HOW TO START A NATURIST CLUB IN YOUR AREA
With the proliferation of naturist organization, nude beaches, and clothing-optional resort destinations, nudity for the purpose of socializing is enjoying a level of popularity it has never experienced before, especially within the gay community.
There is an interest in nudism regardless of geography, populations density, or weather. Local gay naturist club members are enjoying wonderful social events ranging from potluck picnics to catered dinners, from theater to Bridge games. If this type of activity interests you and there's no naturist club or group in your area, why not think about starting your own group? It is not that difficult.
Here are nine simple steps on how to start and maintain a Naturist Club.
- Round up a core group
- Decide on a name, basic purpose and policies
- Financing the group
- Set a date for the first party
- Advertise for interest
- Respond to the curious
- Responsibilities release form
- Holding the first party
It will be easier for you if others are there to help. They can share in the creation, responsibilities and the fun of meeting new people. Start with your friends. Try finding others through the social circles you already have. You might ask someone if they have ever heard of gay nudist or naturist clubs. If they have or they haven't, you still have opened a door for conversation. This should bring you some help.
However, if you just can't find anyone near you, contact the naturist club closest to your area and/or one of the international groups such as IMEN. They may have members who happen to live in your area. If so, ask the club to have them contact you. Later, see if these guys are interested in starting a new club. You may have to make the trip to one of their meetings or events so hey can see who you are before they give out member information. Run an ad in the classifieds of your local gay paper and/or make up some cards or small fliers to give out to potential members.
Once you have your core group and before you begin meeting new people, you have to make some decisions about the purpose of your club, and some basic policies surrounding member expectation and behavior.
First, what will you call your group? The club name should reflect a purpose and personality. It's best to use a name that people will have no trouble receiving by mail. Acronyms seem to be a popular way to name a group. For example, in New Your City, Males Au Natural becomes the masculine acronym MAN, a clever and appropriate name for a naturist group.
The basic purpose of your club is getting together guys who enjoy nudity and making new friends who share this interest.
One of the biggest controversies within the club structure is whether or not sexual activity will be allowed at club events. some clubs are adamant that absolutely no sexual activity will be tolerated at club functions. Other clubs, it would seem, meet primarily for the opportunity of open sexuality. However, the majority of clubs seem to place themselves somewhere in the middle. Most clubs let the "host" of the event decide what sexual activity may take place. He may allow no sexual activity at all or may designate a "safe play area," where members and guests can go play. Other groups, or hosts, sensitive to the non-sexual attitudes of some members and guests, will wait and have an after-club-meeting party for those who want to stay and play. So as it turns out, sexual activity at club functions is not a real problem as long as everyone knows the rules for a particular party and follows them. If someone consistently disregards the rules, they should be asked to leave and/or not allowed at future events.
Another important policy to decide is whether your group will eventually become either an organized group run by a volunteer steering committee or with an elected Board of Directors with offices such as President, Vice-President, Treasurer; etc., or if it will remain a gathering of friends who get together for socializing and for the camaraderie. Which ever way your group decides to operate is fine. However, you may need to be organized to be recognized as a valid group by other clubs and various naturist club networks.
Some other considerations: Will new members be allowed to attend an event if they don't know a current member? How many guests will a member be allowed to bring to each party? Will potential new members be interviewed?
Usually an active member may bring a guest without prior contact. A potential new member, who contacts the club without knowing a current member, may either be interviewed or may just be invited to the next event that is open to non-members.
What is the purpose of interviewing prospective members? There are some people who are not suited for a naturist type of event. They may be either too shy or too aggressive. They may drink too much or take drugs. They may be looking for a sexual outlet. Therefore, screening potential members may be necessary in order to insure the comfort of all members.
Will photography be allowed? Usually, photography is not allowed at all, but when it is, photographers must ask permission to take a person's photograph. Of course, photography may be the theme of some of your events, or your club may wish to keep a scrapbook of photographs of club events as a record.
Deciding the purposes and policies, before meeting potential members, can let you better explain about the group and about what kind of social events you will be having, and what kind of behavior is expected of the members.
As the group grows over the years, any rules or regulations can be adjusted to meet the changing situations which may be encountered.
Membership dues is another policy that needs to be addressed in the very beginning. Dues are a fee that members pay to help the club pay for advertising, printing, postage, rentals, food and beverages, etc.
How much are yearly dues? When and how are the dues collected? Some clubs may operate without dues, but the average club charges anywhere from $12 to $25 USD per year for a single membership and $15 to $35 USD for a couple sharing the same address and receiving only one newsletter and/or directory, provided the club has a newsletter or does a regular mailing, etc. For most of the clubs, renewals are collected once a year. Let your potential new member know how much dues are and when he is obliged to pay.
