New Nudism and Attracting More Millennials to Naturism

| October 23, 2014 | 17 Comments

New Nudism And Younger Nudists

Guest Nudist Blog “New Nudism” by KFFB – Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society

We often see articles from established, traditional nudist organizations lamenting the scarcity of younger members and, at times, forecasting the imminent death of naturism unless something is done about it.

Perhaps this is a good time to look at what established clubs, groups and parks can do to support and encourage potential new, younger members.

Support Nude Friendly Clothing-Optional Public Places

We know very few young people who got into nudism and naturism by saying “you know, I think we should drive to an expensive private park to hang out naked with people who have nothing in common with us.” A far more common scenario is that there happens to be a clothing-optional beach nearby that’s a good place to hang out, or someone suggests skinny-dipping one hot night on a camping trip and it becomes the norm for the week. Only once this sort of thing has become common do people start thinking about making naturism part of their escape from daily life.

People only go to naturist campgrounds, parks and resorts once they’re already convinced that it’s a good idea. That initial introduction needs to happen in a casual, relaxed, youth-friendly public space – Wreck Beach in Vancouver is perhaps the continent’s best example – where comfort zones can be adjusted gradually, incrementally, without pressure.

The creation and protection of public, clothing-optional beaches and parks is the single biggest reason for groups like FCN and AANR to exist, and the number of such sites created, maintained or lost is perhaps the only valid quantitative metric of the success of these organizations. Without a large number of excellent free, public clothing-optional sites to introduce new people to the nudie life, private parks will indeed begin to die off.

New Nudism and Younger Nudists

New Nudism – A public skinny dipping spot in upstate NY

New Nudism: Promote Nudist and Naturist Values

Equality. Respect. Honesty. Living in harmony with nature. Open-mindedness towards new ideas. A community completely free of crime.

These things are at the heart of what naturism is about, and they are very relevant – and very appealing – to the millennial generation. The clothing-optional nature of the resulting environment is a natural consequence of these values.

Sometimes, though, the deeper and more important aspects of naturism get forgotten, and you’re left with just “that park where everyone’s naked.” That can work for a short while, but the most successful naturist venues always have a strong focus on their core purpose and values.

New Nudism: Recognize Cultural Differences

The emotional need to belong, to fit in, is an important part of the human psyche. As a rule, millennials don’t feel like they fit in with baby-boomers. The age difference is often not that big of a deal, but the cultural and socioeconomic differences can be overwhelming.

These differences aren’t only about superficial things like musical taste or popular trends; issues like that have been causing generation gaps for centuries. This time around, they seem to go much deeper – perhaps culminating in the widespread belief among young adults that the now-retiring generation, having had an easy run with strong economic growth in a simpler world, is leaving today’s young adults to clean up the environmental, political and economic problems they created. Whether you believe this view to be more true or less true, it has an undeniable chilling effect on cross-generational relations.

If an environment is dominated by baby-boomer culture, then (whether nude or textile) it will not attract twenty- and thirty-somethings in any significant numbers. Businesses hoping to attract a younger generation need to recongize that these cultural differences are a make-or-break factor. It’s not necessary to chase away the older crowd, of course, but there do need to be events, activities and facilities suitable for the demographic a club is trying to attract. This includes choosing staff, event planners, DJs and so on who come from that demographic, engaging with the communication channels they prefer to use, and paying close attention to the issues that they are treating as important.

New Nudism: Understand the Economic Situation

It is part of human nature to look at everyone else’s circumstances through the lens of our own experience and position in life.

Consider a naturist park that charges a grounds fee of $20 per person per day, plus $5 per person per night to camp. For a couple to spend a weekend here, they’re looking at $90 plus tax just for access to the park, plus perhaps 200 to 300 km of driving – another $70 to $100, at typical cheap-student-car running costs – to get there and back. While a $200 weekend might seem quite reasonable to someone with a good income, land ownership and a pension plan, it’s a prohibitive sum to a graduate student or a retail worker who’s already struggling to afford rent, bills and groceries.

Naturist business owners hoping to attract a younger demographic need to realize that the economic reality facing today’s young people is far more precarious than it was thirty or forty years ago. A park whose business model is based on trailer lot rentals and annual membership fees will have a virtually impossible time attracting anyone under 40 – this demographic simply cannot afford, in time or in money, to patronize such a business.

