By Danny A. - GNI Board Secretary
Smiles and laughter: two joyful reactions that everyone experiences at GNI. Because of the pandemic and no Gathering last summer, lifelong members and "newbies" eagerly awaited this August in The Poconos to feel that love again.
The first GNI event I attended was the original NakedFest when it was held in Darlington, MD. Right out of the gate and out of my shorts, I felt the magic power all of us men create together. I was hooked. In 2016, I finally attended my first official Gathering in the Poconos. Those 10 days sealed it for me. I knew I had to be a GNI "Lifer." Shortly after attending that year, I ran for the board and am now Board Secretary.
One of my favorite things to do at GNI is to share a smile with everyone and say hello. It's a great way to break the ice for making old and new members feel welcome. We had a good number of first-timers attend NakedFest this year, and I was lucky enough to meet some of them and hear what they took away from GNI.
Sean L. who only stayed for the first weekend told me that NakedFest "was a wonderful experience in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere." He said he will book the full week in 2022.
What I took away from new guys who never attended a nudist event before was the freedom they felt at GNI. One member told me it felt so freeing and relieving to be able to leave his cabin and not worry about what to wear. He realized once the clothes were off, there were so many other layers that could be seen and helped him connect with men on levels he never thought were possible.
\I got to know first-timer Niko M. who was assigned to my cabin for the week. Throughout his stay, Niko felt more and more at home with everyone and didn't want to go back to the real world. "I honestly had one of the best times of my life." Niko said he felt such a sense of love and acceptance from everyone.
Throughout the week, I met other first-timers who said they had the time of their life and couldn't wait to attend in 2022. So my advice to anyone who is shy or unsure of how you'll be received...I can say with open arms: Register today...the Gathering IS for everyone!