Saturday, February 10, 2018

Annual Mid-Winter Naturist Festival Feb 15-20, 2018

Six days of fun, growth, and community in the nude
Thursday – Tuesday, February 15-20, 2018
Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort
14125 North Rd, Loxahatchee Groves, FL
(14 miles west of West Palm Beach)
Join other naturist men and women and their families from Florida and the rest of North America for the continent's first regional naturist gathering in 2018. Come for any or all of the days — it's up to you!
This nude gathering features nearly 250 scheduled activities encompassing a broad array of seminars, workshops, sports, music and dance (including nightly drum circle around a huge bonfire), and social activities. There are also a couple of off-site events, which are excursions to Haulover Beach in Miami and Blind Creek Beach in Fort Pierce, FL.

Click above for a video tour of Sunsport GardensFamily Naturist Resort

The Mid-Winter Naturist Festival is one of a series of Naturist Society-sanctioned nude events each year. Diversity is valued, and all are welcome. Pre-registration is encouraged for planning purposes, but not required. (It makes check-in quick and easy.) Proceeds of the Festival benefit The Naturist Society, South Florida Free Beaches, and Treasure Coast Naturists. View pricing and register.
Help get the word out! The Festival has a listing on Facebook. Click on Going or Interested if you will or may attend, and use the Share button to invite your friends, post the event on your timeline and in other naturist groups you belong to, and send it in a message.
Meanwhile, try Sunsport Gardens' nude drum circle, first Friday of every month from 9 p.m. to midnight. Free entry starts at 5 p.m.; visitors must depart by 2 a.m. Includes use of amenities such as the cafĂ©, showers, pool, spa, and sauna. You must present your government-issued photo ID for admission. Get directions.

Gene's Take on MAL

I'm back in Pittsburgh after a great experience at Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend, in DC!

After a 5 year hiatus, I enjoyed participating in the evolution of 'The Leather Community'. I say 'evolution' because I observed a broadening of dress code, a relaxing of gender normativism, and an openness to generate change within the 'Leather' theme. MAL's openness to change throughout their 33-year history is alive and visible in paving a road for growth into the future.

There were younger to older guys in jocks and harnesses; sports gear, and superhero personas all around. And whether it was from the viewpoint of marketing or desire; I could envision them all naked at The Gathering since there wasn't much of a Puritan gear theme to suggest otherwise.

As you may have heard, the Pocono Eagle threw a Boots and Bourbon Party. It was an overcapacity sell out with volunteers and guests approaching 100. We got full and stayed full, and once guys had their clothes off they didn't want to put them back on. It felt awesome being embraced by that radiating, deeply sensual, body warmth and humidity with 10-degree temperature outside. The group that started as the 'Leather Community' very quickly became the 'GNI Nude Community' at a Leather event and, as a friend from Pittsburgh said: "That was the best time I had for $25 in a long time!".

With the entry being $25, our goal of being self-supporting is getting closer. The cost associated with the party covers a few aspects including travel expenses to various leather events and promoting The Pocono Eagle as well as GNI, our Mr. GNI Leather contest, and our current title-holder Brian Ballone, Mr. GNI Leather 2017. Since initial funding did not come from GNI, I’ll list how the event came to be a success and I will thank individually in a later message: 

  • The help of various volunteers.
  • LeatherWerks
  • Stompers Boots
  • Our Membership (Near and Far)
  • Our Guests
  • Advertisements, Posters, Handouts
  • GNI Facebook/Social Media
  • Publicity on our GNI web site
  • Posting to The MAL Meat N Greet
  • Bourbon
  • Word of Mouth
  • The GNI Board

Also, Dan Marrs has put together a gofundme page:
We are at $1,600 out of our $2,500 goal. 
Contribute if you recognize the effort everyone has put in.

I realize a few of you may be thinking: "Enough with the leather already, GNI is getting invaded by harnesses!"

Here is a word about that: nothing we are doing is designed to change the GNI Gathering foundation. We're naturists.  Becoming 'Leather' is not the goal; introducing ourselves to the numerous sub-groups we are all parts of, and offering an opportunity for those sub-groups to express their inner nudists, ultimately at The Gathering, is the goal.

To expand on that, there are numerous sub-interests within our group. For an example, we have had an active yoga group at The Gathering. Jon, Michael, Colby and myself are now planning to take it to the next level offering a structured retreat-like approach. And there are opportunities for expanding upon other offerings. What about a “Workout Bootcamp”? Can you imagine going home after 10-days, 5-6 lbs lighter and feeling great?

So we are open to any ideas or suggestions for themes and sub-interest development.

We appreciate your help and support for all of what we are trying to do to make this a great experience for everyone.

