Millennial here. Hi, hello. Nice to meet you.
As a millennial–a millennial who has visited a fair share of nudist recreation spots–let me start off by acknowledging how comically out-of-place a millennial is at a nudist club. Not out of place in an unwelcome way. In fact, you may not find a more welcome guest at a nudist club than a millennial–really, nudists are so kind and I’ve never felt unwelcome. When I say “out-of-place,” I mean it in the sense that there just are not many other millennials there. The same goes for online nudist social networks: Yes, there are some millennials there, but the group skews significantly older which, of course, is fine. It has never bothered me, as a millennial, that the majority of the other patrons are older, but it does concern me as a nudist who wants nudism to thrive.
As a millennial, I need to be completely honest: There is one nude recreation spot where millennials can be found en masse: the beach. Go to any nude beach and you will find us. We’re there. Is it free? Even better. And I don’t mean to say that I have never seen a millennial at a nudist club. I have seen myself, for one, and my partner. I have seen young families with kids. I have seen the young adult relatives of the club’s residents. I have seen young couples or singles, wandering here and there. We are there, but we are not there in droves. In general, we are not members of the club, we do not come to meetings, we do not live there part-time (or full-time for that matter), and we do not even visit all that often. So where are all the young nudists? The beach. Or, more likely, at home.
As a millennial, I am acutely aware of all the industries that millennials like myself have been accused of killing. (We have been very busy.) Add to this list the nudist club, if you must, but not before I finish. There are plenty of reasons why millennials are not as abundant at nudist clubs, most of which are the same reasons we don’t participate in the diamond industry or the cruise industry: Collectively, we just do not have the financial resources of previous generations. Just like for every other industry on that list, the success and longevity of the nudist club relies on capturing the attention–and the dollars–of future generations. And, just like for every other industry on that list, the nudist club is struggling to do so, and I would argue passionately that it is not because millennials are afraid of getting naked.
As a millennial, I have the authority to assure you that if millennials are not attending events at nudist clubs, it is not due to lack of interest in getting naked. In addition to being a millennial, which keeps me pretty busy, I also am a regular listener of the Naturist Living Show, and one conversation in particular stands out from Episode XXIX: Teenagers and Young Adults in Naturism. As part of this conversation, and regularly throughout the podcast, Stéphane Deschênes, the host of the podcast and owner of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Ontario, Canada, asserts that he does see a fair amount of young people coming to the park, that young people are interested in nudism. He also points out, however, that there are additional barriers that keep young people from visiting a nudist club, such as finances and transportation. It might even be the aging facilities at some clubs that keep young people at bay, he suggests. Even non-landed clubs present unintentional barriers for millennials, such as membership dues and time commitments. I know: These clubs just can’t win, can they?
As a millennial, and as a nudist, I want the institution of the nudist club to endure and, just like for every other industry, the nudist club will do so by adapting. One trip to the nude beach on a hot summer day will convince you that millennials are just as interested in nudism as previous generations. It says something about millennials and our preferences that we show up in mobs at the nude beach but not at our regional nudist clubs. The beach only charges a nominal day fee, if anything at all. It does not ask us for donations of our time, of which we have precious little. It does not ask us to pay membership fees or show up to meetings or contribute to potlucks. None of these are bad things, especially for people who have the time and resources to contribute, but for millennials with limited funds and free time, the allure of the nude beach is that it asks nothing of us, it works with our schedule, and it accommodates whatever social setting we bring with us
As a millennial, I love nudist clubs. I love the grounds, the facilities, the residents, the guests, and everything else that makes up the community. I would love it, though, if the club were as accessible as the beach. Surprising no one, millennials prefer to live in cities (or at least suburbs), yet most nudist clubs are not just rural, but remote, causing additional transportation woes and requiring extra travel time. Regardless, I have no plans to give up on the nudist club or to stop visiting and I very much hope that clubs find innovative ways to welcome the next generation into the fold and utilize our skills to help them thrive. We millennial nudists are out here, waiting for opportunities to get naked… and we can fix your iPhone.
As a millennial, I promise to not kill the nudist club. But, hey, if you’re part of a nudist club and you want to attract more millennials, why not connect to a few to pick our brains? Just… don’t call us… maybe try texting.