Student and young adult discounts – specials like “$25 for the weekend with a 1980 or newer ID” – are a prerequisite for attracting this demographic. They just can’t afford it otherwise, and will reject the entire lifestyle and culture as “for old rich folks only.” We might also suggest offering more flexible, cost-effective membership schemes that are suitable for young individuals and couples who would be willing to come to your park five or ten days a year, but can’t justify or afford the costly annual memberships intended for folks who spend half the summer there. Parks near university towns should seriously consider arranging (and advertising) shuttle service from the student life hub on a few special weekends, such as spring break and the end of exams, that coincide with the student population’s rare blocks of free time.

New Nudism: When Practicing Naturism – Always Be Respectful

Respect is supposed to be at the core of what naturism is all about. While we have found that the people at naturist parks, resorts and beaches are generally much more polite and more respectful than their counterparts in similar textile environments, there’s usually at least one exception – and often more.

Respect is not just about being polite, friendly and supportive. It’s also about recognizing when people are uncomfortable and when they would prefer to be left alone. The millennial generation does not, as a rule, welcome conversational advances from outside existing peer groups. Most of them were taught as children to assume older strangers are dangerous, and that conditioning is still very much in effect.

When a group of twenty-somethings is approached by an older man who fails to recognize that his polite attempts to join the group are not welcome, they will begin to perceive that man – and anyone who appears to belong to the same group – as creepy and disrespectful. In textile environments, this is not a huge problem, but naturist environments frequently have that one guy who, with good intentions but completely failing to understand youth culture, promotes a strongly negative image of the entire community.

If a naturist community wants to welcome new and younger members, the existing members need to be aware of this issue and willing to take quick, decisive action to correct it when necessary. Everyone will open up and socialize when they’re ready to do so; attempting to rush the issue will only push people away.

The Dawn Of New Nudism: The Challenge Is Set

Will any naturist resorts or parks take on the challenge of attracting and welcoming younger members? We hope so. The Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society is going to try to organize a trip to every place within driving range of Kingston, ON that expresses serious interest in solving the “generation gap.” Although I can’t speak for YNA’s leadership, I suspect they’ll do the same for New York.

Let’s get the conversation started.

This guest post by About New Nudism And Attracting Young Nudists Was Written By Our Canadian Friends – Matt & Katy of KFFBS (Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society) For: Young Naturists & Young Nudists America YNA

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Category: Social Nudity Blogs, Nudist Organizations, Nudism and Naturism, Nudist Blogs

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We are the Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society, a 20s / 30s social group. We're about equality, freedom, new ideas, experiences and friendships in a safe, respectful, clothing-optional setting. Learn more about us at https://freebodysociety.wordpress.com/
  • FFNR I think everyone here genuinely appreciates what landed clubs offer, and why it’s important to have them.
    The question is how to appeal to those who <em>aren’t</em> already here.
    Kingston has 30,000 post-secondary students. We would, statistically, expect perhaps 7500 of them to like co-ed skinny-dipping and probably 2000 would go to a nude beach or park if they knew one existed, and if their fears were allayed.
    Most don’t know that one exists. And what do they fear? That they’ll be judged unfairly. That there will be creeps with hidden cameras piped to sketchy parts of the Internet. That it’ll just be a bunch of 55-year-old men sitting around. That they won’t feel welcome. That they can’t afford it. That the culture will be just too different to relate to anyone.
    At FFNR, that’s not the case. At some other parks, though, it is. It’s important for a park that wants to appeal to a new crowd to get the right marketing message out there.
    On the cost front. We are fully cognizant of the costs involved in owning and running a business, and I wouldn’t dream of suggesting anyone offer services below marginal cost. Our point here is that the under-35 generation as a whole is very sensitive to perceived value. In Ontario, at least, their benchmark for an outdoor weekend is a Provincial Park, which works out about $100 for a campsite and up to 6 people from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
    Any park that wants to charge more than that AND attract new visitors has to offer significant added value. FFNR’s dance barn with occasional live band, for example, is added value that helps to justify the extra cost on concert days. Hot tubs, clean flush toilets, etc. are all added value.
    “You won’t be arrested for nudity here” is <em>not</em> added value – it just tells people to keep on wearing swimsuits in public, and to save their skinny-dipping for the backcountry or for after dark when the ranger’s gone to bed. (In Canada, at least, nudity charges are very rare and difficult to prosecute, being doled out only when nudity is clearly, unambiguously inappropriate.)
    Any park that’s trying to attract new visitors should ask “Would people pay this amount to come here if it were exactly like this, but with swimsuits required?” Figure out how to market that, and <em>then</em> toss in “clothing optional”.

  • Just came across this particular post and thank you Matt and Katy for taking the time to express your concerns surrounding landed nudist clubs. As a club owner of a newly established nudist venue I am taking the time to address some of these issues that you feel the youth of today are encountering. 

