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Nudists Lament Bare Bank Account

September 29, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A nudist group looking for a home says it’s not public disapproval keeping them from their goal, but lack of cash.

``The spirit is willing. The contributions are weak,″ said Jim Mills, president of Searching for Paradise, which last fall branched off from a larger central Ohio organization, Buckeye Naturists, founded in 1985.

Before the split, central Ohio nudists met monthly at a pool that was part of a scuba-diving business in suburban Reynoldsburg. But the business needed storage space and drained the pool last year.

Searching for Paradise is looking for 50 to 100 acres between Marysville and Lancaster and has raised about $10,000.

That’s not enough even for a down payment. The group needs about $250,000, Mills said.

With enough investors, members then can prepare for the next challenge: neighbors.

``We’re not going to go in and say, ‘Hey, make room for us.’ Everyone will be well-informed of our intentions,″ said Mills, 61, of Gahanna, a retired firefighter who joined Buckeye Naturists in 1998.

About 250 nudists belong to several central Ohio organizations. Their only resort in the region is Sunn Jammers Recreational Park in Licking County. There are seven such resorts statewide.

Members of Searching for Paradise include computer programmers, accountants, a teacher, a writer, a floral designer and a salesman. Most are men around 40.

In the summer, they travel among nudist-resort campgrounds. They rent indoor pools during the winter.

Club members said their activities are all G-rated.

``You won’t see anything going on that you wouldn’t see at a church social, except that everyone is naked,″ Mills said.

Guests must show identification, and members agree to a criminal-background check. Cameras are banned, as are staring and public displays of affection.

The median age of members in the Wisconsin-based Naturist Society, which has clubs nationwide, has risen from 42 to 50 since it began 15 years ago, director Nicky Hoffman said.

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