Thursday, June 24, 2021

Naturism and the Gay Body

Article By Timothy Sargent - Guest Writer

Introduction Paragraph by John Konapelsky - BuffBuzz Editor

As an organization, GNI is always keeping an eye on its social media accounts and recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations who/that promote naturism. While looking through our Twitter feed recently (@gaynaturists), we ran across a blog that we thought you, our readers, would like as it embraces the spirit of naturism that GNI works hard to foster. This blog has been republished in its entirety with the permission of author Timothy Sargent. You can find more about his blog via Twitter @AlmostWildBlog or at his blog site at https://almostwild.wordpress.com/


Naturism and the Gay Body


I am writing this piece—which I’ve been pondering and rethinking and stressing over for months now—in honor of Pride Month, in honor of being open and transparent about the stories that make us who we are, in hopes that it might resonate with others to help them feel emboldened to do the same. In the piece below, there are discussions of naturism, self-acceptance, coming out, sexuality, and how all of those facets intersect. I feel vulnerable publishing it, but I’m pushing through. Happy Pride, everyone.

I am a 32 year-old gay man who grew up in a conservative, evangelical home on the outskirts of a small farming town. To say I’ve had issues with my body image is an understatement (my youth pastor wouldn’t even let boys and girls swim in the pool at the same time!) and all the evidence suggests that my experience is not an isolated one, but it’s also one that I have not had a great deal of opportunity or willingness to be open about with others. It always feels like a secret—a secret that I needed to keep because who else would understand? Who else would understand what havoc an evangelical upbringing can wreak on a young person grappling with thoughts and feelings that everyone around them was decrying as sinful, disgusting, ungodly, sickening, perverse, deviant… Who else would understand what that journey to self-acceptance and self-love looked like?



Several months ago, I reached out to Gay Naturists International (GNI), hoping to contextualize the path I had taken to where I am now. I consider myself a longtime naturist (or nudist, if you prefer): Discovering and practicing naturism has been an important part of my journey to feeling comfortable in this skin of mine, so I assumed this would be a perfect place to discuss how those identities intersect. In retrospect, I realize that what I was hoping to find was validation of my experience, to be reassured that my journey coming to terms with my body as a gay man was a universal one. When I sat down to speak with Nicholas Roessler, the young, ambitious, and well-spoken president of Gay Naturists International, I did not find quite what I was looking for. I think I found something better.

I wanted my story to be part of a bigger, shared experience. I wanted to hear that lots of other gay men come to GNI having travelled the same path. What I came out of my conversation with Nicholas realizing was that our paths as gay men and as naturists are disparate and nuanced and diverse, but that an experience does not have to be universal for it to be meaningful or valid or even relatable, that we gain more from learning about each other’s diverse experiences than we could ever gain from all sharing the same perspective. Even among a group as niche as the gay naturist community, no two stories are the same… which leads me to what I have felt both nervous and compelled to share for some time now: My story.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

GNI Has an Online Shop?? Get Your Merch Before NakedFest!

 By Johnny Konapelsky - GNI BuffBuzz Editor

    GNI has a little secret that we're about to let everyone know about. GNI has an online shop! Who knew, right?? Well, now you all know. Have you ever gone to a Gathering/NakedFest event and wished you had some GNI merchandise to show your support? Or maybe you have a friend or loved one and felt that an item with a GNI logo would be a great gift? Well, now you can visit the online shop and purchase item(s) from a wide assortment. 



    One of the great things about the GNI shop is that there are so many items to choose from and they are set up in three different categories. "Stuff to Wear" (ironical for us nudists) is for those unfortunate occasions when you have to outside someplace wearing clothes. If you have to wear something, why not put on a shirt that has the GNI logo on it. It's a great conversation starter because people may ask, "What is GNI??" You have a wide variety of different styles of shirts to choose from in this section including a hoodie for the fall/winter or if you happen to live in a constantly colder part of the globe. The one must-have item for all us nudists in this area is a hat. And you have different types/colors to choose from here too. 



    In the "Stuff for Home" section, you have quite a selection as well. There are a few more hats here along with a couple of mugs which is a must-have for those of you who aren't really awake until your first cup of coffee every morning. And another neat item listed here is a GNI sticker that you can put anywhere you want. 



    The final category is "Stuff to Give Away." This section has the largest assortment of items to buy for yourself or as a gift or simply to give away to anyone who is interested in GNI. You will find shot glasses and drinking glasses; for those of you on a health kick, there is an insulated water bottle; and for anyone who likes to make sure they can have a sip of something with a "kick," you will even find a flask. Other items of interest here include car or fridge magnets, stickers of various shapes, sizes, and quantities, GNI logo buttons, and even a shirt for your dog to wear to help show your love for GNI. 



