Friday, October 16, 2009

Skinny-Dipping for Charity - Are You Listening AANR and TNS?

A naturist club in the UK hopes to raise £1,000 for a cancer care center by donating a portion of the entry fees for their indoor nude swims.
The club holds three spring and three autumn swims. Part of the proceeds from the entrance fee are donated to charity.

Each attracts between 120-200 people. David, who has been a naturist for more than 20 years, said: "We get the police and religious people. An engineer from the QE2 is a regular attendee.

"Naturism is a very good leveler. Without your formal attire you don't know who you are talking to."

As well as locals, the swims are attended by naturists from as far afield as Scotland and Wales. Sometimes the Young British Naturists, for 16 to 30-year-olds, and Suntreckers, a naturist caravanning and camping club, descend on the pool.
Is there any naturist club in the United States which draws up to 200 people per swim? Here in Columbus, Ohio, The Buckeye Naturists/Have Sun Will Travel swims are lucky to get 20 people, and West Penn Naturist boasts of 30-50 people in attendance at their swimming events.

Either Yanks are a lot more prudish than the Brits, or this is a matter of poor marketing. The British Club, Water Meadows Naturist Swim Club, has an extensive, up-to-date web site with scheduled dates announced up to a year in advance, a guestbook, links, events page, online membership form, online store, and much more.

Here in Columbus, Ohio, The Buckeye Naturists don't even have their winter swim dates announced on their web site, blog, or Google group. There is an announcement that "winter swims are on", but no date or further information. Have Sun Will Travel has 4 swim dates announced, but no phone number, no location, no instructions.

West Penn Naturist is a much better web site, with complete list of winter events, news, fees, policies, links, and information for first-timers. It could use a cosmetic makeover, but it's updated and informative.

This past summer, for the AANR World Record Skinny-Dip event, most of the outdoor pools and ponds at affiliated resorts were overflowing - 357 at Paradise Valley Resort in Georgia, 345 at Turtle Lake in Michigan, 317 at White Tails in Virginia, 235 at Avalon in West Virginia, and so on.

With the winter blahs setting in over a great portion of America, either AANR or TNS should be working with non-landed clubs to develop a winter strategy to keep nudism and naturism vital in the off-season. There's no reason a charitable event cannot be organized - skinny dip for breast cancer, or autism, or raise money for the Special Olympics, or to help wounded war veterans. Something, anything, to stir the nude spirit when the weather is cold, and the pool waters are warm.

It's not for lack of interest by the public, it's lack of leadership and organization by the national groups.

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