In April of 2010, the current owners of the campground that hosted Crocus Grove Sun Club for the past 40 years decided to go textile for financial reasons. This sudden and unexpected decision put the club and its members outside the gates looking in on the property that they had pioneered and built with their own hands and sweat.
Many members now found themselves trapped in the campground with cottages that were hard to move. The devastation this event caused to people on a personal level as well as to their nudist opportunities was immeasurable. This was seen as a crushing blow to the club and to naturism in Manitoba.
With only $10,000 in the bank and few other tangible assets, the task of staying alive as a club and rebuilding at first looked impossible. Offers to buy back the existing campground fell on deaf ears, and so a new path had to be found. The club executive met and an amazing brainstorming session took place from which a whole new concept for social naturism in Manitoba was born!
The "Legacy Project" was the result of the sheer tenacity of the club executive and the desire to find a new home. The Legacy Project was a plan to ensure that this group of naturists would never be without a home again, and that social naturism in Manitoba would have a place to practice for generations to come. An important element of the Legacy Project was the creation of a new non-profit corporation to be the eternal steward of nudism in Manitoba by way of owning and protecting nudist land. Crocus Grove Sun Club officially evolved into Naturist Legacy Inc. on August 11, 2010 (sic).*
Naturist Legacy's business model is similar to that of land trusts or land conservancies, which are often founded to protect land in its natural state. The wonderful twist with Naturist Legacy is that the land will be protected for the sole and exclusive purpose of family-friendly nudist use in perpetuity. Naturist Legacy was devised by naturists and will be operated by naturists. Its land will be developed by naturists and cared for by naturists.
Our business plan calls for financing in the form of membership fees paid forward, and donations. Naturist Legacy members have been invited to pay their yearly membership forward, and to have those membership payments credited back to them as the years go by.
These advance membership payments are very similar in concept to gift cards, which are often sold by retailers and restaurants. Many members are paying their membership fees forward in excess of five to ten years. These funds will be specifically earmarked for the development of our land. New memberships and revenue from existing members who have chosen not to pay forward will cover general operating expenses.
We estimate that we will require $250,000 to fund the full development of our project. More than half of that amount has already been raised since the concept was first unveiled to the membership. Not a bad showing of support for a club with only about 60 members!
We are nothing without land, of course. Finding and acquiring a suitable piece of land was at the core of this new venture. We looked at a great many properties over the course of the summer. We eventually found and purchased what we believe to be the perfect property for our new home.
Our new land consists of 80 acres of lush evergreen and deciduous forest growing on sandy soil that drains well even in the wettest of years. The land is bordered by government-protected forest on two sides and public roads on the others (one being a busy major highway). We are located only 35 minutes from the capital city of Winnipeg, and just 15 minutes from local nudist beaches. Our new location is a perfect fit for naturists in Manitoba.
The concept is to allow people to experience protected land "in its natural state," while they themselves are "in there natural state." The plan is to create a place in which to really experience naturism/nudism in connection with the earth. We hope to let the land "speak" to us naturally and to thus discover the best use to make of its features. Of course, we intend to have the more customary facilities on site for members and visitors like a small recreation hall, washroom and shower facilities and a pool. These facilities will be modern but basic.
The two small clothing-optional beaches in the Province often attract hundreds of nudists on a good day. One beach is currently threatened by development, and both are located on a lake that's becoming more polluted by the day. We believe that there is a growing need for something more than the typical old style naturist club in our area. We plan to offer an experience and not just a destination point.
Our plan is to reach out and connect with the nudist market that often frequents the beaches. This is a nudist crowd that hasn't chosen to join us before. We'll be offering these potential new members not only the standard fare of swimming pool, hot tub and volleyball, but also miles of groomed hiking trails, wildlife watching points, nude biking trails, expansive meadows and secluded meditation locations in the forest. There will be places to put RVs and tents, and a conversation pit with a fireplace at which to gather at night and watch the northern lights dance in the sky.
What our project needs more than anything else at this time is help, both physical and financial. For those who are not close enough to come and pick up a shovel or hammer, we have a way for you to lend a hand. We would like to encourage every naturist in North America to pledge a small gift of $10.00 or more towards Naturist Legacy, a protected land trust where naturism will reside forever and never be threatened again. Your support will help to rebuild naturism in this little corner of the world and secure our dream by creating a place like no other for the enjoyment of naturism.
We are looking for help from those who wish to see the naturist life thrive and grow. If we band together when these types of threats to our way of life happen, we can literally work miracles! We can all benefit and protect naturism by using our wallets in small and affordable ways to secure our cherished naturist way of life. Even though you may not be near to lend a physical hand, your financial hand crosses borders and distances to say, "I support you and I want to help you." What an extraordinary gift to fellow naturists! What a special way to be part of such a unique venture.
Please check us out on the Web at http://www.naturistlegacy.org and read more about the Naturist Legacy and its goals.
SOURCE: "Naturist Legacy Inc. rises from the Crocus Grove ashes" was published in the Winter 2010-2011 edition (Vol. 25, No. 4) of Going Natural magazine (Federation of Canadian Naturists).
*Crocus Grove Sun Club officially evolved into Naturist Legacy Inc. on September 11, 2010.