Nud­ists seek next gen­er­a­tion on ag­ing colonies

The Washington Times Weekly - - Page Two - By Cara Ru­bin­sky

WOOD­STOCK, Conn. — Here’s the naked truth about nude re­cre­ation: The peo­ple who prac­tice it aren’t get­ting any younger. To draw 20- and 30some­things, nud­ist groups and camps are tr ying ever ything from deep dis­counts on mem­ber­ship fees to a “young am­bas­sador” pro­gram that en­cour­ages col­lege and grad­u­ate stu­dents to talk to their peers about hav­ing fun in the buff.

“We don’t want the place to turn into a gated as­sisted-liv­ing fa­cil­ity,” said Gor­don Adams, mem­ber­ship di­rec­tor at So­lair Re­cre­ation League, a nud­ist camp in north­east­ern Con­necti­cut that re­cently in­vited stu­dents from dozens of New Eng­land schools to a col­lege day in hopes of piquing their in­ter­est.

The me­dian age is 55 at So­lair, where a yearly mem­ber­ship is $500 for peo­ple older than 40, $300 for peo­ple younger than 40 and $150 for col­lege stu­dents.

The Kis­simee, Fla.-based Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion for Nude Re­cre­ation, which rep­re­sents about 270 clubs and re­sorts in North Amer­ica, es­ti­mates that more than 90 per­cent of its 50,000 mem­bers are older than 35.

“If a young per­son is en­light­ened enough to go to a beach or re­sort, they’ll find that they’re out­num­bered by peo­ple who are not like them,” said Sam Miller, 32. “Of­ten­times they won’t go back for that rea­son.”

A med­i­cal stu­dent in River­side, Calif., Mr. Miller is help­ing to plan a “youth am­bas­sadors” work­shop be­ing held next month in Or­lando, Fla.

“I think peo­ple think that we’re all hip­pies,” said Laura Groezinger, 22, of Biller ica, Mass., who grew up visit­ing So­lair with her fam­ily. “Other peo­ple, I don’t know the right way to say this, but they think it’s more sex­ual, kind of. They don’t un­der­stand just the be­ing free with your body and be­ing com­fort­able.”

Money is also an is­sue. As nud­ist re­sorts be­come in­creas­ingly up­scale, cater ing to baby boomers and re­tirees with plenty of dis­pos­able in­come, they are less af­ford­able for col­lege stu­dents and young fam­i­lies.

“There’s a fi­nan­cial bar­rier, and I think it’s im­por­tant for re­sorts, if they want young peo­ple around, to rec­og­nize that and cater to them with dis­counts or free days,” Mr. Miller said.

Only a few stu­dents at­tended So­lair’s col­lege event, but camp mem­bers said they plan to try again.

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