A message to past volunteers and an appeal to naturist resorts and organisations.
In the world of clothes free living, the debate about compulsory nudity vs clothing optional has raged for years. Brexiteers vs Remainers can appear the epitome of conciliation when compared to these two sides of the fence. It is not my intention to rake over these dying coals in this post. No. The primary objective of this post is to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have helped us create Camp Full Monte and to pay tribute to one volunteer in particular. More about that later.
I’m also hoping that this post will lead other clothing optional venues or organisations to consider hosting volunteers. I’d like to give a sense of why hosting volunteers works for us but also why it’s good for the broader acceptance of non-sexual social nudity. It’s not easy to earn a living doing what we do, especially as a large part of our customer base is quite literally dying out. Here’s where attracting volunteers could help.
Finally, I’d like to give potential volunteers an insight into what it’s like to volunteer at Camp Full Monte (or any clothing optional venue or organisation) and what they might get out of the experience. It’s not just 3 meals a day and a bed in exchange for your labours. Especially those a little nervous about volunteering in a clothing optional environment.
Quite a lot to achieve in one post, so let’s get on with it.
Camp Full Monte in the making
We hosted our first ever volunteers, six in all, at Camp Full Monte back in May 2011. Four of them were good friends and it was their first experience of volunteering. It was also the most time they’d ever spent together in a clothing optional environment. It was such an overwhelming success that we have continued to host volunteers ever since. Here are some of the moments we shared with them all those years ago and you can see full details of what we achieved in this archive post.
A tribute to all our Camp Full Monte volunteers and a special tribute to “Smitty”.
Basically I just want to say a big thank you, to everyone who has ever volunteered with us. There is no way the campsite would be what it is today without you. The projects we have completed with your help are countless. Land cleared, fences palmed, steps built, paths laid, rocks moved, walls built, plants planted & nurtured, tiles & mosaics laid, structures painted, creations stitched and all manner of things crafted from wood. Be assured that every time we pass that tree you planted or that thing you made, we are fondly reminded of you.
Then there are the more mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and washing up. It might not seem much but every time you made a huge pile of after dinner washing up disappear, Denise and I gave a little sigh of relief, one less thing to do at the end of the day.
Above all, there are the more transient and less tangible things you contributed: Your stories; your humour; your likes and dislikes; in short – your company. Running Camp Full Monte can sometimes feels like the “Steve and Den show”. From the guest perspective, having you around helped “dilute” us a little. It helped create the sense of community on-site that is so important to the Camp Full Monte experience. Perhaps it’s the natural surroundings, the peace and quiet or the relaxed attitude to nudity that allowed you to open up and let us get to know you better. Whatever the reason it was a privilege.
I remember one occasion, there were 4 volunteers on site, we’d had a great day and there were some fascinating guests staying with us. As everyone slipped off to their tents for the night I was left sitting with one guest. After a period of silence, staring at a star filled sky he said. “Do you know what this place is? ….. It’s food for the soul!” It brought a big lump to my throat but I knew our volunteers deserved a huge slice of credit for that. Thank You.
So who’s “Smitty”?
So on to “Smiity”. In summary, a 66 year old American guy embarking on a round the world trip on his motorcycle, an experienced handyman with a strong background in electrical installation and engineering. Perfect for the main project we wanted to tackle in 2016.
Assisted by other volunteers, we worked on a number of projects but the main achievement was the upgrade of our 12v electric system and associated solar P.V. System. His energy and dedication to the task was a real inspiration. My sometimes relaxed work ethic was properly kicked into shape. 10 years his junior, I could barely keep up with him. We laid new 12V wiring circuits, installed 12v LED lighting, connected a 12v music system to our existing speakers and mounted 5 solar panels on the roof to power it all. The install was a great success. We can now light and power the building without using the generator.
In the evenings we’d draw out stories of his travels and life. Stories told in an understated way without brash or bravado, even though we would have forgiven it if he had. He often spoke fondly of his relatively new wife waiting for him in the US. Just an all round nice guy. You know how, when you meet some people, you feel you will stay in touch? It was like that with Smitty.
Life on the campsite gobbled time and it wasn’t till the end of the season that Denise decided to see how he was doing. It is was with considerable sadness that we discovered Smitty may have suffered a fatal heart attack during his onward travels through the former soviet states.
The details were scant. A few internet posts but the basic fact didn’t appear to need more research. I thought about trying to find out what happened but do you know what? I realised knowing what happened wouldn’t change anything, I decided I’d rather not know. R.I.P Smitty. You’re in a good place in my head and you can stay there for as long as you want. You will, literally & metaphorically, continue to light our life at Camp Full Monte.
Well on that emotional note it might be time to split this post into 2 parts. I’ve achieved my primary aim which was a big thank you to everyone who has volunteered at Camp Full Monte. I hope Smitty’s story underlines the extent volunteers can impact our lives.
In part II? Why clothes free venues and organisations should consider hosting volunteers and why volunteers should seek them out as hosts.
Be back Soon. Comments always welcome.