On November 20, 2013 I was a Keynote speaker for the Camping in Ontario Convention at the Marriott Rosseau Resort in Minett Ontario.
After the motivational speech, I had the pleasure of getting a ride to the Toronto airport with Linda and Stéphane Deschenes, the owners of the Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park. During this 2 hour car ride I had an very interesting conversation about the advantages of naturism.
The Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park is very unique in that it is NOT clothing optional. In other words, once you step onto the premises you are required to be naked, with limited exceptions ( i.e. safety for construction workers).
There are no delays or slowly peeling your clothes off; you walk in naked. All staff are naked too.
Bare Oaks does allow newbies to stay clothed as long as they are discreet and respectful. If they walk around clothed like they think they're better than everyone else, that won't go over well. But if they find a quiet corner and keep their clothes on while they adjust, that's acceptable.
The concept behind the naturist is that you accept who you are, you respect others and respect life. At a naturist park people feel freedom and feel liberated as a result of the environment. You drop all pretenses and treat others differently. It is impossible to objectify someone when your both naked.
Stéphane was compelled to open a naturist park when he heard about a popular family nudist resort- who held a Miss Nude competition. Putting nudism on display, exactly the opposite of the naturists concept of accepting our bodies and being in a free natural environment.
This, combined with the idea that most nudist camps are clothing optional, meaning some people may be fully or partially clothed and others not. If one person is naked and the other is not, the person who is naked will feel like an exhibitionist because they open themselves up but it is not reciprocated. Stéphane liked it to being at a vegetarian restaurant and having a meat eating contest.
Finally, many nudist parks are passionate about the cause but they are not great business people. With a background in advertising, Stéphane has business, advertising and marketing background. Stéphane also runs a full time business providing online continuing education to engineers and architects.
We live in a world where clothing elevates someone and puts them in a different position. For instance, the clothing of a police officer gives cues as to how to treat people. It's a uniform and it indicates authority. A suit means a different status than overalls. Your clothing define you.
Clothing creates barriers to who we are.... emotionally and physically.
Physically, we are designed to have skin that breathes. Clothing essentially takes our skin and puts it in a dark and damp place,while wearing constricting clothing has restrictive qualities.
When your body is naked, it naturally regulates temperature better. Clothing confuses your bodies thermal regulation. For instance, when you wear a T shirt your core is hot and your arms are losing heat... your body cannot properly regulate it's temperature.
Not covering up is good for you; many people with psoriasis clear their skin after just one day in the sun.
Perhaps the biggest challenge with clothing is how it effects us emotionally. Covering up teaches us to be uncomfortable with our bodies.
There is also a real stigma around being naked that causes a lot of stress. When you say a part of your body is bad and you need to cover it up, it has an impact.
I admitted to Stéphane that I had true reservations to walking around completely naked. Stéphane proposed I suffer from a phobia called gymnophobia or the fear of nudity. Meaning I experience anxiety at the thought of being nude ( Yup).
He likened it to fear of skydiving, whereby just the thought of skydiving brings up fear, which is why it's a phobia. It's an irrational fear because you know that no harm will come from nudity. Being naked does not impede your day to day life, yet the world is built around this entire phobia. Because of societies need to constantly cover up and the help of change rooms and cubicles -we never have to face our fear of nakedness.
People who attend the naturist park pay a day rate of $55. The rate is the same for an entire family or an individual. Families get a break because as Stéphane says, when you have kids you have limited resources. Patrons 25 and under also pay a reduced rate of $10 a day, because they are often students and have less money. The yearly rate is $600.
Go find out for yourself if this is for you. Visit the park at http://www.bareoaks.ca/ or at:
20237 Kennedy Road
East Gwillimbury, Ontario L0G 1V0
East Gwillimbury, Ontario L0G 1V0
One question I had is, where will I put my keys?