YNA Turns Two – Happy Birthday to Young Naturists and Nudists America!
Guest Blog by: Jordan Blum
Happy Birthday Young Naturists America – YNA Turns Two!
This month, YNA is celebrating its 2 year anniversary. It seems like only yesterday we had our first Nude Night Out in Manhattan. Thinking back to that first naked party in NYC, I still can’t believe how much we have grown and how many people we have met.
For those of you who were not there on day one… We had the most frustrating time just finding a place that would be willing to host a naked party, not to mention the struggle to get a bunch of people to attend.
Today’s events pull in at least 100 or more people and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Much of the time we are forced to turn away people because the venue won’t be able to hold more!
YNA has drawn most of its following from the mainstream, a sign that there is much interest in what we do and offer. But those early days were not easy and as we grew, things got even more difficult.
We made some mistakes in the beginning because we underestimated just how un-evolved the nudist movement was and still is.
We also underestimated the unwillingness of other groups and nudist organizations to collaborate and work together towards a common goal.
It’s no great secret that we have drawn much criticism from fellow nudists. We’ve speculated why this is, but so far we don’t really know.
During the last weekend of September I had the pleasure of hearing a speaker that really put this into perspective. His name is Seth Godin, and he’s one of my all-time favorite idols.
For those of you who don’t know who he is – shame on you! (And now Google his name.)
For those who do, there is no doubt that he is one of the most influential thinkers of our time.
During the lecture, he called into question everything we do (because of the way we go about it). For him, just like for YNA, the end result is less important than the thought process that gets you there.
One of the examples he gave was the Lego company. The Lego company was about to go bankrupt so they decided to change their whole approach. Instead of just offering random size Legos for kids to create their own world, they started selling kits. Kids could now create only one thing by simply following the instructions. No longer would they need to rely on their imagination to create something unique. Kids today are creating the same thing over and over again just like on an assembly line.
Another example was the current school system, which (based on Seth and my own personal perspective) teaches kids the motions and how to get good grades but stifles creativity and individuality. This education system penalizes kids who think differently and / or in a way that challenges the current conventional way of thinking. It is a mechanism that prepares us to follow orders and gets us ready to work for the “boss man” in “the real world.”
What is sadly missing is the creativity of thinking for oneself, the pride in trying to do something completely different or original, the messiness of trial and error and the fact that people only get credit for passing a test and not for the thought process behind the answer.
Thanks to society we are now fully equipped to work in factories and to think within a predetermined box.
The world rewards us for doing things right and for following orders while it penalizes us for doing things wrong (a philosophy I personally never agreed with). To me, life is a series of ideas, failures and creative risks. Naturally, this got me thinking about YNA; its past, present and future.
We have concluded that YNA is not, in fact, a nudist organization by the traditional definition. In essence, YNA is an acceptance movement which evolved from the naturist and nudist upbringing of its founding members. Both Felicity and I grew up in families where the ideal systems were based off of the naturist family values. So in essence we are both naturists in practice, but perhaps not your typical nudists or naturists in reality.
Felicity’s and my personal beliefs are at the core of what YNA is about. We believe that the days of “new age nudism” are upon us and that the movement needs a form of supplemental movement to make it whole. While AANR, TNS and NAC handle the legal issues, YNA’s primary function and focus is on the human aspect of this movement. We feel that there are a whole slew of issues that need to be addressed in today’s society in order for us all to be more human.
We are trying to create something new and different. Thanks to our new and unique outlook, we have our fair share of critics.
YNA came under fire very early on by a handful of young people from Vita Nuda as well as the leader of Florida Young Naturists. What Seth Godin was so great at articulating was the fact that new ideas and people who are not afraid to make mistakes will always come under fire from people who have been pre-programmed to think a certain way.
Some of what we do challenges the status-quo, and this fact causes many people to feel uncomfortable. As if a new idea will inevitably destroy what was already created. The fact that we do not think the same way has been, and remains to be, a huge point of friction.
I will be the first to say that neither Felicity, myself nor YNA is perfect. We make mistakes, but we learn from them and move on. We are not afraid to take risks, and we are not afraid to admit when we are wrong.
At the end of the day, looking back, we had a fascinating two years. We met some of the most amazing people. We got to see the best and worst in humanity and we got to survive the first two years.
Now if we get survive another two is up to you!
Join us this weekend in celebrating Halloween and our birthday and don’t forget to buy raffles to benefit lupus research!
Young Naturists and Nudists America Birthday was published by – Young Naturists & Nudists America