Copyright 2000 Lake Edun Foundation, Inc.
Official Publication of the Lake Edun Foundation, Inc.
December 1, 2000
Box 1982; Topeka, KS 66601 Voice Mail: 785-478-BARN e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lakeedun.com
Ho, Ho, Ho!
By Social Susan
Merry Christmas to all. Once again, the season is here.
On December 9, 2000 there will be a members only Christmas party, from 7:00 pm until midnight.
Please come and join the fun. Bring a covered dish, BYOB, and an exchange gift ($5.00-$10.00).
Members will find directions included with this newsletter. I hope to see you all there.
By the way, if you would like to host a party this winter contact me: LEFoundation@kscable.com
New Officers Chosen
At its first meeting after our election, members of our new Board of Directors chose officers for the coming year. Eldon Rice will be our President. He will be leading a first-rate board interested in making the first year of the new millennium a record-breaker.
After some discussion, our various committees will be headed by the following Board members:
Secretary - Mary Lou Schulenberg
Treasurer - Webb Garlinghouse
Education/Outreach - Dee Merrifield
Member Relations - Kelly Shepardson
Promotion/Publicity - Larry Forbach
Social - Susan Robitaille
Facilities - Pony-Tail Mike
Conservation - Mike Horst
The Board will be working on some ambitious goals for the next year and should have an action plan in place by the next meeting. If you want to be involved with any of these committees, please let us know. Your assistance is always appreciated
What It Means . . .
Comments on the Roper Poll by Lee Baxandall
It's high time the fear and mystery of what nudists do and think be cleared up. Nudism is not a cult where all believe and act alike. Nudists are like care owners, club members, or hotel guests. You find all kinds under one "big tent."
Ask them. Scratch beneath the surface. Nudists are black and white, radicals and reactionaries, strict monogamists and occasional swingers, religious fundamentalists and free thinkers.
And naturists have realized it's high time to say so. Get the statistics and words out; let the fresh air in. End a lot of monumentally stupid jokes and clichés.
Nudism is not a cult. It is not a joke. It is not a cartoon. Still less so is naturism. We are not a uniform citizenry. As the polls prompt the nation to recognize, we are everywhere.
Nude Poll Shows Numbers Growing
The latest issue of N, carries the results of a recent poll commissioned by the Naturist Education Foundation and conducted by the Roper Starch Organization. It follows-up on a similar poll conducted in 1983 by Gallup for The Naturist Society. To insure comparability, it used the same three questions. While most of us closely associated with Naturism might expect improved numbers, our detractors are quick to dismiss our claims. Now, the numbers are in!
1. Do you believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose? In 1983, 71.6% of Americans answered "yes" to this question. This year, that number increased to an incredible 80%! That reflects a healthy increase over the response 17 years ago.
2. Local and state governments now set aside public land for special types of recreation such as snowmobiling, surfing and hunting. Do you think special and secluded areas should be set aside by the government for people who enjoy nude sunbathing? This question relates to use of public facilities and expense to support nude recreation. In 1983, only 39.1% of Americans favored public facilities. Today, that number increased to 48%. This is a sizeable increase and is significant. Now, as many favor making public facilities available as oppose it. (4% are undecided).
3. Have you, personally, ever gone "skinny dipping" or nude sunbathing in a mixed group of men and women either at a beach, at a pool, or somewhere else? This gets to the essence of what we have found to be true. In 1983, only 14.7% of Americans had ever experienced for themselves the pleasures we take for granted. This is a small base. In the past 17 years, this small number has grown by over 70% so that today, 25% of all Americans have experienced Naturism for themselves. This is truly astonishing!
This is good news. It shows our message, and that of many other groups across the country is getting out. The trend is clearly toward body acceptance and body freedom. We no longer need to be ashamed of what we do. When we advocate for our right to enjoy nude sunbathing and swimming, we speak for a huge majority (80%) of all Americans. And, fully a quarter have actually tried it for themselves. There are many others who want to experience it. Ask your friends to join you at a LEF function.
Dec 1; Fri; 7-9; Sauna
Dec 9; Sat; 3-5; Board of Directors Meeting
Dec 9; Sat; 7-12 pm; Christmas Party
Dec 15; Fri; 6-8; Sauna
Dec 16; Sat; HN Christmas Party at Marge's
Dec 30; Sat; 8-10; Sauna
Jan 20; Sat; 5-7; Sauna
A Few Lines From The Prez:
by Eldon Rice
Please let me introduce myself. My name is Eldon Rice. The newly elected President of the Lake Edun Foundation. Please let me take a short space in this newsletter to say it will be a pleasure to serve for the members of The Lake Edun Foundation. I am looking forward for the opportunity to help this foundation grow and last for years to come. The last board did a great job. We can build from the foundation they laid. My hope is to take it to the next level so the next board can build from there. This is going to take a lot of time and work, but I believe that it is worth the effort.
