Would You Consider Sending Your Child To A Nude Camp?
Cooties turn in to cuties
I admit it was the "word" in the headline that made me look twice. The fact that it was being trumpeted by the New York Times piqued my curiosity further. I admit it. I'm no less susceptible than anyone else when it comes to the innuendo, images and intrigue that are conjured up by the word NUDITY.
This particular article shed light on the shedding of clothing at increasingly popular Nudity Camps for kids. That's right. Summer camp -- volleyball, tennis, swimming, sunning, campfires, arts and crafts -- the usual, only these kids, ages 11 to 18, are all together in the "all together." Ahem. Let me state that I am not puritanical or prudish by any means. I am fluent in four letter verbiage, enjoy every episode of Sex And The City and am proud of my 5'2", 100 pound body. I do not, however, believe naked, coed camp is a good idea. I could compare it to a lit match and gasoline or a rooster in a hen house, but I believe Wayne and Garth express my sentiments best, "Schwing!"
The way the wind blows...
Let's be realistic here. Teenage boys have difficulty controlling their anatomy in a stiff breeze -- pardon the pun. I have a hard time believing their hormone laden young bodies handle the visual of a constant parade of naked teenage girls any better. I don't care if you have been raised in a nudist atmosphere since birth, puberty wreaks havoc on the once bored outlook of the opposite sex. Cooties have a way of turning into cuties.
But I do realize I am viewing this situation from the standpoint of a parent, so I threw the question to my daughters, ages six, nine and 11. I asked how they felt about the idea of going away to a summer camp. I extolled the fun of canoeing, playing in the pool with new friends, skits around the campfire at night, all the great activities they could choose from. There was positive response from all three, although the 11 year old, who knows me well enough to know there was another shoe waiting to be dropped, also cocked an eyebrow my direction. I then added, "Oh by the way, you would be doing all those things naked."
Her other eyebrow shot up so fast it almost jumped off her head.
The nine year old shouted, "No way!" and then wanted to know if boys and girls are together that way. With my reply of yes, "No way" turned into "That's disgusting!" The 11 year old questioned the age range and then plainly stated, "That's not a good idea. That's dangerous." While praising my oldest's insight, I noticed that my six year old had completely disrobed and was ready to board the bus. It seems that modesty is not a virtue when you are still shaped like a stick of Wrigleys.
I admit that I have never completely understood what compels people to embrace a nudist lifestyle, let alone plan vacations around it. Ease of packing? I suppose a carryon bag containing sunscreen and a toothbrush pretty much covers it. Oh, and don't forget a towel. Nude etiquette -- yes, there is such a thing -- dictates that you place a towel on surfaces where you plan to plop. That is for hygiene purposes, and having washed enough skid marked underwear, I wholeheartedly support the practice.
Adult nudists tout the clothing free cruises, resorts and yes, even plane trips as "freeing, open, accepting - - not sexual." I guess I can believe that. Afterall, nudists come from all walks of life and are your average, ordinary accountants, police officers, teachers, tellers, attorneys, etc. And as any walk through Wal-Mart will show you, the average, ordinary person is not a Britney Spears look alike.
Overweight, out of shape, droopy boobed, saggy skinned, I would imagine these nude recreational activities are more humorous than hot. I can just picture a game of volleyball. That's enough to take the sight out of my mind's eye. And a group of naked grandfathers playing golf? God help you if you are looking when Grandpa squats to line up his putt.
But back to the kids. I am all for teaching our youngsters to accept their bodies and encouraging self esteem, not eating disorders, but I believe this can also be accomplished by maintaining modesty. I know, in this day and age, most people do not "wait till their wedding night, " but I certainly don't want my daughters to have a "seen one, seen them all" attitude before they even hit puberty! There is something to be said for leaving a little to the imagination, as it were.
Ahhhh, but there is another area where the Nudity camps and I disagree. It is actually against regulations for the kids to walk around in their underwear. It is considered titillating, arousing. Better to bob through the lunchline in your birthday suit. At least the boys don't have to worry about juggling a tray, drink and their towel. I imagine they have somewhere to hang theirs.