37th Annual General Meeting of the Singles Outdoor Club
25th – 28th August 2017.
So here we are; the 37th Annual General Meeting A.G.M. of the Singles Outdoor Club is officially over and as everyone left on Tuesday morning the weather came out in sympathy with our sadness, by being overcast with drizzly rain.
The weather is always a talking point with us Naturists, but this late summer bank holiday weekend was truly exceptional.
It was in 1965 that the bank holiday began as an experiment; it was made an official holiday in 1971. In the 30 years between 1984 and 2013; ten were persistent rain, 9 saw widespread rain with some sunshine and 11 were predominately dry. 1986 saw the wettest, inflicted by hurricane ‘Charley’ in that year, with 135mm of rain recorded at Aber in Wales. 1992 was the worst for rain over the entire three day break because of extra ordinary low pressure at that time.
2017 gave us not only the hottest ever but also the driest. 28.2 C was recorded at Holbeach in Lincolnshire; the previous record being in 1984, with 27.2 C at Bergholt in Suffolk.
As a result it was the only time I can remember of not feeling aggrieved about being stuck inside for the A.G.M. because we had a surfeit of sunshine.
The A.G.M. itself was conducted very efficiently beginning at 15.30 and ending at 16.45 the future of our club was the main discussion point under item 7. The Management Committee presented the following report that we will action between now and the 2018 A.G.M.
Management Committee recommendations for the future of S.O.C.
The Management Committee would like to start by thanking everyone for their continued support for our club we hope that we now have a stable core of members who want to see the continued survival of the S.O.C.
During the past year I have personally spoken to many members who have stated that they are grateful to the S.O.C. for enabling them to have access to social naturism some of these continue membership to ensure that others will also have that opportunity.
To those who have become members of landed clubs through the S.O.C. and no longer support us I would ask that they reconsider, and re-join so that we can continue to help people to be involved in social naturism.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the landed clubs who support us and have supported us over many years.
To all landed clubs we would like them to keep in mind that the survival of the S.O.C. is also in their interests as they have gained many good members over the years as a result of the S.O.C.
Make no mistake our situation is perilous but we still have some room for manoeuvre. Everyone should be aware that our membership numbers have been declining steadily for a number of years, we are not unique in that situation.
The Management Committee have discussed the following options for resolution at the 2018 A.G.M.
- Do nothing. Leave things as they are continue to lose money until funds are exhausted hoping that membership will increase before that happens.
- Once we have the web site and social media sorted spend some money in 2018 advertising outside of the Naturist bubble.
- Wind the club up and negotiate with BN to transfer our funds to them with the possibility of a special membership of BN for our existing members.
- Approach Suntreckers to seek their views on a merger with them.
I am sure that other people will have ideas or would wish to add to the above. If so please contact the Management Committee as soon as possible.
As regards items 3. And 4. Negotiator’s will be appointed from the Management Committee to meet with BN and Suntreckers to report back the results for decision by the Membership at the 2018 A.G.M.
We should also be in a position by then to report the outcomes of our new Web Site, Social Media programme, and advertising campaign.
Under the Constitution the Management Committee has the following responsibilities.
126.96.36.199 – To determine the policy on advertising.
188.8.131.52 – To take responsibility for the financial viability of the Club.
Now that the web site is being renovated and we have started to organise our Twitter and Facebook accounts, we need to move to the next stage.
While the Management Committee is not obliged to seek a resolution at A.G.M. to determine these policies it does have a duty to inform the membership.
Advertising is not cheap; by way of example for an eighth panel (the cheapest) in an issue of the Camping and Caravan Club magazine the cost in 2017 was £912, but it does reach nearly a quarter of a million people. We may be able to offset some of the cost by working with other partners such as BN. Costs in social media and other on-line sources are much cheaper. We need to allocate around £1500 of club funds in 2018 to mount an effective campaign.
We are very sad that Keith Jackson and Martin Bullen have both now stood down from the Management Committee. Martin already has Honorary Life membership so all we can do is to express our very sincere gratitude for his long commitment and labour on our behalf. Keith was awarded Honorary Life membership at the A.G.M. and we hope that he will be able to enjoy this for many years to come.
Chris Meadows was elected as Membership Secretary and has also been appointed as Web Master. Now that we finally have a good web site we have started to develop our social media and we have a Facebook page, a Facebook private Group, a Twitter Account, an Instagram account, and a group page on Naktivnet. Please support these; it is up to you.
Jules has returned to the Management Committee after an absence of four years, and with Phillip they are your representatives they will both be pleased to hear from you.
Mike Willacy has agreed to start a page on our web site to give forestry advice and tips together with a question and answer forum with wider environmental information and opinion on the world of plants trees and forestry matters.
Roger Munroe has agreed to present a page on meditation and spiritual matters.
They join Amelia Allen and Emma James who both have pages on our web site.