Keep naked with a smile on your face.



PS: In addition, and don't tell anyone about this, the DUCK IT, NO PANTS! Mr. GNI Leather 2017, Brian Ballone, Travel Fund Raffle is still selling pins. A $20 pin could win a half week at The 2018 Gathering.  A total of 3 will be given away: a general pass, an under 39, and a puppy. 
I could really use the love from a general winner, an under 39 and a puppy, when I win and give these away.  So please don't buy these! I want my odds to be good. But just because I'm obligated to tell everyone, here's the link to the info.

GNI Now Offers Comprehensive Travel Protection

GNI Offers Travel Protection

We've all been through this at one time or another ... your plane has been delayed and you miss your connection. Or when you do arrive at your destination, you find that your luggage didn't make the flight with you; it's been lost or delayed. Flight delays, missed connections, delayed or lost luggage - those are the realities of travel in our times. The majority of travelers take the chance that airline and transfer schedules will all work seamlessly and luggage will arrive and for the most part, the travel industry does a good job. But on occasion, just one small delay in a very large and complex travel machine creates a cascade of misfortune for a weary traveler.

For that and many other reasons, GNI is now offering a comprehensive travel protection plan for all of your travel needs. GNI's Gathering and travel-related costs add up quickly. It's your hard-earned money so why take the chance on having your vacation interrupted for reasons beyond your control?

Click the image to visit the GNI-TripAssure site.
A travel protection plan is a package of benefits and services intended to protect your investment, your personal belongings, and you. Most plans provide benefits for:
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption
  • Medical expenses
  • Missed connection
  • Travel delay
  • Baggage loss
  • 24 / 7 Worldwide Traveler Assistance
GNI now offers a comprehensive travel protection plan. We have partnered with TripAssure - a leading provider of trip insurance to bring everyone the option of a comprehensive travel package with affordable premiums and a number of plans to choose from. Secure your financial investment for GNI's Gathering or use it anytime for any other travel-related reason, i.e. holiday vacations, testing your luck rolling dice in Las Vegas, surprising your loved one with dinner and a show on Broadway, or taking that long awaited vacation oversees.

The travel protection plans that we are offering is about more than just flight delays, missed transfers, and lost luggage. Depending on the level of coverage that one obtains, we also offer medical / dental coverage, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, and probably the most important coverage - trip cancellation or interruption.
GNI has a fairly strict cancellation policy when it comes to The Gathering; we've been offering a "Cancellation Guarantee" option for $53 which allows men to cancel their registration for any reason up to August 1 with no cancellation penalties. But what happens to those that have to cancel after August 1 who've signed up for the Cancellation Guarantee or simply chose not to sign up for it at all? After August 1, Gathering fees are non-refundable. Every year though, we have a handful of men who request that we take their specific circumstances into consideration if they have to cancel after August 1. Reasons vary from a scheduled surgery, a wedding, a funeral, aging parents needing assistance, to work revoking planned time off, loss of a job, being hospitalized or just being sick with the flu. 

One of our travel protection plans does cover trip cancellation and interruptions and reimburses a percentage of prepaid and unrefundable trip costs for those that sign up for it thereby offering additional coverage that GNI simply cannot offer on our own. We very much encourage anyone who attends our Gathering to cover the cost of The Gathering and all of their other vacation plans with one of our travel protection plans. You'll be happy that you did if the time ever came that you needed to file a claim. 

Compare our plans, coverage, and benefits and select the plan that's best for you by clicking on the image below or call Customer Service at (800) 423-3632. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Greetings from GNI Marketing Director

New Year's Eve Greetings.

In October, Peter Karlovich gave me a great introduction to the group as the new Marketing Director. This month, I'm reintroducing myself to the group and introducing the work I've done since I started 30+ days ago, and outlining what I'm planning for the future. 

But first, let me start with my own story, and why taking on this project is important to me.
12 years ago I started Nude Yoga Pittsburgh. Through my yoga group, I met Pete Karlovich and Steve Herforth. They began encouraging me to come to the Gathering...and every year they reminded me...finally, after 4 years of their prompting, I went to the website to sign up...It said that it was sold out! Later, at a nude party, Pete told me there were lots of spots left. I wrote it off as bad info from the website. The next year I was able to register, was impressed by the how well run it was, met some great guys, and really enjoyed the experience at the Gathering.

But why did it take me 4 years to try to sign up?
Even though the thoughts of naked camping sounded hot, when I went to the website it left me cold...and when I finally went to sign up....well, you get the idea.

So with my story in mind, the website was my first target for improvement. 