You will probably start seeing changes as early as next spring. We are going to focus on an extensive campaign of education, workshops, and even a few trips. This effort will take the help and support of all members. We will need help and volunteers. We have waited for the public to understand what we do is not illegal or immoral. They still do not know, so we must go to them. It is my greatest hope to educate the public through outside events. We are the only ones that can do this. My only regret is that we will have to be dressed for that.
If you are not a working member of the Lake Edun Foundation, please take a moment to reconsider. Our place can only get better with the help, hard work, and support of all members. Next time you come out, come to relax. After you have rested, volunteer to help. There are always things that need done. No matter how large or small the task, it still needs to be done by someone.
We will continue to hold events in the winter. I hope to see all of you at some or all of the events. The Christmas party is a few days away. It should be a good time. The sauna is open at scheduled times during the winter. Bring a friend. If anyone would like to hold a party at their homes during the winter, please get in touch. My email is LEFoundation@kscable.com. We at Lake Edun, always love to have a party.
Thank you. Just remember that Spring is just around the corner.
Random Thoughts & Reflections
We received word from the Heartland Naturists that their December swim had to be canceled due to conflicts in scheduling. They anticipate resuming scheduled swims in January. Watch the schedule.
Heartland also notified us they will be having their Christmas party on Dec 16. If you are a member of Heartland but do not have directions, contact Lew at email@example.com. So, those who are members of both organizations, get two Naturist Christmas parties this year! What a deal.
With Christmas in the air everywhere, consider a gift that communicates clearly to someone special to you. Give a Lake Edun Foundation present. Review the Christmas presents available from LEF at the end of this issue of Bare Facts before you complete your shopping.
Report From TANR
by Webb Garlinghouse
The Trade Association for Nude Recreation represents various Naturist and Nudist facilities around the country. I attended their annual meeting at the Desert Shadows Inn in Palm Springs, California November 9-11. It is a first class, clothing-optional facility. Although the weather was a little cool, the information and ideas I collected were definitely hot! It is always beneficial to get together with others to exchange ideas.
In this instance, I came back with about 20 pages of notes. We discussed promotion and marketing, women's issues, community involvement, membership development, facilities, risk management, and many other things. Most of the ideas dealt with new and improved ways to have fun! The board will be working on implementing some of these ideas over the next year.
It is also good to be able to compare our facility with others. While the Desert Shadows Inn is a truly great facility, we clearly have a wonderful place here in the heartland, also. Help your Board make it even better.
Spotlight On A Special Member
By Kelly "Dizzie" Shepardson
As the new Membership person with the Board of Directors, I will be recognizing members of the Lake Edun Foundation who make a special contribution to our Foundation, its educational mission and to the people who visit our beautiful facilities.
This month, I would like to recognize George Hess. As you may know, George is the former membership person. He was the one responsible for sending out birthday cards to members for two years.
George has been a member of the Lake Edun Foundation since 1997 and has served actively on the Board of Directors for the past two years. In this time, he has been a valuable asset to the foundation, always willing to assist when able. George has very enthusiastically put the word out about the Lake Edun Foundation to anyone he meets and has introduced many of his friends to Lake Edun Foundation activities.
Let me just take this moment to say THANK YOU! to George for being a member of the Lake Edun Foundation and bringing character to the place. (And, if George isn't a character, I don't know who is!) If you see George, let him know how much you appreciate all the work he has done for our special place.
If you know of anyone who deserves to be recognized in the Bare Facts newsletter, please send me an e-mail at Dizzie28@yahoo.com.
- Vaclav Havel
The Naturalist Naturist
By Biology Bill
We all recognize the changing of the seasons, from winter, to spring, to summer to autumn, and back to winter again. We all recognize that the cycling of yearly temperatures is an integral part of the cycle in temperate areas like Kansas; this is a feature of our climate and weather that we think about every day. To a somewhat lesser degree, we also notice the change in day length that accompanies the seasons. Here in December we have the shortest days of the calendar year, whereas the longest days of the year are in June. Remember those warm days in June at Lake Edun where we can float and play under daylight until well after 9:00 in the evening? Well, if you were out at the Lake this time of year, even if you were willing to brave swimming under chilly temperatures, it would get dark around 5:00 or even earlier.
