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Can’t All Nudist Groups Just Get Along?

A recent press release about a new nudist group, the Young Naturists and Nudists America (NNYA) featured the headline “Young Nudists Show the AANR How It’s Done.” 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?

Social family nudism has made great strides in recent years. Nudity is considered more mainstream than ever as can be witnessed by articles, magazine covers and its use to sell products. Even Hollywood is getting on board with an upcoming movie featuring Jennifer Aniston that takes place partly at a nudist resort. Aniston recently visited Paradise Valley, an AANR-affiliated club, to do research for her role. New clothing-optional resorts that espouse family values are opening in the Caribbean. Nude cruises and other forms of nude travel are more popular than ever. And, yes, much of the increase in popularity has to do with social media.

While AANR does not usually reveal its website data, neither is it sitting on the sidelines when it comes to social media. Currently, there have been over 1,400 “Likes” on its main Association Facebook page. This does not take into account the Facebook groups that have been created for specific events such as the AANR World Record Skinny-Dip, the Cape Cod Beach Cleanup and the Assateague Clothing-Optional Beach group, all administrated by AANR, or the regional and individual AANR-affiliated clubs pages.

And AANR is keeping up with what members and friends have told them that they want: a community where they can connect. This has resulted in the addition of a new user-generated content feature on AANR.com called The World of Nude Recreation, where people can submit their stories about a wide variety of topics pertaining to the nudist lifestyle. The YNNA press release states its website has more Web traffic than AANR.com, according to reports at Alexa.com. While this may be true, and the figures in the release reflect that to be so, AANR does not base their website data on Alexa metrics but on Google Analytics. On the day AANR’s newsletter, the E-Bulletin, went out and included a link to the new World of Nude Recreation page, over 7,500 visitors went to AANR.com that day. A typical news story on MSNBC or Fox News can trigger visits upward of 15,000 visitors in a single day.

While it is true that many AANR members are above the 40-year-old demographic, there are many younger members as well. Witness the success of VitaNuda, a group of 35-year-old and younger nudists that falls under the AANR umbrella. Information about this active group can be found on the Gen Next page of AANR.com with links to the VitaNuda and VitaNuda West Facebook pages plus a link to their “What Is Nudism” video on its YouTube NudeRevolutionTV channel that has had nearly 7 million views to date.

But what does all this mean? Somehow isn’t it all beside the point? Why should any nudist group try to claim advantage over another? Aren’t we all working toward the same goals? Granted, while nudism has become more mainstream and there are great strides being made in government affairs arenas there is still work to be done. Nudists need to be proactive on issues protecting our right to enjoy nude recreation, especially at the state and local level. It’s not about how many followers a particular group has in the Twitterverse, how many “Likes” its Facebook page has or how old its members are. It’s about a nudist group’s members being willing to get busy and do the dirty work of protecting the lifestyle choice we love. And we should all work together to do so.

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14 Responses to Can’t All Nudist Groups Just Get Along?

  1. Chet Kresiak says:

    The article I wrote was not an opinion piece, it does not take sides. But one conclusion which can be drawn is that there are far more similarities between AANR and YNNA than there are differences, and I specifically noted that the door was open for some sort of cooperation.

    Felicity contacted me about the story and said she was very pleased that Erich Schuttauf responded to her comments. It’s still not clear if AANR has reached out personally to YNNA.

    Unfortunately, your response here calling for everyone to “get along” opens with a paragraph basically accusing Felicity of being a liar, an alarmist, and irrelevant. Might I suggest that if you are seeking to “get along” with any upstart naturist and nudist groups that you not take your grievances public, but rather contact these people privately and invite them to participate in some AANR events.

    I’ll be happy when I read here that AANR and YNNA are sponsoring an event together, and not just exchanging grievances on blogs.

  2. Tom Mulhall says:

    AANR, welcome to being the big dog and popular kid. It seems more and more upstarts want to take a poke at you. We’ve been going to nudist resorts since our early 20’s. We are now early 50’s and started our own nudist resort, The Terra Cotta Inn. Yesterday was our 16th anniversary.

    We have ALWAYS heard that AANR doesn’t do enough for younger people, doesn’t represent them, doesn’t doesn’t do anything, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    There have been many nude organizations that have started and gone by the wayside. Skinbook was the big flame out of 2010. Skinbook even got Time Magazine to write an article about them. They started their online social site because they said organized nudist organizations were out of touch with young nudists and they could do it better. They ended it after only a couple of years because surprise of surprises, they weren’t making the big bucks like facebook and found out it’s work to run a nudist organization.

    I have never found an organization like AANR that is more proactive in promoting nude recreation and that is more interested in their membership. It is such an open, friendly organization as are the members. You can easily get involved in the local and regional levels.

