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'We're nudists, not nuts': Sask. naturist club celebrates 50 years

(David Prisciak/CTV News) (David Prisciak/CTV News)

Nudism. It's a lifestyle that evokes many questions from the general public – and Doug Schick is happy to answer them.

“We're doing nothing wrong here. All we do is if it's too hot, we don’t wear clothes. And it's just a normal thing,” he said.

Schick is the president of the Green Haven Sun Club, Saskatchewan’s only landed nudist club.

The organization stylizes itself as an “Oasis on the Prairies” and that’s exactly how Schick came to know of it.

“I did know a person who was a member of Green Haven, and I worked with him and I asked a few questions and decided we would give it a try,” he told CTV News.

“After the first visit, I purchased a membership because there was no way you could compare this to any other place. Totally safe. Just an awesome place for the freedom of being nude when it's really hot.”

That first encounter was 18 years ago. Schick has lived at the club for the last 14.

When answering questions from non-members – Schick says he often comes back to something the late founder of Green Haven told him on his first visit.

“I said ‘What do you do when it's cold?’ because I didn't know anything about nudism. And he says ‘For God's sakes man. We're nudists, we’re not nuts. We put clothes on.’”

“I thought that was hilarious,” Schick laughed.

The club was originally founded near Fort-Qu’Appelle in 1973, but has resided at its current location – around 11 kilometres northeast of Balgonie – for the past 43 years.

Part of Green Haven’s appeal, according to Schick, is the sentiment of no judgment, a sense of comfort and the ability to trust your neighbours.

“I've always told my friends – next time you're out at a provincial park try putting a $50 bill underneath a 26 of alcohol on your picnic table and walk away and come back a day later and see if it's still there. It’ll be gone,” Schick claimed.

“Out here, if it's not still where you put it. Somebody will come up to you shortly and say 'Hey, you left this on the table. It looks like it was going to blow away. Here it is.'"

As for people’s pre-conceptions that nudism has to do with sex – Schick says it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“A lot of people have an idea that nudist clubs are a sinning bin or something like that, far from it,” he said.

“Outward affection between couples – as such – that’s behind closed doors. That’s something that’s not tolerated here.”

Green Haven itself consists of around 70 members – with the average age coming out to somewhere around 50 years old.

It’s because of this demographic that Schick and other members are pushing forward with advertising their “Oasis on the Prairies.”

“We weren't able to do advertising before because the property was not ours and the owner did not want us to put a sign out,” Schick explained.

“So now we do have a sign put up. We’re getting some favourable responses from that and we plan on doing some advertising to tell people where we are.”

The gated community is accepting new members – to ensure the club can go on in perpetuity.

For new members, strict rules around “nudism etiquette” are in place.

They include moderation around alcohol, promoting a family-oriented nudism environment, no cameras, always bringing your own towel (to sit on), and of course … no clothes at the pool.

Schick’s pitch for joining the club is simple.

“Open your mind. Don’t have pre-set prejudice against something that you have no idea of,” he said.

“Come experience it.”

The club plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary in style with a weekend full of activities running from Aug. 5 to Aug. 6 – with the highlight being its annual Bare as You Dare walk in support of Diabetes Canada. Top Stories

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