philosophy under the stars
This event will be primitive, “leave no trace” camping with vehicle support. You’ll be sleeping in a tent, under the stars, or possibly in your vehicle. No bathroom facilities will be available, so plan on shitting in the woods. Late spring weather may be a mixed bag. It might be perfect, or it might be wild. Star gazing will be outrageous.
master teacher: frank forencich
Martial art classes and presentations will be facilitated by Frank Forencich, author of New Old Way and other books about health and the human predicament. Frank has been teaching movement arts for some 40 years and is the creator of Exuberant Animal.
Each participant will be issued a certificate documenting successful completion of the training. This may be used to petition for continuing education units through your organization. See an example here.
food, water, alcohol
You’ll be responsible for providing most of your own food, especially lunches and snacks. You’ll also be responsible for preparing at least one or more meals for the entire group. (We’ll have camp kitchen and a good collection of pots and pans. There will probably be no water on site, so plan on bringing plenty. Ice will be difficult, but the weather probably won’t be too hot.)
Exuberant Animal will provide coffee each morning and bamboo plates (good for several meals, then can be burned or composted.) Please bring your own eating utensils, cup and mug. A camp stove will be available, but you might want to bring a small burner as well.
As for food, we’re omnivorous. We emphasize “earth food” over “space food.” (That is, we focus on the meaning that surrounds our food; context is just as important as content.)Modest quantities of beer and wine will be sometimes available and/or you can bring your own. Our philosophy is to have some alcohol-free nights, some modest nights and some rock-and-roll nights.
This will be a mostly electronics-free experience. That is, we’ll focus the lion’s share of our attention on habitat, ideas and one another. You can bring your laptops and phones, but don’t expect to be spending much time on them. Cell phone service will probably be sketchy and power will be minimal. However, we’ll try to rig up something that works; you should be able to count on an occasional trickle charge for your gear. Bring jet packs, batteries, solar chargers, power packs, etc. Try this site for cool solar stuff.
family and friends, bikes and dogs
This will be a fun event with periods of serious engagement. We’ll relax, but we’ll also step up with powerful physicality and focus. All attendees will be expected to join in the action as best they can. This event will be great for young people, but it’s probably not be a good fit for really young kids.
Bring your bikes, especially mountain bikes, gravel bikes and cross bikes. Dogs are welcome, especially those who play well with others.
medical, first aid and liability
We will have at least one first aid kit on hand and some participants will have expertise in basic injury care. However, there will be some degree of exposure and risk. In the event of illness or injury, it may be some time before help arrives.
The primitive camping experience can bring certain hardships. Participants may suffer injury, illness or worse. Each participant is ultimately responsible for his or her own welfare before, during and after this event. Exuberant Animal and Frank Forencich assume no liability. You’ll be asked to sign a hold-harmless agreement with your registration.
space is limited
The total number of participants will be limited to 50. (There are constraints on the number of vehicles, impact on the land, etc.) Act early to secure your space.
cost, application and deposits
Your cost will include getting yourself to the site, along with all the required camping gear and food you’ll need for the duration. For the event itself, cost will vary depending on your level of participation and the duration of your stay. See this page for pricing information.
All participants get an Outback T-shirt. Please be sure to let us know what size works for you. (Currently looking for sensible, sustainable fabrics and processes.)
All participants also receive a free copy of Frank’s new book, The Exuberant Animal Experience: Teacher’s Guide to Physicality, Philosophy and Rapport.
Be sure to contact Frank if you have any questions or ideas. Phone is best: 206-406-5670