This cycle of day lengths is probably the most predictable feature of the yearly cycle. In general, temperatures are warmer in the summer than in the winter. However, we occasionally see a 70-degree day in February, and in October, November, March and April we could see temperatures ranging anywhere from the 30's to the 80's. As we well know, during those months we can have one extreme followed by the other the very next day. Thus, while weather gives us a general idea of what season it might be, it is hardly diagnostic.
On the other hand, we can look up in the almanac and see exactly which day will be the longest or shortest for years into the future. Why? Because the diurnal cycle is a direct effect of the earth's tilt as it circles the sun. During our summer the sun shines on our northern hemisphere, and in the winter we only get glancing effects of the sun as it shines on the southern hemisphere. The tilt of the earth, and the angle of incidence of the sun follow the laws of physics well and are highly predictable. We know exactly where each heavenly body will be, and thus we can predict exactly how long our days will be. This proves very useful to people, since we can (with a little research) always know how much daylight we will have to do any outdoor tasks, but it is critically important for many animals.
Have you ever wondered how birds know when to leave for the winter? The temperature, the falling of the leaves, the changing in food sources are all part of the cycle but vary considerably in timing from year to year. When it comes down to it, however, the best way is to pay attention to when the sun goes up, when it goes down, and how long the days are. Day length cues let birds know when to migrate, and tell rodents when to start hoarding food for the winter, and tell many other animals when to prepare for the changing seasons.
Finally, for most of the time I was growing up, I spent winters from about Labor Day to June in the city. Since this was in Chicago, where the darkest days of December are shorter and darker than they are here, I was quite aware of the changing day lengths. However, I hadn't noticed explicitly that the sun moved around the horizon with the seasons. The first time that I saw my favorite country place in the winter, I was thrown off by the early darkness (what? It's getting dark at 4:00?) but especially by its location on the horizon. The sun never got close to straight overhead at noon, and set a full 90 degrees around the horizon from where I was accustomed. Remember that nice June evening at the Lake, where you watched the sun go down directly across from the main beach, behind the new beach being built on the other side? If you head out there now you will probably see the sun setting to the left of the island. It sounds like it wouldn't be a big difference, but somehow the whole place looks a bit odd if you've only seen the Lake in the summer.
So, after all of this thinking about the sun rising and falling, and when it gets dark and light, I'd like to give another reminder: Lake Edun and the landscape around it does not go into suspended animation on Labor Day weekend and magically reappear in the spring; it, and all the creatures that live there, experience the rest of the year too. If you remember that the experience of Lake Edun is not solely about the sunburns, or the freedom of summer weekends, or the naked people, and that it is also about theplace, you should take the time to visit during a sauna or at another time. Your membership is valid year-round, and there are always things to see even if you may need clothes to see them.
We still need a good quality (but inexpensive) large garden tractor or small tractor with attachments.
Gas-powered hedge shears.
Canoe paddles for our flotilla of boats.
Small galvanized buckets (like those citronella candles come in) (or other suitable, rust-resistant container) to use as cigarette butt cans.
Our chain saw has worn out. If you have a chain saw you no longer use, we can certainly make good use of it
Periodically, sod is taken up and not replaced. Perhaps the grass appeared to die or plans changed. We have several places sod can be put to good use. Even if it appears dead, its roots will serve to hold soil and retard erosion.
From The Mail Bag
Dear Lake Edun;
We're back from Vegas! We were married at the Las Vegas Wedding Chapel on October 26th and then spent a few days in sin city honeymooning and sightseeing. The chapel and service were beautiful and our hotel was just wonderful. It w as both of ours first visit to Vegas and we had the best time. Regrettably, we couldn't get married in the nude but we were naked under our formals.
Hope to see everyone soon. - Tammy & Sam
by Dave Bitters
Can We Talk?
I broke some rules recently, embarrassing my family and earning their anger. It could hardly have been worse if I'd appeared naked in public.
Of course, in some parts of the country appearing naked in a public place would hardly elicit comment. Sometimes it even assumes the dimensions of a political statement.
But in polite Kansas City, to commit such an act would merit a splashy headline, a few columns of editorial finger-wagging, possibly a photograph and quite likely a trip to the local precinct station. After all, appearing naked might cause affront or alarm. What I discovered is that even writing about appearing naked can cause real trauma. There are some things one just doesn't talk about.