    What I find is since AANR is the credible voice of nude recreation, some upstarts pick on them to try to gain credibility because they don’t bother to try to get involved with AANR.

    I agree with AANR’s blog here. Nudists should try to get along. This isn’t a political campaign of republicans vs democrats. Most people don’t like negative campaigns and trash talk. Felicity should be talking mainly about the positives of her group. That will encourage more people to join her.

    I wish her new group good luck. Tom Mulhall

    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 and I am not speaking on behalf of AANR.

  3. Veal Johnson says:

    I have been watching this bickering go on for years between the The Naturist Society and AANR, between the INF and AANR, between AANR and ClothesFree.com and before that between ASA and Edith Church’s group. I agree, the pie is definitely big enough to be shared amongst the available demographic without all this sniping and back and forth between nudist organizations and groups.

    Take care and … Keep it Bare !!!

    – veal

  4. brian f says:

    Perhaps another way for AANR to approach the issue is to ask, “Why has there been such a long record of people saying the AANR is out of touch with younger nudists?” Instead of a petty “They’re being mean, and we should all play nice together” response, I would have liked to have seen something more along the lines of “We’ve noticed this complaint in the past. We’d like to meet with YNNA to talk about what they see as the shortcomings of AANR – why do they feel that way, and how can we work with them to bridge the gap?”

    Yes, it would be nice for all nudist organizations to work together toward common goals (though AANR, TNS, NAC, and others often seem to end up on opposite sides of some issues). The question is, as the “credible voice of nudism”, is AANR willing to admit that it has made mistakes and be truly open to constructive criticism from the outside? Erich Schuttauf’s statement (“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!”) was, quite frankly, a bit surprising to me, but pleasantly so. This blog post undid the work of Schuttauf’s reasoned response, and my opinion of AANR has returned to its original state.

  5. Veal, you beat me to the punch! Whichever organization is ‘right’ on any particular issue is not the point; it’s the open and very public spats that folks notice and talk about. This tends to leave them feeling that the groups are more interested in ‘territory’ than working together to achieve nudist/naturist goals.

    The same thing happens locally between clubs and groups with the result that they rarely work together for cooperativly. This is counterproductive and wastes energy that could be put to some good use.

    We’ve ben watching NNYA with interest, hoping that the infusion of youth and vigor might shake things up a bit in a lifestyle that is becoming perceived as something mainly for the elderly or for swingers. In a time where social perceptions may be swinging in our favor it would be in the best interest of all if the ‘kids’ and the ‘grownups’ could find common ground to help bring social nudism into the 21st Century.

  6. Tom Mulhall says:

    AANR is in a no win situation here. As the biggest and best run and known nudist organization, other nudist groups constantly take swipes at them especially in public.

    If another group does something stupid and it blows up in their faces, then it’s AANR’s fault for not backing them (even though AANR was smart not to).

    When a group like Young naturists negatively comments about them, then AANR is a bully for trying to set the record straight. If they don’t comment, then people assume what the other group has said is true.

    IMO though, they have to set the record straight. AANR doesn’t have the time to waste setting the record straight, yet sadly so many people believe what they read, so they must. That’s just how things are.

    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 and I am not speaking on behalf of AANR. My wife and I own The Terra Cotta Inn, Palm Springs an AANR affiliated resort.

  7. Don Durito says:

    To be blunt, I’d have been somewhat more impressed if the opening paragraph had been more congruent with the title. That put aside for now, I too have to wonder about where the AANR is when they’re needed most. My understanding was that when the clothes optional status of San Onofre State Beach’s Trail 6 area was attacked starting a couple years ago, AANR was nowhere to be found. That does make me wonder, for whom is the AANR representing? Are you really interested in representing the interests of naturists, including those of us who may for reasons of economic necessity or preference choose to frequent clothes optional areas in designated areas (e.g. San O, Black’s Beach), or are you representing the interests of the owners of the private naturist resorts? If the latter, you’re only going to be able to represent those naturists who belong to the relatively privileged social classes – hint: they will likely not include those who are younger or who are relatively low in income. Right now, I have to wonder if I am barely fortunate enough to afford gas money and parking fees for a state beach (while the distances and fees involved at the private resorts remain well out of my reach) if the AANR would care to represent me and my interests. I can imagine – especially among those who are struggling to pay off the first of years worth of student loans – that I am far from alone.

    Peace starts at home. If the AANR wants to claim to represent naturists and work with other groups endeavoring to do the same, great. Walk the talk. Then maybe I’ll feel like trusting the organization again. Otherwise, I’ll remain under the impression that there is no room for those of us who may be low of income and/or who may be youngish. And if that is the route you choose, we all lose.

  8. John Andersen says:

    My comment is a little late to the game on this entry but is perhaps fodder for another day’s blog entry.

