This blog is part of an blog from Nick and Lins at Naked Wanderings titled “Can naturist resorts be successful while maintaining its values”
They have some interesting ideas about keeping youngsters involved in naturism and at the bottom of the article is part of a comment from Simon T and his experience at Vassaliki with his young daughter.
Will creating a safe environment and a decent online marketing strategy bring more youth? It will certainly help but again it’s not the one and only key to success. Teenagers and early twenty-somethings are the most difficult group to attract to naturism.
Then how did Bare Oaks manage to attract them?
We couldn’t find the answer. During one of our late night discussions about the topic which again seemed to lead nowhere we decided that we would have ask them.
Who can we ask?
Well… there are the three nice girls at the reception, how young were they? 21, 22?
Oh and there’s that girl who drives around picking up the garbage!
Oh and the guy who’s delivering the firewood!
Oh and oooooooooooooh.
The answer was brilliant in its simplicity. If you want more youth in your naturist resort, you give them a job.
The fact that teenagers turn away from naturism is something we can barely avoid. Not only is puberty a very confusing phase in life, it’s also the time when kids want to start building their personality. A personality which they often prefer to be different than the one of their parents.
The big question is how to get them back into naturism after this phase. Some of the kids who were raised at Bare Oaks got away from naturism and some didn’t. That’s how it goes, but several who went their own way decided to come back. Instead of just having to hang around all summer they could actually earn some money while being reunited with their old friends.
Generations attract those of the same generation. The more you can keep, the more others will return and eventually, the word will spread and there will be more newcomers as well.
Giving youth a job is a great way to keep them in the resort but a more important factor is to listen to them as well. Stop thinking that you know what young people want. We, although only in our thirties, often have no clue about how the younger generation thinks. When you have them available right there at your reception desk, talk to them. Give them responsibilities. Have them involved when choices have to be made. Ask them how they would make the place more attractive. Ask them to help organising new events. Ask their opinion.
It’s an easy thing to say that youth is not interested in naturism anymore or that they lost believe in the traditional values and naturist ethics. During the “volleyball weekend” at Bare Oaks we saw the opposite. There was plenty of youth who had all come down to play volleyball, enjoy themselves at the waterpark that was taken over for the occasion or just to meet old and new friends.
Attracting more new and younger members doesn’t go from one day on the other. An online appearance, a marketing strategy, modern technologies and a young influence, it all takes time and effort. But it works.
I took my family to Vassiliki in Kefalonia this summer and my despite the resort not really catering for children specifically the owners solution was to give her a staff polo-neck top and put her to work! Back at home she said it was the best holiday ever! So maybe too little trust and responsibility is another reason as to why the younger generations and families continue to only trickle in to venues.