    When you buy anything at the online shop, not only are you getting a great item for yourself or a great gift for a friend/loved one, but you're also helping GNI. A portion of each purchase goes to GNI so that they can keep being the amazing naturist organization you know so well and love so much. Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the GNI Online shop and get some stuff today! 

Missed the First NakedFest Mingle? Read On For More Opportunities.

 By Jon P. - GNI Board Member

    A couple of weeks ago some 60 men gathered online from the GoNaked online magazine community along with members of GNI to talk about GNI's August NakedFest. GNI Board members Brian B. and Jon P. fielded a variety of questions ranging from cabin accommodations to entertainment to meals. Several regular Gathering/NakedFest attendees also showed up to help welcome the men and answer questions.


    More on what was discussed in a moment. First, the GNI Marketing Committee is happy to announce a couple of upcoming Mingles from some of our GNI men. One is devoted to questions around health protections and the second to new NakedFest attendees. Be on the lookout for those event announcements next month in July. In the meantime, you can bookmark your calendars for July 8th and July 22nd. 

    Privacy regulations necessitate members to be more proactive about receiving email notifications for the Mingles. If you missed this first NakedFest Mingle, you can head over to the Mingle page and signup to receive the Zoom link for the next one. Also, feel free to go to your GNI member profile and register to be included in all future Mingle notices.

    One of the hardest things to do is to try to explain how our GNI events can be so life-changing, what with all the new friends one can make during the wide variety of daily activities. Our GoNaked brothers, led by Editor-In-Chief Nick Vanello, got a good idea of how special the Dance Club is, and what sort of nightly entertainment to expect, and what types of sports take place. Big on the men's minds during the Mingle were questions concerning housing and cabins, how quiet/noisy they might be, and how to get them all decorated. It's always fun to explain how one can "dress up" for Social Hour and still be "naked." 

    It's never too late to join GNI. Tell your friends to go and check out our newly redesigned GNI website. Registration is also still open for NakedFest 2021 in the Poconos. If you haven't registered yet, what are you waiting for?! Sign up for an experience you'll remember forever! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Got Questions About Nakedfest 2021? We Got a Zoom for That.

 By Johnny Konapelsky - BuffBuzz Editor


By now a lot of you guys are well aware that Nakedfest is coming up in just a few months. And since GNI is hosting a Nakedfest this year and not a usual Gathering, a lot of members are confused and not sure about what's the same and what's different. Well, all your questions are about to be answered.


Please join GNI Board Members Brian B. and Jon P. for a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, May 26, at 8 p.m EST to find out more about this year's Nakedfest. All of your Nakedfest questions will be answered by Brian and Jon so get them ready. Feel free to ask anything about the event. This Zoom meeting is a cooperative event with GNI and GoNaked Magazine. As a result, we will have attendees from both organizations at this event. 

The Zoom link is as follows: 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/95455535101?pwd=Y2hXQWV6NXR1WnJHWmpxRENjMnR2Zz09

Meeting ID: 954 5553 5101
Passcode: 439763


We look forward to seeing you guys at this Zoom meeting! 

Monday, May 17, 2021

First Time at The Gathering/Nakedfest? The List to Make it An Easier Experience

   By Paul Blascovich - GNI Social Media Member 

    Showing up to GNI for the first time can be nerve-wracking. You may feel like an outsider in an unfamiliar place where everyone seems to know each other. Luckily, GNI is a great group of men who are welcoming to first-timers. Before you head to the Poconos to shed your clothes, here are some tips that will help you make the most of your rookie experience. 

Start Packing

    You might not need clothing, but there are other essentials to bring along. The GNI website (gaynaturists.org) has a sample packing list to help you remember what you will need. Pack a few sitting towels (old t-shirts also work) and a lot of sun-block lotion. A zip-up hoodie or jacket will make cool evenings more comfortable, and a pair of boots is also nice to have. Check out the social hour themes on the website before you leave; if a full costume isn't your style, a simple prop can be a great conversation starter. Get started early on deciding what you will be taking so you are not scrambling at the last minute or waiting for a package to be delivered. The campground is a short drive from nearby stores if you forget something, but you won't want to waste a minute away from naked paradise.

Get Your Bearings

    As soon as you drop your bags (and your clothes), walk around camp and get the lay of the land. Also, feel free to ask an experienced cabinmate for a tour. Find both pools and the dining hall. Get to know the route to the dance club and back to your cabin (or camp/RV site). While most social hours are held at The Grove, learn the location of the main gym, too. Cross the damn -- don't forget to cover up! -- and take a peek "Across the Lake" (the spot where sexual activity can be had).  Finding these places during the day will make it a lot easier to navigate after the sun goes down. 