We also have another newcomer Anthony Crowley who is a well-known Author and Poet and Naturist Activist check out his latest book of poems Stripped Verses I thoroughly recommend it.
My very grateful thanks to the rest of the Management Committee and to everyone who came to the A.G.M. and took part in it.
As for myself I am very grateful to everyone who supported me in my election to President of our Club for the next two years. I do not intend to stand for re-election again because I firmly believe that we should avoid the situation where someone is elected to a post and then feels pressured to stay because no-one else will come forward. This is not good for the individual concerned and it is not good for our club.
The West must learn Naturism from the East says Gregor Gysi.
Gregor Gysi (https://twitter.com/GregorGysi
) 69, is the Chair of the European Left Group in the European Parliament and a Left Party member of the Bundestag representing Berlin Treptow-Köpenick. He often speaks about the positives of the former East German Communist State highlighting where things were better under that regime than the Western Free Market Democracy of the united Germany.
Gregor talks about a decline in what we would call non-sexual social Naturism because of the obsession with Pornography in Western culture. For example at the famous Strandbad Wannsee in Berlin, the longest inland beach in Europe, the Naturist area has been reduced by 70 meters because the authorities say there is a lack of demand.
Gregor claims that in Western culture naked people are seen everywhere, in advertising, in newspapers, in films; but less and less on Naturist beaches.
When asked if he would go naked in Public Gregor claimed that at 69 he was too old and quipped that he would do so if Angela Merkel would join him on a Naturist beach.
Gregor Gysi on Facebook
Konrad Weller, Professor of Sexual Science at Merseburg University of Applied Sciences; has found in several studies that Naturism/Free Body Culture in the former East Germany has become more restrained since reunification.
“In the last years of the German Democratic Republic, 90 percent of the youngsters had nudist experiences. In 2013 it was only half, “says Weller. However he does not see a new prudery.
On the contrary, the obsession with Pornography in Western culture has a pervasive presence, and ensures that naked skin loses its innocence becoming more shameful, says Weller. This view is different from the relaxed and broadly nudist FKK culture of the German Democratic Republic, which today many adolescents no longer experienced. “The idea of seeing nakedness without being aroused is lost” says the researcher.
Herbert Steffan, President of the German Federation for Free Body Culture (DFK); has done several interviews with the mainstream media. He was asked if Naturism/Free Body Culture is not a classic (DDR) East tradition?
He says: “Naturally, Naturism/Free Body Culture is a question of definition”; “When it comes to those who jump naked into the lake, we talk about millions. And then there is the hard core, which cultivates Naturism/Free Body Culture as a lifestyle both in summer and in winter. In the 135 clubs in Germany, there are almost 35,000 members.
They are naked in everyday activities and in their hobbies – from volleyball to table tennis and saunas or swimming – often on their own grounds or campgrounds. And most of the clubs are in the west of Germany. Naturism/Free Body Culture has a long history pre-dating the division of Germany, so I would say that it is not a preserve of the former East German Communist State.
But, says DFK President Steffan the first associations for free-body culture were founded around 1900. During the period of national socialism they were dissolved.
He does accept that in the divided Germany, Naturism/Free Body Culture in the East was simply really free and lived everywhere. In the West it was banished to the Clubs and some islands and beaches. “In the present day, the DFK has few members in the East, because people say: Why should I join? I can do Naturism/Free Body Culture everywhere.”
For example in the Heidebad on the outskirts of Halle, Company Director Matthias Nobel calls the naked bathers his most loyal guests. “You can count on those because they come even when it rains.” One third of his bathers are Naturists.
The chairman of the association for Free Body Culture in Berlin- Southwest, Karin Siebert, however, notes decreasing interest – and greater caution. “People used to come naked, today they get dressed.”
Professor Weller sees legitimate reasons for this. There is a more sensitive approach to nudity, because of the omnipresent filming and photographing in modern society.
And what about where the GDR had its centre of Naturism/Free Body Culture; on the Baltic Sea?
I would have to agree with the reported comments of Katrin Hackbarth from the tourism association of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern “There are still many nudist beaches, eleven of them on Usedom, seven on Rügen and many others; There is also the fact that the people do not always pay attention to the FKK signs; On most beaches, there is a peaceful coexistence between the clothed and the naked”.
President Steffan. Also makes the same point “As long as no one is disturbed, you can go naked on unspoiled beaches and lakes.” The Hamburg Naktivists take this even further by promoting a ‘Free Range’ Naturism outside of the Clubs and have been successful in creating a Clothing Optional footpath open to all at any time at Underloh on the Luneburg Heath.
So it could be that it is organised Naturism that is under threat rather than people enjoying naked activities as and when they want.
The International Naturist Federation have been totally silent on this, they should have picked up this ball and run with it for all they are worth, by organising a press conference for the International Media. It is a golden opportunity to promote Naturism/Free Body Culture to a wider audience.