BARE AND FREE
|Volume 19||Number 5, December 2007|
In this Issue
Days to Remember
Christmas Banquet Was Great
If you missed the Christmas Banquet, you missed a real treat. Our hosts, Wayne and Schell, went all out to prepare a feast. Besides digging into a fine sit-down meal, club members kept moving from the pool table, to the hot tub, to the brisk swimming pool, to the horse barn--and nibbling a bit more each time they passed the table. The weather was gorgeous--the warmest we have enjoyed in years. With the possibilities for both indoor and outdoor nude recreation, this location could become a December tradition.
Consider Attending the Midwinter Naturist Festival
This year's Midwinter Naturist Festival runs from February 14th to 19th at Sunsport Gardens near Loxahatchee (west of West Palm Beach). Paul will be going down for the weekend to represent our club, and to put on four workshops: Attracting College Students, Informing Politicians of Naturist Family Values, the Professors & Researchers Special Interest Group, and a slide show on Nude Youth in Art.
If your interests run in other directions, there are about four choices each hour--from Where to Go Skinny-Dipping in Florida, to Belly Dancing, to Everglades Restoration, to Tie-Dying, to Nude Aerobics, to Body Casting, to Skin Cancer Screening, to Nude Photography, to the Pudding Fight--the list goes on and on. To skim through the whole program, visit www.sunsportgardens.com.
Consider going down for the best nudist program offered anywhere in the state. Contact Paul for details. Or if you can't make it this time, The Naturist Society is putting on a second program in October at Lake Come near Tampa.
Who's Aging? Not Us.
OK, so none of us are getting any younger. But because we do well at attracting college students, the average age of our members remains younger than most clubs.
Five years ago, the American Association for Nude Recreation disclosed that most clubs are best at recruiting new members over the age of 55. Well not us. We have for years kept a 15% college student membership--the highest in the nation. And about a third of our members joined in their forties.
Yet those same people are growing older. A recent poll of Florida clubs asked for current member ages, and we see that our cluster of people who joined in their forties are now moving into their fifties. That bulge in our membership is sort of like a snake that has swallowed a frog: the bulge keeps moving toward the tail end.
AANR just announced that ninety percent of their members are over 35. Seventy-five percent of our members are, so we're not doing too bad by comparison.
Putting these surveys together (with their slightly differing age brackets), we get these results for our club:
Lots of Brief Announcements
Remember that our new daily grounds fees go into effect January 1:
The new annual lake fee is $155.
For your winter sunning, Bob has erected a temporary windbreak by our storage shed. Sunny days in the sixties can be comfortable. Next year, we want to put a permanent windbreak in the sunnier area where the old building was. But the fire killed about a dozen big trees that have to come down before we can build there.
We have a new sinkhole page on our website: http://www.tallahasseenaturally.org/sinkhole.html. Check out the changing conditions.
A small landed club has opened at Darien, Georgia--near the coast north of Brunswick. You can check them out at http://Nativewoodsnaturistspark.com. Years ago, there was a too-visible nudist section of a clothed trailer park in Darien, but this appears to be something different. There are six Florida clubs all lined up within 30 miles of the Georgia border. Until now, you had to travel all the way north of Atlanta to find the next club.
Once again, Cape Canaveral National Seashore has a superintendent on a mission to stamp out the nude beaches. This time, it's a woman. The nude beach signs at Apollo Beach have come down, and county deputies are once more harassing people at Playalinda. In an apparent effort to defuse the situation, the woman has been put on a long leave of absence. During the peaceful years, membership in the watchdog Central Florida Naturists had dwindled almost out of existence.
AANR has been operating in the red the last few years. This year, they cut the budget back drastically. Expect a proposal to increase dues this summer.
In preparation for our College Greek Athletic Meet, we checked out a rumor that one of the Monticello motels had significantly raised its rates. Actually, they all have. Current prices for the cheapest rooms are:
Camping at the lake remains free.
We have received wonderful news about Donna, our treasurer many years ago. She and Jim have not been able to attend the lake for several years because of her failing health. Doctors estimated she was just a few days from death when a liver transplant became available. It seems to be working, though recovery is slow. She and Jim are even talking about a brief visit to the lake this summer.
Virginia Court Challenge Quietly Dropped
by Paul LeValley
The 2003 AANR Youth Camp controversy has ended with something less than a whimper. Sometime in the last two years, the AANR-East challenge to a Virginia law outlawing nudist youth camps was dropped so quietly that nobody knew about it.
The controversy began when AANR, in an effort to emphasize the family aspect of nudism, invited reporters from the New York Times, Time magazine, and a local paper to visit the Florida camp (which I had founded many years ago). The publicity came at a time when reporters were also beginning to question local Congressman Mark Foley about rumors he was gay. To change the subject, Foley suddenly went on an anti-nude-youth-camp crusade, claiming he was saving teenagers from exploitation by adults. At the time, no one knew why Foley's mind was in the gutter--that he was, himself, pursuing young male former congressional pages with letters full of sexual innuendos.
Naturists everywhere went into public relations damage control. But there were no political consequences in Florida--mainly because South Florida Free Beaches had been so active during the previous ten years making friends in the state legislature. Even Governor Jeb Bush's office issued a statement that, "The rights of parents to impart their values in their children and raise their children as they see fit are sacred."
Part of the intended publicity message was that the camps were expanding--with camps scheduled during the next few weeks in Virginia and California. Texas lay in the plans for the next year. Nothing happened in California, but after the camp season, bills prohibiting nude youth camps appeared in the Virginia and Texas legislatures. When nudists started putting pressure on Texas lawmakers, a prohibition of nude youth camps suddenly appeared in the state Health Department administrative code--where nobody could get at an elected official to change it. The projected 2004 weekend mini-camp did take place--but in Oklahoma. Then the Southwest region laid low for a year, before opening a regular week-long camp in Oklahoma.
The Virginia legislature required that parents accompany their children to camp if any nudity was involved. When parents could not do that, the 2004 camp was at the last moment moved to South Carolina. AANR-East went to court challenging the Virginia law--and found all kinds of legal hurdles placed in their way. At first, the court insisted on calling each year a separate camp--so that the issue became moot as soon as the camp date rolled around. Then the court ruled that AANR-East had no standing in the matter. AANR-East appealed to the federal court, who agreed that the sponsoring region did indeed have standing to challenge the law. Sometime after that, AANR-East and AANR officials concluded that they could never win in a Virginia court, and might as well quietly go out claiming a federal court victory.
At first, the original publicity seemed to be having its desired effect. Camp attendance boomed in 2004. But in the last couple of years, attendance has plummeted--figures offset by the growing success of the Youth Ambassador Program for college-age young people (which Shauna attended this summer). Some people say there are fewer young nudist families with children, but no one has produced figures to support that theory. Others say the camps have become so security-conscious that they aren't fun anymore. Another explanation could be that the controversy drove out the most visionary and inspiring camp leader.
Back in 2003, some people were quick to condemn AANR for a publicity blunder that should have been foreseen. With the perspective of time, we can tally up the final score: a flurry of publicity with the good outnumbering the bad, Congressman Foley thoroughly discredited, nude youth camps outlawed in two states, and a stalled camp expansion plan with dwindling attendance.