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Tips for organising clothes-optional swims
By Greg DePaco, NIFTY secretary
If the NIFTY swims are too infrequent for you – or if you live too far away from Templeton Pool to participate as often as you’d like – you may have thought about starting a clothing-optional swim of your own at a local pool. We here at NIFTY strongly encourage you to do so, and would like to help if we can! Here are some suggestions if you take the plunge:
1. Contact the pool and make an appointment with the programmer to discuss rentals. (This is their title in Vancouver Park Board sites, it may be different in your area.) Arrange an in-person appointment. There’s no need to mention at this point that you intend to have a clothing-optional event, but if they ask you if this is the case you should certainly (of course) say so, just as you would answer any initial questions they might have about your rental.
2. You will likely have to buy insurance. In BC, you should contact Sport BC insurance to discuss rates and terms. This would be a good thing to have looked into before your meeting with the pool programmer. If you know another group that rents the same pool, they might be willing to share their policy with you. Talk to them and to Sport BC.
3. It’s best to bring two people to your meeting with the pool programmer, a male and a female. (Sex shouldn’t matter, of course, but given societal stereotypes about people who like to do things naked, it helps to present your group as one whose membership represents a wider cross-section of your community.) Sorry (but needless) to say, you should really wear clothes for the meeting.
4. Use your judgment as the meeting unfolds, but you should probably explain your intention to have clothing-optional events early on during the meeting, as one of the parameters of your rentals. Most programmers will probably be at least willing to consider the idea, though they may say they have to check with their superiors first. At this point, be sure to mention all the other groups (like NIFTY) that have sucessfully run clothing-optional swims and events for years without any significant problems and with wide community support. Offer to meet with their superiors yourselves if needed.
5. If the meeting ends without a firm yes or no, give them a week or so to get back to you before calling to follow up. If you do so, start the call by thanking them for having met with you to consider renting their facility to your group. (Also do this when they call with their answer, if they do.)
If you need any help with the process, just call us here at NIFTY – we’ll do what we can. Good Luck! And let us know about the responses you get.
The name NIFTY arose because we wanted an acronym for the group’s name, and came up with NIFTY as a “temporary” moniker until we could decide on a “real” name; however, people seemed to like the name and it was decided to keep it as the group’s permanent title.
NIFTY has held many events over the years: topfree and clothing-optional parades and marches, topfree picnics and book readings, clothing-optional dances and movie nights, and more. We also usually host a clothing-optional picnic following the Vancouver portion of the annual World Naked Bike Ride. While these events are celebratory in nature, they also serve to educate the public about the harmful effects of suppressing the natural body, and to advocate for clothing-optional rights.
All public NIFTY events shall be open to anybody without discrimination. There shall be no quotas of any kind, and people can be asked to leave or barred based solely on their own behaviour. Such behaviour must have predictable negative consequences.
NIFTY’s first official meeting was held in 1993, and we began renting Vancouver’s Templeton Park Pool for monthly clothing-optional swims in 1998. Since then, our membership has grown significantly, and several thousand people have been NIFTY members at some point over the years, with about 500 up-to-date members at any given time.
NIFTY meetings shall be non-smoking and clothing-optional if possible.
Not all the Greek runners in the original Olympics were totally naked. Some wore shoes. – Mark Twain
NIFTY shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, race, colour, creed, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or any other basis unrelated to behaviour.
For a NIFTY meeting to be valid, reasonable attempts to notify the membership of that meeting, well in advance of said meeting, must he made. At least three members shall constitute a quorum.
Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. In 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry. People of Coventry were suffering under her husband’s oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva asked her husband to remit the tolls. Leofric said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in one of the most famous instances of voyeurism. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind. In the end, Godiva’s husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.
NIFTY recognises the fundamental decency, beauty, and non-obscenity of the natural human body. Further, NIFTY affirms the spiritual, psychological and physical health benefits of nudity and body acceptance for the individual and for society. A major part of our mandate is to educate the public about these benefits, and about the harmful effects of our cultures censure of natural nudity. NIFTY is an egalitarian group which always promotes equality of all humans, without regard to sex, race, colour, creed, age, national origin, sexual orientation or any other attribute.
(NIFTY Constutution, Paragraph 4)
Membership in NIFTY shall be open to anyone who supports the elimination of legislation forcing the wearing of clothing in public spaces.
Nudity and body acceptance is beneficial for the spiritual, psychological and physical health of individual and society.
NIFTY is first and foremost an activist political entity. Although organizing and engaging in social and recreational activities is necessarily part of our function, our primary focus must always remain on political organization towards full clothing-optional rights in all public spaces in Canada.
(NIFTY Constutution, Paragraph 2)
NIFTY also maintains the NIFTY library, a collection of over 600 magazines, books and videos related to the fight for clothing-optional rights.