Letter from the Editor
As August 17 approaches on my seventh year attending The Gathering, I’m vividly remembering my first in 2010. I was kinda scared to death and yet crazy excited. I knew all of two people going to The Gathering - one was my dear friend, Rick, our Executive Director, and the second was a man I met at nudist pool parties in Atlanta. That was it. Out of 500+ men, I knew two.
What ensued for me upon arrival was nothing short of life altering. The men I met every day were incredibly kind. Completely non-judgmental. Many many returning GNI members took me under their wing to ensure I was enjoying the experience. I had the wonderful opportunity to be a volunteer where I ensured we had popcorn popped for the dining hall after the performances. It was a glorious time to be working the popcorn machine (back when we were able to pop fresh popcorn) and soooo many men would stop by to say hello.
The night the disco opened, my cabin-mates and I walked down together to see it. One of my cabin-mates, Ian, nudged me to get on one of the pedestals to dance. I protested, “I don’t know how to dance.” and “Everyone will be watching me.” He encouraged me further by saying, "You will dance up there before this week is out." I don’t have words for how it felt to get up there finally and dance my heart out - free of judgment, full of freedom - amongst the men who just wanted to be themselves.
To bring my journey down memory lane to a close - walk peacefully under the stars at night, hang out by the campfire, go to the disco and dance your heart out, discover the freedom to be yourself…all of this is possible and so much more.
If you’re on the fence about going, take the leap. Listen to your intuition; your body and soul need this experience. I'm also thrilled to mention that I met my fiance at that first Gathering. We're getting married in Oct. So...ya never know who you'll meet!!
This One Time at Summer Camp...
Camp is 30 days away.
You've checked out the schedule for the social hours, you've heard about yoga, the Pocono Eagle, Mr. GNI, Mr. Bare Bear, Miss Lace, Body Electric, and all the other events at camp...
With so many options for activities to participate in, it might get a bit overwhelming. Here at BuffBuzz, we are here to help! Take a glance at some of the images from years past and see if it's something you're interested in! Make The Gathering the best Summer Camp experience of your life!
Letter from the Assistant Editor...
I'm Chris G. I grew up a dancer. A dancer whose shape and size were not typical. A dancer who was told numerous times he would never succeed or be successful in the dance community because of his weight, yet here I am teaching dance and performing to this day...
It's odd. I'm not only looking forward to The Gathering for the regattas, contests, parties or anything of the sort. I'm looking forward to the introspection that will occur by stripping away that which protects me from the mirrors, clean windows and metallic car doors that show my truest reflection. I've struggled to understand why I couldn't just love my body. And while that question may not be answered 100% at camp, I know that this experience will be one that will allow for that self reflection and self love. Maybe fully, maybe not...but this is more than just a summer camp. It provides for the community a safe space where you come as you are and leave a more humbled version of yourself.
Love your body. Love yourself. Love your friends. Love your enemies. Because in the end, we are all struggling for that one basic need we all share in common: the need and want for love.
I cannot wait to meet as many of you as humanly possible at camp. If you see me, say hi!