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March 2014

The Value Of Commitment

The Value of Commitment

For the past several months you have been reading articles from Nominations Chair Ralph Collinson and from me urging you to step forward and run for an AANR office. You have heard from existing officials why they became more deeply involved and the gratification they receive from their service.

But did you know that it can actually improve your health to serve? A professor of preventative medicine, Stephen Post, wrote a book entitled The Hidden Gifts of Helping. He says that volunteers who devote time to community organizations or who informally help out friends, relatives, and neighbors report greater happiness and better health than those who don’t. Volunteering lowers stress levels and rates of depression. It helps one achieve a healthier weight, reduces insomnia, and strengthens the immune system. Now if that won’t convince you, nothing will!

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, men and woman who volunteer report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than non-volunteers.

I remember hearing somewhere the phrase, “Apathy is boring.” Well, it’s certainly a quality I’ve never suffered from, so I can’t say for sure, but I do have a friend who does not have a passion in her life and she seems to catch more colds, experience more low energy days, and have less fun than I do. So there is probably some truth in it.

A product of my Baby Boomer generation, I’ve always been a “cause” person. I collected money for overseas children support organizations in grade school, trick-or-treated for UNICEF as a teen, volunteered with the Red Cross in summers, and yearned to join Up With People in high school. I suppose it was inevitable that I took on nudism not just as a recreational experience but also as a cause.

It didn’t start that way, of course. Like most of us I went to a beach and it felt good, wonderful, free. I met really terrific people and we did fun things together, including hiking and camping nude. I would have stayed in that euphoric state forever it the local church had not stepped in and closed Assateague to nudists. Okay, then I joined a club—the Potomac Rambling Bares, and eventually Avalon.

Once again, it was lots of fun and we did good things together. Then a man who lived within telescope sight of Avalon (it was in Madison County, Virginia, at that time) raised an objection and the permit to operate Avalon as a conservation club was revoked.

That did it! How dare they tell me that I couldn’t do something I knew with all my heart was healthy and happy! I was recruited to run for the Board of Directors of ESA and eventually tapped on the shoulder at my first AANR convention and nominated to run for AANR Secretary/Treasurer. The rest is history.

I was fortunate. My professional experiences working in a political position with the U.S. Congress and carrying out legislative strategies in government agencies were a particular boon to AANR. My 15 years as a public relations professional strategist is another level of experience that I was able to bring to AANR.

 AANR particularly needs people with association marketing skills, public relations expertise, government and legislative strategy experience. And you can see for yourself how much more gratifying it is to turn your professional efforts toward a cause than a paycheck!

Despite recent challenges and frustrations  I don’t regret a minute of my work for nude recreation. This “right” is ours only as long as we are willing to fight for it.

Won’t you step forward and become part of AANR leadership? It’s worth a lifetime

of commitment.