Among the essential features of FKK from its first year in existence was its member-driven regional meetings, known as “Gatherings.” FKK’ first Gathering was held on October 24-26, 1980 at Elysium in Topanga Canyon, California. FKK accepted club owner Ed Lange’s gracious invitation to use his club grounds to host this convention of free beach, hot spring, and naturist club leaders, as well as any FKK member who cared to join the discussions. Lange, who played a notable part in increasing the degree of competitive volleyball among naturists, was a distinguished photographer and publisher of naturist pictures and had developed Elysium into a facility highly regarded for its alternate strategies to body acceptance and clothes-free living. The October 1980 Naturist Assembly ushered in a newer and more dynamic form of naturist activism. Foregoing any strict order of parliamentary procedure, the dozens of attendees, compromising a virtual “Who’s Who” list of cutting edge nude activists, threw themselves into the task of setting the tone for FKK and naturism for years to come. Representatives from free beaches and landed clubs throughout the country expressed their hopes and apprehensions regarding the progress and defense of nudism. Jim Hadley and Hap Hathaway (leaders from the Western Sunbathing Association and the ASA) conferred with FKK to lay out strategies for working together for common goals. Members offered evaluation of particular legislative issues discovered at the state and county levels. Irene Shannon addressed the isolationist philosophy of landed clubs and the irrational fear many nudist club leaders had of being inundated by unknown miscreants from free beaches. Baxandall, Bob Page, Jim Williams, and others made suggestions on how best to respond to anti-nudity legislative pressure. Perhaps most telling was the attendees’ desire to define themselves as different from the club nudists of yesteryear. Naturists, as Ron McDonald for one would accentuate at the meeting, do not restrict their societal nudity to their homes or the perceived security of club walls. True naturists adopt body independence throughout their lives and do so openly and without shame. There may be restraints placed upon them by society, but whenever possible) and not only at a club on a weekend) they enjoy the body liberty nature meant. Attendees of that first Gathering may recall discussions about the contemporary culture of naturist clubs. For instance, one issue was naked beauty pageants, which were popular at many naturist clubs at that time. Such events were believed by many naturists to objectify women as sexual objects for the joy of males, fixating too heavily on the sexual connotations of nudity. This grated against the FKK members’ awareness of gender equality. It would be better, the group believed, to develop ways to express and take pleasure in human beauty without demeaning and objectifying women.

Another innovation declared at the first Gathering was the formulation of Naturist Specific Interest Groups, or SIGs. Baxandall got the idea of SIGs from the Mensa group. The thought was to provide a common meeting point on issues and actions of interest to FKK members. Each SIG would support active engagement in social interaction and follow . The result would be a more dynamic and socially cohesive group of people who had a love for social nudity and body acceptance as common denominators. SIGs didn’t need to relate directly to nudity. Early SIGs addressed issues as varied as fitness, http://nudists-young.org/contri/i-went-to-a-nude-beach-for-the-first-time-two-weeks/ , parenting, sex equality, gay awareness, and spirituality. Currently FKK SIGs contain groups interested in aviation, poetry, opera, massage, scuba, and Christianity. Some are quite active and participate at Assemblies; others just have a newsletter to let others with similar interests know what their peers are doing. Today Network Coordinator Debbie Jungwirth helps FKK members in the simple procedure for developing and maintaining a SIG.

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