By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong
Nudist, naturist and skinnydip vacations are some of the fastest growing markets for travelers today. Nudist and naturist venues offer a welcoming attitude of body acceptance for people of every shape and size. Gay men have an excellent opportunity to enjoy nudist, naturist and skinnydip social events through Gay Naturists International.
We asked GNI Board Member Nick Roessler, to tell us more.
How can you describe GNI in one sentence?
An organization that cares about who you are, not what you do; GNI allows men to bond with other men as nature intended, stripping away both clothing and the pretense of status, privilege or power.
What can you tell us about GNI events for 2017?
Right now we are planning our signature annual event, The Gathering. It's a naked camp excursion that is from August 18-27, 2017.
An attendee can go the whole time or attend a shorter attendance option. At camp, you don’t have to worry about most of your needs. You can go to activities such as nude yoga, aerobics, and leather / kink workshops, to name a few or simply relax by the pool during the day.
You can hike, go boating, play tennis, or just go and “play” all in the nude.
In the evening we have a themed (costumed) social hour with snacks and beverages, a nightly show, a piano bar, karaoke, naked bingo and other various events.
Later in the evening, most people go to our dance / night club to end the day. Or some choose to extend their night around the campfire with other like-minded guys.
Of course, different cabins will host parties during the day and night; there are tons of social and physical activities for all to keep one busy.
The GNI Gathering has all-inclusive prices. Once you pay, you get three meals a day, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, and a select serving of cocktails at the evening social hours.
Most people stay in one of 72 cabins with real beds, electricity, shower and bathroom facilities, but some will bring a tent, stay in an RV, or stay at a hotel nearby and commute to camp each day.
Once you arrive, we feed you three meals a day, offer evening snacks, all-you-can-drink beverages, housing and all amenities without ever having to pull out your wallet unless you want to purchase items at our Crafts Fair or bid on items during our annual silent auction we hold for Naturist Action Committee (NAC).
What can you tell us about GNI clubs?
GNI has the most comprehensive worldwide listing of nude clubs for men and naked yoga group listings in our online Nude Clubs Directory. We strive to keep this information as accurate as possible, searching the internet for new listings and removing information of clubs that may have disbanded.
We have two categories of club listings – affiliated and non-affiliated. Affiliation with GNI simply means that an individual club agrees to GNI’s statement on sexuality: “Our goal is to promote healthy, legal, non-sexual nude recreation. While GNI knows sex is natural, sex is not equated with naturism. We respect our members for their individuality (whether they choose to express their sexuality), seek to respect individual sensibilities as may be appropriate, and encourage our members to do the same. We also encourage sexually active individuals to practice safer sex.”
Affiliated clubs also agree to co-promote our organizations and receive additional benefits for affiliating such as complimentary hosting of their website on the GNI server, $5 rebate for every referral from a club for each member who joins GNI, monthly communications from GNI with special invitations and discount offers, enhanced listings in our online Nude Club Directory, calendar / event listings in GNI’s semi-monthly publication, GNI BuffBuzz, among other benefits.
Non-affiliated clubs have a complimentary basic listing in our Nude Club Directory but none of the other benefits. Additionally, every club is self-governed and organizes itself independently. While most of the clubs plan non-sexual activities, hosts may, at their discretion, offer their members an area exclusively set aside for sexual activity after the official event ends.
GNI understands that every club organizes for their own recreational purposes and respects the identities of the clubs that come together for more than just pure social nude recreational activities.
Who attends GNI events and clubs? Is it a good fit for everyone regardless of age and body shape?
We see guys of all different ages and shapes come to The Gathering: In a nudist environment, despite physical differences (of all kinds, wink wink), shedding one’s clothing frees one from the trappings and hierarchy of conventional society and engenders an openness and acceptance that is unique.
We get guys from all walks of life, age, socio-economic levels and different cultures from around the world. We do often get the question of “good fit” or “acceptance.” And many tell us it took them a long time to get up the courage to attend or that they were concerned about attending alone as a first-timer.
We can honestly say that time and time again, new attendees tell us that within their first day at The Gathering they are overwhelmed by the support, welcoming and judgment-free friendship they receive at the event.
What can you tell us about the history of GNI?
GNI began in 1981 as a “Special Interest Group” of The Naturist Society (TNS).
In 1993, we became an independent organization. Through our affiliated clubs, we lend a bare hand to any fellow who’s comfortable being gay and naked.
We also help the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) promote social nudism, and in maintaining and expanding clothing-optional recreation zones.
GNI is open to all gay, bisexual, and gay-friendly men who are at least 21 years old.
In 1985, the first Gathering was held at a small naturist campground in Ohio. This was a simple, unstructured and informal event. Each year thereafter, the event grew in scope and popularity.
The Gathering moved to its current location at a beautiful campground in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania in 1992. The Gathering has attracted upwards of 800 guests every August.
In 1993, GNI incorporated as a standalone, not-for-profit organization. With the exception of our Executive Director, we are an all-volunteer organization.
In the early 2000s, GNI began to produce nude cruises, nude mini-vacation and tropical resort experiences for men. We are currently working on an exciting international excursion to Australia that we hope to offer in early 2018.
GNI also publishes a semi-monthly blog, GNI BuffBuzz, that reports on GNI events and activities, events and activities of GNI affiliated clubs and organizations, as well as general topics of naturism, gay and straight.
GNI’s Gathering has been changing the lives of men for decades; we hope to have an opportunity to show you the empowering feeling of nude social recreation amongst our family of brothers. Come, join us!
Gay men have an excellent opportunity to enjoy nudist, naturist and skinnydip social events through Gay Naturists International.
For more information, visit http://gaynaturists.org/
Facebook users can also visit https://www.facebook.com/Gay-Naturists-International-GNI-226008537022/
Copyright 2017 Sunny Harbor Publishing
Sunny Harbor Publishing, PO Box 560318, Rockledge, FL 32956
GNI Photo by John Lonsway