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Beach Education Advocates for Culture, Health, Environment & Safety Foundation Institute
  a 501(c)(3) adjunct of South Florida Free Beaches/Florida Naturist Association

Nude Recreation’s Survival: Unity (U.N.I.T.E.)Read about the first one-day Unity Summit, Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Miami Beach, FL

By Shirley Mason, Executive Director, B.E.A.C.H.E.S. Foundation Institute

Nude recreation is at a crossroads. We, the lovers of nude recreation, are living in divergent times in North America.

The entertainment media are desensitizing and inadvertently educating the public about social, non-sexual nudity and showing that it is harmless and not a threat. There are a few small, encouraging signs recognizing the unprecedented economic impact of our clothing-optional beaches and some affinity travel groups. That's great! On the other hand, too many existing laws and lawmakers are still working to make "mere nudity" a crime under the guise of stopping Sexually Oriented Businesses and protecting minors. Our few dedicated naturist / nudist organizations have been diligently working defensively to hold back this harmful tide with mixed success. Clearly, this is a ticking time bomb.

The question is: How can we positively affect the outcome by safely enjoying and growing our access to public and private forms of recreation options?

For decades we've all heard, "Why don't the organizations work together (for the good of nude recreation)?" This brings me to the purpose of this article. Whatever your naturist / nudist affiliation is, encourage the owner, board of directors, general manager or CEO to participate in the first real attempt to unite our nude recreation movement / industry.

I don’t have the solution to our problems, but I know that we will only be respected if we are united. We also know that achieving these two specific goals — media-driven marketing events that attract new people as members, clients and
customers, along with nude-friendly legislation — is required for nude recreation's healthy and legal survival.

As the brainchild of B.E.A.C.H.E.S. Foundation's leaders, this initiative is aptly named U.N.I.T.E. (United Naturist / Nudist International Trade / Travel Educational Events). Understanding the critical importance of the existing danger of losing our historic institutions, combined with exploring the many untapped opportunities to "lift all ships," several key organizations and businesses have begun the process of working together to lend their name and resources to make this happen for the good of nude recreation throughout North America.

While this market is growing with more of the public seeking clothes-free travel destinations at resorts and beaches, a few niche business ventures are doing quite well. Most others are just surviving, however, while too many privately owned clubs had to sell out to textile developers because there were no buyers in nude recreation and too few members. Plus, the loss of scores of traditional nude beach sites has contributed more than we know to the decline of visitors to many of these club facilities. At the same time, our proud national membership associations have been shrinking as well.

As an industry / movement, we are too fragmented and unfocused to make real progress for the whole. Current and future trends and market forces dictate that we must change in a thoughtful and timely manner. The good news is that we have everything we need within our existing ranks if only we will come together, pool our knowledge, skills and resources and unite for marketing and legislation.

Our first one-day Naturist Unity Summit was held on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 in Miami Beach at Haulover Beach Park and a nearby meeting hall. We carefully timed it for when a significant number of naturist / nudist business owners, beach activists and association leaders would be in Florida for the Mid-Winter Naturist Festival (West Palm Beach), Bare Necessities Winter Cruise (departing from Fort Lauderdale) or the American Association for Nude Recreation's mid-winter Board meeting (Cypress Cove, near Orlando).

Participants helped forge a clear path of cooperation, direction and execution. You can view a short slide presentation of B.E.A.C.H.E.S.'
initial vision for U.N.I.T.E. and read about The Celebrated Nude Art Festival, the first international, media-driven special event open to the general public, tentatively set for October 2016. Have questions? Contact us.

Attendance at the Unity Summit was capped at 100 to keep it manageable. A fee of $60 per person defrayed program costs, including two meals, snacks, beverages, and cocktails. Read a summary.

Event program Map of Summit locations

What's happening now:

An outgrowth of the Summit was an ad hoc committee that is developing the concept of a Naturist Unity Council. Read a brief report on their progress.

Host, organizer, and sponsor

Additional sponsors

Officials or representatives of the following organizations and businesses attended the Unity Summit. Click on any logo for info.

Experts from the following firms or agencies made presentations. Click on any logo for info.

Vineyard Consulting