Usually dues only cover newsletter and administrative costs and do not cover party expenses or event fees.
Therefore many clubs also have a per-party fee or donation in addition to dues. For example: $3 USD for each member and $5 USD for each non-member/guest.
Get out your calendar and look for an appropriate date to hold your first official meeting or party. Allow yourself at least a month, possibly two, for planning and advertising. Remember, people don't always respond to an ad the first time they see it. Any you will need enough time to get in touch with responders. Check ahead for other events that may be happening on the date you have selected. If there are other major events or parties on that date, consider changing the date of your event. Save holidays for theme-parties. This first meeting or party should be basically a get acquainted and see how it goes party.
Find a local gay publication and run a well-worded personal ad. If there are no local gay publications in your area, search the nearest major city. In your ad, state very simply what you are looking for and how responders may receive more information. For example, you might word your ad something like this:
NAKED MEN WANTED
Friendly guys who enjoy social nudity wanted for new non-sexual gay nudist group forming in the Merryville area. For more info call: Mike @ 555-1234
or like this:
|GAY NUDIST CLUB STARTING!
Interested in social nudity?
Call Mike for information:
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
We encourage you to get a post office box for your responses. You may prefer to get quicker replies by phone. Use either or both. Your objective is to et names and contact information of people who are interested in attending your club functions and socializing in a nude setting.
You might also consider having your ad information printed on a business card or flyer to either pass out at the bar or gym or to post on a bulletin board. Don't post it without permission or where you think people might be offended.
Of course, you and your core group can continue talking to new people about the club in person, as you did when finding your core group.
Congratulations! Your efforts are working! Now you need to get back to those guys who have shown interest and responded to your ad. Send a simple fact sheet or brochure, including the purpose of the club, the policies, what they can expect as members and what is expected of them.
To give you an example of what other groups send, Bare & Gay of Connecticut sends out an application for membership that included the following information and guidelines:
Bare & Gay of Connecticut
||New member - single
||New member - couple
||Renewal - single
||Renewal - couple
||New member - single
||New member - couple
||Renewal - single
||N / A
||Renewal - couple
||N / A
The cost of each party will be set by and is at the discretions of the host. Each attendee is expected to pay the cover charge announced on each party flier mailed out. Each member is also responsible to inform any of their guests that a per-party-fee is required and what that amount will be.
Photography is allowed ONLY with the prior consent of ALL potential photo subjects, including all people in the background.
Definition: Guests are prospective members invited by other B&G members. Affiliated members are active members of other gay nudist groups.
Attendance: Guests are allowed to attend one meeting before being required to join BUT must complete and sign an application before attending the function. Affiliated members can attend an unlimited number of events where space allows.
Limitations: The maximum number of guests / affiliates will be set by the social chairman for each party and reservations will be accepted on a first-come basis. Any reservations over the limit will go on a waiting list and will be notified if space becomes available. A B&G member is allowed to bring only one guest per party.
Responsibility: Each member is responsible for assuring that their guest is aware of the club guidelines and that they are expected to obey them whether the sponsoring member is present or not. Guests will be asked to leave if they are not following our social guidelines.
Each member is expected to contribute to the activities of the club. For those who cannot host a party, expect to be called upon to co-host or organize another activity.
Drugs are not allowed at any function. Anyone found with drugs or under the influence of drugs can expect to be asked to leave. All members are expected to comply. A second violation of this rule will result in automatic expulsion from the club.
Touching, visual stimulation and physical arousal are a natural part of nudism. However, acting upon your own individual stimulation, by sexually confronting another member will not be tolerated. Friendly touching, pats on the back, innocent scuffling is not considered a confrontation.
B&G is foremost a social group. We are not a prudish group but we don't want our function to turn into orgies. therefore, overt sexual activity (even mutual masturbation) is not considered acceptable behavior. However, when mutually agreeable, touching is acceptable, even if it results in an erection. Any member feeling pressured into any uncomfortable activity should approach the host or any steering committee member present, who will diplomatically handle the situation.
The application for membership is a pretty simple form: name, address, phone number and a signature. Arizona Nude Dudes include the following responsibilities release form:
Arizona Nude Dudes
RESPONSIBILITIES RELEASE FORM
I certify that I am twenty-one years of age or older and otherwise legally competent to sign this release.
I acknowledge that I willingly participate in ANDES activities entirely at my own risk.
I therefore and forever release ANDES, its officers, directors, members, event hosts, outing leaders, and agents in their individual and corporate capacities from any and all liabilities, claims, demands, right of action or causes of action, arising now or hereafter, for injuries to myself of my personal property, resulting from, arising out of, incidental to or proximately caused by the negligence of any of the above, the breach of contract or otherwise, in the organizing, planning or managing of an outing or event or any of the activities included therein, the screening of participants for their ability to take part in organization of events or outings, the providing of or failing to provide safety precautions, instructions, equipment, devices or otherwise to or from or within the outing site or sites.