Years ago a basic website that facilitated a registration was all you needed. Today, especially for a younger demographic if it doesn't look cool immediately or has an involved lost a potential camper.

So I made the commitment to change the website subtly without disrupting the current activity on the site. This way updates could be seen immediately. A number of those updates were time sensitive, for example, we wanted the GNI website to have a full representation of the Pocono Eagle in advance of MAL in January. So my goal became to accomplish that by the end of November which I did.

But before I could do that a number of other changes were made to simplify navigation through the site and give the whole site a clean, fresh, more exciting look that shows who we are and what we do a lot better than before. You will now notice a more appealing presentation, easier navigation, and a smoother process. The membership application and renewal pages are easy to find. There are new Activities, Accommodations, Social Hour, Pocono Eagle, Bear, and Yoga pages, and a number of others with more to come.

Web design is a lot like writing a book, you have a vision of what you want to do - then you isolate yourself and design, and after numerous edits and numerous hours, sometimes until 2 am, while everyone is wondering "Gee, what is Gene doing for us?" gradually the changes start to appear, then everyone starts to see the overall vision too. Then positive reactions start coming in and it reinforces that you are on the right track. 

So what have the results been?
We've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the changes that have taken place so far. A number have commented on how much better it looks, that they can find things and that we now have links to prices and registration on every page. And, everyone loves Trae Crowder's video on the homepage, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out; it's good. 

So let me tell you another story:
I have a 25-year-old friend here in Pittsburgh, I tried to get him to go with me to GNI last year, he looked at our website and said: "This doesn't look that interesting, I'm going to The Woods, instead."
Last week I showed him the refreshed website he said, "Wow, I had no idea you had all this going on, this looks must have lowered your prices or something...I can afford the full week." He's signing up next week. He's our target market. 
Much more has been done, and I could go on, but I'll stop here, for now, to keep it interesting.
We'll call this part 1. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

How to View Official GNI Photo Albums

This is a How-To guide for Joining and viewing the official GNI photo albums posted in the Member's area of the GNI web site.

The ALBUMS are found within CIRCLES. A CIRCLE is like a collection or a gallery. You will have to JOIN a CIRCLE prior to viewing the ALBUMS contained within each CIRCLE.

Please follow the following steps to access the CIRCLES feature and JOIN the CIRCLES which contain the official GNI photos.


1. Log in the Member's Area within the GNI site

2. Access the Social Network feature from the main-tab-bar. 

3. Click MY FEATURES tab on main menu bar:

4. Click to Select MY CIRCLES


6. Choose the CIRCLE you wish to JOIN

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mr. GNI Leather Travels West

...Wearing Only A Sash!!

San Francisco has a nude beach! Before you decide to go yourself, there are a few things to consider. I suggest that you plan to make it an afternoon activity because the beach is located below cliffs. The beach is only hit directly by sun after noon. More importantly, you do want to check the time for high tide. When I went, high tide was at 1:45pm so I didn't arrive until that time. Although you can take public transportation, I suggest making it easy on yourself. Take Uber or Lyft and ask to be taken to Marshall's Beach. Typically, the taxi/car service will drop you into a neighborhood but you want one of the roads closest to the ocean - look for a parking lot. DO NOT try to go down any way other than the stairs. Many locals take the dirt paths and it is VERY dangerous. Keep looking because the stairs ARE there.

At the bottom of the stairs you will most likely be at Baker Beach. This is also a nude beach. The gay nude beach is at Marshall's Beach, also known as Bad Boys Beach, more north and easier to access once tide has gone out. If you arrive not long after high tide you can climb over a few rocks to get around a 'point' and you will see more guys hanging out. I did spend the afternoon with a local guy who assured me that the police never come down to visit. However, as I almost climbed back up to the top at the conclusion of the visit, two officers were going down. So chose your 'activities' on the beach with caution. Oh and in addition to the water being really cold (I only went in to my knees), it is very rough. I do not suggest going into the water very far.

Brian Ballone at Gunnison Beach, NJ
Just a few days prior to going to San Francisco, I spent my Sunday afternoon on the Jersey Shore on my nude beach, Gunnison. I was super excited to get a few pictures on the west coast while wearing the Mr GNI Leather sash. As the tide went, out I was able to get closer and closer to the Golden Gate Bridge to capture some awesome shots. I was so happy! Unfortunately, due to the location, tide, setting sun...I reluctantly had to go. It's a great beach that you definitely want to check out if you can as long as you are aware that the temperature rarely gets into the high 70s especially at this beach. Overall it was a quiet crowd of maybe a dozen guys. Even on Baker Beach, I saw less than a dozen and there was only one woman. The beaches were very laid back but then again, it IS San Francisco!