Have a Plan

    The daily activity schedule for Nakedfest will be posted online. Take note of items that catch your eye. Some activities are held daily; others are conducted only one time each year. Entertainment options change every night, and there is something for everyone. Read the descriptions, since some classes/events may require registration in advance of the Gathering/Nakedfest. A good goal is to have at least one activity in mind for each day that you are there.

... But Be Flexible

    Activity locations and times may change. It's a virtual guarantee that rain will disrupt the schedule, and other unexpected circumstances may arise. Be patient. Activities are planned and run by volunteers. If there's something that really piques your interest, make it a reality by volunteering this year or next. 

Follow the Party

    The largest parties bring the whole camp together. The salsa party and the bears' pool party are highlights. Every day features a social hour before dinner, and there are late-night soirees as well. Except for a few private gatherings, you don't need an invitation to join the festivities.

Article author Paul Blascovich (left) with Steve Herforth (right) at a Birthday Suit Social Hour event at Paul's first Gathering.

... Or Go Your Own Way

    Take advantage of the two heated pools and fitness center. Grab a paddle and life jacket and jump into a kayak. Bring your balls and head to the courts for volleyball, basketball, or tennis. Lounge on a pool float, or hang out on your cabin porch. You can choose to do everything or nothing at all. 

Be Brave

    Thursday morning ziplining is a thrill you won't want to miss! (Be sure to pack a shirt, shorts/pants, and closed-toe shoes.) Maybe you're too nervous to play naked Twister or participate in lube wrestling? Take a deep breath, finish that drink in your hand, and have some fun. See a cute guy you want to meet? Go say "Hi!" If 2020 taught us anything, it is to seize the opportunities that are in front of us today.

Be Respectful

    Put hundreds of gay naked men together on a campground, and sex is inevitable. With that said, sex is not the purpose of GNI. If it's not your thing, you're not alone. Nudity is not an open invitation, and sex is not welcome in most public areas. Read and respect the camp rules about where sex is permissible (if you have any questions, ask!), and talk to your roommates about what is accepted in your cabin.

And Lastly...Enjoy Yourself!

    Everyone is nervous at their first GNI Gathering/Nakedfest event. Take advantage of the chance to socialize and unwind in the buff. You might meet guys who are just like you, or you might find a special appreciation for the things that make you unique. Be yourself, and you'll have a wonderful time! 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

NakedFest! Did I get your attention? Or, “if I had a nickel for every time someone asked why The Gathering is called NakedFest, I’d be rich."

By Jon P.  - GNI Board Member

I didn’t mean to make light of an important question, but the headline says it all: you can expect something different for GNI’s 2021 event. Men new to our gatherings should expect to make new, life-long friends in an idyllic setting. Our regular attendees can know that due to circumstances, requirements for large gatherings have changed in 2021. 

You may have noticed that GNI is out front in its leadership in Covid safety as a naturist organization. Other related groups are looking to our event to see what is possible as more and more of the world becomes inoculated to this virus. You can be assured that the GNI Board and executive leadership are meeting often to create the safest possible event for both new and experienced nudists.
Photo from Nakedfest 2014


So, I still haven’t answered your question, have I? Why call it “NakedFest?” Well, back in 2014 we created an alternative, smaller event to vary our offerings and to simply try something new. We called it NakedFest, with the full intention of bringing it back. NakedFest2014 and 2015(!)  were a LOT of fun, in a different setting, with new activities, and an all-around sense of greater community. Why wouldn’t we want to bring that back?
Photo from Nakedfest 2014



Because our 2021 event will look a bit different, we want to help everyone enter the space with a mindset of discovery and adventure. Calling it The Gathering, or even using our alternate name Naked Camp wasn’t a fair way to describe the large, international event that we’ve become. Though it will be at our traditional location, activities will look a bit different. Some events may not happen or will occur in different locations. But, all in all, we are giving you an event where everyone is vaccinated and you can make a complete range of choices in how you want to get involved.
Photo from Gathering 2018
 

One activity that our volunteer organizers are working on is the Dance Club. A variety of measures are being discussed and debated about how to keep it fun while not piling 400 wonderfully hot and sweaty bodies right on top of each other. We're also working to streamline your dining. What nightly entertainment will look like at this point is also still being discussed. 

Covid has changed our event. It has changed so much of our lives. We hope 2022 will be the big 35th Anniversary event we’ve all been waiting for. Until then, bring your excitement and enthusiasm to NakedFest and make it the event that YOU will remember forever. 
Photo from Gathering 2018

New attendees! Be on the lookout for an upcoming Thursday Mingle where you’ll have the chance to ask questions about NakedFest2021.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

New BuffBuzz Editor Ready To Create New Buzz

Hello everyone. Johnny K. here. Some of you may know me as the new manager for the GNI social media accounts on Facebook and MeWe. What you may not know about me is that I am also the new editor for the GNI blog "BuffBuzz." As a way to reinvigorate the blog and get it back up and running, I thought it would be a cool idea to formally introduce myself to you guys so you could know more about me and my experience with nudism and GNI.

