The founder of Crocus Grove Sun Club, near Winnipeg, wrote this article in 2004. He died in October 2005. We are pleased to present his story but wish it were not in his memory.Crocus Grove is a relatively new addition to the membership of FCN. We are a well-established club, and one of the largest in western Canada. We have good facilities set in beautiful natural surroundings.
As with most startups, our beginning was humble. Only the unselfish help of our first members ensured successful growth, which we have experienced to this day.
We started in 1969 as five couples with a common interest to provide a nudist facility for young families with growing children. We were all members of an existing club that was reluctant to expand but which had beautiful lakeside property that unfortunately was subject to passing boats. It was difficult to explain to our children that they had to leave their beach whenever people approached.
In the spring of 1969, after much driving and searching, an ideal property was found within an hour's drive of Winnipeg. It was heavily wooded for ideal screening, was on an all-weather road, and was ready for development. Although it was originally intended that the club be a co-operative, the late sixties were not affluent times. Rather than let the opportunity slip, my wife Evelyn and I took out the first of many bank loans and purchased the property.
The first year
The first year, we had no water, power, or for that matter anything except natural beauty, so we charged no fees to anyone. Then began the drive for new members and the construction of facilities to increase membership.
The second year we had a hand-dug well, a toilet, the start of a volleyball court, and a few hardy campers. All the members got together and purchased a 7.25 metre diameter above-ground pool, which took many hours of hand pumping to fill. A fence was put up to keep out stray livestock and discourage curiosity seekers. It was a start.
Year 3 saw the introduction of hydro power on site, and the installation of a pool filter and an electric pump to fill the pool and provide drinking water. We were able to advertise in the local papers. We were a novelty item but well accepted by the population and the media. Membership grew.
Services were extended and the first cottages were constructed. My wife and I decided that the club was mature enough to operate as a co-operative as originally intended. The following year we proceeded on that assumption.
It was a disaster — with grass going uncut, garbage uncollected, and work on sports facilities, the children's playground, and other items not done. Something would have to change if we were to progress.
A study was made of other western Canadian nudist clubs that had tried to be co-operatives. With few exceptions, they were failures. The progressive clubs were those with one person in charge of the whole operation.
Evelyn took over as club manager, and we divorced ourselves from club policy, except for such positions as the club saw fit to elect us to. We then endeavoured to run the campground/resort in a fair and equitable manner, and to make improvements as quickly as finances allowed.
In subsequent years, we constructed an in-ground heated pool, large clubhouse with spa, games room, sauna and kitchen, various games facilities such as miniature golf, badminton court, screened gazebo, and office. A 1 km walking trail through our forest allows you to commune peacefully with nature away from everyone.
The year 2002 began a trial period of self-management for the club, with the view that members would assume operation of all facilities. This was to include collection of ground fees and dues, lot rentals, and maintenance and related activities.
With the trial a success, in 2004 there was a complete changeover from an owner-operated club to a member-operated facility. There were and are growing pains, of course, but strong management has prevailed, and the current season has been most successful in spite of the coldest summer on record. A very ambitious social committee ensured that every weekend had something for everyone, even if the weather was cool and wet.
Crocus Grove is now a member operated club looking forward to increased membership, co-operation with existing national and international nudist organizations, and increased tourist activity. We look forward to seeing all of you in the coming years; you will enjoy our friendly hospitality and excellent facilities.
SOURCE: "A Brief History Of Crocus Grove" by Leon Prucyk. This article was published in the Winter 2005-06 edition of Going Natural magazine (Federation of Canadian Naturists).