It all started innocently enough. Articles in the Kansas City Star (Sept. 28) and Johnson County Sun (Sept. 29) detailed plans by Johnson County Parks and Recreation officials to expand the county park system. These called for $193 million in improvements over the next 20 years, including $6 million for a 20-acre "extreme sports facility" for in-line hockey, skateboarding, rock climbing, BMX bike racing and the like. The Star reported that the long-term goal involves the acquisition of 7,541 acres.
I got to thinking about the successful operation of McGregor Park (AKA "Hippie Hollow") near Austin, TX and the remarkable work Shirley Mason and the South Florida Free Beaches organization have done to turn Haulover Beach into a world-class vacation destination. I also got to thinking about the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
South Florida Free Beaches used this clause of the 14thamendment to argue that Metro-Dade County was obligated to provide a set-aside for clothing optional recreation, because they had provided set-asides for other special use facilities such as golf courses.
Neither the Star nor the Sun made mention of any plans for a clothing-optional set-aside. I concluded that the Parks and Recreation Board had not even considered this idea. If they plan special use facilities for things like skateboarding and rock climbing, financed by the taxpayers, why should they exclude Naturists? After all, nude recreation is a substantial and growing segment of the recreation market. But as I observed earlier, nude recreation is one of those things that just isn't discussed in polite company (at least in the Heartland).
That's where I made my first mistake. Although it took me a month to get around to doing so, I composed a letter to the editor of the Johnson County Sun and faxed it to them on Oct. 29. In it I stated the case for why the Parks Board ought to at least look at including clothing-optional recreation among their list of special use activities.
My draft was about a page long. I should have known better. The editor chopped it up mercilessly, even altering the text. What the Sun printed was so disconnected that it made me look foolish for having brought up the idea. (I won't go so far as to accuse the editor of mischief, but theSun hardly is an enthusiastic supporter of Naturism.)
It usually takes a week or so for the Sun to publish an editorial letter, but they printed this one on Wednesday, Nov. 1 - less than a week after I'd submitted it. On Nov. 2, I got a call at my office from Mike Hendricks, a columnist for the Kansas City Star. He'd read the letter. (At the time I was unaware that it had even been published.)
Mr. Hendricks wanted to know if I was serious about a special use facility for nude recreation as part of the parks development package. For a moment I wasn't sure I wanted to respond but decided to do so anyway. My involvement as a Naturist Action Committee Area Representative is a matter of public record and his columns generally have a progressive slant. I thought he might present my ideas in a positive and sympathetic light. I told him I had no illusions that the Johnson County Commissioners would accept my suggestion but that I'd at least like to get the conversation started. I tried to make it clear that, considering the success and popularity of places such as Hippie Hollow and Haulover Beach, it would only be a matter of time until people began to ask why Johnson County didn't provide similar facilities. So I viewed it as in the public interest to raise the issue.
Over the weekend I regretted having given the interview, particularly because my wife voiced vigorous objections. I sent several e-mail notes to Mr. Hendricks, asking him to focus his article on the idea rather than on me. My efforts were too little and too late, of course. Monday, Nov. 6, the column appeared on the first page of the Metro section.
While it was not negative overall, it did focus on me and I didn't find it altogether flattering. The headline was designed to grab attention: "Nudist seeks a place in the sun."
The text contained some of the sort of sportive twists that make nude recreation advocates look like "a bunch of fruitcakes … to be snickered at," as Bay Area Naturists newsletter writer Rich Pasco aptly put it.
For instance, Mr. Hendricks wrote, "No telling how many visitors that proposed Oz theme park might attract. But it's a cinch local tourism will benefit, Bitters believes, if the county sets aside a public area somewhere around here for naked people and the voyeurs they attract." He concluded the column with a quotation by Johnson County Parks Director Gary Haller, who was reported to have said, "Discuss away. … Nudists are as welcome as anyone to comment on the plan when the parks department has hearings later this year. … I just hope they don't expect me to show up for the grand opening. Some things are best left to the imagination."
My wife was angry over this column for two weeks. And truthfully, I can't blame her. I was humbled by the thought that this might have made both she and my mother into laughingstocks.
This certainly wasn't my intent. But it points to the problem we face in bringing the Naturist viewpoint to the general public. Articles about the antics of naked people that appear in the mainstream press generally aren't positive. Several that I recall recently dealt with (1) a streaker at a Royals game, (2) a British naturist who was jailed for advocating a change in English law by appearing naked in court (and elsewhere) and (3) an Illinois man who received a 29 day sentence for disorderly conduct for repeatedly appearing naked in public and claiming a constitutional right to do so. Seldom do the views of the people who do these things get reported.
