My First Experience at the 4th of July Young Naturist Gathering at Dyer Woods
Guest blog by: Justin H.
Going to a YNA event has been a goal of mine for some time now. My fiancée and I started dabbling in naturism last summer by going to a local naturist campground and even visiting the famous Gunnison Beach. Our experiences were always pleasant but always left us feeling as though something was missing. It wasn’t until we ended up meeting with YNA for their annual Fourth of July weekend gathering at the beautiful Dyer Woods Nudist Campground, that we figured out exactly what was missing.
To lend a bit of back story, I had always been interested in naturism. From a young age I was tickled by the idea of people interacting with each other in a relaxed social environment sans clothing. It wasn’t until my girlfriend Mel (now fiancée) and I moved in together, that I started contemplating actually doing this. Through a bit of research and coaxing I was able to convince her to try this with me. We spent that summer going to various naturist spots and eventually I was informed about YNA and that I might be interested in checking them out. The idea of a group of naturists closer to our age sounded great!
After researching anything I could in YNA I started following the group’s social media pages. When a post was made detailing the 2017 Fourth of July weekend gathering, I knew we had to go and see what this was about. I was very nervous about taking this trip. Sure this wasn’t our first nude endeavor, but this one was different. This one would be more social by a long shot!
When the day finally came, Mel and I made our way to Dyer Woods early in the morning to ensure we wouldn’t miss anything. We were in such a hurry that we actually ended up forgetting our towels and toiletries. We figured we would check in first and then run to a store close by and buy new things to use but sure enough it wasn’t necessary. When checking in we were greeted with warmth and kindness and as we explained our situation we were given towels to use by the owners of the facility!
At first Mel and I kept to ourselves, but it wasn’t long until Jordan came over to greet us with hugs and kind words. He suggested to us that we attend the Human Awareness Institute (HAI) workshop later that day, and we gladly agreed to do so.
Before that though, we went with the group on a short nude nature hike and that seemed to be a decent ice breaker. Everyone was cracking jokes and conversing the whole time and sure enough that made everyone much more comfortable talking with one another. After the hike Mel and I found ourselves floating about in the pond conversing with everyone for what seemed like only minutes but was in actuality a few hours as the next thing we knew it was time for the HAI workshop.
The workshop was very interesting. Our group sat in a circle and we were instructed to let go of any fears we may have of being in contact with another person. Through the whole practice, we were given tasks to deliberately take us out of our comfort zones such as staring into our partner’s eyes silently or talking with undivided attention for a few minutes.
As the session continued, we got even more intimate to the point of kissing hands and even touching our partners’ faces (with their consent of course). None of this was sexual by any means. The idea was to have a closer connection with someone and to show that some “intimate” actions don’t have to be centered around sexual desires. All in all this event really brought us out of our comfort zones in a good way. It forced us to be vulnerable with others and created instant friendships for us right from the beginning.
After the session ended, Mel and I continued to get to know the people around us more. Mel went off to play a game of nude volleyball and I stayed behind to talk music with some fellow musicians. (Did I mention I was a musician? That’s important to our story!)
Just before nightfall, we had our naked slip n slide set up. First we had an all out war with holi powder (good job to my face painted “tribe” though I forget what we called ourselves). Then we all took turns going down the slide. This eventually turned into to a competition to see how many people we could fit in one shot. I believe we had about 10. We then showered off and everyone gathered for a wonderful pot luck dinner!
It seemed as if everyone was getting along very well. Mel and I were making so many new friends that it was impossible for us to feel singled out anymore. By late that night we were sitting by the fire and I pulled out my guitar and began to sing for everyone, something I have not done in a long time. It felt incredible having everyone sing along and play other instruments with me. It was a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. A feeling of acceptance.
That night there was also black light naked body painting with a cool geometric web installation by Christopher Peter VanderEssen that many people took part in. The colorful paint designs and the lit-up web looked awesome!
The following day was a bit more laid back. By this time we were very comfortable with everyone. In fact, it felt as if we knew all of our new friends for longer than we did. On this day we took a much longer naked hike and even had a crystal bowl sounds meditation session. Mel and I also helped prepare a special dish for everyone for dinner.
Lastly we had our spectacular fireworks show (though thanks to a certain friend this would actually be our second fireworks show!). After the show Mel and I decided that this would be a good point for us to go home even though literally everyone at the camp tried to persuade us to stay one more night.
Not that we didn’t want to stay, we just knew we’d probably never leave if we did. Saying goodbye to all our new friends was actually really difficult. Thanks to social media it won’t be a permanent goodbye but still, it was difficult nonetheless. We packed up, took one last drive around and headed home.
In the days preceding the event, Mel and I could literally talk about nothing other than our time at Dyer Woods. I’ll never forget just how loved we both felt in this trip. The bonds we made were so strong and helped us to feel as though we’re are part of something much bigger than ourselves.
I signed us up for full YNA memberships that day and we are both really looking forward to the next event. For anyone reading this considering coming to one of these events: Whatever hang ups you may have I strongly encourage you to set them aside and just come! I can promise that you will not regret it one bit.