Here’s a naturist organization that “gets it”

The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) is the national naturist organization of Canada – the only one. While browsing around I found an interesting recent statement from the FCN’s President, Karen Grant.

Among other things, the FCN has published a very good quarterly magazine, which has been easily the equal of N from TNS. (AANR publishes a monthly tabloid newspaper, but nothing that would really interest non-member naturists.)

In her statement, Karen Grant raises the possibility of moving their magazine to a digital format. The rationale would be similar to what applies to magazines on almost any topic currently published on paper. For instance: significantly less expense to produce and distribute, ease of access online with personal and/or tablet computers, greatly reduced burden on readers of keeping back issues, and so forth. Many magazines and newspapers that have been around for decades, such as The Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek have either drastically scaled back their printed versions or eliminated them completely. (Although Newsweek‘s current owners have stated an intent to resume the printed publication in some form.) Many smaller printed publications have disappeared entirely. The number of retail outlets for books, which used to be a major outlet for many printed magazines as well, has also been steadily declining.

Apart from the convenience of online publication, a major reason for the switch away from printed format is simply that younger people (under 30, say) simply never developed the habit of reading printed magazines and newspapers, or even books. Young people just do not have many of the same habits and preferences of their elders. This has always been true, of course, but the cultural effects show up in different ways at different times. Printed publications are now being affected very significantly – and so is naturism.

In light of all this, here are some of the most pertinent parts of the FCN President’s statement:

For many people, in the years before the internet became the monster machine of information that it is, having a membership with the FCN meant you could get information on beaches, parks and possibly connect with other naturists. It would have taken time to receive a response to your enquiry via snail mail. Now, with the click of a mouse, information is easily and quickly accessible.

Our children are those people who now seek information via the Internet, and it is these same people who make up the next generation of naturists. The FCN needs to reach out to these young people. Their communication is through social media, and through text and email. It is fast and transcends distances around the world, or around the block. For so many of them, it is a digital world.

And

The only constant is change. I am as unsure about the future and what communications and society will look like, but I am sure that naturism could still be a practicing life philosophy. The question is, how will we communicate that philosophy? How will we find out where the next festival will be? How will naturists find each other? With the advent of such rapid-fire communications and social media, I do not believe naturists will find each other via the postal service.

I wonder how long it will be before the postal service seems as quaint and old-fashioned as the Pony Express and the telegraph office – unless it finds new ways to be relevant. The same could well be true of naturism.

We cannot wait for or postpone the changes the FCN needs to make. We need new ideas, new thinking and a willingness to move forward and out of the way of the next generation. Our ideas and creativity have brought us here. We should not try to hold them or us back. Our ways were good. Their ways are different, and could very well be better to meet the world that is the future, now.

Let’s hope that leaders (and members) of other national naturist organziations – especially AANR and TNS – are as forward thinking as this.

Change, possibly for us, is unnerving. Or, it can be an adventure.

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