Monday, December 20, 2010

Disappointing Response from AANR

In response to my original story "Young Nudists Challenge AANR", the national nude recreation organization has vigorously defended its record on reaching out to young people, while at the same time attacking Young Naturists and Nudists America co-founder Felicity.
According to comments made by Felicity, co-founder of the group, in the December 18 edition of The Political Naturist, AANR doesn’t “represent, create, they don’t get involved.” While a great way to garner headlines for an upstart nudist group, is that statement, and others like it, the truth? Or even more alarming, really necessary?
The title of the AANR blog post is "Can't All Nudist Groups Just Get Along?", but they basically attack Felicity as being a liar, an alarmist, and her opinion unnecessary.

Is Felicity wrong? Perhaps, but in the original story Erich Schuttauf, Executive Director of AANR, gave a measured and thoughtful response to her comments, defending AANR's record without resorting to attacking Felicity or her organization. In fact, he praises them by saying, "I think it is GREAT that a growing group of young people want to take clothes-free recreation to the next level and would welcome an opportunity to talk to their leadership!"

AANR's blog post goes on to say, "Why should any nudist group try to claim advantage over another? Aren’t we all working toward the same goals?" One would think, but AANR's decision to sit out the NAC lawsuit over San Onofre Beach, their refusal to sign a petition on the issue, and subsequent statements basically blaming NAC for the loss of San Onofre, don't exactly exhibit a spirit of cooperation.

Has AANR reached out to YNNA personally? After all, they are supposed to be the "adults" of the national nudist family, and it's their responsibility to bring people together, not to tear them apart.

AANR has every right to defend its record, but it's unwise and destructive to try and tear down others who happen to possess different opinions and ideas.

I sincerely hope that AANR and YNNA find some way to work together, such as co-sponsoring an event, or gathering in person to share ideas, and leaving the egos at home.

7 comments:

Marcel said...

Agreed.

Tom Mulhall said...

Hi,
I guess I read a completely different blog post from AANR than you did.

AANR is involved in the out reach to younger nudists. They are heavily involved in government affairs, etc.

AANR is the big dog of the nudist world. Many people and groups think by knocking them, they think it makes them look better. If AANR toots it's own horn, then they're bragging. If AANR tries to set the record straight, then they are bullies and defensive. It's fun to pick on the big guy, but as the AANR blog said "is it really necessary?"

You ask, "Has AANR reached out to YNNA personally?" This has been my experience from owning a nudist resort for 16 years. Lots of people come to me with "great ideas." They say I should have a nude art show, or or other themed event. I say great. Give me your specific ideas, you do the marketing, guarantee the selling of room nights, and I'll pay you a commission for your being the promoter. No one has ever taking me up on it.

It's easy to say AANR should do this or that and let them expend their time, money, and energy. But, the opposite is true. Felicity, should have approached AANR (as there are so many start up groups like hers, Skinbook, etc). AANR is a very open organization for working with people and I'm sure they would be happy to work with them. Yet, you can't expect AANR to drop everything and do what Felicity wants. She has to come up with concrete ideas that promote nude recreation and then I bet she will get AANR support.

Does AANR make mistakes? Of course they do. No organization is perfect. Yet, in my experience, I have found no organization doing a better job of mainstreaming nude recreation in the US than AANR.

For full disclosure purposes, I am a member of AANR national’s PR committee and am on the AANR West board of directors. These are my opinions here and I am not speaking on behalf of AANR. My wife and I own The Terra Cotta Inn, Palm Springs an AANR affiliated resort.

Nudiarist said...

Tom,

Thanks for the comments.

As noted in my original story, Felicity says that she did try and contact AANR. Erich Schuttauf admits that they might have dropped the ball. I heard from Felicity yesterday, and she has still not heard from AANR.

I find it odd that instead of seeing YNNA as an opportunity to bring more young people into AANR, the organization has chosen to marginalize them, as you do here. It's a big mistake and further sends the impression that AANR is out of touch with the younger generation.