    Cost seems to be the main concern that I can determine from this, and much like yourselves bills need to be paid and the club venues have to meet their obligations in life as well. The clubs are offering a safe place for people of all ages to express themselves au natural without worry of the authorities and the textile community making your life miserable. The fact still remains that it is illegal to be nude in public and the authorities are within their rights to lay charges against people whom are seen naked in public. As a result you would face looking at criminal charges and lengthy legal costs to fight these charges if found nude in unauthorized areas. 

    So for a crap shoot of the dice, is it not worth the peace of mind to know you can comfortably attend a nudist club and enjoy yourself without worrying about breaking the law. A small price to pay up front rather than the large legal bills that you could potentially be facing while defending charges. Further more I personal value my clean record in life and value the fact that I can travel the world as I desire and would not be willing to jeopardize that with having a criminal offence on my record that falls into the realm of possibly being on some sex offenders list. 

    I decided to purchase property to allow all walks of life the opportunity for a place of enjoyment and for a cost passed on through to the club members. 

    In the past it was the memberships that help steer the direction of the venue and this is still optional to our members. A case in point here is the community gardens. Every year since we have been open, we have hosted the Naked Canadian Gardening Day where members are to come out and take part in the event of planting, weeding and sowing the gardens for the upcoming season in an enjoyable naked social setting. Our members have enjoyed the bounty of the harvest. The only draw back that we had was the garden was then left for us to attend to which with all the other duties of our business was just to much for us to look after so without the interest and the on going help to maintain them we replaced the garden with a pool. Also as foot note on the NCGD we offered a 20% discount on the annual membership for participants and a free BBQ on us.

    Not all demands can be met by these clubs, please appreciate what they do offer you as a whole and step back for a second and see what the benefits to you are opposed to what they are not.

  • NickAlimonos Not every club will want more young people (PL is not the only one that doesn’t) and that’s their prerogative. And if they still succeed with their targeted demographic, more power to ’em. But in that neck of the woods, you’d think there’d be another resort that does want young people. Lake Como, maybe?

  • NickAlimonos Not every club will want more young people (PL is not the only one that doesn’t) and that’s their prerogative. And if they still succeed with their targeted demographic, more power to ’em. But in that neck of the woods, you’d think there’d be another resort that does want young people. Lake Como, maybe?

  • Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society There are a lot of resorts here (& in Canada as well I’m sure) that just bank on offering one of the few legal naked places to go. They figure they will attract people for the sole reason that there’s nowhere else to go or very few alternatives, and to some extent they’re right, and they do maintain business this way. Many nudists accept sub-par rooms and facilities as there’s no alternative.
    Many would definitely choose a nice outdoor campground, knowing they could skinny dip and do their own thing. It’s a little difficult to find that sometimes, though. I think it’s hard to openly promote such places when it’s not legal, as no one wants to inadvertently alert the authorities, “This is where we’ll be, secretly naked in your park!” lol. 
    So it works for people who know where to go, and better yet, have friends who enjoy the same activities. But others feel stuck with local club options, and / or don’t want to be the sole naked person looking over their shoulder at a campground.
    The competition is definitely something for resorts to consider, but I think many clubs don’t even like they are competing with other local offerings, since those don’t offer the same thing.
    But I think clubs should consider other “textile” campgrounds / hotels / B&B’s as their competition. Imagine if clubs started offering even better facilities / rooms than other local textile places. They end up getting more people, young & old, just because they’re offering a great place to stay (not necessary because they’re c/o or nudist). I have seen some clothing-optional places really succeed this way and bring in a lot of newbie nudies!
    Well just my $.02, especially if any club owners or future club owners are listening :P

  • Well Nick I’m not surprised to hear that sadly.  I am trying to pitch the only place trying to play it hipper Caliente on bringing in that couple from Naked Dating who got married for a promotional tie in to the show I’m sure VH1 would cover some of it as promo!  AANR and Como come off like Senior Citizens Nudist Colonies and yes I used that dated term on purpose!

  • When I attended the University of South Florida, I tried to get my local resort interested. I told them, “You know there are 35,000 students just 5 miles down the road that have no idea this place even exists.” It was at Paradise Lakes. But they had no interest in promoting themselves to a younger crowd.

  • But most are missing my far larger and more encompassing point here! A show like Naked Dating is a vehicle to a larger more important demographic and yes along the way a few feathers might get ruffled BFD!  The idea is to get newer younger people into the lifestyle of nudism!