In 1964 Fred Ilfeld and Roger Lauer, two Yale undergraduates, published Social Nudism in America, a book based on a senior thesis they had written. They had spent the summer between their junior and senior years at several nudist parks in California, had interviewed a number of the members and had written up their observations. They applied a psychological theory fashionable at the time called cognitive dissonance to try to explain the behavior of the nudists. At the time, nude recreation was considerably rarer nationwide than at present, consisting mainly of secretive societies that admitted members only after considerable screening and a pledge to obey a myriad of rules (no drinking, no swearing, no touching, no last names, no sitting down without a towel, etc.) Free beaches were not yet on the horizon.
These authors saw the nudist parks as places of suppressed sex or eroticism and wrote frankly about their own sexual fantasies while away from the parks. They were suspicious of the claims of the nudists that people might enjoy communal nudity for other reasons (such as for the feeling of freedom, for relaxation, for comfort, for the body acceptance that flows from group settings where others are not judgmental about appearances). They saw sex as the subliminal subtext and the rest as rationalization.
Nevertheless, they observed that regardless of their motives, the nudists enjoyed the camaraderie of their secretive societies and that this created a conflict between two conflicting cognitions: they enjoyed the gestalt of group nudity and the public at large disapproved of such behavior. They hypothesized that the nudists resolved this cognitive dissonance in a couple of dramatically different ways. Some were openly very vocal about their interest, while most preferred to keep very quiet about it. The latter feared ostracism by their peers and families - perhaps with justification. A later study by William Hartman, Marilyn Fithian and Donald Johnson (Nudist Society, 1970) found that nudists tended to be middle class or upper middle class and generally better educated than the public at large. Such people might well tend to keep a low profile, fearing loss of status (or even employment), were their interest in a non-conforming activity to become public.
Ilfeld and Lauer's ideas still apply, I think. I agree with them that one of the major subtexts of nude recreation is sex, but not in the sense they understood. Rather, I see it simply as boys and girls together - in a setting that's designed for relaxation rather than tension, recreation rather than procreation, bringing the sexes together rather than segregating them. The other Naturist imperatives (the sense of freedom; rethinking of old phobias; stereotypes and taboos; physical and mental health benefits, etc.) are wholly consistent with this understanding.
The Naturist philosophy aims to separate nudity from the automatic association with sex that our larger culture overlays. Naturist Action Committee Executive Director Bob Morton explains, for instance, that the average person spends a lot more time naked for the purpose of showering than for sex. The idea of mixed-gender clothes-free interaction for purposes other than sexual display has followed a rocky trajectory, though. People who enjoy nude beaches come to wonder what the fuss is all about. But those who have followed the legislative battles over public nudity during the past decade know that this understanding is far from universal. Indeed, anyone who has visited a large public nude beach knows that not everyone they encounter gets the point. One has to deal with gawkers, the sexual bad actors and the naysayers as well as with those whose only interest is in relaxation and a little fun in the sun.
Still, it's fair to say that the concept of public lands nude recreation is here to stay. It's stood the test of time, particularly in locations where government has been a partner rather than an adversary. Certainly it's a concept that has gained widespread acceptance and even maturity in Europe.
Sociologists tell us that there are 3 stages of social change: ridicule, discussion and finally acceptance. In central California as well as at places like Gunnison Beach in New Jersey and Wreck Beach in Vancouver they've achieved acceptance. In places like Florida they're very much in the conversation stage. Part of the fierce battle that has forced the presidential stalemate (unresolved at this writing) has to do with the tension between cultural and religious conservatives and those with a more progressive view. The idea of public access for nude recreation is very much a part of this contest.
In the Heartland, though, things are a bit different. Whether we're in the early or middle stage of ridicule is difficult to say. But the Midwestern popular view of nude recreation is filtered through reports of places like Party Cove at the Lake of the Ozarks. I can't speak firsthand about what goes on at Party Cove but the reports I've read suggest that it doesn't have much to do with the Naturist philosophy.
I hate to have been the sacrificial lamb to get the conversation about nude recreation going. I hope my wife and her friends will be able to forgive and forget in time. But I also hope that my having broken the silence will make it a little easier for others to speak up. Particularly, I hope that at some time we can have a genuine dialogue with those who control the mainstream press.
I still believe the Naturists present a social philosophy worth consideration by the general public. The Naturist Society's concept statement says it all: "Body acceptance is the idea and nude recreation is the way."