Just me relaxing in my room.


The picture above pretty much describes me to a T as some might say. Besides my interest in nudism (which I will mention next),  I am a hard-core video gamer. I have been playing video games since the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System came out in the mid-1980s (yes, I'm that old even though I have been told I don't look it). It's a major part of my life. In addition to that, I am very much a Disney fan. My ultimate dream right now is to move from Miami to Orlando (or somewhere nearby) so I can visit Disney frequently. And besides that, I am majorly into pop culture and just a very casual kind of guy.




A relaxing day at Haulover Beach in Miami.


My journey with nudism has been an interesting one. I was not part of a nudist family. I got into it totally 100% on my own. Growing up, I would always take the opportunity to be naked whenever I was home alone. I think that's when I started to realize how liberating nudism can be. But it wasn't until my early 20s when I finally took a chance and went to the local nude beach here in Miami (Haulover). It felt amazing to be around all the other nude people there even though I myself didn't get naked just yet. The normalcy in being around all the other nude people felt wonderful though. About my third visit is when I finally grabbed life by the balls as the saying goes and dropped my swim trunks and got fully naked at Haulover. And it felt so freeing and I just really immersed myself in the feeling of the warm sun-kissed breeze all over my body. And then I went into the ocean naked and it was just like being in the biggest bathtub ever in which everyone was allowed in. After this experience, I would never again go to a beach that wasn't nude/clothing-optional.




Unfortunately, that's about it with my nudist experiences. I have been a huge GNI follower for many years but as of yet have I been able to get involved with any of the events that this amazing organization offers. It's still something I hope to change in the next 2 years. I do hope to attend a Gathering event very soon so I can meet as many of you guys as possible. I look forward to increasing my circle of amazing nudist friends through GNI. Thankfully that's already happening with the help of social media apps and now with this blog.

I'm just going to close this first BuffBuzz blog of 2021by stating that we will be relying on you, our amazing GNI members and BuffBuzz readers, to contribute articles to this blog. Please keep an eye out on both the Facebook and MeWe social media groups for call-outs for blog writers. Whenever we have new topics for writers, we will post messages there. Also, if you ever have any ideas of GNI/nudist topics that you feel should be on our blog, or any questions about the blog, please e-mail me at: buffbuzz@gaynaturists.org. Thanks for reading this blog article about me guys. I hope you were able to learn about who I am and I look forward to learning about you all as time goes by. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Support Your Local Men's Resort

These challenging times of COVID-19 quarantine has hit the hospitality industry particularly hard.  We continually hear about the challenges occurring to men’s resorts, and those that support social nudity.  GNI is here to lend support to getting the word out to promote resorts as best we can.  

GNI has a dedicated page listing resort deals for GNI members.

As an example, recently, Vitambi Springs in Clewiston, Florida  

https://www.vitambi.com

recently sent out a communication detailing that they were facing probable closure in 2021 unless there was a turnaround in their business.   

GNI has an ongoing arrangement with Vitambi Springs for a 3-4-2 discount (buy two nights, get the third night free) for current GNI members on Naturists at Vitambi Springs (N-VS) weekends. Please call the resort for full and updated details.

If you know of a resort that would like to promote itself via GNI, let us know!





GNI Mingle Movie Parties set to resume in January 2021


Our GNI Mingle movie parties were a big hit this past Autumn.

Keep your eyes peeled (and your bananas, too!) for the January 14 GNI Mingle, where Jon P shares clips and his love of Campy Movies. 

Then, starting on Friday, January 22 we’ll watch four Gay Camp movies together on YouTube while we connect on Zoom. 

Click here to sign up




VIDEO: 2021 Gathering Promo

 GNI has a new promo video for the 2021 Gathering

Watch it here:

https://vimeo.com/457120230



VIDEO: World's Largest Naked Dance Club

Exclusively at the GNI Gathering, you'll find the nicest men, hottest music, and experience the most liberating feeling of dancing naked with hundreds of other men at our week long event every August. 

If you've dreamed of ever letting your inhibitions go, daring to try something new and exciting, or dancing naked in the world's largest naked dance club, join us at our next event!

Check out our new promo video below:

https://vimeo.com/462380269





VIDEO: Pocono Eagle at GNI

GNI has a new promo video for the Pocono Eagle.

Check out the men of Pocono Eagle at GNI's annual Gathering. 

Daily fetish and kink workshops, onsite leather store and accessories by LeatherWerks (Fort Lauderdale), Mr. GNI Leather Contest, Leather Barracks and Dungeon ... all for discerning males. 

Visit our website for more information.

https://vimeo.com/479024550