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Nude camping: it's not just for adults anymore

By Paul Walfield
web posted June 23, 2003

"It makes me a bit freaked out that people would think of nudity as a sexual thing," said Michelle Jones, a 15 year old nudist from Texas. Michelle is among a number of girls and boys, ages 11 through 18 who are happy little campers at one of America's nudist camps for kids. According to the New York Times article entitled, "Old Enough to Make a Lanyard, and to Do It Nude," children running around nude playing volleyball, pudding toss, mini-golf and a campfire sing-along, is like any other "family-like environment."

The Times points out that parents who enroll their pre-teen and teen age kids to the nation's growing number of nudist camps geared for that age group aren't very concerned about it and in fact find it a wholesome and safe environment. Actually, according to the Times, "'The Nudist Association, the larger of two nationwide, sees this as a place to train 'youth ambassadors' to what nudists call the 'textile' world."' Apparently, there is a movement to convert or at least desensitize us all to nudity. Perhaps they even want us all to be so desensitized that we also stop seeing the connection between nudity and sex.

So just how long do you have to be nude to start believing that being clothed is what brings out a person's sexuality? Not to be glib, but if the kids who are enrolled in nudist camps and the parents that send them see no connection, perhaps not liking clothes is just a symptom of a far greater difficulty.

While most people would like to believe they have something special about them, something unique that places them far away from the maddening crowd; the nudists seem to be the maddening crowd.

The Times article explains that up to just recently, preteens and teens had no place to express their abhorrence for clothing, at least not in groups and out in the open. Not anymore though, Haile who was named "camper of the day" because she braved a bee sting on her foot can now say, "I've spent my life around nudist resorts; this is the first time I've ever been around kids my own age." It has to warm the cockles of your heart to know that young teenage girls, especially brave ones can now romp in the fields and dance in the meadows with others her own age, boys included, nude and free from any heretofore human realizations or understanding of why that is not a good idea.

It seems the nudists view themselves as "progressives" in a prehistoric, pre-civilization kind of way. You see, people were not confined or controlled by the "textile" industry tens of thousands of years ago. They were free to frolic with the mammoths and giant sloths, never having to worry about catching their cuffs on a tusk or fang. Though, they probably had other things to worry about.

The bottom line is that there are large numbers of people who have children that think nothing of placing those kids in summer camps so that the kids can parade around sans textiles, with other teens. Not being a prude by nature, it is especially difficult understanding why these nudists are incapable of seeing the accident just waiting to happen.

In fact, why is it that the attorney generals or state legislatures are oblivious to the potential and very real distorting of the mindsets of these young people by their mothers and fathers who apparently don't have the parenting skills of ally cats? Though, Congressman Mark Foley of Florida is an exception and is in the process of trying to stop the insanity of a clothes free camp for teens.

More importantly, this doesn't have to be a question of morality, but rather of child safety and child endangerment. What parent of a preteen girl would like to see their child prancing around nude in the woods or bouncing around a volleyball court with a bunch of teenage boys who are also so attired? The folks from the skin-only side of the playing field would like you to believe that because they hate clothing, they are above human impulses and desires. It may be possible that some are in actuality quite to the contrary of their ranting, and now seem to be bringing children into their world and throwing that fact into everyone else's face.

Not being a libertarian, the notion of allowing people to be who they want to be without governmental interference or even private interference, so long as they are not hurting anyone, is still usually a good one. However, in these circumstances, where children are involved, someone else is getting hurt and it should be stopped.

While some of the teens involved may find it not harmful, even wholesome to be running around nude with other teens and supervised by adults, "watching" their every move; it is not. If anything, the fact that a group of teenage boys think the idea of a camp full of nude teenage girls is where they want to spend their summer vacation, only adds to the reasons why it is not a good idea.

Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and an attorney and counselor at law with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and post-graduate study in behavioral and analytical psychology. He resided for a number of years in the small town of Houlton, Maine and is now practicing law and writing about current events. Paul can be contacted at paul.walfield@cox.net ©2003 Paul Walfield All Rights Reserved

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