The Great Naked Debate, Round Three

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY For this round, The Great Naked Debate asked the question "What can be done to attract younger people to the nudist lifestyle?"

This is perhaps the number one issue facing traditional nudist resorts that rely on membership fees. The responses from five participants (including this writer) don't necessarily add anything new to the debate - it seems to be a dilemma without a clear solution.

Nudist Day offers the idea of promoting more sports activities, such as hiking, and waiving grounds fees for younger people.
Reaching-out to young people is half the job, thus it’s critical that more be done to promote the lifestyle where the younger generation congregates. For instance, the internet via Youtube and Myspace, among others, and positive ads in the magazines they read. There’s an investment to make, obviously, but if you don’t make it, the lifestyle risks dying-out with its rapidly aging practitioners!

The Naturist Journal believes it's a matter of selling.
We have to look at issues of Marketing, culture, economics, and probably more. Are we advertising in the right places? Are we doing enough public services to raise general awareness (beach cleanups, charity work, “Nudists shed clothes for the homeless”)? If nudity wasn’t an issue, would young people join our clubs in the first place? Is the vibe not quite right for them? For some local clubs may not be affordable. We simply can’t be complacent, we need to be looking at all of these areas and making continual improvements.
And Gymnophiliac takes the fantasy approach.
...if I were to build a commercial venue and wanted to cater to younger people, here’s how I’d do it. I’d build it as close as I could to a population center, so as to make it as convenient to get to as possible. I’d keep the entrance costs minimal. I would look at what younger people are doing with their clothes on, and then provide opportunity to do it with their clothes off. I’d keep a fully stocked bar and try to create the typical “bar scene” on Friday and Saturday nights. I’d make sure that if someone wanted a “Skim milk double shot Latte” I could fill the order. I’d host Wii Sports tournaments and poker tournaments. I’d get live music and real DJ’s. The challenge, simply, is to create a place that the target audience would go to if it wasn’t nudist. The nudity would be a bonus, not the selling point, and certainly not the *only* selling point.

There’d be two keys to success in attracting young people to my venue. Attracting single girls and limiting it to 18ish-35ish only. The former is the most challenging, but also the most important. The lack of single, 20-something girls is the most often cited reason why my friends don’t accompany me to the nude beach - they’re rather go one where there are girls present. By a similar token, they don’t want to hang around people their parents age or young kids. The presence of such significantly changes the atmosphere and makes it less appealing.
In short, he wants low admission fees, alcohol, video games, gambling, more nude single girls, and get rid of anyone over 35, all in an urban setting. Sorry, but I can't take Gymnophiliac seriously anymore.

Tom Mulhall offers the perspective of an actual resort owner.
Nudist clubs need to change with the times. First, stop charging annual memberships. Charge per visit. Young people don’t want to join clubs. Next, stop putting out negative pr’s from clubs that are dying out. Recently, the AP wire service carried an article about a nudist club where members were over 55 and they had a picture of their membership chairman in his 70’s. That just destroyed all the hard work that resorts like us and other clubs do to get younger members.
The common theme in most of the replies was marketing. Resorts are just not keeping up with the times. Just surf the web for nudist resorts - while most have some sort of web presence, many of the sites are crude with broken links and other technical issues. Tom Mulhall is one of the very few owners that works every day in promoting his resort with his blog, and he boasts very high occupancy rates. He is right when he refers to the disastrous-yet-well-intentioned "college day" at the Solair resort in Connecticut which backfired and spawned an AP article that accentuated the geriatric aspect of the club.

With Haulover Beach attracting over a million people a year, and nude vacations at upscale resorts and on cruise ships growing by leaps and bounds, it does appear to be a matter of venue and not a matter of a lack of willingness.

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