When it comes to getting naked, young people would rather do it among their own.
And with nudist resorts and nude recreation clubs having a reputation for attracting the sagging and wrinkling, young naturists often struggle to find places to bare their all.
On Saturday and Sunday, at a 40-acre nudist park in the wilds of Loxahatchee, several hundred will gather for the Florida Young Naturist’s Fourth Annual End of Summer Naked Bash. It’s celebration of nudity and body acceptance aimed at nudists ages 18 to 30, just the age group that nudist resorts around the country are trying to attract now.
“Young people don’t want to go to bingo night or play shuffleboard,” in the nude, said Robbe White, founder of the Florida Young Naturist organization, which organizes South Florida nudist events for younger people. “There’s a lot of desire for resorts to attract young people, but they don’t do anything to attract them.”
At Sunsport Gardens, the family naturist resort hosting the weekend event, the young and the old have seemed to strike a perfect balance — a successful partnership between young naturists who need an affordable venue for their activities and a naturist’s park trying to avoid the perception that naturism is flagging and losing its vigor.
Attracting the young and the nude is a concept that has taken off at Sunsport, said Morley Schloss, principal shareholder at Sunsport Gardens. He has cut prices for newbies, kept the pool and hot tub open 24 hours and allowed the young naturists to claim part of the park for their, winter, spring and summer bashes.
The park also hosts Friday night drum circles and allows rock bands to play until midnight — after all, Schloss, 71, first got naked in public at Woodstock in 1969 when he was 28.
“It was kind of scary at first,” Schloss said of skinny dipping in a lake behind the stage. “Then, I felt the sun all over my skin and I said, ‘Wow, this is fantastic.'”
That may be why Schloss enjoys the free-love, hippie feel of the Florida Young Naturists bashes.
“The vibe out there is incredible. It’s not a sexual thing at all,” said Frankie Sinsemilla, guitarist for the Funky Nuggets, a local band headlining the weekend bash. “You can’t blame people for getting that misconception. But it’s all about being natural and accepting people for who they are no matter what they look like.”
Sinsemilla said he doesn’t usually attend nudist events unless he’s playing, but admits it has gotten the hang of it after playing several bashes hosted by the Florida Young Naturist group.
“For literally 10 seconds, you think “Oh my God, I’m naked,” and then you forget about it,” Sinsemilla said. “It’s probably weirdest for our drummer because he has to sit behind us and look at our naked asses.”
In addition to cheaper fees, the park also boasts healthy foods and vegetarian menus at its restaurant, and a deep commitment to ecological and earth friendly issues such as using solar power for its pool heating, cafe and laundromat—which puzzled some, biodegrable soaps at its outdoor showers and workshops about body image and acceptance.
For Kymberlee Brogan, a vendor at the bash, the events have taught her to be more accepting of her body. At first she was embarrassed to disrobe to go to work.
“ThenI realized I looked more weird dressed than naked. It was so nice not to care and know that you’re not going to be judged,” said Brogan, 30, who does henna tattoos and sells utility belts, sarongs and towels — all tailored to nudists. “Young people here have nothing to worry.”
Attracting a younger crowd nudists isn’t easy.
“I think maybe that naturists skew older because people come to the realization this is what they want to spend their disposable income on later in life,” said Bob Morton, executive director of Naturists Action Committee, a nonprofit arm of the Naturists Society.
It’s not clear how many nudist or naturists there are in the US. Morton said naturists are not card-carrying members of any specific organization and most, especially young nudists, don’t want to be labeled.
But he said a poll the committed commissioned from Ropert showed that 25 percent of the adult population says they have participated in some sort of naturist activity.
Morton said additional polling could reveal changing attitudes about nudity and a growing number of young nudists nationwide, but “we’re a nonprofit organization and don’t have deep pockets,” he said. “Shoot, we’re naked! We don’t even have any pockets.”