  • homeclothesfree

    Several good points being made. Especially the issue of respecting differences that is important whether the difference is cultural racial religious generational or socioeconomic. I worry though that so often sides of social change can get over simplified and reduced to if This organization would just to that or like this TV show.
    Social change more complex than that

  • All good points made here but there is a larger social and political issue holding back nudism.  A Renaissance in shows featuring nude and nudism as their main or at least partial content is at an all time high! The group that attempts to call itself the voice of American Nude Recreation Nationally AANR has no clue that it should be partnering with shows like Naked and Afraid and Naked Dating. I’ve heard the usual prudish answers by  defenders of the old school nudist BS that that these shows are exploiting nudism whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. 

    We all get exploited in this world you have to pick your vehicles and the social impact of Naked Dating could have a similar affect on the American Public as did Love Boat for the Cruising Industry which until that show came on had the reputation of being only for the very wealthy!   The exact same could happen for nudism but then we’d have to answer the question.  Is Nudism ready for the crowds? As others have pointed out nudist resorts with the exception of nudity don’t compete well with other recreational areas in the same markets.  

    How about a Halloween event? Caliente just held their big Halloween event which I have attended for the third straight year.  It was clear that the demographic that night was laced with 25 to 35 year olds who  did have the money for a $65 dollar ticket.  Now Cali needs get better at hosting the event which while great fun needs to provide more on the food end of the equation as I barely had to time to visit and meet and greet when they began pulling the food away.  That said it was a great example along with our Karaoke night for bringing in new people. (Couples allowed in free for Wed Karaoke) Paradise Lakes is doing some similar things but everyone needs to hip up their act so to speak and follow demographic trends in the market.  But time for the Medicare Enclave known as AARN to either get with the program or step aside!

  • @American_Serendipity This isn’t Twitter no need to shorthand or abbreviate you’re words it’s cumbersome to read!

  • mpapai Community gardens? Great idea. That could actually be quite appealing to a lot of people. It’s something that comes up frequently in student circles as a “this would be so awesome” idea, but there’s rarely any good land available in student housing districts to make it happen.

  • I just thought of one further piece of advice, for naturist businesses looking to attract visitors from the under-35 crowd: Know your competition.

    In Canada, at least, your most serious competitor when aiming at the young, outdoorsy crowd isn’t another naturist resort – it’s the closest major Provincial Park.

    $100 at a Provincial Park gets a private campsite for six from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, a comfort station with proper plumbing, hot showers and a laundromat, well-maintained trails winding through 1500 acres, and a rack of shared canoes & kayaks that can be borrowed for a nominal fee. And you can still skinny-dip, if you pick your spot carefully.

    If you’re going to charge more, you must offer much more – hot tubs, a bar, a steam room / sauna, a band or DJ, fast WiFi. Similarly, if you can’t match a Provincial Park (or, in the US, a State Park or National Forest) on scenery, trails and amenities, be prepared to compete on price.

  • American_Serendipity

    No offence to anyone looking for a place to enjoy….but ssg sucks as a young naturist place when they can’t even take care of the issues they already have…never mind the beautiful ppl that live there ot go to visit…before anyone goes to any place….check out the legal complants of a club or place that you want to visit. I know ssg because I’ve lived there for years….made many friends….but in truth…ssg has a huge problem with just being kind and understanding of empathy towards alot of things including the cost and how they run a gastopo kind of place. Plus I’ve known ppl to walk in on camp mgrs in their camper trailers with binoculars masturbating….sooo….I’m not a fan….the culture there SUCKS! They just want $$$….

  • jacka

    Excellent article, and right on.  Check out Sunsport Gardens near West Palm Beach, FL.  They are a “resort” and have in place all of the suggestions made for attracting younger people – and it’s working.  I’m at the other end.  Retired with limited income.  Now, instead of visiting a club every couple of weeks, it’s two maybe three times a year for special events.  Maybe it’s time for the Silents and the Millenniums to get together and figure this out.

  • Toga1cat

    Super piece!!!!!

  • All-Nudist.com

    Very good!  Recommend our article of September 2008.  We’re pretty much in agreement. http://allnudist.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/where-have-all-the-children-young-adults-gone/

    The problem is always money.  The oldtimers pay for the venues and want to relax and be comfortable; younger folks can’t provide the cash and find the venues boring. It’s almost like there’s an obligatory pause between very young nudism and grown-up nudism, with a 20 or 30 year interval in between!
    That’s the gap that needs to be filled, somehow, if our options for nude recreation are to continue to be available.