DON RYAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
John Kinman, from Kona, Hawaii, sits and goes over papers at the Willamettan nudist camp in Marcola, Ore., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 1999. Many nudist groups now face an aging membership and little interest from younger generations.
Nudist camps have been around in the U.S. for eighty years. The problem many of them now face is that a good portion of their membership is approaching that same age. And nudist groups are finding that young people just aren't interested. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report:
"The whole lifestyle will just disappear unless we attract a younger crowd," said Nicky Hoffman, head of the Naturist Society, one of the two big organizations of U.S. nudists. "The problem is, most of these resorts aren't geared to young people. They've become like retirement homes; they've sort of calcified."
Not that nudist groups aren't trying to appeal to a younger generation. They've devised separate areas for the under 30 crowd and are reaching out directly to twenty-somethings with events that include a skinny dip, blacklight party and naked dinner party in Manhattan, among others.
Membership in the two big nudist umbrella groups has been flat or declining for years, prompting a youth-recruitment effort that includes reverse-strip-poker nights, volleyball tournaments, naked 5K road races and music festivals like Nudepalooza and Nudestock.
Their efforts appear to be paying off. The Journal cites one 19-year-old woman who visited a nudist resort in Florida and called the experience freeing. Though, she did have one complaint: Mosquitos.