As for Felicity not having any "concrete ideas", how would AANR know if they don't respond to her inquiries? That's a classic Catch-22. The people at YNNA can certainly speak for themselves, but even the must cursory glance at their website shows that they most certainly have many concrete ideas, as well as real events.

Finally, I don't buy your disclaimer. You are the owner of an AANR-sffiliated resort as well as a board member, so you really don't have the luxury of separating yourself from AANR when you make public statements. You certainly do the right thing when you make the disclosure, but you cannot claim that your personal opinion is somehow disassociated from your organizational responsibilities on issues relating to nudism.

Tom Mulhall said...

Hi Nudiarist,
Marginalize? I do not know where you get the idea that I want to do that with Felicity. As a matter of fact, I would be happy to talk with her. My number is 800-786-6938. And I would be talking with her as part of my duties of being an AANR West board member.

When someone writes AANR doesn’t “represent, create, they don’t get involved” that doesn't automatically endear them to me It's no different than a textile slamming nude recreation and not really knowing much about it. Yet, as I learn facts I am not set in my ways. I am a very open person.

As far as your statement: "Finally, I don't buy your disclaimer. You are the owner of an AANR-sffiliated resort as well as a board member, so you really don't have the luxury of separating yourself from AANR when you make public statements."

Although you and I have e-mailed a few times and chatted, you really don't know me. I am very independent in running my resort of AANR.

Since I have been involved with AANR as a volunteer board member, I have gained a new level of respect for all the hard work that so many volunteers do to promote nude recreation.

It is NOT my responsibility of being an AANR board member to respond here. I have much better things to do with my life than write this. When I respond on the net, it is mainly to promote AANR (my volunteer job) not defend them.

Yet, when I see someone mindlessly attack an organization that tries very hard to do good, then I may respond as an individual like I did here. And I am responding on behalf of my self and my resort The Terra Cotta Inn. This has NOTHING to do with my AANR volunteer "jobs." So your comment "so you really don't have the luxury of separating yourself from AANR" is WAY off base.

I hope Felicity is the real thing long term. I wish her good luck and no ill will. And Felicity if you read this, I am happy to talk with you. Tom

Nudiarist said...

Tom,

Yes, you and AANR have both marginalized YNNA with your comments. You basically lumped them in with all the other people you said claim to have "great ideas" and never follow through.

AANR also referred to them as "upstart", which is a pejorative, and questioned Felicity's veracity.

And c'mon Tom, you're a very intelligent fellow. You simply cannot separate your personal comments from your AANR board position when it comes to nudist issues. If you are a board member of PETA you can't be seen in a fur coat and claim that you are merely expressing yourself personally. Like it or not, your "unofficial" comments made here or anywhere else reflect directly upon AANR, and likewise anything AANR does reflects upon you.

Now I'm not saying you've said something unethical or contrary about AANR. In fact, you always impressed me with your enthusiasm and media savvy (except for the VH1 program, which we all agreed was a disaster).

And then you further marginalize Felicity by calling her statements "mindless".

My ultimate point is this: AANR should have dealt with this situation with more tact and professionalism. I was heartened by Erich Schuttauf's original response which was very welcoming to YNNA.

Since then, the Altogether blog post, and your comments here, have likely made it more difficult to create a spirit of cooperation.

It would have been far better to dismiss Felicity's statements as coming from inexperience and misinformation rather than from mindlessness and disingenuousness.

As I noted before, the intention should be to persuade, not to dismiss.

Tom Mulhall said...

I'm off for the day and tomorrow, have a Merry Christmas.

I'll write when I get back.

Tom

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nudiarist.
A lot of people don't like how AANR handles things; their relationship with YNNA is just the latest example.
The comments on nudistjourney.blogspot.com show disappointment with AANR, Academic Naturist says stuff like "The best move for AANR is to get the beach closed, and enjoy a monopoly" (use Google advanced search), another says "Most of their members are only there because their Nudist Club requires it as part of joining."

Do a few advanced searches and unsurprisingly, a lot of nudists dislike AANR.

One of the reasons some people defend AANR is because of the almighty dollar.