Nudists courting young people to avoid extinction

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Nudists on a beach.

For one subset of Americans, a way of life is under siege. The Wall Street Journal reports that nudists, who as a demographic have steadily increased in age, are ramping up efforts to recruit younger members. Without a significant infusion of new blood (flesh?), the paper reports, nudism could become a thing of the past. And nothing terrifies baby boomers more than cultural irrelevance.

One high-ranking nudist handily sums up the issue like so:

"The whole lifestyle will just disappear unless we attract a younger crowd," said Nicky Hoffman, head of the Naturist Society, one of the two big organizations of U.S. nudists. "The problem is, most of these resorts aren't geared to young people. They've become like retirement homes; they've sort of calcified."

So to persuade the stubbornly clothed youth of today that hanging out naked is totally cool, desperate nudists have turned to new methods: Facebook groups, a nude "Spring Break Bash" exclusively for young adults, and music festivals with clever names ending in "-palooza" and "-stock," the two most popular suffixes among people under thirty.

Membership in the two big nudist umbrella groups has been flat or declining for years, prompting a youth-recruitment effort that includes reverse-strip-poker nights, volleyball tournaments, naked 5K road races and music festivals like Nudepalooza and Nudestock.

One new group, Young Nudists and Naturists of America, this month is having a naked dinner party in a loft in New York's financial district to recruit members.

Peeping Toms in lower Manhattan, adjust your telescopes accordingly. The rest of you, respect your elders and get naked.