    Here’s a big hint for all those who are feeling under represented – put your time and energy (it doesn’t take a lot of money necessarily) where your mouth is and volunteer in your area of concern. I can guarantee that your voice will resound a lot louder if you are part of the 20 percent who make things happen rather than 80 percent who sit back and enjoy the fruits. Is AANR perfect? No more so than any of the many hard working individuals who work behind the scenes to pull off all that is AANR. If you want to make a difference than by all means do so.

    For full disclosure purposes I am a Director for AANR-East and my opinions are my own.

  9. Mike says:

    For the Record: Vita Nuda is a JOKE.. they never plan events, the discriminate about who can and can not be friends with them on facebook, and they block people who have done nothing wrong.

    There will always be conflict in everything, because people always have their own motives and when money gets involved peoples good intentions go completely out the window.

    AANR’s main focus is to generate business for the AANR resorts.. Overall it doesn’t seem as though AANR supports nude beaches or other nude recreation that does not generate a profit. TNS is equally to blame.. they may do alittle more for beaches, and don’t really have any TNS specific resorts, but as both AANR and TNS are membership supported organizations they will always be motivated by money.

    It is to my understanding that YNNA plans to keep its membership free, as with the younger generation becoming a “member” of multiple organizations… Which can reach into the Hundreds of dollars a year just to run around naked, isn’t financially feasible for most who would like to participate in nude recreation instead of a nude lifestyle.

  10. DejaNude says:

    My concern and understanding about this entire situation is that the YNNA contacted the AANR several times in the past with no response even while having the initiative to work together as a team rather than undergo such negativity. It was not until the YNNA began to publish success stories about their their independence outside the AANR that AANR became aware of this desired attribute. YNNA has maintained much positive public recognition even as a brand new organization in the industry of nude recreation without relying on a top notch organization to back them up. They should receive much provs from all for doing this and AANR should not feel threatened nor agitated by such news presses passed along by YNNA. Instead, ANNR should chew on their own words and commend them.

    It is always interesting to see the big wigs not pay any attention to the little people until the little people finally become heard over the loud speakers. In all actuality there are several small time groups growing throughout the web and amidst the beaches with people who do share the desire to promote nude recreation actively, many who are new to this lifestyle. These are the people the AANR should consistently seek out to promote growth and education (as stated within their mission statement). It is to my understanding the first one to two years of nude recreation activism generally is the most inspirational and also the most influential for any newcomer. AANR really needs to learn to take advantage of this as I myself (under DejaNude), Next Gen Naturists and many other young people, including YNNA, are pulling the heavy labor and finances, on our own, with no other support than those we personally reach out to. AANR should turn the helping hand without being sought out for help. DejaNude, YNNA and Next GenN do not even care to request financial contributions from the general public for participation. The admission requires passion for the cause which AANR should focus on at all times.

  11. Mark says:

    There seems to be some confusion between the policies of AANR-affliated resorts and AANR itself. As I see it, AANR exerts leadership and influence over its member clubs, but the clubs seem to have a degree of latitude in setting their own policies. The clubs risk losing affiliation if they strike off wildly beyond what most clubs regard as family-friendly naturism.

    I don’t want to digress off-topic too much, but suffice to say that a club that targets a certain demographic (retirees and empty-nesters for instance) is not doing so at AANR’s bidding, but is simply following their own business plan. It is their right to market their resort to older visitors, but it seems obvious that social nudism will shrink dramatically if that is the trend nationwide. While I applaud what AANR is doing to bring the next generation to nudism, visits to nudist resorts can only be a part options available to newcomers to nude recreation. (we also need to promote nude beaches, home and neighborhood gatherings, and discrete nudity in remote wild lands)

    AANR cannot be expected to act alone, even when it comes encouraging people to visit resorts. We need to back them up with a grass-roots effort.

    In some areas, young adults will need to organize non-landed clubs or swell the ranks of an existing non-landed club and visit nudist resorts as a club, creating a younger climate through sheer numbers, in a way that a solitary young nudist could not accomplish on his or her own.

    In areas where nude beaches are distant, the land is too urbanized for spontaneous outdoor nudity, then a private nudist venue is the only option. But what if the only resort around is so expensive that young folks cannot afford it? What if the resort has a total ban on singles? Then these young people need to band together and begin the long process of forming their own nudist camp, one that is affordable and welcoming to singles. AANR does good in many ways, but this is the sort of task we must do for ourselves.

    I support dialog between AANR and other naturist/nudist groups. As long as the non-landed club holds to the same basic set of values, let’s not assume the worst simply because they do not affiliate. Sometimes limited funds may lead a club not to affiliate. It’s great when they can do so, but times being what they are, surely some low-budget grass roots nudism is in order.

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  13. (I’ll be happy when I read here that AANR and YNNA are sponsoring an event together) How are you going to let the over 30 years of age AANR members in the door of the event?…you kids are too funny.

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