Exactly how necessary or even how well this document or any other liability form would stand up in court is not sure, as laws vary from state-to-state, and IMEN makes no claim about its legality. However, it certainly wouldn't hurt in any case to have a lawyer in the group, or know a gay or gay-friendly lawyer, he can be of help in drawing up a liability release form that is applicable in the state where the club is headquartered.
Usually the first parties are small groups with only ten to fifteen guys in attendance. Growth will come with time, experience, more advertising and word of mouth. This gathering can be simple, such as a movie night spent watching a movie or video. (Make sure the movie is uplifting, like a comedy or a good action film. A heavy drama might set a tone you don't want the party to take.) A spaghetti dinner or potluck is always easy.
Since this is a nude party, when a guest arrives, answer the door in the nude in order to set the tone. Show the guest where he may undress and where to store his clothes and where to put their beverages (and food, if applicable).
It is always advisable to have guests bring a gym bag or similar to store their clothes in, or you may want to have paper or plastic bags available to store the clothes. Guests should leave valuables at home or locked in their car and this information should be provided in the printed material they receive.
Introduce yourself to each new guest and introduce them to the group. Introductions should be by first names only. When introducing the new guy to the group, say, "This is..." and the name of the guest. Each member will in turn introduce themselves. Many groups write the first name of the person on the left upper arm or over the left pec with a water soluble marker or grease pencil Some guys may not want to be marked on, so write their name on a name tag that can be placed on the same areas. As the group grows, you may want to consider laminated name tags on a cord. These can be worn around the member's or guest's neck.
Before everyone leaves, make sure you have everyone's name an phone number so they can be easily contacted for the next party.
Great, you've had your fist party and it was a success. Now, you have got follow up. Stay in touch with the people who came to your party.
Hopefully you have now found some other people who can help you start planning for the next gathering. Get started. Get your core group together and have a critique session of your first party. What worked and what do you need to change? Split-up the phone list amongst your core group and have them call the people on their list for the next party.
Don't loose the momentum you have created. It takes a while to get established in the minds of people who don't start of being as committed as you are. Don't get discouraged. You're off to a good start!
With all the creative minds out there, there are many, many kinds of gatherings and activities you can come up with. the most common type of party is getting together for mingling and conversation. This can be either an indoor or outdoor event.
Other kinds of parties are build upon a certain activity or a theme. A pool or hot tub is a welcome addition. Other gatherings can be set up for potluck luncheons or dinners.
Theme parties can be made up for almost any reason. Start with holidays -
- Valentine's Day
- St. Patrick's Day
- Gay Pride
- 4th of July
- New Year's Eve
- are but a few that a party can be worked around.
For example: Something red can be worn or painted on the body for Valentine's Day, something green for St. Patrick's Day, a crazy hat or Easter bonnet contest can be the theme for Easter, dressing up for Halloween with masks or body paints, but keeping the butt or pubic area basically uncovered, gift exchange for Christmas, etc.
There is some sort of holiday almost every month.
You can have a nude dance, or an exercise / aerobics workout, photography session, music, meditation or massage. You can get together to play games such as bridge, poker, charades, etc. You can arrange outings to go hiking boating, sailing, canoeing, etc.
Arrange nude events.
- Bare & Gay of Connecticut has an annual 4th of July camping trip to a gay clothing-optional campground in New York and take over a guest house in P-town once a year.
- New York's MAN and Chicago's CANS arranges to spend an evening of theater in the nude. Occasionally they take over a restaurant and dine in the raw.
- Denver's DAN-Ds take over a bowling alley for nude bowling.
- Minneapolis Polar Bares join together with a regular naturist group for nude bowling once a month and also to lease a space with an indoor pool for nude swimming once a month during cooler weather.
- You can get ideas for your next gathering from The Naturist Gay-zette's Club News column. Read what other clubs are doing. Get creative.
Your group will certainly come up with numerous things to get together for. Be sure to let IMEN know ahead of time what you are planning and we will publish it. Other clubs may want to try your ideas, too.
There are no "set-in-stone" rules on how to start and maintain a nude club. What works with one group will not necessarily work with another. Be creative! Don't get discouraged! Remember that you once thought you were the only one interested in social nudity. You now realize that there are many others in numerous places. It just takes some imaginative ways to find them. Good luck and have fun!
IMEN is always willing and available to help new groups get started.
- Description of the club.
- Guidelines and policies.
- Application for Membership.
- Statement of release.
- Invitation to the party!
(A map would be a good idea, too.)