promotion photograph on the AANR Website features lots of
wrinkles and gray hair.
Boomers, Senior Citizens Keep Nudism Alive
July 18, 2005 So you thought nudism was for young
people. Wrong. From a report on a recent gathering of the American
Association for Nude Recreation, it appears that it is mostly baby
boomers and senior citizens that are keeping nude recreation alive.
As 3,000 nudist gathered near Lehighton,
Pennsylvania, for the meeting of the eastern region meeting of AANR, it
became obvious the future of the movement has a problem. Many who
checked into Sunny Rest were well into their 50s and 60s, bringing to
light a challenge facing the AANR: drawing younger people as members,
reported Matt Birkbeck in the Allentown Morning Call.
More and more, when Carolyn Hawkins looks at
fellow nudists at camps and gatherings across the country, she sees
faces framed by graying hair, reported Birkbeck.
"It's something we are really focusing on,"
Hawkins, spokeswoman for AANR, told Birkbeck "Many of us have been in
this a long time, and you do see our members getting older."
For many, becoming a nudist takes personal strength
and that comes only with age and maturity, Hawkins said.
Brown in 2004
"I didn't feel comfortable when I first tried it,"
said Pat Brown, 64, AANR's president, who became a nudist while in her
40s. "But soon after, being without clothes was not difficult. It gave
me the freedom to accept the body that I lived in."
The AANR, which claims 50,000 members, has seen its
ranks grow over the past decade, from 42,500 in 1992, and has boasted a
30 percent increase in the number of nudist clubs in the United States
and Canada, to 260 from 170.
Aging baby boomers, having experienced the
free-spirited decade of the '60s, seem to have gravitated toward nudist
clubs, said Hawkins, noting that most AANR members are 50 or older.
Birkbeck reports that for the past year Steve
Vickers, director of AANR's youth division, has been visiting college
and university campuses recruiting new members.
"Their first reaction is disbelief," said Vickers,
24, who was raised in a nudist family in Florida. "They didn't know this
was out there. Then curiosity piques, and they ask questions like, `Why
would you do it?' I tell them it's peaceful, family-oriented, and you
make a lot of friends."
Although they report no statistics about younger
nudists, Birkbeck wrote that Vickers says his efforts are paying off.
The AANR claims to be the largest, most
long-established organization of its kind in North America. With roots
dating to 1931, their Website says, We have grown from our humble
beginnings to an organization representing nearly 50,000 members and
their families throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and
In announcing Nude Recreation Week, which started
on July 4, the AANR news release said, George Washington did it, so did
Ben Franklin. Even John Quincy Adams conducted a press interview while
Their mission, they say, is to Promote, enhance,
and protect in appropriate settings, nude recreation and nude living in
Members subscribe to the following principles:
We recognize the essential wholesomeness of the
human body and that life is enhanced by the naturalness of social
nudity. From exercise to relaxation, physical health and mental well
being are enriched through social nude recreation. We have the right to
practice social nudity in appropriate settings, provided we do not
infringe on the rights of others.
The national headquarters is in Kissimmee, Florida.