Growing up I spent my summers at Rock Lodge, a rustic, family-oriented co-operative nudist club in New Jersey called Rock Lodge. So it’s safe to say that I had an unconventional childhood. My parents were nudists and I grew up swimming, dancing, sunbathing, and playing tennis. In other words, I did the same kind of things young people typically do, except in the nude.
Yet, just like many nudist places, Rock Lodge always lacked young people. I didn’t participate much in social nudism during my college years, but after graduating I returned with a newfound appreciation for what my club and the lifestyle gave me: freedom, acceptance, a great sense of relaxation in my own skin, a community of like-minded people, and a closeness to nature not experienced in clothing. I thought: Why wouldn't young people be interested in this? Nudism has so much to offer, from a healthier body image to a simpler way of enjoying life.
However it seemed that most clubs and resorts had the same demographic; that is, people aged forty and up. So when “Jordan” asked me to join Young Naturists America (YNA), I jumped at the opportunity to launch a blog, reach out to other young people, and see if we could make an impact on the young nudist movement. So far the response has been bigger than we could’ve anticipated. In just one year we have created a thriving community and introduced a lot of people to social nudism through our clothing-optional parties and events, gatherings at nudist clubs, and numerous other fun, naked activities in the New York tri-state area.
When a young person attends one of our events, they can expect to have a great time with an open-minded group of people who don’t (or can’t) judge you by how you're dressed or even what you do for a living. YNA is about acceptance, regardless of race, color, body jewelry, sexual orientation, etc. This is perhaps the greatest appeal for many, as there is currently so much pressure to have a model body-type.
What has made YNA so successful so quickly? Understanding and utilizing social networking has definitely played a big part. The young nudists are out there, they just need a way to connect. Also, as we state on our Web site, our mission is to impact the world in a positive manner. So in addition to promoting naturism and naturist values, we support charitable causes. For instance, at our next event (a naked New Year’s Eve party), we'll be featuring a raffle with prizes like free yoga and massage, with all proceeds to benefit a women’s shelter. This event is also a celebratory launch of our latest venture called The Bare Times, a new online publication for naturists and the mainstream population.
All in all, it’s been quite a first year for YNA, and I'm looking forward to growing the young naturist movement even more in year number two.